Friday, November 9, 2012

Year 3: Week 9 – Letting Go of Being Let Go

People and their jobs separate for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s mutual, but other times it’s not. When I lost my first teaching job, which I discussed as one of the most important moments in the past 10 years of my life, I was dumped. My “contract was not renewed.”  I knew that the job wasn’t a good fit for me, but I didn’t have it in me to quit, so the school did what I didn’t have the courage to do and they let me go.

It’s still difficult to reflect on that whole situation. Diana and I were living in an area that we weren’t excited about and we both had challenging situations at our jobs. Coming fresh out of college you’re just excited about having any job, so this idea of what kind of job is a “good fit” is elusive, because the fear of not having a job looms large.

I was hired for that job after a two-hour interview, without a teaching demonstration. Before I started in the fall, I thought I would receive more preparation and instruction on what was expected out of me. But before I knew it, I was conducting two high school bands that had almost seventy students each. With limited prep time, little high school teaching experience, I struggled.

It seemed like everything I tried didn’t work and whenever I had an idea to try something different or do something innovative, my input didn’t seem valued. It felt like I was just barely able to keep my head above water as the school year progressed on like white water rapids, refusing to let me pause to take a breath.

I was assigned tasks that did not reflect to my strengths and I failed multiple times to come through when things were asked of me. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because I didn’t have enough experience but regardless, many situations at that school made me feel less confident as an educator and made me question my abilities as a teacher.

Now, it’s a different story. I feel comfortable and confident in my current school. I have great evaluations, my ideas and input are appreciated and I really love what I do. As I’ve prepared to go on the 5th grade camping trip for the third time, I was asked to take on more responsibilities. While I know I can handle this, I think of the failures of my first job and I worry.

I wish I could say that I’m over what happened in my first job and that I’ve come to terms with everything that happened. Like with any breakup, getting over these things takes time.

I love the teacher that I am, and if I had to go through all I did in that first job to get to where I am now, maybe it was worth it. But maybe I could have gotten to where I am without all of that pain. I’ll never know. 

The positive years I've had as a teacher now outweigh the negative years.  With every day that passes, the failures of the past feel more like they truly are part of my past.  It's not like I don't make mistakes any more, but now I don't fear failure, because I've been there.  I failed, I messed up so badly that I lost my job.  But y'know what?  I got through that.  I survived that.  So I know that no matter what happens I can get through it.

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