Drowning in self-loathing behaviors, I knew that the best way to get over the hot mess of a situation I created was to focus all of my attention on creating a life outside of my current dating disasters. I’d been thinking about a return to the classroom for a few months; now was the time to begin getting my application packet ready.
Included in said packet is the standard resume and letter of intent, however, in education you’re also required to send three letters of recommendation to any hiring district. This wouldn’t be too troublesome, except that I hadn’t taught the previous year and (of course) wouldn’t be able to find a job until I’d already been out of the classroom for two years. Immediately, my mind raced to the interview stage. How the hell would I explain my sabbatical? I planned to sugarcoat the pile-of-poo reason (i.e. my boyfriend convinced me that my talent wasn’t being utilized and I’d be better off writing) by stating that I needed time away to realize exactly where I should be. In the classroom. They better buy it.
Step one? Update my resume. Easy enough.
Step two? Contact the administrators who wrote my letters of recommendation to explain that I was going to begin the job hunt as soon as hiring season rolled around. This would only be problematic with one writer (my old boss, the Principal of the high school) who was completely devastated when I decided to leave my contract unsigned and walk away from teaching completely.
While that might sound completely silly, she really was pissed. In fact, my last two months teaching were spent with daily reminders that I was making a huge mistake. On the days that she wasn’t attempting to coax me into reconsidering the decision, she was giving me the cold shoulder. In the end, the relationship became awkward enough that I avoided conversations with her altogether. It wasn’t exactly the ideal work environment.
There I sat, in front of my computer, with Gmail open and her email address plugged in to the address line. What the fuck do I say?
I was honest. I told her that I was (once again) bit with the teaching bug. I explained that I was hoping she could update my letter of recommendation so that I was able to begin applying when teaching positions started opening up again. And then I waited…
She responded within the week. Her tone (from our last conversation) was quite different. Her email follows.
I must say I was surprised by your email. The last time I heard from you, you were becoming a writing superstar and were just mentioned in the Post. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know you’d get back into teaching. The connection you made with kids was remarkable. I knew you’d miss them…miss it.
I’d be happy to update your letter of recommendation. I don’t have it saved on my computer so, if you wouldn’t mind, could you send me a copy so that I can update and sign it?
Just out of curiosity…what was the final straw that led you to this moment?
My heart was at ease. Beth was responding to me with open arms…and she even threw a compliment into her response (which I needed more than ever). I was as good as golden. It meant a lot that she was willing to back me, even after the shaky ending we had.
When I started teaching, Beth was a role model. The best role model in the world of education. A true, passionate, and caring administrator, she took me under her wing and molded me into an exemplary teacher. For her kindness, I was forever indebted to her. She was the reason I wanted to go back…and now I could tell her.
I’ve been missing the classroom for several months and, to be honest, I do miss the kids. Thank you so much for all of your support and guidance. You created a monster inside of me that I can no longer contain. It’s time to get back into the classroom and do my ‘thang’.
Thanks again for helping me out with my letter of recommendation.It just so happens that I found a job opening online for January and I might apply (even though it’s three weeks away from the start date). I figure it’ll be good to get my feet wet. I doubt I’ll get the job, but if I get an interview, I think it’ll be good practice. This means the world to me, Sarafina ****
I didn’t hear back from her for several days.
It was nap time at the preschool and all off my rug-rats were snoozing when I received another email from Beth. I grabbed my Palm to check my email and play around on Facebook. You can imagine my surprise when I opened her email and found this:
Interesting turn of events. We now have an English position open that would start in January. Want to talk about it? Call the school and we can set up a time (either via phone or in person).
Looking forward to it,
My heart was pounding. I, literally, sent a gasp through the room so loud that one of the babies woke up. After patting them back into a coma, I reread the email.
“We now have an English position open that would start in January. Want to talk about it?”
Forget James, Ike, and any other person with a ding-dong. My life was headed in the right direction. Sure, the position wasn’t exactly mine, but if Beth was willing to mention it, there was a damn good chance that I’d be back in my old school teaching again within a few weeks. I pinched myself a few times. Yep, it was real.
The icing on the cake?
I received a call from my realtor (yes, the same unbelievable day). The closing date (for the sale of my house) was four weeks away.
Let’s recap: I was getting out of my house…away from Ike. I made a great life decision and decided to get back into teaching and, it just so happened, I couldn’t have picked a better time. I might snag a job within two weeks of the decision. I pinched myself again. Still real.
That ‘might’ turned into a certainty within two days. I was offered the gig. I’d have some of the same students, the same Principal, and a great staff of people to welcome me back.
While I hadn’t anticipated being back in the classroom for 8-ish months, there was no reason not to accept the position and start in three weeks.
Afterall, I’m a big fan of ripping band-aids off. Is there a better way to repay the woman who inspired me to be a great teacher than to be a great teacher in her building again? No, I didn’t think so either.
Welcome to my reinvention.