“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
- Oscar Wilde
I’m at a low point in my life.
In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever been lower.
If I were the protagonist in a novel, I’d be at the midpoint. Since I’m a panster, I can’t see how the rest of the story unfolds.
But I don’t have high hopes.
I’ve subbed for two years. Two years Included in that time is 6 months as an ETS. I thought that was a step leading to other places.
Seems it was just a temporary step up. I’ve had to return a step down.
Problem was, when I returned to the daily sub position, I kept getting requested at the same school. Everyday, I saw the students and teachers from the higher step. It made me believe I was still on their level.
Recently, I got pushed down. Hard.
I’m sorry about the analogies. But I can’t tell the real story.
1) I need to maintain other people’s privacy.
2) It’s devastating.
3) Even with all the reasons/rationalizations, it still doesn’t improve the humiliation.
So, here I stand on this stupid step. But it’s the trick step in Hogwarts, so I’m stuck. It doesn’t how many calls (resumes), I send. Nobody answers my cries.
I can’t go on like this.
Being a daily sub again after having my own students and classes is just too hard. Last week, I worked in my old, old school. The teaching assistant job I had left to become a sub. For this sub job, the art teacher left instructions for the 5th-grade and kindergarten. I saw she had 2 3rd-grade classes, but no plans. I scrambled through the papers in a mild panic.
Even though I had planned to hide all day, I asked the librarian. I didn’t want to see all the teachers I knew. To admith that two years later, I was still stuck. The librarian thought the 3rd graders might be going on a field trip. A 3rd-grade teacher confirmed this.
It was actually an easy day. But that several minutes of semi-panic was just too much. After having a taste of being a full-time teacher in charge of my own classes, I don’t want to have to do this again.
The 7th-graders who were 5th-graders back then, saw me. They all remembered my name and smiled. A few of them hugged me. Even the boys. I remembered how hard it was to leave that lovely class, where I taught Social Studies and Word Study to become a daily sub.
The “temporary” job was supposed to lead me somewhere.
The previous Friday, I wound up subbing my old Social Studies extended term sub classes. 8th-graders had mostly been practicing for graduation, so no real work was expected. I asked them to tell me about their trip to DC. Then I took them outside.
The 7th-grade was learning about immigration. I talked about Arizona and Alabama wanting to check people’s papers to make sure they’re legal just based on how they look. We talked about where the line is between government protection and interference. That led me to bring up the Wall Street Journal article about YA being too dark, and that discussion I blogged about.
Like another teacher who had been pushed out of the same school, I decided to go out with a bang.
But I returned for 8th-grade graduation. I had promised. While they sang “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, I thought of how poignant the lyrics were to my situation:
“Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it.”
Just like I’d thought the 8th-grade graduation song, Firework by Katy Perry, wafting down the hallway explained my state of mind while I was teaching Art the previous day:
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, on blow from caving in?”
All those years I attended school, for what?
I can blame the economy or whatever. In truth, I can’t trust that I’m the teacher I thought I was. I don’t know who I am anymore.
The other day I made a vow about when I "make it" as a writer. I’ve decided to make another vow. When the fall comes, I can’t sub anymore. This summer will not only be spent editing and querying, but also finding an alternative occupation.
Being a Car Insurance Claims examiner got me through graduate school. It’s starting to look again. (Years ago, I made a vow never to do that again. But these are desperate times.)
You don’t even need to leave me nice words or sympathy. I just felt it was false not to share this mess that is my professional life right now.
My family needs to buy a bigger place. I can’t be the one holding us back anymore. Even if I have to take another fecking staircase, I will.
Anywhere but here.