Summer Series of Saves: Toys in the Attic. (I)


Other educators in my ELL Endorsement made this: I really like the arrow/target connection. One more image I’ll keep in my bulging sacks of digital content.

Part of transitioning to a new job includes cleaning up my digital life. One might think the virtual files would weigh much less than the physical boxes of books and paperclips, but one would be wrong. At last count, I have over four cloud servers: Google, OneDrive (work) OneDrive (personal), Dropbox, and iCloud. I have found some gems in the stash, however, and definitely, some items that required brutal, blunt-force deletion. All the cloud servers require some attention, as well as my YouTube channel,  which needs some polish and sparkle.

One thing I found in the folders within a folder was this.* It’s not that special, and needs to be redone; however, I keep it to be reminded that I know what I’m doing. After a few interviews here and there (I’ll get to that), I realized I kind of stink at interviews.

Here’s the deal: I was offered an amazing position in the district, but something wasn’t sitting right. My dream jobs opened up at other schools, three, in fact, all high school ELA. Everyone who knows me, including my sons, see me as a high school teacher. But apparently, I didn’t convince the interview teams. Since two were in my district, and they’re all begging for highly qualified teachers, I thought at least I’d have a chance. But nope. Turned down. And of course I’m second guessing myself at every flashback: did someone not give me a good recommendation? Was it my silly summer hair? Did I not carry myself like “a high school English teacher?” (whatever that means), did I not thoroughly express my ability and expertise in planning thematic units? I mean, at what saturation point does a teacher get a chance? How many PDs, book studies, practice, collaboration, accreditations, accolades, and demonstration of knowledge of some of the greatest minds in and out of my surrounding district do I need to know or do in order to prove myself? In a district that is bleeding high-quality teachers, what did I do wrong? (I thought back to the interview in my 20s when I thought I was confident and self-assured only to be told I came off as ‘flip and irreverent.”)

And then: they messed with my money.

It’s fine now, but long story short, there was mishandling of the National Boards stipend money or a misreporting, and my stipend was potentially going to be cut in half this summer, and we are counting on that money.

I saw this image in front of my eyes: DAVE THE BAD BOYFRIEND.

Many of us share this experience with a bad boy/girlfriend. This is the relationship that is marked by lack of trust, ill-fitted expectations, and out and out lies. After dating DTBB for many years, pinning my hopes and dreams on this young man, and giving second, third, and twentieth chances, finally, one evening, I must have caught him in a vulnerable mood, because I asked him, “Are you ever going to marry me?” and he simply said, without hesitation, “No.” And that was that. One clear moment of honesty, for himself and for me. I heard it loud and clear.

I thought I was okay until I was talking with a colleague from one of the high schools, and she was so sad for me. She had worked with me at the middle school and thinks I’m an awesome ELA teacher and was visibly disappointed her school didn’t sign me on.

Between that and the feeling that I was being ‘put out to pasture’ didn’t sit right with me–and the money. Let’s not forget that. I still have a family and husband to support, (we support one another). And to read the discussion board about how many teachers are leaving the district: my (now former) district has spent thousands of dollars investing in me, and to be so willing to let me go…

…and I guess I just need to say thank you for the honesty, so I could let go.

We, teachers, are getting a lot of mixed messages now: there is a teacher shortage, but it’s highly competitive. We want experienced teachers, but not too expensive. You can have a career path of your choosing, but not if it doesn’t fit within our mold. We want young teachers but don’t want to appear ageist. I wonder how many teachers were put on plans of support or had to call the union in because an admin team used the evaluation system to push them out of the district prior or during the district’s financial crisis? That would be interesting data to see. But we have to be quiet, stay low, under the radar, shut the door, and not challenge or question.

What makes sense? I know I would have liked to have seen more clear choice about career paths in my district that wasn’t grounded in favoritism or obscurity. Every year instead of just answering a building admin’s survey we could answer a survey online that would keep and curate our choices. But yeah, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Everything is going to be fine for me, and to stretch this metaphor, this corner of my mental attic is swept out. I’m looking forward to next year, and next week, and even right here, today. It’s July 1, and that gives me a whole month to try NaNoWriMo— I always feel that November is too crowded, but this month should be just right. Now to pull a few more story boxes out of storage, and get writing!

PS I have no idea what Dave is up to now. I know I found the best man in the world for me, and we’ve been married almost 26 years. The heck with you, bad boyfriend.

*This is the document: (What I love about it is a place for some mentor teacher’s documents I’ve used)