Thursday, August 5, 2010

Job Seeking

So as you may or may not know, I have left teaching. 

Since I have moved back to Virginia, a number of people have asked what I'm going to do for work and so many people have asked where I'm going to look to teach.  And when I tell them I'm not, I have gotten a lot of horrified reactions from people.  "What?!  Why not?!  We need good teachers!"

They're right.  We do need good teachers.  Teachers are the backbone of society and I respect my friends and colleagues who have stayed in the profession.  Teachers are also underpaid, overworked and completely disrespected.  There were so many times that I would meet new people and the usual conversation would ensue.  "Where are you from?"  "What do you do?"  "Oh," slight change in expression, "You're a teacher."  Slight implication being, oh you couldn't do something else.  This is not to say that this was everyone's or even most people's reactions.  But it didn't happen infrequently. 

This is not why I left teaching.  It is not the worst thing in the world.  However, it is something that flashes through my mind when I get the not-so-atypical reaction of, "But we need good teachers!"

First of all, how do they even know that I was a good teacher?  Did I care?  Absolutely.  I poured my heart and soul into that job, to the point that I'm still trying to figure out who I am after this experience.  Did I work hard?  Definitely.  Nights, weekends, mornings.  Let me clear up the misconception about teachers working from 7 to 3.  Teachers get paid from 7 to 3.  They come in early, stay late and take lots and lots of work home.  Not to mention the time spent thinking about that one (or many) kid.  How do I reach him?  How do I get her to learn?  What's happening at his home tonight?  I did my best.  But my best does not necessarily make me a good teacher and I would argue that I wasn't the greatest teacher.  I tried and I always tried to be better, but I was certainly not the best and I'm not sure that my kids were any better off having known me. 

Second, if we need good teachers so bad, then why don't those people go do it instead of judging me?  I did it for three years.  I moved halfway across the country to do it.  So if I'm so horrible for leaving the profession, why are they better for never having done it? 

Sorry about the rant.  It's not the worst possible thing, but I'm frustrated by that reaction.  It sort of dismisses everything I've done for the past three years and the pieces of my soul that I gave to those kids. 

I absolutely believe that I was called to teach for a season.  I have never before received such a specific and profound calling.  I also believe that I was called for a short time.  Why?  I still haven't figured that out.  I do know that it was becoming abundantly clear that that time had come to an end.  I am burned out of teaching.  I no longer have the patience or energy to deal with the constant disruption, the behavior, disrespect from kids.  I don't feel like I was making enough of an impact on kids and I can't deal with failing every day anymore.  Now it's time to find out what I'm supposed to do next.

I think that's a large part of what's frustrating me as I write this more than anything.  I don't really know what I'm supposed to do next.  I don't know how to define myself.  I'm not a teacher.  I don't know how to respond when I meet new people and they ask what I do.  I'm unemployed?  I'm looking for a job?  I'm readjusting to my old life in some respects even though I'm not the same person? 

But maybe that's part of what I'm supposed to be learning right now.  I like being defined by things that I do or accomplishments or memberships.  I think most people do.  But that's not how I'm supposed to define myself.  I need to learn to define myself as a child of God and learn to be satisfied in that.  Because at the end of the day, that's what lasts.  Everything else is transient, earthbound.  That will last forever and when you have that, everything else will fall into place.  Maybe not the way that you plan.  Teaching certainly didn't work out in the way that I planned, but I learned a lot and grew tremendously.  I don't need to plan because He has a better one.  Parts of it might be really hard or even feel really awful at times and I really don't understand the reason for it.  Anyone who tells you that they do probably don't know what they're talking about.   So I need to learn to be satisfied and trusting and not to let my heart wander.  The good thing is that He experienced that, too, and understands and is forgiving through that. 

Sorry for such a long, random-seeming post.  And I appreciate it if you read it.  I'm just trying to figure things out. :)


  1. I found your blog via Fb and I totally "get" this post. I taught for 7 years and lots of people said I was good at it, yet I didn't feel good at it and it never seemd to be "me". I'm not sure what IS me or if I'll ever know. I am really loving helping Matt with this new church and that is exciting for me, but there's definitely no money in it for me and I think the excitement would be gone if I was doing it for money.

    I am ging back to work one day and I have no clue what I should do. Praying and praying for direction. I'll pray for some for you too!

  2. Thanks, Sarah!! I'll do the same for you. I love that you guys are starting this church. We're excited to be part of it.