The title cannot be as straightforward as it is and is the primary reason for me being in Ellensburg since yesterday. As of Friday 22 July, 2011, I have been laid off due to the fact my school no longer has enough students to support the large staff. It is something I have very mixed feelings about considering I had:
a.) Knew that there was a strong chance I was going to be let go.
b.) I am not as passionate about teaching as I used to be.
During the course of the past school year, I had been questioning myself a lot and feeling pretty frazzled about my position as a teacher. I had initially came into it because of an old role-play forum which had inadvertently turned into a writing class in its early stages. It was weird yet exhilarating when I was getting messages back from people stating that their grades were improving in their classes because of the forum!
Of course, I was still iffy about it and ended up tutoring at a few schools in Seattle and teaching at a school close to downtown after graduation. During that time I felt that it was my calling to be a teacher. I was helpful, supportive, and loved giving very young children the building blocks for being successful in the classroom and outside of it. I was very happy and content and thought that this would be it forever. I had even proceeded to take a course in the Montessori method to help along what I believed was the right choice for me.
Something changed slightly, however, when I was hospitalized for gallbladder infection and removal. The days I lay in the hospital bed are still very clear to me and the way it planted that seed of doubt is also what has plagued me for years. I had started to wonder if I was fit for an altogether different field than what I had initially thought so many years before. I started to admire more the ladies in the hospitals and clinics and had even considered briefly that maybe I should have taken up nursing. It took me a month to purge it from my mind and which I later attributed to possibly being depressed and sick during my recovery stages.
The strange this is, years down the line I began to question myself again when I was let go from my other job just a year ago. I felt I was getting messages left and right about a career change by a few friends, and something kept nagging at the back of my head that something wasn’t right. But me? I am a doubter. I try to reason my way out of things and brushed it aside as anxiety because I had just lost my job and wanted to find a new one quickly.
I easily found another job, but during the course of the school year I kept thinking, “Maybe this isn’t right for me.” I knew that for other reasons outside of work related issues, I wasn’t very happy. Although there were very key things I did still enjoy about the job: helping children when they were either hurt or needed that emotional support that they often need to navigate complex relationships for their age group. By May I had come to a decision that I wanted something else. By June I came to finalize that I really wanted something else. By July I came to a firm stand that I will go back to school and find something else out there that allows me to put to better use the gifts I have.
A school setting? Its great. Especially for the younger children because you have to help them on many levels that include not just academic success but emotional, mental, and physical. A child who is just three years old finds a great deal amount of pride when you are able to encourage and show them how to climb to the top most part of a climber on their own AND how to get down safely without hovering over them like a mother hen. However, there are so much more to being a teacher that I find detracts from actual teaching and focuses more on catering to unreasonable and demanding parents expecting their four year old child to do algebraic equations. The saddest part is that I WISH I were kidding about that last bit, but I am not and that is what disheartens me greatly and why I would rather put my energies elsewhere rather than fight an uphill battle I am no longer wanting to run up against.
So, here I am. Sad because I lost my job and my source of income, but happy because I feel its a sign to move onto something else. I’m listening now and I believe I just need to figure out where to go from here. Nursing has been nagging at me. I’m told I would be good at it, but I don’t want to fall into the same trap I did when I went into teaching. Just because I am good at something doesn’t mean I will be happy, right? I’ll probably explore the alternatives and see what will truly lay ahead of me. But for now? I think I’ll just roll with the punches and let them come as they may.