From the Teacher’s Desk–
“The right decisions are always the hardest to make. But they must be made in order to live the life you deserve.”
Another blog that is NOT fitness related? Who am I anymore? Gosh, lots of BIG changes happening lately and I want to share my thought process behind it all with all of you! Yes, it’s a long one and no I’m not sorry!
If you did not know, I am a NYS certified childhood and special education teacher. I also taught second grade in Louisburg, NC (closest to Raleigh) from August 2012 to June 2013. BUT after that year of teaching I thought that teaching just wasn’t for me. I mean it could have been that my boyfriend at the time broke up with me before the first day of school. It could have been that I also threw up in front of my class three times on the first day of school. It could have been that I felt super homesick that entire year. It could have been that I had no idea who I was and found myself over the last three years.(If I could go back and slap myself I would. Not for puking but for quitting after a year.)
So at the end of the school year, I was on my way back to Buffalo to obtain my Master’s in College Student Personnel Administration which then led me to a lot of homework, paper writing and then working my desk job at a college in an office for the next almost 3 years.
Fast forward to this past spring, I just got this feeling in my gut that I was no longer meant to sit in an office from 9-5 completing the same tasks day in and day out. I tried to weigh what made me feel the way that I did and after awhile I discovered that I felt more like a paper pusher. My work became very systematic. Student visits for reason X, I complete task Y for them, I schedule X service, send Y e-mail etc. I knew that for some students at the college, I made a difference BUT at the end of the day I felt a much larger calling.
Where in my life have I previously felt that I made a difference?
When did I feel that my work was purposeful?
When did I feel fulfilled?
What inspires me to grow and be better?
All of those questions brought me back to a somewhat seemingly simple answer-
Okay, we figured out the problem so now what? What is the action plan? It’s SPRING in Buffalo. It’s not exactly like teaching jobs are a hot commodity around here. I knew I did not want to go back to substitute teaching, whether it be daily or long-term. I also knew I did not want to spend five years proving myself in a district. I knew I wanted my own classroom RIGHT NOW. Okay, so that settles WHAT I want to do.
But WHERE? I knew that I LOVED LOVED living in North Carolina, I knew when I pulled away from my apartment sobbing like a baby back in August 2013 that I would be back. I had this gut feeling. I loved the constant new growth and opportunities in North Carolina. Raleigh was so very beautiful and I loved that I could also run outside in February and it wasn’t a blizzard. I also didn’t mind that whole snow day thing at even the threat of freezing rain in the forecast 😉 I just didn’t LOVE the location of the school I taught at. (Funny enough, I saw on Timehop yesterday a FB status about making the final 54 mile round-trip on the final day of school) I could for sure, just try a different area in North Carolina. The entire state was not off the table after one bad teaching experience, that’s for sure!
Now the fun part-the job search. I downloaded every possible job searching app. I became the job searching queen (If there even is such a thing, I now have the title) Indeed was my best friend. Glassdoor and I had several lunch dates. Craigslist and I met over dinner. IT WAS A FULL-TIME JOB. I wouldn’t let a day go by without applying SOMEWHERE.
I felt pretty good about applying to Wake County which was a county over from where I previously taught. HOWEVER-I did not anticipate a hiring freeze. I figured my next best bet would be private schools and charter schools. AND YOUR GIRL IS IMPATIENT! Thus, I stumbled upon a company called Charter Schools USA. I saw they had several locations in North Carolina and they were expanding and building new schools throughout the state. I figured it was a long shot because charter schools are highly selective but if I didn’t take the leap–I would never know.
While I’m applying to teaching jobs, I also wanted to leave my desk job sooner rather than later but with teaching jobs not starting until early August, I wanted to find something to do during the summer. I really could not stick it out all summer. I would feel bad leading students and my staff on–planning things for the upcoming semester and it would make more sense for someone else to be able to start the semester off fresh. Ya feel me?
So I landed a job at a summer camp in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts (not a clue as to how) and I was PUMPED. But the conflict I KEPT running into was the fact that camp went from June 14th-August 14th. The current teaching jobs I had applied to and lined up interviews for began very early August. Sure, I had some options like leave summer camp early and lose out on the extra $1,000 at the end of the summer. Yes, that was possible BUT at the same time, I didn’t have someone to take my apartment and June 14th was coming fast. I WAS TORN. WHAT A MESS. There were days where I wanted to crawl out of my skin because I just wanted a sign about what to do. There were days I contemplated going to a psychic so she could just tell me what to do. There were days that getting out of bed seemed impossible because that meant another day behind me and another day approaching too fast on my deadline of making a decision.
I decided to keep pressing on regardless of the fact that my lease for my apartment wasn’t up until September. Regardless of the fact that I had not put in my two week notice at my current job and regardless of the fact that I did NOT have a teaching job lined up for the fall yet. My plan was to get rid of my apartment, go to the summer camp, keep pursuing the teaching interviews I had lined up and continue to apply like crazy in the meantime. I kept telling myself that “Adventure is out there” and “You only live once.”
In order to make this summer camp thing happen I posted my apartment to Craigslist and Facebook like crazy (Thanks to all who dealt with that and shared it!) Spoiler alert: I am officially moving out July 1st. THANK GOODNESS. What. a. process. The real estate world/landlord life is not for me. I mean duh, we’re going back to teaching here but you know what I mean 😉
Back to Charter Schools USA. I had two phone interviews. One on May 13th with a school in Indian Trail (25 minutes outside of Charlotte) and then another one with a school in Iredell County (don’t remember the date) I was told during that first phone interview on the 13th that there would be a Skype interview and then an in person interview over the summer. GREAT–HOW was I going to swing that with summer camp? AGH! Alright, I told myself that I would just figure out these situations as they come. No point in stressing about the future.
Meanwhile, I also had an interview for an elementary school in Glades County, Florida all because my friend Mary has been following my weightloss journey. (Or so I think, ha!) Legit, she liked my luvtobfitness page and we messaged jokingly about how I should teach in Florida. I don’t know when or how it came up but fast forward a few months and I’m on the phone with her principal and assistant principal about a 4th grade writing position. They offered it to me a week after our phone interview because the position had to be approved by the board. (Did I mention I’m impatient?!) However, I knew that I wanted to teach a younger grade level and I did not want to teach in a trailer or teach the same subject all day long and another big factor to consider was the salary. As much as everyone says it’s not about the money–well when you’re moving your life around for a teaching job, salary is HUGE to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that I was meant to go to Florida. The school came back and offered me a third grade position in an actual classroom in the physical building but I just knew I wanted to pursue other avenues. I felt bad, I felt guilty. But I also told myself that I wasn’t going to settle and I had my heart set on North Carolina.
May 27th I put my two weeks in at my desk job because in my mind the summer camp was still a thing and I knew I had to be in MA on June 14th. Yes, I still really wanted a full-time teaching job but I could not put off putting in my two weeks any longer. I needed to be done on June 10th in order to be at camp on the 14th. The clock was ticking and my stress level was rising!
June 2nd I Skyped with the principal for the BRAND NEW charter school in Indian Trail. The crazy part about this was I almost canceled the interview, I doubted myself SO SO much. HOWEVER–I felt so PUMPED UP after that Skype interview. (I turned down the second interview for the school in Iredell County because I researched the area and it was way too rural for me!) I shared that my grade-level preference would be second grade. She shared the opportunities within the school as far as professional development, paid tutoring, commission for running a club (she even mentioned running club, UM HELLO PERFECT!) I truly felt like she got me and I got her. I wanted to kick myself though because I didn’t put my phone on Do Not Disturb and IT RANG THROUGH MY COMPUTER DURING MY INTERVIEW. It was so so bad. I brushed it off and apologized. At the end, she asked me about a timeline as far as needing a response (Because hi, I still had summer camp on the brain and I felt like I was going to have to cancel on them with how good the interview was going.) I mentioned that I would need to know by early next week and she said, “Well I was thinking tomorrow.” (Insert very shocked face) AND to think that I almost canceled…still blows my mind!
Sooooooo…….on June 3rd (FELT LIKE THE LONGEST DAY IN THE WORLD) the principal called me offering me a third grade position. I WAS OVER THE MOON ECSTATIC! This school was everything I wanted! You truly can’t turn down a brand new school, third grade and the salary is so much more than I anticipated. Not to mention, they are recognizing my Master’s (paying me more for it) AND paying me for my year of teaching experience. I couldn’t ask for anything more! Here is my principal standing outside the school TODAY! (see I told you it’s being built, lol) I start on August 8th and the students come August 29th!
The summer camp was very upset and understandably so but I couldn’t justify putting my teaching career on hold for a 7 week summer camp. They asked if I could leave August 1st and without having my apartment rented out or having my stuff moved home, no place to live yet in NC, I couldn’t justify that. They were super rude and I know everything happens for a reason.
I may be saving money like crazy and selling my life away, (can’t wait to write my next blog about my thrifty tips and adventures!) picking up some babysitting jobs here and there because I left my desk job almost a week ago now. PSA– If you want to buy any of my furniture or want me to watch your children, I would love to be of service to you! 😉 Sure, I could have stayed at my desk job longer but for my own mental health, I really just couldn’t do it anymore. I have been so blessed to just gather my thoughts during this week alone. I feel like a new woman! I may also not have a place to live yet and I do have to live at home for a month but I am planning a trip to visit Charlotte in the middle of July. There are many things that I was scared of while taking this leap. I am still scared. BUT I am a big proponent of the phrase,
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
At the end of the day, what I learned the most about this decision making process and seemingly endless job search is that I am so very thankful for my previous experience in North Carolina. It taught me the important questions to ask in an interview, what to look for in the school, administration and now what to look for as far as where I want to live. I also learned that, “You should never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” If you want something bad enough, you have to go after it no matter how muddy the fine details may seem. I know that everything will sort itself out in due time. I feel so very blessed to have landed this job, move out of my apartment, and now it’s that exciting time to plan the big move to Charlotte!
Special shoutout to all my friends, family and coworkers who spent countless hours FB messaging me, texting, listening to me on the phone, etc. I couldn’t have done it without all of you! ❤
Charlotte better be ready for Miss Miller and her wise owls! 😉