I’ve also learned that sometimes you have to take a blind leap in an effort to do what’s right for yourself and your family. I’m not telling anyone to run out and quit their jobs, but just encouraging you to take the time to stand up for what’s right. I think that alone is being a “risk taker.”
I apologize in advance, but this post is going to be lacking on the picture side. You’ll see why if you stick with me until the end.
First, I want to start out by saying how AWESOME the beginning of my school year was (and I hope yours was as well). I was so fortunate to land myself on a first grade team that had a TON of experience, but was still completely open to new ideas. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. In 6 short weeks I soaked up as much knowledge from each of them as I could. On top of my great team, my students were fantastic and the parents were willing to help in any way possible. I mean I had parent volunteers to stuff our Tuesday folders, laminate materials, cut materials out, handle box tops… you name it!
But something happened 2 Thursdays ago that changed all of that…
Two teachers gave their two week notice (2nd and 4th grade) for personal reasons. That next day my principal pulled me into her office and told me she was 99% sure she would be moving me to the 4th grade position.
I really felt like a small part of me died… I understand that leveling happens, but that’s generally when a section is added or taken away. Why did I have to leave the awesome situation I was in? Why did my students have to lose their teacher now, too? Why are you involving yet another classroom in losing it’s teacher? Why couldn’t she just hire a new 4th grade teacher when she was going to have to replace me in my 1st grade class???
Long story short, after several communication attempts with the principal it became apparent that there was no room for negotiation. I really felt like she was doing what was easiest/best for her, but not necessarily what was best for the kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in being a team player – but I was completely UNPREPARED to teach 4th grade math/science. The science I could rock out all day long. However, I am WEAK at math. The only reason I like teaching math in 1st grade is because I want my kiddos to understand it and grow up loving math (unlike my situation). Also, this year I really felt like I knew what I was doing because it was my second year in 1st grade. I didn’t think it was fair to put myself, or the 4th grade students, through me being “in the dark” again.
I spent a ton of time thinking about what I should do and just kept feeling anxious and stressed. I was literally having trouble sleeping, which never happens, because I was so worried about being unprepared for 4th grade. So I made the difficult decision to quit.
I would have never left my 1st grade students in the middle of the year, but that had already been taken away from me. I decided it would be better to leave now and not start in 4th grade to later find out that I couldn’t handle the stress of STAAR testing, being unfamiliar with the content, and a host of other potential problems.
Fortunately the district was willing to let me out of my contract, and there lay my chance to be a “risk taker.” I quit my job without another job lined up. I was a complete wreck, applying for any and every K-2 position open in the DFW area. Fortunately, a school in the same charter district that I taught in last year needed a 1st grade teacher.
I am excited to say that today I verbally accepted the offer to teach 1st grade at that school! I am so relieved to be in familiar territory (grade level as well as the district). I know it won’t all be sunshine and rainbows, but I can at least feel confident that I am teaching a grade level that I am comfortable teaching.
Through this whole process I have learned a few things… One of them being that the grass truly is not always greener on the other side.
Alright enough with the sad story! Back to fun teaching ideas ASAP, I promise!