Wednesday, November 11, 2015

And so it goes..

I started this blog 5 years ago when I just needed a place to type and sort out my feelings, frustrations and stress.  It was all over moving to a new city, struggling to sell my house in my old city, not being able to buy a new house in the new city until said old house sold.  It took 10 months and 13 days to sell my house.  Five offers came and then fell through.  But it finally happened.  We did sell the house.  And we did buy a new house.  Life began to improve. 

And the blog posts became few.

But now I'm back.  With more feelings, frustrations and stress.  This time it's about a job.  Since we have moved, I've had one job that I hated.  HATED.  I muddled through the best I could for 2 years.  Not as long as many people who hate a job, but it was more than long enough for me.  The job search began even before I quit.  Doors closed.  I was met with uninterested eyes.  I got a lot of "so this is what you'd like to do...."  It was kinda like those active listening crazy things you see where you just repeat what the other person says in the form of a question.  Frustrating

I'm a preschool teacher.  I'm a Kindergarten teacher.  I prefer the younger grades.  Before they learn to be sassy and obnoxious.  While they still like to pretend.  While they still are blind to race and size and hair color and singing ability.  While all they care about is "how does her voice sound"  More about that later.

Last year after much prayer and hurt feelings I was driving in town and the Lord told me to pull into that big private school and talk to someone about substituting.  I'd never even considered that before.  But I did it.  What did I have to lose?  Besides when you KNOW the Lord has told you what to do, YOU DO IT.  I met a Traci who was genuinely happy to meet a willing soul wanting to substitute.  After I completed the required fingerpring/backgroundcheck/urine sample, I began getting calls.  And calls and calls and calls!  I actually enjoyed meeting new people.  I hit it off with more than one faculty member and I totally liked being back in the classroom.  The minutes would just fly by.  By 3:15 I dragged myself to the car exhausted but feeling glad that I'd stepped up to the plate. 

Naturally, I began to want a teaching job there.  Wouldn't they hire from the pool of people they already know?  Wasn't my substituting a good way to demonstrate my skill and experience?  I thought so.  Surely if a job opening comes up, I'll be considered.   HOLD IT PATTI.  NOT SO FAST THERE SISTER.

Here's what happened.  I made friends with a special lady, Angela.  She had been teaching preschool 3 for 15 years.  And she was ready to move up to older kids.  Just ready for a change.  A first grade teacher had announced her retirement, so Angela told the administration she would like to be considered for the job.  Angela and I had it all figured out.  She would move up to first grade and I would take the K3 job.  We'd all be one happy family.  Obviously, because I'm typing this story, that is not what happened.  The administration did not even consider Angela for the first grade job.  Nope.  In fact, she interviewed only after she had bugged the Headmaster over and over again.  He was not even interested in talking to her about it.  When she finally was interviewed she got the feeling that something was up.  And it sure enough was UP.  The job had already been filled.  Already been FILLED.  What?  She was madder than a coon in a bucket.  Not only was she not considered, she was not given the courtesy and respect for an interview.  The interview she had was just a short "just so we can say we talked" kind of thing.  That was not a good day.  Without her moving up there would be no K3 for me to fill. 

But it really didn't upset me too, too much.  I was disappointed but at the same time I felt like something else was going to open up.

Angela    is teaching K3 this year. 

I'm doing nothing but substituting. 

I did not get that job.  I did not get the 3rd grade job.  I did not get the preschool enrichment job.  I did not get the Kindergarten job.  Jobs became available, I did not get them.  I began to take it personally.  What the crud?

Time to move on.

I looked for a job all summer.  I made calls, visits, dropped off my resume.  Isn't there a lack of certified teachers in Louisiana?  Yes, in high school math and science.  Not in lower elementary.  And not within 30 minutes of my house.  I hesitate to drive an hour away..................nope.  Not interested in that.  Meanwhile my son is moving to Baltimore, my daughter is moving to Waco.  I'm squeezing my job search in when I can.  But trust me, it's on my mind.

The school calls - Are you available to substitute the first few weeks of school in a Kindergarten Room.  The teacher will be out until mid-October recovering from eye surgery.  There was no reason to say NO.  So, I said yes.  Substitute pay is better than no pay.  In fact, they increased my pay a little because of the extra work I'd have.  It wasn't anything like having your own classroom - but it was fine.  The children were lovely.  The parents were supportive.  I did my best not to teach them bad habits.  Teachers know the first day of school is the most important day of the year.  Mess up then............ it'll be almost impossible to adjust.  I loved being back at school everyday.

Until the teacher returned.  She came back to work the day after Labor Day.  So my plan to stay until mid-October was cut way short.  I don't blame her for being ready to come back to work.  I'm sure she was feeling stir crazy at home.  I DO blame her for not visiting the class before her return.  She never came.  I'd ask her about it.  She wouldn't pin down a time to come by. Finally one day she texted and said she was going to come by "this afternoon"  Great!  When I told the class the first (and most often ) asked question was "How does her voice sound?" 

She never came by.

I was disgusted.  I had grown attached to these kids and I hated that the transition in teachers was going to be such a jolt.  It didn't have to be.

And so after Labor Day I was back to being the sub on call.  And hating it.  But the paycheck was a good thing.

THEN the librarian took a leave of absence.  And they called me to sub in there for one week.  In the library?  Well, yes ma'am!  I'd love to.  LOVE TO.  So I did.  And I loved it.  I saw K4- 4th grade classes..  Once a week each for 30 minutes.  LOVED IT.  In between classes I shelved books and tidied up, made displays, etc.  So much I was imagining I could do.  I even started looking through pinterest at other school libraries. Guess I got ahead of myself.  I worked in there for 2 weeks and loved it. 

At the end of the 2nd week, the headmaster came in with a woman I didn't know.  I was in the storytime circle with the preschool and so I only saw them.  At first I thought maybe she was on a tour, but she did not have a student with her.  Then I thought maybe she was............... oh, who was I kidding.  She's the new librarian.  That's right.  They had hired a long term sub.  WOW.   I was dumbfounded.  So much I didn't even tell anybody.  Not even Ironman.  I couldn't talk about it.  Talk about a kick in the stomach.

Now the story takes 2 paths.  One about me and one about the school.   I'll tell the "me" part first..  The very day I was so upset about not being considered to take the library job - girl, I just KNEW they would ask me to sub through the holidays. I just KNEW it.  Anyway, that very day Kathy walked in the library with a phone message.  (Kathy is a Kindergarten Aide)  She handed me a paper with a phone number.  "Rosemary says call her.  There's a job opening at her school."  My first reaction was "nah.  I don't feel like talking about a job."  So I left the sticky note by my phone.  About an hour later I felt bad about not returning a call.  Yes, I return calls.  And texts.  So.......... I called her.  We talked about the job.  APPLY she said.  APPLY APPLY APPLY.  She said, "I haven't been able to get you off my mind!'  The Lord told me, "Call Patti about this job.  Call Patti about this job"  So I called just so he'll quit telling me "call Patti about this job"

I wasn't interested.  My feelings were hurt.  I'd had my hand slapped for the last time.  Story of my life. Hand slaps.  Hate them.

Now to part 2 of the story.  The next day I wasn't in the library.  I was subbing in 3rd grade math.  The teacher had asked me a month before and there was no reason to cancel.  I assume they called somebody else for the library.  I like 3rd grade math.  The day was clicking right along.  Third graders are funny.  The message over the intercom actually puts dread in my stomach.  "Mrs Colwell, can you pick up the phone?"  I did.  "Hey, it's Traci.  Can you check your schedule and see if you can work in the library next week?  We've hired a long term sub but she can't start immediately.  So we need somebody (a warm body) to cover next week.  Just let me know."


Wow. Wow. Wow.

I called Rosemary.  Told her I'd be there Monday to apply.

The next day was Friday.  I had agreed to work in the library (before all this began)  I dragged  myself there.  And I mean DRAGGED.  I brought a book (seems funny to bring your own book to the library  ) I brought a LaCroix and a Luna Bar.  And I read.  When a class came in, I had a lesson and assisted them in finding a good fit book.  When they would return to their class, I sat.  I did not check in books.  I did not return books to the shelf.  I did not straighten anything.  Nothing.  I was a warm body.  Just what they wanted.

And I was embarrassed, angry. frustrated and worn out.

If you've read this far I feel obligated to tell you how things stand.   Monday I did walk into Rosemary's school and apply.  I sure did.  I returned on Tuesday morning for an interview.  They gave me a stack of papers to complete.  They gave me the fingerprint/background check papers.  They told me it's required that I complete  a safety course before I can be added and to go online and register.  It's offered once a month.  Tuesday night I went online and saw that the November class is Wednesday night.  In other words, I looked Tuesday night - class is Wednesday night.  If I had waited just one day longer I would have had to take the class in December.  I'm going to the November class.  Which is tonight. 

I'll let you know.

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