Nine years ago, and I can’t believe it’s been that long, after a long day at work and picking up the kids from the sitter, Matt and I sat down and he looked at me and said “Things have got to change.” It was one of those moments where you feel like you’re going to throw up because you know you’re at a crossroads. It was a moment where you could see two futures ahead of you: one where you continue status quo and things go badly, one where you make a major change and hope for the best. We decided to make a major change.
I quit my job with the excellent school district where I worked, a job that I loved, to try and stay home with the kids. Olivia was sick all the time, Gabe was so little, I missed them terribly and our home life was in shambles. It was just something that we had to do. But it was scary.
For two years, I tutored and babysat while Matt worked weekends and nights and finished his degree. We had Matthew. We were barely making ends meet and had used up all of our savings. We had another “come to Jesus” talk and agreed that this, too, was not working. We had traded one stress for another.
It just so happened that one of the parents that I was babysitting for, and was also a dear friend, knew of my plight and had heard about this new online school that might be hiring. I had a telephone conversation with the friend of a friend and, before I knew it, I had a new job teaching online. It was perfect because I could work from home with my 5, 4 and 1 year olds. I would still get time with them, but be able to earn some money.
That was seven years ago. Through those years, my online teaching job changed dramatically. Two years ago, I was ready to go back to the “regular” classroom when Matthew entered Kindergarten. I missed real, live students. I missed being with other teachers in person. I missed a decent paycheck. I missed everything about teaching. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I can remember. Besides a Mom and a Wife, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. Teaching online was great while it worked, but then it didn’t. But there were no jobs to be had.
To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth…is potentially to have everything.
— Joan Didion
I lost my sense of worth. My job felt pointless and impossible and I truly started hating it. I really needed to get out and get back to teaching in a “regular” school. There was finally an opening at the school district where I did my student teaching. An excellent district much like the one where my kids attend. I applied. I had three interviews, one where I actually had to go in and teach a class.
And then I GOT THE JOB!
I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in my life. To feel worthy, to feel excellent, to feel as though I have found a place where I really belong makes all the difference. I am putting myself first by taking this job and I’m O.K. with that. It will mean many new changes for all of us. We will all just have to adjust. While reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, I thought to myself, I have to dare greatly right now. Just like we did on those two occasions where we decided things weren’t working. We made a choice and dared greatly and now we are doing it again.
It’s been a wonderful feeling to feel wanted, to have people be excited about having me as a teacher in their district, to hear people say they’re lucky to have me. It feels good. I’m so excited to start this new adventure for my family and, maybe most importantly, for me.