January 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Two years ago, my life was forever changed. I was fired from my job as an elementary school teacher. But, Slick, how do you remember the exact day?
Well, you must not know me very well then, because I remember everything. OK, well not everything, but when you’re fired on a Monday morning at 8am after taking a long weekend to celebrate your birthday…you remember. You remember learning that while enjoying your birthday at your alma mater speaking on education to a classroom full of teachers-to-be, your students whom you loved and worked your arse off for, were getting a demo lesson from a teacher they were interviewing to fill your spot.
You don’t forget those things. But let’s not dwell on those things which you cannot change.
January 25th won’t always be a day I’ll celebrate. But for now, the array of emotions I’ve experienced over the last two years are notable.
Someone asked me today if I cried. I’ve yet to shed a tear about losing my job. One emotion I’ve not felt is sadness. I get sad when I think about my students; I miss them. But when it comes to the feelings I’ve felt about being fired, sad is not one of them. I’ve felt disbelief, excitement, relief, joy. At times I’ve felt lost, not sure of what I would do with the rest of my life. But even since becoming gainfully employed again, that feeling of being lost still lingers. Except…I think I was most lost when I was teaching.
There are times when I can say I truly loved being a teacher. I loved seeing those light bulb moments with my kids, planning messy science lessons and reading Roald Dahl books aloud to my class. But now, after two years, I can fully admit that being a teacher wasn’t for me. There was a lot of pride I had to work through to get to say that. No one wants to be fired. That’s a failure. But I wasn’t fired because I was a bad teacher. I don’t want to go on why I was fired…the stated reason was Twitter (long story), but at a charter school you’re at will…they don’t need a reason. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I wasn’t at fault. I clearly was not in love with my job, but I did do what was asked of me and I think I did it well.
I say all this not to get pity, but to express my gratitude for the experience. From early on, I always said it would take me being fired to leave that school. Those kids needed a teacher who loved them and fought for them. I did that. But I wouldn’t have abandoned them. If there is one regret I have, it would be being the coward that didn’t leave on her own agenda. I didn’t know what I would do if I left teaching. couldn’t fathom a life not teaching.
But since I’ve tasted freedom, I love it. I am still not sure what the rest of my life holds, personally or professionally, but I can find peace in the unknown now. I do know I am meant to help people. Maybe that means in a teaching capacity again someday; for now, it means helping students go to college.
Life goes on beyond “termination.” And it goes on quite nicely. The biggest lesson I could learn…jump off the deep end (or get pushed, like me). You may belly flop, but you’ll get to the ladder eventually, get out, and do it all over again.