Right back where I once was….

I’m in the middle of some pretty BIG personal/professional decisions. It’s been an intense week. I have felt the love and support of my family – Mr. Silly Pants, Waffles, and Songbird have been around all week and their bright and shiny spirits have kept me afloat during a week I might have really gotten annoyed, discouraged, and aggravated. Oh, add frustrated and pissed OFF to the list.
I’ve got some decisions to make about what direction to take professionally. I *think* I am going to have GREAT difficulty negotiating for half time work for another year in my school district. The truth is that I really love working half time. The split between my family and my profession is just perfect right now. I feel like I am at about the top of my teaching game with a 40% work load. And, my home days with “the Blue” are superb. I love the balance right now. Blueberry loves the balance too – he’s happy happy happy with his babysitter and it is oh so good for him to have other stimulating social environments with other kids. It’s so damn good to feel like my parenting and my profession are in great balance. It’s a hard place to figure how that would change if my ONLY option is to return to work full time. The dilemma is the ever changing landscape of Blueberry’s needs – and my ability to meet them with enthusiasm and energy.  My biggest fear is making the WRONG decision. My sense is that years ago when I was in the midst of family building and a young marriage, I did a very poor job of strategizing for my own needs. I’m a much better advocate for myself now; I’m older, wiser, more centered, and more relationally secure and mature. But, hell, I can still make some doozie mistakes.  And I’ve got some road rash to prove it. Yeah yeah, don’t we all?
 But really, I left my first marriage with NO professional experience and made a mad dash for a teaching certificate with an ‘OH CRAP! I have to get a job and start a career!” I had been crafting a mini-career out of going to graduate school and changing my research topic with each gust of wind. I was LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY to land a job in a district that has cultural anthropology as part of their social studies requirement – the job is a perfect fit for me. Except, um, I HAVE to teach US history if I am teaching full time. And, the truth is I’m not a great history teacher (I am a great anthro teacher). Plus, I don’t like the idea of leaving my 2 year old son for my full time job. Nor do I relish the thought of going to a job that isn’t 9-5; teachers bring home piles of work, have oodles of homework to grade, and lessons upon lessons to rework/recraft in order to maintain superb teaching. I mean really….I fear that the combo of teaching full time is going to make Ms. Plum a ROTTEN TOMATO!
I feel an eerie and uncomfortable parallel with another time in my life – and this just feels like a huge decision and I don’t entirely trust myself to make the best decision; one that honors the covenant I feel with my little Blueberry, and one that helps me maintain my sense of balance and power, both privately in my marriage and publicly in my intellectual and professional life. C’mon sisterhood, I know you hear me on this one! He just turned 2! My mama stuff says don’t work full time. My self preservation stuff says don’t give up this good gig.
ahhhhhhhhhh, so in the meantime we’re slashing our budget (making a car trade this weekend, we think) and examining the “hows” and “whats” of a lot of changes in the fall. Did I mention my child support for my 3 kids ends in the fall, and I have 2 kids in college for the next 6 years? Yeah – work can’t be off the table.
*putting it all out here is a little risky since I’m pretty sure colleague/kids have access to the blog and I don’t want to say things that might inflame a certain situation*

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8 responses to “Right back where I once was….

  1. ok. gonna say a couple things. first, I believe my understanding and instinct about you is correct and therefore the thought of you NOT teaching makes me want to shit my pants. but then again the thought of you (YOU) teaching and mothering from a burnt out place also makes me want to crap my pants. i hope to gawd you don't have to make this choice. sooooOOOO let's brainstorm what you might do say if you have to leave your district entirely. is there money in curriculum writing? guest lecturing? workshop leading? talking other mother's off the proverbial cliff? beer hauling? so sorry sisterfriend that you are being placed in this position.

  2. Man, these are the hardest things to figure out. Every day I sit at work, knowing I am not where I could/should be with my business. There's no question that without kids I'd be making a lot more money. For what, though?And really, that's not the half of it – the word balance is a load of crap. There is no balance in this game – it's all crossing your fingers every day hoping you've done what you're supposed to.It does make me feel a tish better to know that even an experienced mom like you struggles with this.

  3. What about job sharing – is there another teacher in your dept.that would love to be halftime too and you could split the job?? What about looking for a position in a private school… teaching community college??? Honestly I can't imagine having a 2 year old and working full time too….

  4. I was going to say job sharing, but I see someone beat me to it. I know people who've successfully worked out job sharing situations and it was very very good.What about writing a book? I'm serious. Or what about getting into some kind of diversity training that goes around to schools?You have options, my dear. You will work out a creative solution, I am positive.

  5. First, whatever you do, please don't make Stacy crap her pants.Secondly, I really have got nothing for you. But I did see your local tech school has a PT faculty job fair coming up next month. "2010-2011 PT Instructor Pool – Office of Diversity and Community Relations (DCR) – Multilingual Occupational Opportunities Instructional Unit" Whatever that means.And there is also a listing for a Norwegian languages instructor. Perhaps you can persuade them that Finnish is definitely more useful than Norwegian in these parts. 🙂

  6. I love that you put it all out there.I need a full time job. At the same time, I can't bring myself to do it, with all my kids. I know I have to, but I'm fighting all the way.I love my part time jobs, love to have the extra kid-time, but I can't live on it.All I can say is, when you figure it out, let me in on the secret.Because YOU, of all people, WILL figure it out. I might live in limbo land until Zufan starts kindergarten, unless someone really lights a fire under my behind. I can't wait to see what you decide to do!!! I bet your intuition will figure it out for you.

  7. No good words of advice that haven't already been shared, but yeah…what everyone else said. It's a tough one, and sounds a lot like what I've been struggling with. These are the times when I really want to look for my Magic 8 Ball….

  8. Gawd. This is SO why I would like to be teaching right now but am not. And it makes me sad. Really, I don't know how people do it full time. And I really don't know how they do it full time and have kids. Sigh. Sending lots of hugs and no good answers. Every teacher I know has this dilemma…

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