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Pioneering spirit

I had lunch with my friend, Michele, the other day. While we were talking about everything under the sun, from boyfriends, to teaching, to parents and clothes, she informed me that she thinks I'm nomadic. Apparently, I move around a lot. Told my mom about this and her response was that I'm not nomadic, I have a "pioneering spirit". I've decided I like that description. It makes me smile.

So what made these two people make those statements about me? Well, it seems that pioneering spirit has struck again. I'm currently working on selling my house, my beautiful, good grief I worked hard on this place, all mine, house. I've been here for over 3 years (it will be 4 by the end of this school year). My parents have helped me make it what it is now - a comfortable, cute home. They helped me paint, carpet, install, mow grass, chop trees, repair, and maintain. Although I personally did a lot of work, I know there are some things I couldn't have done without them. I've learned a lot about the responsibility of owning a home. That's probably the greatest of what this house has given me, besides a place to call my own and rest my head. It's given me a maturity and responsibility that I don't think I would have learned otherwise. I'm very thankful for this house and the memories I've made here with friends and family, and just the blessings I've had for the last 3+ years.

But, it seems like it's time again for me to make a big decision about my living situation based on being responsible with what I have. I can't afford to stay in this house anymore. It's been tight for the last year or so, and has been slowly getting worse. And, according to the administration at school and in the county, things are about to get even more interesting. Cuts to staff and funding are being made at my school next year, class sizes are increasing, benefits being cut, extra periods to teach, unrealistic evaluation standards (pay for performance is one of the most stupid movements ever), and other fun little changes are in store for next school year.

And I've got to be honest - it's not worth it to me to keep teaching here, emotionally and financially. Yes, teachers make a difference. One of my former students dropped by a couple weeks ago. He had dropped out at 18 (still in 10th grade) and I helped him connect with a GED class at the local college, as well as meet the local Army recruiter. He came to my classroom to tell me that he passed his GED and got into the Army; he'll be leaving in January for basic training. He said he wanted to come by because he knew that out of all of his teachers, I would be the most proud of what he's accomplished. We took a picture together and he gave me a hug and promised to write. I look forward to seeing how he does from here on out. Even with that wonderful confirmation that I'm actually doing a good job (well, that and my kids got their writing test scores back and only 1 of them failed! yup... all but one passed!!) it's still time for me to take a break from teaching. Financially, it's not wise or even possible to stay where I am. Emotionally, I can't handle another year of what I'm currently dealing with, let alone what's to come for next year.

So here come the changes. First step, sell my house. Second step, find a job doing something else, even if it means I work as a secretary or in a bookstore for a while. Third step, find a new place to live. Most likely an apartment, especially one that will let me keep my cat. Fourth step, find someone who will keep my dog for a while - it wouldn't be fair to her to keep her in a little apartment.

So there's the plan. Let's see how it goes and what adventures may come the way of this pioneering spirit.

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