Last March, my principal came into my room and told me that I was being laid off. My first reaction was very objective. I knew that there were four English teachers at the high school and three of all other subjects. I also knew that I was the last hired and there had been hints of financial difficulty.
My second reaction was anger.
I wasn't sure who to be angry at. So, I was angry at the teacher who kept asking me if she could have my SMARTboard when I left. I was angry at the teacher who was whining about having class the last hour of the day... she wrote to mass e-mail to everyone "I feel like the bottom the barrel." I wanted to write her back - and maybe I should have "I think the girl without a job is the bottom of the barrel." I bit my tongue publicly and vented to a trusted co-worker.
My third reaction and hardest was sadness. I was already missing the kids. I couldn't imagine my life without the kids in Fosston. I really had no clue what to do without driving east every morning.
I'll have to tell you - my summer was amazing. I worked at the ALC in Thief River Falls - and it's an amazing place. I loved every minute of my experience there. I know that if I had not been laid off, I never would have given the ALC a chance.
So, I'm finding in a weird way that being laid off was a blessing? I'm not sure how or what to share - but I'm just happy to know that there's a group of adults on the second floor of the district office who care about kids who need caring about - Le sigh - they are true heroes.
I spent many summer afternoons at the pool with my own girls. I spent many evenings at the pool too. I didn't do much housework - which is SO evident this fall.
The hardest day was the first day the girls went back to school. Here's a cliche' - the silence was so loud. I didn't even know how to be. I thought about calling my lovely husband and telling him that I was bored - but to tell you the truth, I hate people who are bored.
I went on facebook - for once I turned the chat button on. I saw a childhood friend online. She had been laid off of her non-teaching job in the winter of last year. As a single mom, times have been rough for her. She said that she only had two more months of unemployment and had went to a few interviews. One interview, she had taken her son to Duluth and had slept in the car getting ready for the interview in a gas station bathroom. When she got there, there were six other people being interviewed at the same time - It was very intimidating. She didn't get that job.
She pointed out to me how lucky I was to have a loving husband who made a decent living. And of course, she is right. I may have suffered a short personal crisis... but my family is still intact. And within that personal crisis, I'm thinking that there's a lesson in there somewhere -
After all, I'm a teacher at heart. There's always a lesson.