This principal invited me to visit his school so I could see how long the drive would take and get a feel for the classroom. We spent an hour visiting about the position while he showed me where I'd be teaching and the materials I would have to work with. It was clear that he wasn't going to look at any other candidates until I decided I wasn't interested. There were several details surrounding the job that should have made it easy to turn down and yet something about it had me feeling rather excited. Sure, I had some uncertainties, but the opportunity was terribly tempting.
For all my excitement, Jon was equally hesitant, particularly about the 20 minute drive required to get to the school. Still, he pledged his support no matter what my decision and I knew he meant it.
I went through all of my old classroom materials just to see what I would have to work with. The color bears, birthday cakes, calendar pieces and bulletin board sets seemed to be calling me back to the classroom.
This word strip shows just how long it's been since I've used these materials:
The decision was agonizing and because the hiring was taking place so late in the summer, there was a great sense of urgency to make my choice within a 24 hour period.
Late that afternoon, amid my weighing of pros and cons, a first grade teacher from our neighborhood school called to offer me her maternity leave. She is due in February and will take the rest of the year off. First grade! My favorite grade level at a school close to home. It would be full time, but for only half of the year.
Now I felt as though I was choosing between a part-time, contracted position across town, and a half-year, full time, long term substitute position close to home. And now I had less than 12 hours to decide.
Ultimately it was Natalie that tipped the scale. She had said she wouldn't mind if I chose to teach at a school 20 minutes away, but when I imagined rushing her out the door each morning so I could race across town to teach at another school, my heart would nearly break in two. Our family doesn't need this job. If we were financially dependent upon it, I may have decided differently. But in the end, I knew I needed to be where Natalie was. She only has three more years of elementary school, why would I give up a chance to be where she is? I wouldn't. No matter how exciting the kindergarten position seemed.
So I woke up at 6:00 a.m. the next morning and sent a text to decline the job.
You might assume this story ends with me accepting the maternity leave. That's how I thought it would end. But this roller coaster isn't quite to the loading dock yet...