After turning down the kindergarten job across town, I found myself in a bit of a funk. I was waiting for the dust to settle before officially accepting the maternity leave offer. During that time, our family visited the school for open house. Though only two months earlier I'd felt at home in those halls, I now felt very much out of place. The staff that I saw that night were friendly but not one person said one word about the job they all knew I'd applied for but didn't get. I was the elephant in the room that no one was talking about--at least not to my face. I avoided the principal. Everything about it felt awkward and uncomfortable and I came home and cried for an hour.
It took me several more days to decide to express my intent to cover the maternity leave. I was a few sentences into my text to the teacher when my phone started ringing. It was the principal. I could've never guessed the reason he was calling.
Our school is so overcrowded--currently at 720 students--that the district approved a .5 learning specialist position to help cover the demand that that many students would place on the current team of specialists. The principal had received permission to bypass the usual job posting and interviewing procedures and he was calling to see if I were interested. At the time of his call, he still hadn't had a chance to work out the scheduling details but he just said that I would most likely be supporting reading groups. He wasn't even sure what grades I'd be teaching at that point. We visited for about thirty minutes, I asked a bazillion questions and then he told me to think it over and get back to him.
During our conversation, he asked about the status of my certificate because back in June, I had told him I would pursue my testing over the summer. It was then that I had to admit that I didn't pass the science portion of the subtest. Oh the humiliation! He had already discussed the issue of my certificate with the district prior to calling me and it had been decided that should I accept this job, that I'd be hired on as a long term substitute until my testing was complete and my certification achieved. At that point, the principal would petition the district to switch my job to a contracted position.
Curse that stupid test!
I hung up the phone, deleted the half-written text to the teacher needing maternity leave and went back into decision mode. Now I was deciding between a half-year, full-time long term sub job and a half-time contract position (assuming I pass the test), both at our neighborhood school.
Even with all of the uncertainties surrounding the learning specialist position, it seemed a no-brainer.
But there was the issue of my pride. This was an ideal job in so many ways. No classroom to prepare and maintain, no conferences, report cards, etc.--and yet I felt like the leftover getting the leftover job.
However, this could be the perfect balance of work and family.
So I put my pride on the shelf and called the next morning to accept the position. Within a couple of hours an email welcoming me to the staff was sent to all of the school's employees. I should've been excited--and I really was grateful for the opportunity--but mostly I just felt sheepish.
Sure, I'd ended up with the perfect job in the perfect school, but most of the staff didn't know the pride-trampling roller coaster I had to ride to arrive at this point. I just looked like a leftover. Or so I felt.
I soon learned that my mornings (I'm done by 11:40 each morning!) will be spent teaching reading groups in my favorite grades--kindergarten, first and third. I love teaching reading. It's right in my wheelhouse. I have a lot to offer so I'm letting that notion carry me back into the halls that I'm hopeful will soon enough feel like home again.
And I sure hope this is the end of the ride because I've had all the loop-the-loops I can handle.