Let me tell you the story about the 5th grade teaching position I almost didn’t have.
Right around a year ago, knowing that my elementary school was being closed down, and my town was switching from a K-6 to a K-2, 3-5 model, I was impatiently waiting to find out my new position. I knew all the 6th grade teachers would be heading up to the middle school, but unfortunately, they only had room for 16 of them – and I, on the hierarchy of 6th grade teachers, was the youngest, at #18.
One Thursday afternoon, word spread like wildfire in my building that the placements had arrived. The whole staff gathered in the main office (it was the end of the school day), shut the door, and mourned the loss of our building. In particular, a 4th grade teacher (who, after 17 years, was being moved to 5th grade) and I were balling our eyes out. Now – I’m not a crier in front of anyone – if I cry in front of you, it must be really bad. And I was balling/hyperventilating.
They were putting me in a kindergarten support position – not even classroom teacher. Now, I had spent the past four years as a 6th grade teacher, including my final year at my old school, where I was the only 6th grade teacher in the building and started the year out with 29 kids. Those students were awesome – such leaders – and I took such pride in having them be role models for the rest of the building. This new job, this support position, would involve me sharing a room with a few other support people, and pulling kindergarteners who were struggling with math or reading to work in a small group with me for a half hour. That’s it. There’s nothing wrong with having this as a job, mind you, but it’s not for me. I had just finished my 2nd Master’s degree, and I wanted to put what I learned to good use. With 6th graders. Not struggling kindergarteners. Worst of all, what I loved most about teaching – connecting with the students – would be virtually impossible, not only with that age of student, but for the amount of time I’d see them a day. I would not have my own room, I wouldn’t be able to put smiley faces on papers, I wouldn’t be able to talk about college and life plans with the kids…etc. Gosh, a year ago I was one hot mess. I was freaking out.
In those last few months of school, one year ago, I was sad. My school was closing, my staff was going to be spread out all over town, I would miss my students whom I grew close to, and I was heading into, for me, what would have been the worst job of all time.
I don’t really know what happened after that, besides my principal speaking, multiple times, with the HR director. She put in a good word for me, and I think he contacted other people about me as well. I left him messages…trying to put a bug in his ear without flat-out harassing him. Rumors were swirling that another 6th grade position had opened up at the middle school, and either I might get it, or #17 on the list. If she took that job, her newly-appointed 5th grade position would open up. I’d happily take either one, hence the phone calls. In my head, I was begging – please, please, I cannot have this as my job – I just can’t. I’ll be stuck in this position forever and I’ll never get out.
You know what people said, in an effort to try and get me to feel better? “Oh, don’t worry. You won’t have to correct papers or deal with parents; you’ll be so free that you can put all your effort into getting pregnant.” Ha!
Anyway, on the second to last day of school last year, with my room full of packed boxes, and in the middle of our “graduation” awards ceremony, I got a phone call from the HR director. “We found you a position,” he said, “in the office building. You don’t have any windows or anything but it’s not that bad.” I sort of choked on the phone, and he said, “I’m kidding! You got the 5th grade position. Over 15 people asked me to switch into that position, but I gave it to you.”
One year later, and I am wrapping up my 5th year of teaching, but my first year teaching 5th grade. Had I been stuck in that support job, not pregnant, not connecting with the kids, I would’ve been a horrible wreck all year. Instead, I was handed the funniest, happiest class I’ve ever had. Well-rounded, helpful, and outgoing, these are students I enjoy being around every day. Friday afternoon kickball games are the best part of the week. And as this school year winds down, with 20 days left, I am reminded just how lucky I am to have been given this 5th grade spot, with wonderful teaching partners (including the 4th grade teacher from my previous school who was moved to 5th 🙂 ) and wonderful kids.I will be sad to see this year end, as I am every year.
This is why I was especially delighted to read this paragraph from Lindsay over at Tiny Bits of Hope:
Only 20 days left of school. This is always a tough time of year for me. I grow too attached to my students, I think that is why they respond so well to me, because they know how much I truly care for them. I almost always cry on the last day of school, every year has gotten a little easier, but no ending to a year is easy.
This is exactly how I feel! Everyone is happy for the end of school year except me, and I don’t think I handle the change well. I also grow too attached to my students, knowing how well they respond to me, and I learn this lesson the hard way every year – with this year being one of the hardest.I have no doubt tears will be shed after my students file out the door for the last time.
I guess the easiest way to describe what a good class is like for a teacher, especially in this black cloud of infertility, is to say that they make you feel like a superhero; a rock star. Like you can do no wrong, as they shriek and jump for joy when you walk into the room as if you are a celebrity; like showing up to work every day makes them happy and excited. I only hope in a given school year to inspire and guide them into becoming successful, kind, and happy pre-teens. But I can never count on what they do for me – build me up and carry me through whatever I am going through.
I’m sure that when I have kids, someday, I will lose a little bit of this closeness I build with my students every year, because instead of giving all 150% of me that I currently give, it will probably be more like 70%. Until then, these are my kids from 8:30-3:00, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Every September you are given a group of children of whom you try to mold, shape, and guide all year long. Every June, you say goodbye, feeling as if your own actual children have just left you for good.
Teaching is the hardest, yet most rewarding job around, I think, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
In fertility news, I spoke with my nurse yesterday after having my second blood test done this week. “Wow,” she exclaimed, “I cannot believe you didn’t respond to 150 mg of Clomid! I was sure you would!” After describing my serious depression last weekend to her, and wondering aloud if I lost my mind, she said, no, I didn’t – and that what I was describing was extremely common. That did make me feel a bit better, and I told her I don’t want to go up to 200 mg of Clomid, or even stay at 150. She said I’d be probably moving on to injectables (thank you for the information, everyone, about that in my last post), but I would need to make an appointment with the doctor before changing up the plan.
I called today to make the appointment – and they have nothing until a month from now. Seriously. A month. So, the month of June, in blog-land, won’t have much news in it. I’ll be in limbo until I call to get Provera and induce a period, right before I meet with the doctor. I haven’t had to wait around like this since before Christmas – it will be a bit weird.
However, it’s my last month with my students. Hopefully, putting Clomid hormones aside, I will be able to enjoy every minute I have left with them before they are off to middle school and I’ll be left with an empty classroom until September.
By the way, we won the fundraiser for the first week of Penny Wars ($216 raised in a week) – and will be rewarded with a fancy doughnut and juice breakfast 🙂