So, I made this big announcement about moving at work, right? I had to make the announcement because students/families got told about it, and then the students told other students and it snowballed from there. Now staff members know about it, and, well, you know how that goes.
Of course, I don’t know how to feel about moving partway through the year. It seems rushed, unfair to my current students, and unfair to me because I have no time to actually prepare a new classroom. I’m the kind of person that likes to have all my ducks in a row. Well, maybe everything needs a row. I have a need for order.
Funny story: Not even two days prior to this announcement, I marched into my Principal’s office, all frantic, and said, “I need folders.” He had no idea what I needed folders for or why, but I had a sense of urgency so he was curious. I told him that I had papers disorganized in my room and I just could not function that way. I needed my papers neatly put away in labeled folders or I would probably lose my mind. I could no longer go about my day with papers in random stacks. I cannot fathom how anyone lives in what they call organized chaos. I call that the beginnings of a panic attack.
Now, all the sudden, I’m given news of a move, but no information about the classroom, when I can go set things up, how many students, what their needs are, or anything of the sort. How can I plan lessons? How can I do anything? Stop the madness!
But wait…now I don’t know if I’m really leaving. Suddenly, I’m rocketed back into this purgatory where I don’t know if I’m here or there. No one really feels very content about the idea of me leaving my current post where I’m at. I can’t say that it really feels that it has anything to do with them liking me so much as them knowing that I do my job, which contributes to my mixed feelings about this whole thing. All I can hear reverberating down the halls is “highly qualified.” Not, “gee, we’ll really miss her.” I get that from the students and a tiny number of people, but the rest really just don’t want to lose the person who can teach what I teach.
All of this has given me an opportunity to really think about what I want.
What do I want?
- I want to know that I’m in a job where I can help students every day without a constant battle from other people. I kind of felt that the schedule change in my current position almost gave me that freedom because it kept me away from adults a little bit, but I feel that when I do try to say things, even in the most politically correct way possible, defenses rise very quickly and I’m almost never backed up (like 98% of the time).
- I like opportunities for growth and leadership. Faux leadership kind of sucks. Stifled growth feels worse.
- An ounce of appreciation every now and then…from someone. Anyone. It’s like this: When it comes time for me to up and leave, suddenly there’s a death grip. I’m a hard worker. I do my job. If anyone needs help, I help them, even if I’m absolutely swamped (because I really don’t know how to say no). I love my kids, and I will always do my best for them. Everyone knows that about me. And maybe as a true Christian I shouldn’t expect anything for that. God knows my value even if no one else acknowledges it. But I guess I am just selfish because I want to hear it. It sure would be better than being told “no” when I ask for simple things like having my kids in class when I need them so they don’t get behind.
The thing is, the kids have expressed many times over that they want me there. One student cried. Another student furiously demanded to know who made this decision so he could petition all the students to write a letter demanding that they not let me go. I asked him if he would really do that for me and he said, “Well, probably not. You know I’m not great at following through on things.” I just had to laugh. But in that moment, he really feel impassioned about the whole thing. One student got caught up in it with him and then said, “Man, if I write a letter and no one else does, I’m gonna be mad!” And I love them all.
So what if I leave? These kids will miss me. I had all these plans for them. Social skills lessons. My donorschoose.org grant with all those materials that I just began using will go to the wayside unless I bring it with me and attempt to use them elsewhere. The structure that I’ve set up for the students will likely need reset and some of these students still have not completely settled into the new routine, so they’d have to start all over because a new teacher would set them back. I have no delusions that I’m irreplaceable. Eventually these wonderful kids would adjust and move on, but I happen to serve the portion of the population that have a more difficult time doing so.
My reservations about moving are more about the kids than about me. The school I’d go to? I’ve worked there before. I know the people there and got along with them fabulously. I’ve already received emails from some of them welcoming me, even though I’m now no longer certain I’m going. My own kid will stay at the school he’s at regardless of my move–I’ve decided that he doesn’t deserve to have a shake-up of his routine just because mine gets changed. We’ll have to change which parent drops off which kid in the morning, but we don’t make him move. Changing schools frequently isn’t good for any child, but it’s especially not good for a child with autism, so I just can’t do that to him again.
In the meantime, I just wait for answers. I hate the waiting game because it’s all wasted time. If, indeed, I am moving in a few days, my classroom waits for me unprepared. If not, I’ve wasted all this time worrying for nothing. I won’t even go into how it might make some of the kids feel that thought I would go with them to the new school if I don’t go now. So I don’t know. What can I do but wait?
It’s a nail-biter. I’m hoping that in the end, chaos will lie in waste and the need for order will prevail.
Edit 11/7/2014: And as it turned out, my principal fought to keep me at the school and I’m staying where I’m at. The students who will stay at our school feel immense relief that I am not leaving them. Those that will go to another school feel disappointment that I can’t go with them. But I can’t please everyone, and in the end, I help more students and disrupt less routines by staying than by going. Also, I feel really good about the fact that someone fought to keep me and I had coworkers tell me they were truly glad that I didn’t have to go.