Sunday, September 04, 2005

Teaching

I am very pleased with the results of my day today: Gabe and I found and ordered a new desk for me. This is an amazing desk that will solve all of my organizational woes. Really. I just know it. It has drawers, and a place for the computer tower, and a pull-out shelf for the keyboard, and it is about five feet wide. I’m looking forward to moving all of my piles (currently scattered between three different areas and in various states of disarray) into one nice neat place and closing the drawers so that I can’t see it anymore. My one fear is that once it is out of sight, it will also be out of mind, and then I will forget to pay the bills, return the library books, find out why our property taxes are three times what we expected, and balance the checkbook.

Maybe out of sight, out of mind wouldn’t be such a bad thing. :)


I haven’t been blogging recently because I had one big thing to blog about, and I didn’t have my mind wrapped around it sufficiently to write it well. But I think that maybe I’m ready to write it out now, so here it goes.

The job that I was going to have this fall – the perfect job that let me teach for only three hours a week and had on-site child care included – is not as perfect as it was supposed to be. I showed up for my first day of work, only to be told that they were very very sorry, but child care would not be available after all because their insurance didn’t cover children under age 4 ½. I would need to find alternative care, and since they were so sorry, they would give me a $3 day stipend to offset the expense for the first two months.

$3 would cover about 1/5 of the actual cost of outside babysitting.

But I really wanted this job, so I tried to find babysitting. Only, no one was available. Of the ten people I asked, not one could do it. So I went back to Julie (my boss) and told her that I was terribly sorry, but I wouldn’t be able to teach for them because I simply couldn’t find childcare.

I expected her to be a bit frustrated at this news…after all, no one wants to find out one week into the school year that a teacher can’t stay. What I didn’t expect was for her to tell me that, actually, I could bring Jonathan to the site childcare – they just wouldn’t tell anyone.

Hmm.

The result of this was that I dug a little deeper, being quite uncomfortable with the situation, and discovered that not only would leaving Jonathan there be illegal due to lack of insurance, but the entire operation was illegal. The caretaker is not licensed (very nice woman, but not licensed), and the room is about 7 or 8 feet square and packed with as many as 8+ children.

I should have looked into the situation before I took the job. But because the job was for a California state charter school, I made the stupid mistake of thinking that they would be in compliance with California state law.

So I resigned. Julie was so upset she wouldn’t even talk to me on my last day. She had wanted me to give a month’s notice, which I couldn’t do because I didn’t have anyone to watch Jonathan. She told me that I was putting her in a “terrible position” and generally made me feel guilty and awful about the whole thing. Only, I really don’t think it was my fault. If childcare is offered as part of the package of a job, then legally licensed and insured childcare should actually be available. And if you are told on the first day of the job that actually, it isn’t, then I think resigning is justified. Anyway I don’t know what else I could have done.

I’m terribly disappointed about it all. Even in just the two weeks that I was there, I had already started loving my students. They were such bright, interested, excited 7th graders! And I feel a bit like God let me just taste something very sweet and then said “sorry, you can’t actually eat it.” Part of my head doesn’t believe God works like that, but it does feel that way.

On the other hand, last week (my last week teaching for them) Jonathan displayed some very clear signs of separation anxiety when I left him with babysitters. So maybe it’s better that I stay at home with him anyway. In a way, it’s nice to know that I’m needed…that Jessica or Libby just isn’t the same as Mommy. And the other day I was holding him and looked down at him and just felt an overwhelming sense that I’d made the right decision – no job was more important than Jonathan’s safety and happiness. After all, that’s why I stayed home in the first place.

But it’s hard to think that you can have both things you love, and then find out that you have to give one up…and it’s twice as hard when it happens the second time. I guess that’s why I’m so disappointed this time: I had already gone through the “giving up” process with Calvary, and I thought that the Gorman job was sort of a consolation gift, only to have to give it up as well.

Sigh.

But since this is the way it’s going to be, I’ve decided to work very hard at being the best Emily I can be in the situation God’s put me in. So I’m working on being a loving and fun mom, and taking good care of the body God’s given me, and keeping a clean and happy home for myself and for Gabe to come home to, and being a caring and encouraging person to those around me and to friends who are far away. And I actually sat down and wrote out specific goals to work toward in each of those areas.

Someday I want to teach again, and work towards being the best teacher I can be. But for now I think I just need to work on being a good woman.

2 comments:

Linds said...

Just from looking at it from the outside, it seems that rather than taunting you (and we've all thought that about His actions at one time or another), God is showing you that He needs you to take one thing at a time. Teaching is more than a full time job. Mothering is more than a full time job. Perhaps He's shown you in a real, tangible way, that you need to do one thing at a time.

Oh and by the way, your employer was in breach of contract (especially if you got anything in writing about child care) and if you wanted to, you could sue them. Maybe Julie should be less snippy. :)

Jess said...

Yeah, I have to say, just once again, Julie (and the whole set-up, really) sounds completely unprofessional. Good administrators do NOT burn their bridges with good employees, even when those employees are on the way out. Good administrators let you know you're appreciated, you'll be missed, any good recommendations for other people to hire would be welcome, c'mon back y'all, y'hear? and all that.

And I wonder if Linds doesn't have the right of it in her first paragraph there.