some days are ugly

There are some days I wonder if I know what I am doing. And I wonder if I even know what I want.  This feeling has been coming up a lot lately, especially when it comes to my career. I don’t know that I have ever really blogged about my job except in passing. This post isn’t really about my job but I need to get some “job thoughts” off my chest. This could be really wordy……

I am in the first quarter of my 8th year teaching English at an alternative high school.  This was my first teaching job after graduating but not my first job.  Teaching is my second (or 3rd) career. I spent a few years after high school chasing the tourists bouncing from restaurant to restaurant in south Jersey and Florida.

I had my baby girl when I was 21 and by 22 I left her father (this is a LONG story) to do it on my own. Doing it on my own required me to leave Florida and come back home to south Jersey. I stayed with my dad and his wife and their kids for a while but that didn’t last long. I bopped from family member while I figured things out. I received state aid for childcare so I took on a waitressing job at a breakfast/lunch cafe. I was making very little money. VERY little.

But I stuck with this job because the hours worked with my childcare. Until the job didn’t need me anymore. I went to a temp agency and was placed at what would become my next full-time job. It was also my first full time job after high school that was not a restaurant. I did well at the temp job so they hired me on full time. I started as a receptionist but quickly worked my way up to an intake specialist. Fancy job title when all I did was register new clients for our program that paid for training programs. (think technical job training like casino dealer and truck driver and medical assistant)I liked this job but I wanted more.

I decided it was time I went to college. I did have one semester right out of high school but life and my crazy family and then the idiotic period in my life that left me with my … I signed up for classes at our local community college. I initially declared social work as my major but upon learning a master’s degree would be required before I would really get a job, I decided I should rethink that decision. I chose to be an English/Literature major because I love to read and write. But what does one do with a Lit degree….TEACH….yeah, this made a lot of sense.

I was a single mom with a 2 year old at home and I did not want to kill myself and work a million hours away from my kid.  Teaching seemed like a natural way to combine my interests with a career and have that career suit my needs.

I was in my first semester, in a Spanish class, and everyone was introducing themselves and telling their majors. This class was required for all who intended on pursuing education so it was no surprise to find most of the class made up of primarily of education majors but what was astonishing was how many of those people were only interested in elementary or special ed. I made my decision right then and there, I would teach high school because no one else wanted to do it.

It took me six years to complete my degrees and become a certified teacher. I finished my associate’s degree and went on to earn two bachelor degrees. I worked full time during the day, attended classes at night and spent every other moment of every day with Q. Homework was done after she was in bed and on my lunch breaks.

I worked my ass off. Not literally. I ate like crap and gained a ton of weight. But, this also is a story for another time. I worked harder than I thought possible and I earned those degrees. And 3 months after graduation, I was rewarded for my hard work.

I accepted my first teaching position two weeks before the start of the 2007-2008 school year.  I really didn’t know a whole lot about alternative education before this job. I fell into the perfect place for me.

Not many people can say they love what they do, but I can. Or, I could say it. I am not so sure right now. There is so much going on in the world of education and my district is in its 2nd year without a contract. But that really isn’t it. That stuff is just normal politics of education. It is always something.

A few years ago, my director retired and one of the teachers took over as  director. The last two years have been a difficult transition. I don’t know if I know or like the direction the director is taking our school. Along with the changes in education and testing and curriculum and a I feel like my director is allowing our school to become so much less alternative.  Think round hole, square peg.

I don’t know what I want to do but I think I am ready for a change. An opportunity recent presented itself for me to move to a different position in a different school within the same district. I decided not to pursue this change at this time.  I am sort of doubting my decision right now. I made lists and weighed my options and decided to stay where I am.  The deciding factor: I didn’t want to leave my students in the middle of the year, let alone in less than a month.

Today was an absolutely horrible day at school. Probably one of the worst this year, maybe longer. I am mentally drained. Today was one of those days when I wonder what I am doing. I wonder if I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. Some days I wonder if I can make any difference and if it matters.

I know this is just defeatist behavior and I don’t really think like this but today was rough.

But I journaled it out and I feel a little bit better. I am going to go finish my dinner ( a little bit of leftover magic and oven fries) and watch NCIS* Big Band before I walk and piyo before bed.

I need my walk tonight!

*10 minutes after hitting publish, I realized today IS MONDAY so it is Big Bang not NCIS. And yes, I watch TV.  Way more than I should.


One thought on “some days are ugly”

  1. Huge hugs to you, Jen. I admire you so much for jumping all the hurdles you’ve jumped in life. I can’t think of a better example for those kids than you, and I’m sorry that you have to deal with hard days like today. I pray tomorrow is better, and that if you’re meant to stay where you are, you see a BIG FLASHING SIGN. xoxo


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