Here's How it Happened

In August, I was hired to teach supplemental remedial English classes at Santa Monica College. I had a six-month contract, with the chance of being hired on permanently as the enrollment and budget allowed. My initial contract was set to expire on February 29th. I found out three weeks before February 29th that my contract would definitely be ending. The budget for supplemental instructors was gone at the end of fall semester, so no new permanents would be hired.

That's when I got really serious about finding a new job. Don't get me wrong, I'd done plenty of applying before then, including applying at Starbucks! They didn't call me. I didn't let it affect my ego [too much], and I found a position covering a teacher's maternity leave through the end of the year at an Orthodox Jewish school. I applied. The next day they asked if I could come in for an interview. And the day after that, I was there having an interview. I was invited back to do a demo lesson the following week.  Between the interview and the demo lesson, I applied for positions at four different schools for the 2016-2017 school year.

Here's a timeline:

2/10: Apply to Orthodox Jewish school [OJS]
2/11: Hear back from OJS
2/12: Interview at OJS - invited to teach demo lesson in one week
2/17: Apply to 4 different independent schools for the 2016-2017 school year
2/19: Teach Demo Lesson

This is where it gets interesting...

2/21: Wake up to an email from the head of one of the independent schools I'd applied to on 2/17 saying they were pretty far down the candidate list for the position next year, but there's a spot open immediately through the end of the school year. He wanted to set up a time for a phone call that day. I responded with my available time to call, but said I preferred to meet in person. I met him at 2 that afternoon, and around 3:15 I all of a sudden had a job. And he wanted me to start the next day. The assistant head of school and I both said "Whoa."

2/22: I went to SMC and told my supervisor about the new job and asked if I could get out of my contract a few days early. She thought that was fine. I emailed the OJS letting them know I'd accepted a position at another school.

2/23: My last day at SMC. My colleagues there were fantastic. They threw a sweet little going away party and sent me on my way with a thoughtful card.

2/24: This was supposed to be my first day at the new job, BUT I got a phone call at 2:30 that morning from my doula client saying it was time. I got to the hospital around 3:30, and made it home around 7 that evening.

2:25: My official first day as the new 8th grade English teacher at a PK-8 Independent School.

Today marked my seventh day there. It's a great environment. I teach all of the 8th graders. All 44 of them between three sections. When I heard how many students I would have in my interview, I almost fell over. Back in my days teaching high school in Oklahoma City, I had over 100 students each semester. I literally couldn't have dreamt up a better daily schedule. My hours are a little longer than they were at a public school. I arrive at 7:30 each morning, and I leave at 4 every day except for Monday, which is 5.  

In all of my applying and most of my not hearing back, I just kept praying for a job to come along that would be a good fit for me and my family. It was very much a trust thing, turning over the worry so I could spend more energy hoping that the right job would come along. It absolutely did. In the waiting to see if I would continue on at SMC, and the search for a job when I found out I wouldn't, I found myself being really aware of having and keeping faith that everything would work out just as it should. It's such a powerful lesson every time something like this occurs. And it's a lesson that is worth learning and reinforcing over and over again.

Being back in a classroom reinforces my love of being in a school and around students. Students are my favorite part of teaching. I have a good bunch. I'm grateful for that. It's funny how life has circular patterns sometimes. I spent so much time while I was staying home with my girls trying to figure out what I would be doing differently when I went back to work, in large part because of how little teachers make, but some things just fit. Spending time with students working through literature and writing reinforces something really powerful in me. I like what 17-year-old-me decided she wanted to do for her career. And I like that almost-31-year-old-me knows there's a fluidity in life that allows for one to be exactly where one is supposed to be at any given time with room for change along the way.

Jake has gone to Wichita this weekend to play for the auditions for Music Theatre of Wichita. (He's the accompanist for auditions, not auditioning.) I plan on soaking up every second with my best little friends, Cora and Magnolia.


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