Yesterday, I was doing my weekly school staff e-mail purge. As I was mass deleting, I came across something that stopped me up short.
One of the teachers had e-mailed an apology for a previous e-mail, which I then had to dig for. The original e-mail was a note having to do with a change in scheduling. It was laced with phrases like "even though no one will read this.." and "not that anybody cares...", etc.
In her follow up e-mail, she apologized for being unprofessional, but didn't apologize for her reasons. She brought up the apathy, the lack of teamwork, the cliqueishness, the back stabbing, the gossip...
I used to be a teacher's aid at the school and I know exactly what she was talking about.
About 4 years ago, I began teaching for a test preparation company. I had great mentors and coworkers, and the morale was high. In addition, I found that I really enjoyed being a teacher.
The downside (why is there always a downside?) was that the nature of our classes was such that I was working a lot of evenings and weekends. I knew I needed to change things when my TEENAGED kids were complaining that I wasn't around enough to do stuff with. Plus, I didn't like missing their extracurriculars.
Early last year, I put my feelers out for something more accomodating and that's how I became an X-treme crossing guard. Shortly after that, the vice principal told me of a part-time opening for a teacher's aid, would I like that job too? Yes, sure, great! Problem solved.
Last year at this time, I was doing that job. And hating it.
I couldn't quite figure it out. I liked all of the people at the school. I enjoyed the kids I worked with. The hours were perfect. The commute was practically nonexistent. But...
I never really felt that it made any difference whether I showed up or not.
That job shattered my visions of becoming a licensed teacher. At the time, I was seriously looking into a program at a local university to get my teaching license, but I stopped the whole process.
When the principal told me they wanted me to return for this school year, I was surprised. I honestly thought the position would go away amid budget cuts. I contemplated for a few weeks and then resigned over the summer. That was the first job I'd ever left simply because I just didn't like it, and it was difficult for me to "quit". But I just felt that the position was redundant while being funded by taxpayer dollars. I couldn't continue.
Now I'm an independent tutor for a tutor matching service. I'm still an X-treme crossing guard, and I've had a couple months of insightful coaching. Aaah, life is better.
I don't think I've revealed this on the blog before now, but it was THAT whole experience that pushed me off the edge and lead me to a life coach. What I thought was a logical and good plan was totally foiled by that 4-months-and-3-days (but who was counting) part-time job!
Reading that e-mail yesterday helped me out a lot. It validated my frustrations and let me know that I wasn't the only one who was dissatisfied. I am still confused about how the sum of so many good individuals could add up to such a lesser whole, but it did.
I sent that teacher a short reply, thanking her for putting herself out there like that. She e-mailed me back and said that others had thanked her too.
What are you dealing with, and thinking you're the only one? I'd bet a 4-months-and-3-days part-time salary that you're not.