Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why I Worked, Part 3: A Job, Finally!

Part 1 here, Part 2 here

When last we met (to talk about THIS at least), I was unexpectedly (although really, unsurprisingly...  NFP has rules, people!) pregnant, working 4 jobs, and had been applying for teaching jobs for nearly a year with no luck.  My most recent interviews were in school districts that were both about an hour away, and I never ended up hearing back from either of those schools.  And at this point in the year (November), either somebody was going to have to get sick or get pregnant for me to have a chance.

Well, as luck might have it, I got another call for a position open at a school only 5 minutes from our apartment!  And it was a middle school (my favorite)!  And it was actually full-time!  And the teacher was pregnant and didn't want to return after her maternity leave, so I would actually be under contract, not just substituting!

And I was convinced that I was out of luck again.  Because really, what had I learned from all these interviews?  That nobody wants to hire a wet-behind-the-ears new graduate with no experience outside of student teaching.

Morning sickness was bad.  I was puking more times than I could count every day.  I was starting to get things under control by the time my interview rolled around, only to wake up that morning feeling worse than ever before.  Apparently on top of the morning sickness, I had also caught a stomach bug!  Hooray!

But I had to go to this interview.

So I puked probably 10 times, squeezed myself into the new suit I had bought weeks before John Paul was conceived (I think I was about 10 or 11 weeks pregnant at this point?), and did my best on the interview.  Days later I actually got a call - the job was mine!

Luckily my due date wasn't until a few weeks after school was out for the summer.

What an exercise in trust, huh?  And I certainly needed it - I was so cocky about the fact that I was so qualified that I'd get an awesome teaching job right off the bat.  And we'd obviously postpone kids for a couple of years so Andrew could finish law school, and that would be no problem, right?

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

16 weeks pregnant

Things went a lot more smoothly at that point, although it wasn't exactly the cushiest teaching job...

See, I had inherited a choral program from a very nice lady who seemed to attract some of the less-than-savory characters in the school to her choirs.  For example, one of the groups I taught started out with two of the kids on long-term suspension, one of them (a girl) for smashing another girl's head into a locker and giving her a concussion.  The other one, a boy, had such anger issues that I had to send him out of my classroom one day for throwing a chair across the room.  The girl with anger issues also very frequently complained in class about how racist all white people were, and how slavery was all our fault and we should be apologizing to her for everything we made her ancestors GO through.

So that was fun.

Then there was the time some kids ratted on some other kids in the class for going to McDonald's after school before they had a rehearsal.  They thought I was the one who had snitched (like I really cared? Hardly.), and at the prospect of their punishment (not being able to go to the dance), one of the girls told another that she was going to punch me in the stomach and kill my baby.

So that was cool, too.

Honestly, it was a good place to be for a first teaching job.  My standards stayed low, I worked with some really tough kids and got good experience in those types of situations, and I learned how to work with choirs that had absolutely no training.

I took my 6th graders to Festival (or Assessment, or whatever they called it at that point), and they were pretty terrible but scored higher than any group at that school had for years.  That's how low expectations were.

The position was kind of a revolving door - two teachers before, a group had gone to Festival and performed an original song with a rap section that made fun of a rival school, including profanity.  They got a IV.

37 weeks and looking large
Meanwhile, here I was hugely pregnant with John Paul, and just holding on until the last day of school, at which point I would drive up to Northern Virginia to be with Andrew while he finished up an internship and we waited for John Paul to be born.  And everybody kept saying, "So you're not coming back next year, right?  You're going to stay home, right?"

Um.  Husband in law school.  Zero income.  I'm coming back to work.

And honestly?  I wanted to.  I mean, I wanted to stay home with my kids eventually but just one newborn and me?  I didn't think I could do it.  And when John Paul was born and I got a taste of life with a newborn?

"Newborns nurse every 2-3 hours"  HA!  Not him.  Every 30-45 minutes?
It sounds terrible, but I was really glad I had signed that teaching contract.

Andrew had a year left of law school, at which point we'd see where he found a job.  But for now, I was ready to return to the same job in a new year, with students who actually signed up for my class and not just an "easy A."

Coming up: my 2nd year teaching, moving for Andrew's job, not finding a job again, having Cecilia, finding a job, having the twins, getting pregnant with #5 and quitting teaching...
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