I got some disappointing but entirely expected news last week: I won't be continuing in the position of Spanish teacher at my school. This was expected but I was also fervently hoping it wouldn't come true. Mostly. The teacher that I was covering this year for is returning from her sabbatical. It's a bit crap because she was a brand new teacher (like me) and was only at the school a year when they said she could come back. Really? Yes. Really.
So although intellectually I know it's not about me, nor is it in any way a reflection of how much I am valued, emotionally it is devastating and personal. My colleagues are so great, but in some ways they are making it worse by telling me (in all honesty) that I'm a much stronger teacher than the person I replaced, that the school is foolish for making this decision, etc. I mean, it's great to hear how awesome I am from the people who I work with every day, but it's also frustrating because of the general unfairness of the situation. No- unfairness isn't the right word, because I signed that contract knowing exactly what I was getting into. Injustice, maybe.
I've worked so hard to be awesome in this job, and now I have to pound the pavement again, wonder about my future, and worry about my financial stability. The thought of starting all over again makes me shake with exhaustion. The actual tasks of getting my Utah license to teach (approximately $500.00 in costs, by the way), taking the test that Utah requires because California, Oregon, and Nevada (all states that have accepted that I am qualified to teach) aren't good enough for Utah, and putting together work samples, online portfolios, etc. are overwhelming. Plus, I have a cold.
In the good things department:
I had an opportunity to take advantage of living in a city yesterday and went to see a much-loved author, Cory Doctorow, speak downtown. It was pretty mind-blowing. First, instead of just reading from his book, he let the audience vote on either a reading or a talk, and we overwhelmingly voted for the talk. The talk was focused on the idea of making our devices and computers serve us, and why that is a life or death question. He used a lot of court cases to examine ridiculous laws having to do with privacy protections, and framed the whole talk around the tragedy of Aaron Schwartz, a young man who committed suicide, partially as a result of some really insane prosecution regarding copyright and the internets.
Aside from the fact that I found the topic to be absolutely fascinating and something that I wanted to learn more about, Mr. Doctorow is also a great speaker. Alternately funny, compassionate, and serious, he spoke from a place of conviction. And later, after I asked a question as a teacher, he thanked me for being a teacher! Also, he deliberately-but-casually used female pronouns when talking about positions of power. "The judge makes a decision and she writes her opinion." "The heart surgeon opens up the patient and uses her expertise to put a computer in his heart." (Not exact quotes, but you get the idea.) Needless to say, I really liked that he used language so specifically.
He still has some tour dates coming up, so if you are one of the four people reading this and have a chance to see him, I highly recommend it even if you have never read his books. Then, go out and read his books.