Since my subbing stint, I've taken on far scarier situations...like teaching middle school, leaving a school I loved, and dealing with students who seemed hell-bent on ruining any management plan I had. You would think that after a few challenges, I'd be pretty prepared for whatever could come next, but it turns out, I wasn't prepared for the season of life I find myself living.
First of all, I love my husband. I don't hold this over him, but I'd have to love him to leave a school and city I loved to move to the unknown. I did it happily, though, and I don't ever regret it. He's caring, supportive, and all the things a single girl would write on a "hubby checklist." I didn't have one, but if I did, he would've checked the boxes!
When we got married, I knew his hopes and dreams just like he knew mine, and I knew they would take us on a journey sooner or later, and it happened sooner. In December he began the interview process for his new job, and we had to ask ourselves if this was really a fit for us, but we've lived by the words "find joy in the journey," and this is a journey we couldn't refuse. So we leapt - head-first and four hours north - and we're so excited. Kyle is so happy in his new position, we're excited to join a new community, and everything feels right. However, as a teacher, I never guessed our struggle would be finding me a job. I love what I do, and while I try to stay humble, I believe I'm good at it.
So the first time this conversation happened, I didn't know how to respond:
"Where are you teaching next year?"
"Oh, well, with Kyle's job you wouldn't have to work. Right? That would be nice."
Remember, I said the FIRST time. This has been a conversation people have started with me multiple times! First of all, student debt is no joke. Secondly, just like most families, we have goals for ours, and we're pursuing them like there's no tomorrow. I like that about us.
Lastly, though, I love what I do! I think this surprises some people, but I'm truly passionate about education. I'm absolutely heartbroken when I think about not having my own classroom next year, because there's nothing I want more right now. Props to my husband for sticking with me through the tears this has brought on the last three months. (I know those are his least favorite phone calls to field from four hours away.)
Part of what has shocked me about these conversations, though, is that people assume that as a teacher I want a way out. It couldn't be further from the truth. Teachers have made the news a lot lately, and one thing all those stories have in common is that we love what we do. If we didn't, the strikes wouldn't make the news, and people would just quit. It's a lot of work just like other professions.
I know people typically don't know how to respond when I say I'm subbing because it's not what they expect to hear, and I also recognize that we're fortunate that we can live fairly comfortably with me subbing. For whatever reason, the perfect job hasn't come along for me, and we have to trust that some day we'll see this as a blip that led to a blessing. In the meantime, I'm packing my classroom for storage, checking teachiowa.gov for job postings almost hourly, and praying my way through this one. I am so fortunate to have a supportive husband who prays when I'm crying too much to get the words out, as well as the drive to pursue what I love. I've done a lot of soul-searching about what that looks like, and all I know is that I have to trust that the right thing is out there.
In these conversations, it's so difficult not to respond the way I would to my students: "Woah! Please think about your words before you say them! People have feelings." But in talking with adults, that's not an option. Instead, I felt the need to get it all out there to remind myself that people mean well, and you'll hopefully get some entertaining stories from this subbing lady next fall! After all, we're looking for the joy in this journey.