I’m on my fifth job in education in a little over two years.
I have been a paraprofessional, a teacher assistant, a long-term substitute and a full-fledged teacher in that time. I have switched jobs, towns and retirement plans every 4-8 months. Currently I am on my second long-term sub stint though this one is far more uncertain than the first one. I do not know why I have replaced the absent teacher and have not been given a precise end day. I have no idea where I might be come Christmas.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about my still-starting career is that none of these job changes have happened because I messed up. I haven’t been fired. I wasn’t lazy. I taught my students well. A school district didn’t have money to hire me. Another time I got bumped by a teacher transfer. I have worked incredibly hard the past two years and I got engaged (ring!) and married to boot.
I’m also not a person who likes too much dramatic change. I want to have a school and a classroom and students I can count on. I will be as reliable as I wish them to be. I do not relish learning a new school’s culture, staff and technology every few months. Admittedly it has been stressful in many ways both personally and financially.
There are undoubtedly positives. I have taught in my own classroom for over a year in the past 2+ years. I’ve had my own classrooms, and lessons, and students. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve improved my craft. I’ve gotten a great recommendation from every place I have worked. I have a great wife and family and I like living in Massachusetts. I am indeed, blessed.
But the uncertainty remains. I started this school year at a new school. I really like it . The building is shiny and new. The technology is close to flawless. Best of all I have gotten to set the tone with a group of students from day one who, so far, have proven to be the nicest group I have had yet. They aren’t prefect angels but they are polite, generally engaged and seem to appreciate that I am there. I swear if one nice student said, “Hi, Mr. Peirce!” to me everyday for the rest of my career I could teach for the next 60 years regardless of how everything else goes.
I’ll write a new entry when I know more but until then I’m enjoying teaching every day, uncertainty or otherwise.