the seesaw effect
May 04, 2004, 7:45 pm
"I heard you're leaving."
"Yep, yep, I am."
"So, what are you going to do?"
"I'm not sure."
"Where are you going to go?"
"You have a job, right?"
"Well, we'll miss you, I mean, the kids love you. It just pisses me off that you're a bright spot here and you're leaving and there are some dead ones that refuse to go, you know?"
"I guess so."
This conversation isn't out of the ordinary for me these days. It seems the news has spread to the Special Ed. department, so I guess it's official. The thing is: I DON'T know what I'm going to do, and I DON'T have a job lined up, and I DON'T have the money.
The problem is, I'm thinking about staying.
See, I got a letter the other day about how my certification jumps up the Fancy-Schmancy level now that I've been teaching x years and have x degree and that means x more cash and benefits and perks because anywhere I go I can throw my Fancy-Schmancy Certificate in the interviewer's face and say, "Chew on THIS, buddy." You solve the equation.
But it isn't enough.
I can't face all those people that I've told that I'm going out to greener pastures, who wished me well and said, "Good for you." I can't face those teachers...God, those teachers that I had, who were there when I was there, who sit looking at their paychecks and then look at me and say with the hardest gaze possible, GET OUT OF HERE WHILE YOU CAN. They're the ones that scare me because they know better. They're the mirror I'd hold up to myself ten, fifteen, thirty years down the road.
"You know Jess, don't feel like you've backed yourself into a corner."
"I know I told you to get in your car and leave, but if it isn't an option, we'd love for you to stay."
"You don't have a THING to prove to anyone..."
"Don't 'yeah, but' me, I'm telling you like it is. And the truth is, if you can't leave right now, you can't, and that's okay. You sit down, you give yourself a timeline and a plan, and you tell everyone that's what you're going to do, and you know what? NO ONE will think you're a failure, and NO ONE will think less of you. If anything else, they'll be so relieved that you're thinking things through and you're here they won't even think about anything else, you know?"
"Yeah, that's what you were thinking, and we've all been there. You take all the time you need, and if you stay any longer, well, I'll kick you out."
"It's a deal."
I think I'm going to drive across the country.