There is a tv trope of a character who has been fired immediately walking to his car with a single box of personal belongings.
It doesn’t work that way if you’re a teacher.
If you’re a teacher and you’re told you won’t be teaching there next year…you go back to work. Maybe for a few days. Maybe for a few weeks. You teach and attend IEP meetings and watch that countdown to summer take a new meaning. Now it’s the countdown to your unemployment.
On the day I found out I lost my job, I only told two close friends in the building. If anyone else asked me outright, I would be honest, but I wasn’t broadcasting it.
No matter. The whispered rumors had already begun.
It wasn’t my friends. My suspicion is that word leaked from the office, but I’ll never know for sure. All I know is that when someone asked me a few days later as I took boxes to my car, she nodded solemnly and said, “Well, I had heard rumors, but you never know if they’re true.” And she’s right about that. But when I stepped back from the situation, I saw what had been happening while I was focusing on other things.
I’m a dead teacher walking. Someone who it isn’t worth it to talk to, even to say hello to, because what does it matter? I’m going to be gone soon.
There are a few who will speak to me. A few. But all of those teachers who claimed we’re like a family? I’m the new black sheep, and I’m out.
So as I struggle through these last few days, as I tape up more moving boxes and try to carry on with business as usual with my kids, I know the truth.
In my building, I’m virtually alone in this.
I was tempted to end this blog post here, but the truth is, that’s only half the story. There’s a whole universe out there beyond the walls of my school.
The last several days have been unbelievably difficult, and support within my school building is mostly nonexistent.
My teacher friends, my BAT friends, have gone above and beyond. From the well wishes and thoughts and prayers to the private messages with the names of schools to send my resume to. The friend who was networking at a graduation party and texting me names of schools to follow up with. The friends who have shared this blog and helped get the word out, helped spread the narrative that too many teachers are experiencing this time of year.
And then, to have Marla and Priscilla post this on the BAT blog? That was completely unexpected. The response, both on the blog and in BATs, shows me that I’m (unfortunately) not alone in what I am experiencing. That this is becoming a widespread epidemic as teachers are devalued.
So yeah, in my building I’m persona non grata, dead teacher walking. But outside of my school…I’m surrounded by badass teachers. And that’s not a bad place to be.