Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stepping back into the rain

I wrote this a few weeks ago, before I gave notice at my current job. I never posted it, because I wasn’t even sure enough about the decisions I was making to talk about them on my blog.

But now I’m sure.

I’ve put in a bid on a job that just popped open in the county where I’m about to live. It’s a special education classroom. You know, the type of job I ran screaming from, not two months ago? Well, I think I’m ready to go back.

Here’s why.


It’s raining.

I used to know some kids who would stand shoulder to shoulder with me and watch the rain. Together we pulled the blinds up, turned off the fluorescent lights, and enjoyed how stone gray and gorgeous the outside was. Unlike a lot of people who hunch their shoulders and put up umbrellas, these kids got it. They understood about the rain. How it was necessary. How it was beautiful if you looked at it right.

Today it’s raining and my office has no windows. I keep sneaking out to the lobby to stare at the storm. I pass office after office, each with voices droning, telephones ringing, pagers beeping, papers shuffling. In each office, there are people talking, arguing, maneuvering, complaining when the fluorescent lights flicker.

But I’m all alone out here by the windows.

Outside I see rain so thick I can barely see the interstate, nearby as it is, cutting through the warehouse district. All I can see out there are headlights going from someplace, to someplace. Just like I thought I was doing, back when I loaded up the car and headed out.

The noise behind me is distracting because it isn’t the noise I know. There’s no humming. No singing. No arguing over pencils or popcorn or which movie we’re going to watch on reward day. Nobody is repeating herself about her favorite actor or his favorite type of microwave dinner. Nobody cares about things like that here.

A couple of months ago, I made this post, and in it, I mentioned how you want the rain back once the sun comes out. But the truth is, the sun hasn’t ever come out, not all the way. There have been rays here and there, and once in a while, a silver lining. But while the rain has definitely stopped, the ground is still wet, months later, no chance to get dry.

I left teaching for a lot of reasons. Family reasons. Mental health reasons. I left teaching because I felt there was a bigger difference to be made elsewhere. Because the saying goes, doing an impossible job over and over again, expecting it to become possible, is the very definition of insanity.

But there is safety in numbers. That’s a saying, too. And I used to have numbers. I used to have a whole troop of gutsy kids willing to go shoulder to shoulder with me and do an impossible job together.

I’ve been fighting it for a while, but it’s time to admit that I’ve made a mistake. I've known since the minute I turned my back on teaching that I'm facing the wrong direction.

It's time to turn around. And there's no shame in it, no matter how ridiculous it might look on my increasingly-lengthy resume. There are so many problems in the world that aren't fixable. But this one, I can fix.

Just watch.


Julia said...

Good luck! Sounds like you have found your path again!

Julia from Verla's

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Beautifully written. Good luck.

bettielee said...

Hey - I just got caught up on your blog. (haven't been doing much myself lately) I enjoyed your conference post as well. I hope you get another teaching job! Best of luck!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Sarah, you write so beautifully! I had tears in my eyes when I read about your last days in the classroom and I love that you're thinking about going back! Follow your heart!

Ghost Girl said...

Beautiful, Sarah. I'm wishing you luck and know exactly what you mean. Embrace the storm and love it all over!