It is now officially summer, and I am returning to the blogosphere!
Many, many changes afoot for the MeyPfan family. The primary one being this: I will not be returning to University High School in the fall. Now that the school year is over, I am officially unemployed.
It's a long story, and I have many complicated emotions surrounding this whole situation. But the short version is this: One Friday afternoon in April, my head of school asked me to meet with him. He told me that I'm an excellent teacher and have great rapport with the students, but in spite of those things, he would not be renewing my contract for the coming year. I was absolutely blindsided. When I asked why, he said it was because I displayed "poor judgment" during the hiring process (in March, I was on the committee to hire a new English teacher because our school is growing and the department is expanding). Basically, this boils down to the fact that I did not vote for the candidate that he wanted, and it seems that I also asked some questions that he did not like. Silly me--I thought he meant it when he said that he was just there to facilitate and that we, the faculty, were to ask the questions and make the decision for the best candidate. And because of that, I no longer have a job.
As I said, I was blindsided by this. I had long had the feeling that he did not like me very much. In our school of approximately 20 staff members, he had only taken the time to have maybe two conversations with me over the course of the year, which were mainly him talking and me listening. My formal evaluations were done by the assistant head of school, who gave me great reviews. Much like at colleges, the students fill out course evaluations at semester, and all of mine came back with great comments, with kids saying that they learned so much in my class, that I was their favorite teacher, that I had actually gotten them to like literature, etc. When I brought these things up to my head of school, though, he dismissed them, saying that the problem was not with me as a teacher. When I asked why there hadn't been any kind of warning or review process to let me know that there was a problem so I could work on it, he said it was "nothing I could have fixed." So, essentially, the problem was me as a person, not me as a teacher.
I'm sure you can all imagine how absolutely terrible this made me feel about myself and life in general. And even though I knew my contract wasn't being renewed, I still had to finish out this school year, roughly six week of sheer misery. It was so hard to see the kids every day, to hear them compliment me, and to know that it wouldn't make any difference. It was hard to summon up the motivation to grade papers and make lesson plans, when I knew that it wouldn't matter at all in the long run. It didn't matter if I was the best teacher in the world or let my kids have a study hall every day; I was still out of a job. But I'm still me, and I still believe that the kids should not suffer for the decisions of adults, so I kept on trucking and finished out the year as strong as I was able.
This past week was especially hard, saying goodbye to all the kids that I have come to love. I told them that I wasn't coming back, but I didn't tell them why. This was a decision that I really wrestled with. Part of me wanted them to get mad like I was, but I also didn't want to create drama for the school, especially because I knew it wouldn't do any good in the long run. So in the end, I just told them that I was leaving without giving them a reason, except that it didn't have anything to do with them. They then all asked where I would be teaching instead, and I had to tell them that I wouldn't be. So now most of them are under the impression that I left because I wanted to, because I didn't want to teach, because of some other personal reason--none of which is true. I had kids cry and tell me that I was their favorite teacher, and parents emailed me to ask me to reconsider my "decision" to leave. As you might imagine, it was incredibly hard not to say anything bitter during all of this.
So as excited as I am for it to be summer and to be away from the incredibly stressful past two months, I'm still feeling very bittersweet and rather at a loss. I will miss the kids a great deal, but I'm so glad to have the tension over with. I'm thrilled to be able to spend time with my own girls without all that grading and lesson planning hanging over my head. But now we're back to being a one-income family and, of course, the reason I went back to work in the first place was because we needed the money. So we're going to be very financially strapped in the coming months, as, I know, are plenty of people in this economy.
It will also mean some adjustments to the future of our family. We certainly cannot afford the expensive fertility treatments anymore, which leaves us wondering and worrying if we will ever be able to have another child. As those of you close to me know, having a big family has always been the desire of my heart, and it's very hard to face the reality that this might not be able to happen for us. My wonderful doctor has agreed to continue some of my prescriptions without nearly so many regular appointments. This is good, in that if I do manage to become pregnant, I will have a reduced risk of miscarriage. However, this risk is still far higher than when I was being monitored by the doctor.
All of these big changes yield smaller daily changes, and the next few months will certainly be an adjustment for us. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate the path the Lord has in store for us!
Regular updates to come....