Yesterday I went to the park for my weekly get together with my former colleagues who have remained my good friends, even after I left school to stay at home with my daughter. Every summer my friends Michelle and Jenny organize "Park Days" so we can catch up and chat while our children play and also get reacquainted. We go to a different park in our area each week to have some new scenery and end up having some nice "adult time" as the kids try not to kill themselves showing off for each other. Most of these women are teachers I started working with at my second teaching position. Michelle and I shared a classroom when we both went part-time because of our respective pregnancies and then ended up delivering three days apart. Jenny and I are similar in life styles and personality and we all helped her through the transition to being a single mom after her difficult divorce.
Jenny and I (and our kids) were the only ones who showed up yesterday so we enjoyed the perfect park weather as we talked and lamented the end of park days and the looming school year for her. She asked me what I was going to fill my time with since my daughter was going to be starting first grade at the end of the month. I honestly hadn't been planning what I would do, but when she asked, I started thinking of all the scrap booking I had put off over the years, all the books I have wanted to indulge in, and all the organizing of my life and home that has eluded me. So I started listing these things to Jenny as we lazily watched our children going down slides and climbing the park toys.
When I finished my list and Michelle called Jenny's cell phone to explain why she wasn't there, a light bulb seemed to go on in Jenny's face, and she asked, with Michelle listening in, "Hey, has Michelle told you about the job opening at the school?" She hadn't, so I listened as she told about how another colleague, Jane, had just accepted another teaching contract in a neighboring school district so she could work closer to home. Jane had resigned her position just last Friday, so there was an unexpected job opening at the junior high I used to teach at. As Jenny finished telling me some details, my former boss and principal Steve walked from the parking lot into the school (the park is adjacent to the school). Jenny looked at me as if to say, "There's no time like the present!" and offered to watch my six year old while I walked over to talk to Steve.
As I took that not so long walk my mind began to spin: What was I doing? Hadn't I just been talking about all my plans for my new open time? Why would I want to go back into the classroom? My online teaching job is flexible and so perfect for a wife and mother who wants to put her family first . . . . . yet I have missed teaching in person and really getting to know my students and being able to see the light in their eyes when they finally understand what a topic sentence is. I have also missed the collaboration I had with good teachers with whom I built lesson plans and curriculum maps and enriched my craft. Oh, the thoughts were flying as I opened that front door.
Steve was in the main office as I walked in and had an instant smile on his face, as he said hello and asked me what he could do for me. He seemed to know why I was there, so we sat down in his office. He was delighted to talk about the job opening and was excited when I told him I would consider it. Then he told me that the interviews were taking place on Thursday so I would need to get the ball rolling with the district if I really wanted the job. Did I want the job? I didn't know?! I had just heard about it ten minutes ago!
I walked out of Steve's office with an appointment for an interview and a whole new set of worries mixed with excitement. There were so many other things that happened yesterday that seemed to intimate that this experience was not an accident, that forces beyond my understanding were at work. This IS the perfect opportunity if I want to get back into teaching full time again. I already know the people I will be working for, it will feel like home, with all the good and bad of what that means. Yet what will I be giving up? How many field trips will I miss? Will Brett remember to give Abbey that confidence building look and the thumbs up sign when he drops her off for her first day of all day school? Will my body be up to the challenge of working full time again and keeping up at home? Well, I could go on with the questions going through my head, but some things are better left floating around in the nebulous space of wonder. I'm not positive that I will even be offered the job, because there are other candidates being interviewed. The funniest thing was when I talked to Michelle and asked how I should prepare for the interview (because she is on the hiring committee) one of her comments was, "Well, some of the other candidates might be amazing, but going with the known is always better than going with the unknown." I guess being amazing has its drawbacks! I do know that I had better be ready with an answer by tomorrow morning when I again walk through those doors that I thought were closed for good.