To Rough Endings and New Beginnings

Once again, Jeremy decided to share just what is going on in that head of his. I didn't prompt him to write. He simply told me this was finished and he would like me to post it. I'll warm you, folks, I shed more than a few tears reading it. Fair warning. 

This is the husband again.  This has been two of the most exasperating weeks of my life.  Between the personal matters that will forever make this time of year bittersweet to the professional changes that are occuring, I find that the month of June will always be, as Dickens once wrote...”It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times...”.

As anyone who is an avid reader of the blog or knows us personally knows, I am a teacher.  Today was my final workday before summer.  It is time to take stock in what went right and what needs to improve, so it is a very introspective time for me.  Additionally, my birthday is also later this month, which always has me taking stock in my life to this point. This is probably where some of this emotion is coming from.
 Photo: Jeremy is more and more like his father the older he gets. Thanks, Allen, for teaching your son how to live life with honor, humility and humor.
My father passed away in January of this year, as most of you know.  What you may not know is that his birthday is/was (I have no idea which tense is correct here... maybe my English teacher wife will?) June 12th (today is the 16th).  Fathers' Day was the 15th.  This week naturally has be missing my father, but my loss has been compounded by even more difficulties.  Obviously, there's our difficulty in trying to have a child, which means that it's another year where there is no one looking at me as their father (our dog Fred doesn't really count, sorry Beck).  Towards the end of the month, Beck and I get to go to Florida to help my mother move out of a home that my parents bought a few years ago that she cannot bear to be in anymore since all of my family is in WV.  It really was his dream to have the home, and she cannot turn around there without seeing him (and the brief period I was there in January when the tragedy happened, neither could I).  Between moving her out of Florida and visiting with both my family and Beck's family, there isn't going to be much of summer... but it's ok since I'm a teacher, I get this time off, right?  (You know who you are...)

However, those are not the reasons I am missing my father more acutely than normal.  I work in the alternative school in my county.  What you must know is that the superintendent of the county devised a school where there are safeguards in place to make sure that we get students who truly want and deserve a second chance and not just those who are left with no where else to go (there are some of those... but that can't be helped).  Well, the county politics have forced her to resign and the school board is in chaos, so it is impossible to see what the future holds for my school.  Additionally, last year we had all of one teacher leave, and he wasn't really part of the team.  He stayed away from most people and left at the first sign he could.  This year, there's already 2 leaving (from a very small staff) and a large number either trying to leave or considering their options.

I loved working at this school.  I never laughed so much at my job as I did there.  Some of my students truly did deserve and used their second chance.  We've helped a number of students walk across that stage at this time of year when no one really thought they would a year or two ago.  But, with the chaos in the central office threatening the future, coupled with some interpersonal issues that developed towards the end with me and some of my coworkers (babies don't belong in alternative schools in front of colleagues who have told you about their infertility struggles ... that's all that I'll say), and the want for the group of teachers to be more motivated to reach the potential that I saw in them that was starting to go to waste towards the end, I decided to look at what my options are.  I interviewed with another school one day and was offered a position later that evening....

There are some benefits to the new position.  I'd be teaching students who potentially want to learn.  I'll  be teaching my first real honors class in my 8+ years in education (and even AP!).  I'd get to try things that were impossible given the lack of resources at the other school (both student and school alike).  However, it is a small pay cut (different local supplement) and my sick days (needed for more attempts at fertility treatments) wouldn't transfer.  There was one person that I had that I could always count on to show me (not tell me)... my father.  I agonized over this decision, flipping my mind back and forth, for two weeks until I decided to take the new opportunity.  The entire time, I just kept saying to myself, “I wish my father were here. I could really use his help...”  It was the first time I truly felt the magnitude of the loss we had experienced in January.

If any of my (now former) colleagues are reading this, I want you to know a few things that are difficult for me to say outloud.  First, thank you for making our school one of the few places in my career that had a familial atmosphere.  While we had our struggles, it has been a looooonnng time since  I've been with a group of educators who have everyone's back like we did.  Secondly, the sense of humor we had there is the most valuable lesson to take away from your time at our school, no matter where you are next year.  Finally, I felt the lack of motivation in the building to be the best I could be.  It started to weigh be down to the point I needed to find a way to break through it (which was impossible given all of my personal issues...).  What you need to do is find a way to hoist yourselves up to reach your potential and not be drug down by those who would choose the easy way instead of the right way.  I've never worked with a group of teachers with so much potential, and I fear that it may go to waste if things don't change drastically.  I know how I felt but typically poorly express myself to others when it comes to these matters, so I'll make sure it's on here for those of you to see.  Who knows, maybe I'll hate honors students and be asking for my old job next year (yes, going in this new job with a fresh and excited attitude for this job... not a negative attitude Mom/Beck). 

Perhaps the thing I'm most thankful for is our “Biggest Loser” competition.  Most of you know Dr. M told Beck that she needed to lose a lot of weight for us to be successful at conceiving (yeah, going to a new RE doc later this summer).  My colleagues and I were all trying to get healthier, so we decided to do a “Biggest Loser” competition within the staff. That extra motivation helped on a number of days (both having training partners pushing you and the fact you were accountable to the board which was in my closet at school).  I succeeded in winning the competition with a 15.8% weight loss since Jan 17.  My father always wanted me to make healthier choices... just wish he could see it... another way right now is such a painful time... (he always was one of my biggest fans...)

The loss of the familiar, the pain of the absence of wisdom, the prospects of finalizing that which we do not want to face, the joy of not facing an alarm clock for a few weeks, the despair of no change after years of trying to, and the hope for a new and exciting future makes this time of year a very bittersweet time for me.  For those of you can, please keep me in your thoughts.  The introvert in me has difficulty reaching out to people, but I feel like I need support now more than I have in a very long time, possibly ever.  I know I'm in good hands with Beck and my family, but to those of you who can help me out, don't forget I'm here.  Like I said, I'm leaving a job where I never laughed so much ever... so I may need some extra cheer and joy in these trying days ahead.

For all those that have stuck with me, provided support and guidance, helped motivate me through these last six months, and made sure that I was included in things so that I can't get lost in myself, I do not know how I can express my gratitude.  Especially to my rock (and NOT in debate terms, dear), the love of my life, the person I choose every day to walk this path no matter where this leads... Becky, I do not know how I could have made it to this point with any sort of semblance of sanity without you. 

Here is to overcoming rough endings and to embracing exciting new beginnings.


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