There are a number of things bringing me to feel this way:
- My family. I love my son and my family time, and teaching can easily eat up all of your time, energy, and good graces.
- Lack of job security. Every year, usually twice a year (every semester), I pray and hope that I have a job. I pray and hope that I have a good job... one teaching just the right amount of classes (not just one class a day, and hopefully not four completely new preps). I scan the district site all the time catching the contract postings as they come up, and then sit by the phone when they close hoping to hear that I got one. How many more years am I going to go through this? Some stability would be really nice. Knowing what courses I'll be teaching with more notice than just a few days would be nice. Being able to prepare (without futility) ahead of time instead of going about it like a madman would be nice.
- Political climate. In my day-to-day interactions, I truly feel that the people around me value teachers and the job we do and see it as important and worth investing in. But, somehow that doesn't seem to trickle up to government. I don't feel valued by the government and I don't feel valued by my employer. I feel like I have to fight all the time to voice what we need and what our rights as workers and as professionals should be. I'm tired of fighting and it's only been five years. I also know myself well enough to know that I wouldn't be happy just laying down. Is there another option?
Part of me feels that if I continue to press on, things will begin to fall into place. I do believe that will be the case eventually. Sooner or later I will get a continuing contract and sooner or later I will be senior enough to have some say in what I teach, and will teach courses that I have prepped already. I really am okay with working hard for something, with delaying my gratification because something is worth the investment. It's just that I'm beginning to question it all. If someone farther along than me could tell me that, yes, they had felt that way too, but then they pushed through and found a place to belong and settled and things worked out... I think I could focus on that light and get myself through this tunnel.
I've said it a few times to various friends. I just don't want to be having this same conversation with myself 5 years from now, or 10 years from now. Life is too short.