I blogged earlier about how stressful it was to start this new school year without Jeff. So stressful that I needed to get away to Palm Springs for a weekend.
I got my first teaching job just a few months after Jeff and I started dating and he was the one who helped me move into my classroom and was with me when I developed all of my curriculum, worked my butt off to be the best teacher to my students, and met and developed working and professional relationships with my colleagues. I have made some of my best friends at this school but I have also had some pretty large disagreements with some other people. Jeff was always there to listen and give advice. It has just been so hard without him.
Now I know that everyone and everything says not to make any big changes if you can help it the first year or so after a loss, such as moving, changing or quitting jobs, etc. But I've been thinking about this change for years. About a year before Jeff and I got married, then about a year after we were married and it came up again when he got sick. When I think about the reasons for staying at my current school, there are very few and the few reasons I listed were colleagues that I will miss. But I know I will still keep in touch with them so when it really comes down to reasons for staying, there are none. There are so many reasons to leave that far outweigh the reasons to stay.
I've been wanting to drop down to a middle school for a long time. Middle school teachers have the same pay, but less stress and pressure than high school teachers. I have been teaching a college level English class at the high school for the past eight years and there has always been so much pressure for the students to pass the test at the end of the year in order for them to get college credit. The amount of extra work has always been enormous. There is no extra monetary payment for taking on this responsibility, but I did take great joy in their learning and the high level of discussions we engaged in and for a while that was payment enough. But after a while, all the grading and stress begins to outweigh the joy and it's just not worth it anymore.
I want to love my job, not just like it. I don't love my job anymore and haven't for a few years.
I also want to have a life outside of my job and I felt I did with Jeff in my life, but now that he's gone, my job takes up too much of my time and I am too tired and too busy to have much of a social life.
Last week a position at a coveted middle school less than 5 miles from my house became available and I jumped on it, even though we are 5 weeks into the new semester. I interviewed against 3 other highly qualified English teachers and ended up getting the position.
I found out Friday that my first day will be the following Monday, so this weekend I am moving out of the classroom I've been in for 10 years and into a brand new classroom while creating all new curriculum. I'm excited and overwhelmed at the same time. I think this is what I needed to fall in love with teaching again.
I know that this is the best decision for me. It was not spur of the moment, it was something I have wanted for years but was just never available until recently. I feel like Jeff would tell me to jump on the chance if he was still here. There has been no anxiety about whether or not I am making the right decision. I know this is the right decision for me.
I am looking forward to the new challenge and fresh start and am hoping that this will help me move forward in this "new normal" that I am creating for myself.