Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tough Life Lessons

I got some bad work news yesterday, just like I do every year around this time. This is my 5th year teaching, my 5th year on a temporary contract (which means I'm not working toward tenure), my 5th year having to wait to see if I'll get another contract, and my 3rd year where things have been really dicey for me...and JUST me, not the other temp teachers.

So I've been neck deep in "woe is me" since yesterday when I realized that almost all of the other temp teachers but me were offered contracts. I was the only English teacher who wasn't.


This is how rejection feels, huh?

Now I'm really seeing it. I mean, I got rejected from the MFA program earlier in the year and, yes, I was bummed. But only for like a day. And a little part of me was pretty relieved because it's a lot of work and I'm already spread so thin. And when I found out that it wasn't my writing that got me the rejection, I was sort of okay with it. Everything happens for a reason, and all that jazz.

But this, ugh. This is me vs my colleagues. And they outrank me. And they have for the past three years.  That really hurts that my admin says, "Ok, we have four English teachers and three contracts. Who would be easiest to do without? I think we can all agree that it's Jessica."

This is how it feels when everyone who has been writing when you have gets an agent and you don't. This is how it feels when everyone who got an agent when you did sells and you don't. This is how it feels when you do the best you can do and it's not good enough for someone. Right? (And I know everyone's journey is different. It's just hard to remember that when you all began your journey together, at the same starting line.)

Man, it sucks. I'm really getting it now.

So, I'm taking this as a learning opportunity. Handle this rejection with grace, Jess. This is the first in a long line of many if you are really going to pursue publication. Don't be bitter at your co-workers. Don't let this impact your teaching and your students this year.

Life is helping me to learn how to deal with the rejections that are surely coming my way. Thanks, Life. Thanks for the lesson. I obviously needed it.

I'm still hopeful for a contract this year. I'm not freaking out YET. I'm just sad. Because I am tired of getting screwed around by my job year after year. And I just want to know if I need to file for unemployment or look for another job or career or what. Blah.

So just like with my MFA rejection, I let myself wallow for one day. Yesterday. Just one day of whining and self pity. And today on I'm working harder on my WIP and giving everything I have to my students in these last few weeks of school, no matter what happens.

I'm not sharing this because I want pity or "Oh, Jess, you're awesome" comments. Psssh. I know I'm awesome. I just need to VENT. It's what I do. It's how I work through my issues in my head. I'm just taking this now and filing it in the Life Lessons folder. I've been getting a lot of them so far this year.

Oh, life lessons. Why do you have to suck so much sometimes?


  1. Go ahead and vent, and I hope the next life lessons you deal with are How to Deal with Really Super Awesome Fantastic Dreams Coming True lessons.

  2. Hugs! Education in CA is TOUGH right now for tons of amazing and talented people. Lunch this summer, ok??

  3. Yes, vent. Vent. you really have to. My boyfriend is a teacher and he's been going through the same thing every year. It's heartbreaking. Now that my book's sub, I can truly relate. It's like every day that passes brings you one step closer to all your plans and your life falling apart. It's draining.

    I wish I had some good advice for how to deal with this. I mostly just do the wallowing thing and sometimes go for a really long, really painful run.

  4. Oh man. feel free to vent, that sucks! I really hope you get some good news soon

  5. Oh man, sorry to hear that. *Hug* What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? I used to want to smack my mom every time she told me that, but now I kinda get it.

  6. Geez, I am so sorry Jess :(
    Wish I was in Cali so I could take you for some margaritas!!!

  7. Ugh... how frustrating! I'm glad you got a chance to vent, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything works out for you.

  8. That really sucks. I bet there are better things on the horizon, though. Sending hugs your way.

  9. Ouch! :( Being a teacher is hard enough and adding the contract woes on top of that... *sigh* I'm so sorry. I hope you get a fantabulous job soon! AND an agent! And an amazing offer on your book! :)

  10. Oh Jess you're awesome! (Couldn't resist)

    Doesn't it feel good to vent? If for no other reason than to get it out and never have to think about it again. I'm proud of you for learning from your sad times, that's the only way I've been able to get through anything that's ever happened to me. Cheers friend.

  11. I'm glad that you're able to learn what you need to learn from this experience and move on. So many people just get stuck in one moment, so yes, ventventvent and tomorrow (or I guess, today?) will see an awesomer you!

  12. Life lessons do suck. You know you can always vent here, on twitter, by email, or even call or text if you need it.