My maternity leave is almost over.
This time last year, I had this exact same realization… and it was so overwhelming. I was so exhausted and I just knew in my bones that I would not have been an effective teacher by any standard if I had gone back when I was supposed to. The Hubster and I sat down on our bed one evening and I had a big talk while I cried contemplating my professional future. When everything fell into place for me to extend my leave and take my specialist courses, I knew it was the right choice.
Now it’s time to make another choice and I feel like I’m standing at this great fork in the road.
I have been employed by my board as an occasional teacher for the last eight years. Through that time I’ve supply taught, worked multiple LTOs at multiple schools, interviewed more times than I can count and had three babies… and through it all I’ve had my sights set on one goal: a permanent teaching position. It’s taken me eight years, but I am finally close to the top of my board’s LTO list, which means that if I want it, I have a pretty good chance of being granted an interview for permanent teaching positions that start coming out next week. This is all I’ve wanted for the last eight years.
Except… now I’m not so sure that I want it.
The jump from two to three kids was hard for me… I haven’t been shy to be honest about that. I don’t regret it for one minute, but it’s definitely been an adjustment. And I’m definitely apprehensive about adding full-time work back into the mix.
I’ve been thinking about just supply teaching a little in the fall instead of interviewing for an LTO or permanent position. It would give me the flexibility to work part-time(ish), and take days off if needed to be with the kids. Someone in this house was sick for basically all of February, so I wouldn’t need to stress about finding childcare when they are sick, etc. It would also enable me to be able to take H to his first day of school in September, something I’m having a hard time reconciling missing if I were to go back to work.
I don’t love supply teaching, but I do enjoy the freedom it offers… and it’s also free from planning and marking, which would make me free in the evenings to be with my family. It feels like a win.
…but it also just feels so strange to push something I’ve worked SO hard for these past eight years to the back burner. Permanent employment at a school I love has been my whole professional focus for so long, and now that it’s potentially at my fingertips, I don’t know if I want it. Taking an LTO or permanent position for September means making course plans, reading course novels, running extra curriculars and more marking than I could ever want. I absolutely love being an English teacher… but I wish I had had the foresight to see the amount of marking that came with my chosen course. It means the stress of preparing and going through multiple interviews, and likely starting over (again) at a new school. It’s a lot. I’ve taken it in stride every other year, as I had my eye on the prize.
But now that my home life is so full, I’m just not sure if I want that prize right now…. and it feels so strange to not be pushing for that goal. After knowing exactly what I wanted for so long and doing everything I could to go after it, I feel a bit like I’m adrift in a vast ocean. I still love my job and know that education is where I’m supposed to be… I just feel like I’ve lost my drive. I’m not sure that it’s all I want anymore.
So I’m standing at a crossroads, trying to figure out which road to take.. to push forward on the road I’ve been on while my connections are still current (and before other awesome teachers take my place in the pecking order) or take the road less traveled (and less worked).
It just feels strange not to know which way I want to go.