The Last One.
I am officially the last one.
A few years ago, I worked with a group of teachers who quickly became my friends. We were all in LTOs (Long Term Occasional / Temporary teaching contracts) and had all been hired by the board at roughly the same time. We had all slogged through the early years of trying to get work, all had families now and all were putting in our time until a permanent position opened for us.
One found work at her #1 choice school a few years ago, and I was SO happy for her. Then it was just three of us, putting in time until a job came up. As the years ticked by, I took comfort in knowing there were others like me, who had been teaching for 10+ years without a contract. It made me feel like less of an anomaly. We all went back and forth between an endless stream of supply work and semestered contracts.
Then, one of them got a permanent position at MY dream school earlier this summer. And then the other announced that she had been hired a few days ago. Honestly, I was bursting with pride for both of them. I don’t know many other occasional teachers who have been slogging it out as long as we have. They are incredible teachers. This is SO well deserved, and frankly, probably long overdue.
…but then it hit me: I am the last one. I am the last one of our group, and I’m pretty sure that of my class in Teacher’s College, I’m the only one who hasn’t been hired into a permanent position yet.
I know that I’ve had other priorities, and if I’d pushed harder, I’d probably have a job. In these past 11+ years I’ve worked at almost every secondary school in my board. I’ve done more interviews than I can count with more principals than I can keep track of. I’ve done multiple LTO contracts and have taught some courses so often that I know them inside and out. I worked through the chaos of Regulation 274 first as it came in, and now that it’s been removed. I’ve taken multiple additional qualification courses and have a double specialist in both English Literature and History.
I’ve officially reached the point where I have too much “experience” on my resume and have to weed some out.
I’ve also had four maternity leaves, and one short term sick leave after my miscarriage. I had the privilege to have the flexibility to stay home with my children when I needed to. I homeschooled my children for a full school year. We moved.
I am not in the same situation I was when I was first hired 11+ years ago.
I’m not the same person.
…but I hope that it’s all helped to make me a pretty good teacher. I love my job. I work hard. I choose to believe that my eclectic collection of experiences have a purpose. That they mean something. That it’s all leading somewhere.
I just don’t know where that “somewhere” is yet. Even though I know that I am a “teacher”, it somehow never feels quite real because I don’t have a home yet. Whenever people ask what I do for work, the inevitable follow-up question is, “where?”. And I can’t answer that yet. A little like Pinocchio and his dream to become a real boy, I feel like I’m not a “real” teacher yet.
So, for now, I’ll celebrate for my friends and hold W close. I’m seriously so happy that this never-ending job search is over for them… but I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be right now.
And hopefully, I’ll end up working where I’m supposed to be someday too.
I’m the last one… but it’s okay. Someday it will be my turn too.
And you know what? It’s going to be great.