2011 has been a roller coaster of a ride and it's only February. I found out at the beginning of this month that I've been accepted to participate in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to hear the news. It's been my dream since college to go back to England and see the country and learn more about their educational system. With the Fulbright, I'd be teaching 5th grade for a semester next year, while another teacher would be teaching my classroom here. We'd even exchange houses. With the roof collapse at my school, I was worried. How could I accept the Fulbright if I don't even know the fate of my school? But it looks like they are rebuilding the school and that the students should be reporting back by next September.
But then, another blow. Twelve teachers at my school received pink slips. The budget is being cut and state funding could be cut by 20%. At the next School Committee meeting a week later, seven teachers got their notices rescinded but five did not. I am on the list of five who did not. It's all about money and seniority. Even though I've been teaching for 12 years, I am the fourth from the bottom of our seniority list. It feels like I've been rolling around under a huge wave and can't find my way up. I'm devastated! I'm not sure what to do or where to turn. One thing I've decided to do is appeal. It may not help my situation, but I know it can't hurt. I am willing to do just about anything to get my job back. I love my job! I love my students!
And what about the Fulbright? My dream of going to England and exchanging positions with another teacher are dashing. But maybe, just maybe, this door closing means another one will open. Maybe something even better will come through. I don't know the answers, and only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, I need to be patient. And patience can be hard to find.