Should I Stay or Should I Go?

As the following email will try to explain, it’s become that decision-making time of year and this one is a big one….

Friends and family,

sickFor the millionth time this term I’m on my back again, this time with some kind of flu (body aches, headache, slight congestion at the back of the throat, etc.)… This has got to be the third or fourth time this term. I generally average two sick-outs a year. I think someone is trying to get my attention.

Anyway, as you may know, this past Fall I’ve taken on a new job teaching tech to middle school students. Would that that were the extent of the job, but, in their wisdom, the Powers that Be, have also chosen to give me one single pre-algebra class. Again, no big deal until one realizes that they’d given me a noisy group of low-performing 8th graders. Great. Consequently, this one class has completely dominated all of my planning time and energy so much so that here it is December and I still don’t have a handle on working with them. In fact, per my last meeting with my principal, if I don’t turn this situation around I’m running a risk of getting an “Unsatisfactory” evaluation from him. Great. Just what I need. I’m failing even though I’ve been dedicating so much time to this problem that I’m also at risk with my degree program at Pepperdine.

decisionSo, now finding myself on my back for the second week in a row I’m wondering if it’s time for me to drop one thing so that I might save the other. It’s that time of year for these kinds of thoughts. Just last week one of my degree program cadre-mates made that choice, to take a leave of absence from the program so that she might save her job. Then the plan is for her to rejoin the program in the Fall of ’06 (with cadre 11). When she shared her announcement one of our more sarcastic members suggested that perhaps, if the job were that bad, she should have made the opposite choice. Sarcasm, not very helpful in situations like this.

Anyway… that got me thinking. Right now I have at least three or four papers overdue and pretty much all of my statistics assignments undone and the pepperdine term ends on Saturday, 12/17, in two days. I mentioned the situation with a coworker about someone in my program dropping and he asked if I was thinking of doing the same. I told him that I couldn’t because then I’d lose the scholarship that I’m getting. Alas, as important as the money is, that’s no real reason to continue. In fact, as I’ve contemplated this decision I’ve recognized that the combination of these two stresses (and other circumstances) are such that I feel myself stretched so thin, that I’m not getting any joy from any of my endeavors. Here I’ve been getting to work early to get some paperwork in order and then I stay well past 6 or 7pm, in some cases to 9pm, in order to get the lab’s hardware up to where I can use it. But then when I get home I feel guilty because I haven’t spent anytime on my Pepperdine assignments. Anyone who’s known me knows how much I’ve loved working with kids, being their for them and exploring new territories and breaking new ground with my education and implementation of tech. Something’s gotta change.

So, I need to make a decision and I feel like I need to make it by this coming Sunday (12/18). I don’t know that I was all that “prayerful” when I began this trek a year and a half ago, but it was something that I felt that I needed to do. I still feel like it’s important, but I’m no use to anyone if I fail at my primary task of being the best teacher that I can be.

Your prayers and comments are welcomed… those of you who are a part of CadreX, I’d appreciate that you keep this on the “down low” in that I haven’t made a decision, nor have I communicated with anyone at Pepperdine about this…

ever your friend, jbb