You just gotta be patient.
I won’t lie, this summer has been tough for me. After being notified in April that I wasn’t returning to Spring Lake Park, I wasn’t exactly upset at the time. I was frustrated and was caught up with my new job at Inside Edge taking all my attention and energy, so I wasn’t sure if my heart was really into teaching.
The final week of school, I had an interview but didn’t take it that seriously because the job would be split between two schools. I ended up regretting that decision almost instantly once the first week of summer came as I realized that I missed teaching and that I shouldn’t have taken my prior employment for granted.
Application after application was sent out to no avail. I tallied a grand total of four interviews this summer, by far the worst luck among the three summers I’ve had to look for work. I didn’t take the first one seriously, my heart wasn’t in the second because it was for a middle school, and the third I was incredibly nervous for reasons unknown. I left each interview dissatisfied with my answers, and though I was hopeful, I wasn’t surprised when I was turned down every single time.
During my final week at Spring Lake Park, I had an altercation with a student. He admitted he didn’t try in my class because he didn’t like how I taught, and I was frustrated that he never told me this in the two trimesters we were together. He became so irritated that before leaving my classroom, he announced to the rest of the students that I would never get another teaching job. Even though I knew he was trying (and failing) to strike a nerve with me, his words echoed in my head as yet another week would pass by with no good news.
A few weeks ago, Abby and I went on a somewhat-impromptu trip to San Francisco to see two close friends from college, Patrick and Patty. The job search was taxing me and I was feeling pretty lonely in Minnesota, so I wanted a memorable distraction for the summer. But, I had another reason for going out there. Thanks to the trouble with finding a teaching job, the doubts about my future career had returned, trying to figure out whether it was in education or baseball.
I figured that talking about it with two people whose opinions I valued would help me sort out this mess. Except, it didn’t. Staying up until 1 am with Patty one night, she told me that I should take advantage of being in my mid-20s with no kids and take a risk by pursuing baseball. After all, teaching would always be there once I wanted to start a family, but the baseball path would be more rewarding. Meanwhile, Patrick chose to remain noncommittal and suggested I start computer coding like him instead. I’m still not fully sure how serious he was with his idea.
The reason I became even more lost was that Patty wasn’t alone with her opinion. Abby had said the same to me for months and even added that this summer was the happiest I had been in roughly a year, even if I didn’t feel it. Other friends echoed those two as well. In spite of me writing my career manifesto in the early summer and getting so much positive feedback, friend after friend still said the same thing: “Bryz, I know you like teaching, but you love baseball.”
As we’ve approached late August and my string of bad luck continued, hope was renewed when I learned that Spring Lake Park coincidentally still needed a math teacher. Granted, the position would be half-teaching and half-tutoring and it was only 4/5 of a regular teaching load, but it was something. I reached out that I was interested and found renewed energy at the thought of getting to see the same students that I missed so much.
At least I thought I was re-energized. You see, two weeks ago I talked with another friend that pointed out that even if SLPHS took me back, the opening they had was simply a Band-Aid. They let me go once and I wasn’t fully happy there, so how could I know that it wouldn’t happen again? I tried to fight his logic but eventually gave up. It’s frustrating when you’ve got friends that keep making good points.
Fast-forward to earlier this week. Yet another friend (a coworker from SLPHS) was giving me advice, but hers was simply that I shouldn’t base my decisions off what other people believed. At the same time, she was chastising me for not applying to anything and everything available, as I was still holding out for that elusive full-time guaranteed teaching position. She showed me a long-term substitute job that she felt I should have applied for weeks ago, along with a couple middle school substitute positions.
Well, luckily for me when I went to apply for those middle school jobs, that one high school position was still open. Even though it was not a full-year position, I had made a decision with Abby. I’d give myself one more year of teaching to figure out what I really wanted with my life before committing either way. If this job wasn’t for a full year, well, I’d just have to piece together a couple positions. I’d get different experiences and I’d use them to see if teaching really was my future, or if the switch to baseball was to be made.
I applied last Monday. Thursday, I received a phone call from the high school’s principal. He apologized for the short notice, but he wanted to interview me just two hours later. Although Abby and I had errands to run, we postponed them so I could prepare.
Just minutes before I was to leave for the interview, I had a revelation. I pointed out to Abby that in my three prior interviews, I had been dead in the room, completely devoid of personality. I vowed that this time around, I’d make sure to be more lively, hoping that being just a little more upbeat would show that I was sincerely interested in the position.
The interview came and went. I crushed it. Being more upbeat was a success, plus I also chose to finally be honest with why I was no longer at Spring Lake Park (losing the passion for teaching) instead of beating around the bush. It paid off as the principal commended me for my candidness and later asked what he would hear about me when he eventually contacted SLPHS. It was certainly a gamble with being honest, but his closing question hinted at what was likely the final reason I hadn’t been hired all summer: My reason and the school’s reason for me leaving my prior position had never matched, raising a huge red flag on the way.
This evening (Saturday), I was at Inside Edge when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but knew it had to be the principal. I walked into the hallway and officially received the news of my fate. Although it’ll only last through Thanksgiving, my hunt is finally over as I’ll be a long-term substitute math teacher at Mounds View High School. I’m incredibly nervous, but also very excited for this opportunity and it feels surreal that I start my new job in just one day.
Yeah, I’m still uncertain about what my future holds, both beyond the holiday season and beyond the next calendar year, but I do know that I’ll put my entire heart into this job. If I choose to go the teaching route, this position very well could be the stepping stone to my next full-time gig. But if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll be fully committing myself to baseball, leading to many “IT’S ABOUT TIME” comments from my various social circles.
What am I even doing with my life? *shrugs* Hell if I know. But one thing’s for sure, this time I’ll make sure to enjoy every moment of the ride.