Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good News!

Just a warning: This post is going to be long and emotional in parts...

On April 6th I got some pretty devastating news at work. It was a Friday and things were winding down for the weekend. About an hour before the end of the day one of my administrators hand delivered me a note that said their would be a meeting after school regarding my contract for the 2009-2010 school year. For those who don't know, the state of AZ is in a financial crisis and education is taking a big hit. We had already been warned that we would be losing some teachers next year due to budget cuts, but it was only supposed to be 1 teacher from out department. While I did feel a little nervous about my position, I wasn't necessarily too worried because I had already been there for 3 years, I had my certificate and I was not a Smart Schools teacher (teachers who have already retired, but are allowed to collect their retirement and a portion of their salary). Needless to say I was very confused when I got a letter along with 3 others in my department. The last hour of the day was quite possibly one of the longest hours of my life. I walked down to the meeting already in tears only to find out that there were 40 teachers who were being notified that their contracts were not going to be renewed next year (25 more than the original 15 teachers we were told). This list consisted of all Smart School teachers, all first-year teachers, and then my group-newly certified teachers...Yes, that certificate that I worked SO hard for for 2 years simply came in at the wrong time. I was a mess! I do not feel that my situation is any worse than anyon else's, but here I am 13 weeks pregnant and finding out that I don't have a job next year. All I kept thinking was how am I going to support this child? We were told that legislation requires school districts to notify teachers by April 15th if their contracts are not going to be renewed. We were also told that there was a chance that we could be called back or rehired for the next year, but because of this legislation they had to notify us anyway. My administrators gave me some words of encouragement, however it was not able to change the situation or how I was feeling about it. I came home that night exhausted from trying to wrap my head around this whole thing and come up with a plan b. I asked Matt if we could go for a walk so I could get my mind off things a little bit. We walked out the door a little while later and I saw my guardian angel. Let me explain, my grandma died about 6 years ago. This woman was quite possibly one of the sweetest people you would ever meet and she loved us (her grand kids) so much. She had a graveside funeral in the middle of January and it was freezing cold to say the least. The weather was pretty typical for a Maryland winter. It was overcast and at one point during the proceedings it even started to snow. As soon as the funeral was ending the weirdest thing happened. The clouds started to part a little and rays of sun were shining through. Call me crazy, but I had the strongest feeling that this was my grandma letting us know she was ok and that she was still watching over us. Ever since this day she has come out several times when I feel like I needed her most (when I had to pass my AEPA test to get my certification, the day after we found out we were pregnant, etc.) Sometimes she comes out just to say hi, but in the last 6 years I have not faced a difficult situation without seeing her. I find so much comfort in these sun rays and when Matt and I went outside for our walk and I saw her that night I just lost it. Right then and there I knew that she was going to take care of me. My grandma always wanted to be a teacher and she never got to. In some ways I feel like I am carrying out her dream and I know she is proud.

Several weeks passed and though I heard many uplifting comments from administrators, colleagues, and students nothing of any real substance came my way. In fact, I didn't really hear anything until the second to last week of school. Word on the street was that my name had been turned in for rehire and that I could be expecting a call as early as that following Monday. Just a little side note; on the way to school Monday morning my grandma was out...I'm telling you it is more than just coincidence! Monday came and went. In fact, the entire week came and went and at this point several other people were starting to get call backs. It was not that I wasn't excited for them, but every time I heard of another one it just reminded me that I had not heard anything yet. The last 2 weeks of school were incredibly hard for me. Everyday I had to hear students and teachers counting down until the end of the school year and it made me CRAZY! Teachers couldn't wait to get out of there which was hard for me. I love my job and I certainly was not up for listening to teachers talk about how annoyed they were. People were coming up to me 6 and 7 times a day asking if I had heard anything. I felt as if I was constantly having to make people feel like I was ok when really I was an absolute wreck! I tried to remind myself that people were only asking because they care, but it was like I couldn't get away from it. I was ready for a break every bit as much of these other teachers, but for very different reasons. I certainly was not looking forward to a permanent break which made the summer break MUCH less appealing. About 5 days into summer...I got my call back. I just cried out of sheer relief. It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I could go back to speaking about next year without prefacing the story with "If I have a job next year..." Like I said, I love my job and I really do not picture myself doing anything else. Don't get me wrong there are days when students will drive me crazy and it is a lot of work to lesson plan, write IEP's, and attend well over 100 meetings in a year. In the end though, I wouldn't want to do anything else. My students make me laugh every day and I get to work with/for some pretty great people. As far as I am concerned I am lucky to have my job and I now have a whole new appreciation for it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's a GIRL!!!!

It looks like it's going to be sugar and spice and all things nice for us! We had our ultrasound today and it was SO much fun. Baby girl Smith looks healthy and we are so happy about that. Apparently the little tiny is quite the mover and is 5 days ahead of schedule on her growth...should be fun in a few months. We do not have a name picked out just yet though we do have names that we like: Kendyl, Morgan, Taylor, and McKinzi. Here are some pictures of the little girl.So cute!

Tiny little legs


I'm watching you! Creepy huh?


Her first headshot


Not sure if it is appropriate to post this one...


I would love to say I am one of those mothers who just wanted a healthy baby and didn't care about the sex, but that was just not the case. I TOTALLY wanted a girl. This is not to say that I wouldn't have been happy about about a boy; I just think there is something about the relationship between an mother and a daughter that I really wanted to have. Needless to say, I am elated about having a daughter. I will say though, I am a little worried about any possible boyfriends she may have. I am afraid this little girl is going to have a VERY protective father!

Oh and by the way...Katie is VERY excited to have a sister!!