Sunday, April 29, 2012

my unwanted acquaintance, part 5

The principal gaped at me. There was about three seconds of shocked silence.

"What?" he asked, as if he somehow misheard me.

"I am resigning as of this morning. I have already begun to pack my personal belongings from my classroom." I said.

My dad shifted in his seat, never taking his eyes off the principal.

"Sarah, what do you mean you're resigning?? It's only the third day of school!" the principal sputtered.

"I'm very sorry, Mr. Dawson..." And before I could continue, I burst into tears. I had tried to hold it together as long as possible. But the floodgates opened.

"I'm so sorry, but I have so much anxiety about this job. I have not eaten or slept in days. I'm afraid if I don't quit, I am going to have a mental breakdown."

Mr. Dawson quickly replied, "Then take the day off, Sarah. Go home and sleep. Take a few days off. We'll get a substitute. Collect yourself and then we'll see you next week."

That made me cry worse. The thought of continuing to live with this horrible anxiety scared me to death. I wiped some tears away and took a deep breath.

"Again, I am so sorry, but the only way I will truly be able to rest and get if you let me go. I will not be coming back."

He. Was. Furious.

The shock had now turned to complete and total anger. His eyes were fiery darts. His mouth kept moving as if he had so much to say to me but couldn't decide where to start. I remember thinking how GLAD I was that my father was there with me. There is no way I could have done that alone. I was so weak physically, emotionally, and mentally. I needed support, even if it was just his presence.

Before the principal could finally find the words to say, my dad spoke up in his firm, business-like voice.

"We would like it to go on Sarah's record that she is leaving for personal medical reasons."

The principal switched his eyes from me to my dad. My dad can be intimidating so I could tell the principal didn't quite know how to respond to this.

"What do you mean?" Mr. Dawson asked.

"Well, when you tell the other staff and when you close her teaching file, the 'reason' we'd like you to share with people is that she left for 'personal medical reasons'. No other questions need to be asked."

Mr. Dawson looked back and forth between the two of us. Then he looked down at his desk and spoke quietly. "As you know, I am new to this position. So I have never dealt with something like this before. But since you have made your mind up, I have no choice in the matter. Continue to pack your things and I will find a substitute until we can hire some full-time to take your place. I think it would be best for you to be gone by the time the children arrive."

When he looked up at me, I again saw the anger, threatening to boil over. The bitterness, the resentment, the position I had just left him in.

I quickly stood up and said goodbye. Get me out of there. My dad took me out to his car where I collapsed in the passenger seat.

Did that just happen?

Did I finally get my own classroom? Something I had worked for and waited for my whole life? And did I just throw it away in 3 days?

The tears could not come fast enough. The anxiety of the situation was paralyzing me. I could barely move or speak. I was filled with fear. What's going to become of me? I can't believe this is happening. No one is ever going to want to hire me as a teacher now. I am finished. I never want to step foot in a classroom again. Oh my God, if I'm not a teacher, WHO AM I? That's all I've ever known. It's what I went to school for. It's what thousands of dollars went into. My life was wrapped up in THIS. And I just quit.

The embarrassment. My poor first graders were going to come to school and their teacher is gone. I can never show my face there again.

The shame. I have let everyone down. The principal, the teachers, the kids, the parents.

The regret.  Why did I say I would teach first grade?!?!

The humiliation. I've been working toward this my whole life. All my family and friends know I finally got this job. And now I have to go back and tell them I quit on the third day of school.

My identity. I am no one. I am nothing. My dream is gone.

Tears, tears, tears.

I am 27 years old.

And it is finished.

End of Part 5.

1 comment:

Jody said...

I am so glad you're writing all of this down now. It really helps to get a sense of those moments, and I hope it's helping you in some way, too.