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June 2023 – Cracked Ice and Chrome

School’s out . . . forever.

I have spent the past month cleaning out my classroom and sorting through 23 years’ worth of stuff.

Teachers tend to be hoarders for the same reason children will grab a handful of candy instead of taking just one piece; in the world of education, resources (especially free ones) are fleeting, so we tend to keep things that we think might be useful in the future. Sometimes that makes us a little greedy when it comes to keeping stuff for ourselves.

Case in point: see that storage cabinet in the right corner? I had about 25 textbooks in there. Different textbooks. They were all samples given to us by publishers over the year back when textbooks were the only resource teachers had. Once the internet became mainstream, teachers realized that we were no longer beholden to the big publishing companies and that we could craft our own units. However, the teacher brain in me thought it would be smart to hold onto the textbooks – y’know, just in case.

I’m fairly certain that the custodians at my school currently hate me for all the crap I piled by the garbage cans.

In addition to the clutter, though, I ran across some things that made me very melancholy. I found senior pictures from past graduates, thank-you notes from students and parents, and some relics from when my own children were little and I used to bring them to the school on a Saturday so I could work.

That last sentence is exactly what is driving me to get out of the field and transition into something else. How many weekends did I spend doing “school things” instead of taking my kids to the park? How many hours did I spend grading at the kitchen table instead of taking the time to make a nice meal for my family? Running across some of the drawings in notebooks made me feel a twinge of nostalgic pain. My kids are grown now, and I am now a grandma to my oldest boy’s daughter, and it just reminds me how quickly the time goes. Even though my kids are grown now and I could spend all of Saturday grading essays, I no longer want to.

Now I am slogging through the job hunting adventure and praying for someone to notice me and give me an interview. I have sent out about 50+ applications and so far have only gotten rejection letters. On August 31, I no longer am under contract at my school and that means I lose my health insurance. To say that I am panicking a bit is a major understatement. The stress of looking for another job haunts me day and night, yet I feel like this is something I am meant to do. I gave 23 years to education, but over the past several years, my values no longer aligned with the job, and that made for some stressful work conditions. I could only bite my tongue so many times before I felt like I wanted to explode, so I wanted to hit the reset button and start over with a field that was more results-oriented and that made me feel good about going to work every day and giving 100%. I am sad about what is happening to public education, but it’s also not a problem I can fix. So onward I go, into the very unfamiliar territory of LinkedIn and trying to get my foot in the door somewhere.

It’s taken me a couple weeks to write this post because of my conflicting feelings regarding this move. I feel like it’s the right thing to do, but at the same time, I have no safety net and I am petrified. A couple of weeks later, I have sent out 75 or so applications – possibly more – and have had zero responses aside from rejection letters. Transitioning into a different career is hard, y’all – and even harder when the field is being flooded by teachers fleeing the school system.

I hope my next blog post is about landing a new job.

In vintage news, my husband and I visited our local antique shop the other day. I have been going there for years and the owner, Polly, is an absolute gem. She remembers everyone who comes in her store and what they like, and she is a joy to talk to. Her store had become rather cluttered over the years, and she had someone come in and get rid of the excess stuff. I had fun browsing the aisles and seeing treasures that were probably buried under boxes for several years. Her tablecloths had been pretty stagnant for the past few years, but she had some new ones this time, including one that has my favorite colors – a jadeite green and red.

I snagged this tablecloth (no tag) and an interesting lime green Simtex. I couldn’t get the color accurate; the background color is very much lime green and not yellow.

I know I’ve written about Kitchen-Klatter before, and when I saw these cookbooks, I had to have them. There’s a good bit of childhood nostalgia connected to watching my mom listening to Kitchen-Klatter on the radio. She would have pen in hand as she wrote down various recipes, and I found the ladies’ voices comforting.

Well, that is about all I have to share from my neck of Iowa — soon to be the western suburbs of Chicago, I hope. I hope everyone is having a fantastic start to summer (in 9 days)!

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