Gaining back that spirit took longer than anticipated. I knew I needed to make a lot of life changes, and the first was location. As much as it broke my heart to leave all I loved at Creeds, I knew without a doubt I needed to find another window and leap through. This is what led me to Pennsylvania. Sometimes life has a funny way of coming around and just working out. This is one of these instances.
When I first began pursuing my masters in 2002, I was told I needed one more undergraduate math class before official matriculation, so I enrolled in a basic 3-credit algebra review course. This is where I met a hat-wearing nice guy, Scott. He was an electronic engineer working toward a secondary nursing degree. At the time, our relationship did not expand much outside of our class/peer friendship, and it did not last past the one semester. We exchanged email addresses, but had our own agenda and knew our paths were heading into two intensely different directions.
Fast-forward to the 2008-2009 school year in VB, and my life unravelling at lightening speed. Spirit crushed, working out of reflex, and admittedly in deep depression myself, I get an email from Scott. It was simple, just checking to see if you happened to have the same email address, but the most life altering email one could receive. After spending a couple of months simply catching up, I filled Scott in on some of my current problems and eventually opened up about everything. Not even my family knew half of what was going on in my world. Once things came to a head with unspeakable tragedy on July 1, 2009, I was told to simply pack and move to Pennsylvania.
I have taken leaps before, but this was a leap I felt I hardly deserved. This isn’t only an open window, it is an open window someone is guiding me to, and helping me on the other side. I knew in my heart it was right, and took the chance wholeheartedly, without looking back. I pursued my PA certification feverishly, and was able to move to York, PA and begin substituting by fall. Open opportunities are never just handed to you, so I wasn’t about to waste a second of the gift. I was determined to be back in my own classroom and hand delivered dozens of application packets before the start of the new school year, covering about a 40 mile radius. By the first school year’s end, I was in a long-term position, turned contract, with a primary school in Northeastern School District in the very backyard I moved to. I taught for two wonderful years at Conewago Elementary school in this placement as I worked to rebuild my spirit, inside and out.
These two years gave me true, everlasting friendships, a revived passion for educating, and a marriage to the man who helped me live again.
As with any big ups, come some downs. In March of 2012, I was called into the principal’s office during instructional hours to meet with the Superintendent. With the company of my principal and human resources, I was told that due to budgetary troubles in the district, I would be “released” from my position at the end of the school year. Until this time, I had never heard of the term released so I needed to have all of this explained. Since I was not tenured, I could not be put on a call-back list. Should a position happen to open back up, I would need to apply, interview, and fight for it with all the other released teachers.
Two years of finding myself, and rebuilding my vigor came down to those few minutes in that small, closed office. All I could do was accept the news. Instead of taking the offer to go home for the day, I did the only thing I could do – went back to my room and taught my kids. Over the next couple of months I heard encouraging things like, “Don’t worry, you will find another job fast,” “You can still sub here, and something will open up if you hang tight.” But I knew it was time for a new chapter. My husband too. He applied for a position about two hours north and accepted a new job the day I received my final Board letter terminating my employment. It was summer time, and time to move on.
As devastating as it all was in some ways, I cannot help but look at the whole experience as a gift to help me find all the right ways to plant my feet back under me. The kids I taught, I loved and cherished. The friends I met, I learned from and embraced. The husband I now had, has made me whole (perhaps for the first time ever). All I needed to do, was find another classroom to call home.
My husband and I had a lot of work ahead of us. He owned the townhouse we lived in in York, but started his new job right away, and I needed to job hunt. We lived partially in York, part-time up north and the transition was not an easy one. From June to August he started a new job, we sold the townhouse, we lived at a campground out of suitcases during the week and worked to close out York on the weekends, I went on multiple interviews, and spread out application packets to every district in a 40 mile radius (again). Then, finally, I received a contract offer, and we bought our first house together. Yet another worth-while whirlwind!