Nothing reminds me of the impeding school year than the intoxicating smell of fadeless chart paper. That, and opening my mailbox to find one of my thrice weekly Really Good Stuff catalogs, one of which I received today. I have been buying supplies from Really Good Stuff for several years. I always go overboard shopping for teaching materials. Like an overgrown crow, I am drawn to bright objects which call to me and compel me to grab them for my classroom. From the pages of the catalog, I can almost hear them hiss to me hypnotically like those slimy eels Flotsam and Jetsam in the Little Mermaid or maybe more like Gollum in Lord of the Rings: “Buys ussssss….you knows you wants ussssss…you knows you needs ussssssss….you knows you have to have another 25 multi-colored plastic basketsssss.”
Teaching Supply Fix
Opening up the colorful pages, I began leafing through the catalog saying, “Oh” and “Aw” like someone watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. And then it hit me. Really hit me. For the first time in ages, I may not need this catalog. Because for the second year in a row I, like so many teachers in this economy, was laid off due to budget cuts. I am a teacher without a classroom. Last year, I was lucky enough to land a job teaching first grade in another district. This year? Not so fortunate. Being laid off twice in the span of two years can be pretty disheartening and damaging to the ego despite reassurances from superintendents that the layoffs “bear no reflection on your job performance.” Nonetheless, I am determined to find the positive side of, and maybe even the humor in, this unfortunate situation.
This year it’s entirely possible that the terms differentiation, higher order thinking, Bloom’s taxonomy, data driven, benchmark, and graphic organizer will not escape my lips. Nor will those fun teaching acronyms: IEP, ESL, SST, PPT, DRA, CST, OWL, CAP, RtI …
I will be initial-less!
And, I don’t know how I feel about that. Part of me is relieved that there will be no classroom to set up in the August heat. The other part of me is already beginning to go through withdrawal. Because it is mid-August and there are no bites on the job search front. Thus, I’ve had to become pro-active. I’ve already bumped into my daughter’s 1st grade teacher and begged nicely asked to volunteer on a regular basis. And by that, I meant, like, daily. Because isn’t that what every educator wants? An unemployed teacher masquerading as a parent haunting her classroom every week? At least volunteering will keep me working with kids.
In the meantime, I also will be blogging monthly at ReallyGoodTeachers.com about my experiences in the job market. And every once in awhile, because I happen to live nearby, I’ll drive by the Really Good Stuff Warehouse where I can be closer to those colorful baskets, reading bags, pocket charts, and ah, yes, fadeless chart paper.
Even we displaced teachers need our fixes, after all.
About the Author – Updated 2017
Wendy Cushing has been teaching for 28 years in grades Pre-K-3. She currently teaches 3rd grade in Monroe, Connecticut. In addition to teaching, Wendy enjoys pinning teaching ideas she will never use, party planning, freelance writing, and hanging out with her over 300 lbs. worth of dogs. She is mom to two wonderful daughters, one living in NYC, and the other about to enter 7th grade.