I'm pretty stoked.
Two Fridays from now, after my work day is done, I'll be getting all gussied up, heading over to the local country club and enjoying a $50 meal at no expense to me, and schmoozing with both the big wigs and my induction "class" in honor of my impending tenure. It feels equally awesome and surreal.
[We'll omit, for the time being, the fact that tenure is about to lose much of its significance in the state of Illinois and will probably be eradicated all together within the next five years. Let me have my moment of glory, gosh darn it.]
There were plenty of moments in the first two years at my current job that I feared my every move held the potential to get me fired. It's just common knowledge in the teaching community that you lay low and don't make any mistakes those first four years, because schools are within their right to let you go if you so much as look at an administrator the wrong way. No justification is needed for employee release prior to tenure.
But, I gained boatloads of confidence and reassurance heading into my 3rd year that I was wanted and proficient in my role, and for the past year or so, as life has roller-coastered a bit around me, the job has become sort of a given--an assumed part of my every day existence.
I fear I've started to take it for granted. Can it be that, amidst financial turmoil and economic chaos, with unemployment rates soaring and hardly any teaching positions open for my newly graduated/graduating friends, that I have forgotten just how blessed I am to wake up to a job each and every day? And what's more, a job that I actually enjoy? It wasn't so long ago I absolutely dreaded the morning alarm and another unpredictable day in the school from hell. Though I promised myself 4 years ago I never would, have I lost sight of how good I've got it here?
That little "T" next to my name on the evaluation list will make it less likely that this privilege will be taken from me (not that it has been all that likely up until now, anyways), but more importantly I think it will be a good reminder that I'm right where I'm supposed to be with little thanks to me. Sure I've put in the hard work and passion to get this far, but in many ways I feel like I don't deserve much credit at all.
Ten years ago, when I first decided I wanted to go into special education, the LAST sub-group I imagined I'd want to teach was these kiddos. Yet, here I am, feeling like the perfect job was dropped into my lap, constantly waving off exclamations of others to the effect of, "It takes a special person to do this job. God bless you!" Yeah, I honestly don't see it that way. I'm not really sure what else I'd be doing at this point.
So, did I earn the accolades? I suppose. But I'm of the mind that nothing that ever happens to us is truly in our control. So, there's nothing else that I can choose to be but grateful.