Today, Michelle Jonas, the vice principal of Crook County High School, called me.

“We would like to offer you a full time position at Pioneer High School,” she said. Pioneer is the alternative high school. Alternative is the word used for students who can’t cut it in the regular system or those who need to work during the day or those who need a different environment. In other words, we’re talking about 90 percent boys.

“Paul’s in Alaska. I’d like to talk it over with him first, but it may be hard to get a hold of him. How long do I have to make this decision?” I asked.

“Well, obviously we’d like to move forward with this as soon as possible. But Jan will be sending you a certified letter in the mail after which you will have seven days to respond,” she answered. She explained that the job would consist of some direct instruction, some assistance with online classes, and that it is a five-day, full-time position with my prep coming at the end of the day. Obviously, I’d be dealing with many of the most difficult students in the public school system.

I think, I’ll be dealing with angry boys in men’s bodies who probably all have either a mean father or a non-existent father.

I answered, “I already heard rumors about this position opening up. I thought it was offered to Mr. G—. Can you tell me what happened? I thought he accepted it. Did he change his mind?” Mr. G — has a military background. His teaching style is highly structured, but his dry, calm sense of humor helps him to be loved and respected. I also heard that he has a vision for Pioneer High School — he really wanted to make some good changes that would help these students. I think This school needs a man. Those boys don’t need one more woman in their lives telling them what they should do.

Michelle answered, “We were thinking of offering the job to him. However, we discovered we need to follow protocol and offer this position to any teachers on the recall list with a secondary certification. You are one of two people who have the correct certification on the recall list.”

“What happens if I refuse this position? Does that remove me from the recall list?” I asked.

“Yes,” she answered. “Refusing a full-time position will remove you from the recall list. Your recall status was only valid until this September anyway.”

“Thank you for the opportunity,” I said. “I’ll try to give you an answer much sooner than seven days. I just need to talk to Paul first.”

I talked with Paul. Nothing really seemed to come of it. It was the same old dance around the same old pros and cons. Stability, steady income, and insurance vs. happy stay-at-home mother homeschooling in poverty.

I’m beginning to feel there is a conspiracy out there in the world to keep mothers out of the home and fathers out of work.

Why is it that I keep getting offered jobs? Paul gets paid about $12,000 more a year than I do because he’s higher up on the pay scale. It would be nice if he’d get a job. I’m the one who wants to homeschool. I’m the one who wants to bake and fold laundry and clean the home and nurture and create a home. I want to read aloud and teach the art of narration and remind them to brush their teeth and make their beds. I want to train the girls in good habits. Teach them to attain excellence in all they attempt. I’m not saying Paul doesn’t want all this – but I have a passion for it.

But I know I shouldn’t be complaining. With the recession on, I should be thankful. It’s just that I’m …

not.

I’d rather blame the system for not hiring me and be happy in my unemployment.

Offering me employment puts the responsibility completely in my court. I must answer for if my family goes hungry. I must answer for our financial struggles. I must answer for moving us away from a community that Elsa doesn’t want to leave.

It gets more complicated, though.

This job relates indirectly to my good friend, Heather. Every morning, I’ve prayed Lord, please bring Heather a job. A single mom with two boys, she’s been subbing in the system for three years now, waiting for an opportunity to get a job in Prineville where her community lives.

This is how it all shakes down. Mr. G — holds a social studies position at the regular high school. He does a wonderful job there, but he has a vision for Pioneer to really put his all into making a great program for these students. He wants this position. But the school system must offer it to those, like me, on the recall list first. I’m one of two people to which they must offer it.

Anyway, if he accepts the job, that leaves an opening in the social studies department at the high school and guess who is first in line for that job?

Heather.

Now, I realize that I can’t make actual decisions for my family for what might be if
everything works out. I could turn down the job and the other person on the recall list could take it. Or Mr. G– might go to Pioneer and a person from the middle school  wants the social studies position, knocking Heather out of the running.

But do you see how it all interrelates? Do you see how I might reluctantly accept what is just a job to me and interfere with someone else’s vision? The ripples of my decision will hit the coast of someone’s life.

Any person just looking at our financial position would tell me … “Duh, you’ve got a full time position with benefits in a school system. Here’s your chance in.”

To add to the pressure, if I turn this position down, I’m removed from the recall list. No more will the school system call me with offers.

I’ve arrived at a point of no return. Do I go the safe,sensible direction? Or do I follow a nebulous calling to homeschool and write? A calling that many days I doubt if it even exists? My kids will do fine in the school system. They have what it takes to succeed. And writing … well, come on,Danielle. Be serious. Do you know how difficult it is to make an income as a writer?

So, I’m in need of advice. Write to me. Tell me what you think.

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