Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.
Alright ya’ll – fair warning: this is a long one. Grab a cup of coffee before proceeding. There will be no cute pictures to break it up into sections today. I’m putting on my “serious writing” face.
For those of you who have been following this blog for a long time, you know that in September I had to make a big life decision. It didn’t really start in September, but that was the moment that my life veered off onto the path that I’m on now. This whole debacle started back in July. Yes July! So it’s been a long time coming, and it’s almost finished. I didn’t even start this blog until August, and it was on a different (completely horrible) site. So I’m just going to recap a little bit – since I’m sure no one has the time to read every single one of my posts.
In July I was hit with a major decision. At the time I was on the supply list for the school board where I was living. We were in the middle of a strike (as all of Ontario was) which just magnified the problems I was having with teaching at the time. I also worked at Tim Horton’s because, well I had student loans and car payments and no money. I was full time over the summer and part time during the school year. The owners/store manager and I had reached a deal that I could stay a supervisor (more money!) even with dropping to part time, but hated it. If anyone has ever worked at a Tim Horton’s, ya’ll know what I mean. Sure it’s the symbol of Canadianism but it literally has been the worst job I have ever had. They are soul-sucking vultures….but I can save that for another post.
In July, I had an “exchange of words” with the owners and store manager. They were bullying me into doing things I wasn’t comfortable with and wasn’t qualified to do. I was getting in trouble for not doing things I had never agreed to take on, and down right refused to start 4 weeks before dropping down to part time again. The owner said to give her a few days to figure things out and we would talk again. The day we were scheduled to talk again, I handed in my notice. She was a little shocked but I felt amazing. Then it kind of hit me: I didn’t have a job.
It was only a 2 week gap from my last day at Tim’s to the first day of school so it was a nice holiday. But because of the strike, I wasn’t teaching either. I was doing a lot of soul searching and decided that I couldn’t teach any more in the Ontario system. I hated it. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, I hated it. I know my self well enough to know that I needed out. So I decided to get out.That kind of sounds like I was leaving the mafia or something, but it was a huge decision.
All summer I had been applying to other jobs (over 60 in July and August, and countless more from April to July) that were kind of education related but not teaching. I had a few interviews but nothing really presented itself. I had an offer from an “alternative school” though. These kids were wards of the state and they needed a teacher. A regular customer at Tim’s took my business card on my last day and said he might have something for me. He was a councilor with the school, and kind of explained the job. He didn’t tell me it involved working with such high risk youth though. I was under the impression it was children with disabilities, not anger issues and police records. After the interview I was extremely scared of the position, but thankfully they didn’t offer me the teaching spot – but a chance to work in their group homes until I had more experience. Not wanting to deal with the threat of having a butter knife held to my eye (yeah it actually happened to one of the other workers!) I declined the offer.
Then a friend told me her work was hiring. It was at a Roger’s call centre in Kitchener – where I spent all of my teen and early 20’s. 95% of my friends are there – I was so excited! I had an interview and was asked in for another one. They had offered me the job when I went in, but driving back home I literally had an emotional breakdown in my car. Like sobbing while driving. Which isn’t a good idea on normal roads, and this was worse: back country roads with no lights and a high possibility of wildlife crossing the road. I knew that I couldn’t work there, and I knew in that moment I would be coming back to Korea.
The next day, I emailed my previous recruiter and here I am! 🙂 Happy and at peace with my decision!! Now, the prompt asks what would have happened if I had made a different choice:
I’m technically still part of the school board. I’m on a leave of absence, so I will still have my spot when my contract is over the end of November. Before the leave started, I sent an email out to the principals who regularly call me in (ego booster!) and the teachers who list me as their “call first”. All of them expressed their sadness in me leaving and said to let them know when I get back. It was so nice to have that sentiment as I left, knowing that at least to a small handful of people I was appreciated there. If I had stayed, the strike would have ended twoish weeks later and I would have been called in and had lots of work. I probably would have been able to swing it financially with only one job and even had some extra savings. But, emotionally I’d be destroyed. I didn’t realize how horrible it was to be teaching in a public board, I am definitely not built for it. But by now, I would have been able to apply to the Long-term supply list and could have already been teaching in an long-term assignment. Again, hating it, but hey money is money right?
But money isn’t everything. I make the same here as I did working full time at Tim Horton’s – basically minimum wage in Canadian standards but its more than enough here. With supply teaching, 5 full days after deductions gave me more than 10 full days at Tim’s before deductions.
Now I’m at another cross roads, which is the tail end of all of this. I have to pay of Ontario College of Teacher’s fees by April 15th. If I pay them, then I can reactivate with the school board and keep my spot on the list (it’s the only condition of my leave of absence). So I have a few options:
- pay $150 for the fees, and reactivate, just in case I decide to go home at the end of this contract, then I’ll at least have a job waiting for me when I go back but I’ll have been out of the minds of teachers for a full year already, loosing my popularity with certain ones.
- pay the $150 for the fees but give up my supply spot, knowing that I hate teaching in Canada and don’t want to do it anymore, It’s kind of awesome to be able to put letters after my name. Sure it’s not MD, but OCT is pretty rad too.
- don’t pay the fees, but I can reactivate when I get back with no penalties (pay $130 to reactivate and $150 for next year’s fees) but then I’d give up my spot on the supply list
- don’t pay the fees, email the school board and tell them to give my spot to someone else and leave teaching behind forever.
Having my license with the OCT doesn’t affect my job here. I have a friend who might have a place for me at her hogwan next year. Or I might go home and try my hand at something else, really feeling the pull towards being a nanny (still using my kindergarten skills but without the professional teaching part). So right now, this is the last big decision to make and it will determine the next step in my life. I’m kind of really leaning on option 4. Just letting it all go. Saving the money, and letting my spot go to someone else who actually wants it. But we will see I guess!