We write about widowhood as we live it. Together we examine the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life as a widowed person. The views expressed here are those held by each individual author. We take no credit for their brillance; we just provide them with a forum for expressing their widowed journey in words that are uniquely their own.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
They just don't get it...
I make no secret of the fact that I want a permanent teaching gig at the kids’ school.
I changed career a couple of years ago so that I could spend more time with my kids, and my aim has always been to work in a primary school, preferably the same one that the kids attend.
But those jobs are hard to come by.
So I took a position teaching maths and science at a high school just out of the local area. I’d done exactly one day on trial and the day I started my official new job there was the day Greg died.
The flashbacks to that day are etched into my mind: the text book I had to use using car crash analogies to teach speed and acceleration; the kids who were beautiful; the exact line on the concrete I was standing on when the principal came to find me and tell me that I needed to drive home Very Carefully now...
There was no way I could go back to that school.
A few days after Greg's funeral, a very kind person at my children’s primary school could see my problem and offered me a part-time, temporary position at their school to “help me get back into the swing of things”.
I am still doing this job almost 18 months later. (Two weeks shy of 18 months to be exact: Greg died 18 months ago today).
Partly because it suits me, partly because this particular person at school recognised my value and is doing everything in her power to keep me employed there. She gets it.
At a recent meeting, my current boss asked the department to keep me: he knows I’m valuable and this is why he wants to keep me. It has nothing to do with my marital status.
He doesn't really get it.
I asked the department to keep me, explaining very clearly both my worth as a teacher (topped my year, highest possible ranking, maths-science background which is sadly lacking from most teacher’s repertoires); and the fact that my husband is buried in a nearby cemetery and nothing will move me or the kids away from him and our support network.
...and within a week of the meeting with departmental officers, I had the offer of a permanent position....
....at the other end of the State.
2000 km away.
I asked the departmental officer whether there was a footnote on my file explaining my compelling reasons not to do country service [i]and she said:
“Yes, but we thought you might like a permanent job and a change of scenery”
I’ve not yet quite got my feet under me properly, the kids are fragile and cling to everything familiar and the department thinks I might enjoy a major life change????
They just don’t get it at all.
(Thankfully, my psychologist DOES get it and has written a strongly worded letter saying that the kids and I need to stay put for the foreseeable future).
[i] All teachers in Queensland are required to work in regional areas for at least part of their working life. I maintain that I have already done this (for another government department) and know that it would kill me to go away from my home again.