Friday Feature: Crystal Handy

Who Am I When Everything is Pushing & Keeping Me Out?

My first two years of teaching were successful. I heard first-year horror stories and though I dealt with racism, student behavior, disorganization, and being an introvert, it was still a great first year. My second year was awesome; the students were a great bunch of kids, some of my superiors took time to better cater to my personality, and my organization skills definitely improved. I even went on to teach during that summer.

The teachers and I heard a lot about the upcoming group of students, however I chose to be proactive in developing professionally so that I could handle the challenge. Things started off well. Some behavior made it a little rocky, but it was still ok. One of the major factors that contributed to my success was my support system. If there was a student who disrupted the learning environment beyond my control, I knew who to send that student to, with no doubt that it would be handled. If I was reprimanded, it was done respectfully and did not undermine my authority. I had people in place to go to when I needed to debrief. I felt supported and encouraged. Well, a major part of that support system was taken away suddenly and my life was disrupted; I was not handling it well. The transition that occurred at the job that I loved was not smooth at all and I was deeply impacted emotionally. Things were changing, nothing seemed clear or consistent and discipline problems were indescribable. Many wanted to ignore that the environment was damaged. Instead of everyone working as a unit to fix it, people were accepting this new status quo of “any and everything goes and you have to deal with it.” I felt like I was becoming a target and was being pushed out because I wasn’t the only one that sent out students or wrote referrals, yet when things happened, I was to blame and second-guessed.

Time went on and my voice wasn’t being heard. Coworkers with the same issues I had were receiving strategies; all I got was slack from some people who had never even stepped foot in my classroom to see what was going on. The lack of support became too much; I decided it was best for me to leave my job, my career, my stable income. I finished out the school year as a substitute teacher and after much reflection, I was very hopeful of starting over elsewhere. Unfortunately, it wasn’t happening. I applied to so many places and didn’t get hired. I felt black-walled. I already knew that it might look bad that I resigned during a school year but I had the truth on my side. I was waiting for someone, anyone, to see that with everything that went down, I was not the only one that left mid-stream. That so many were fed up. But here I was again singled out and not recommended at future positions all because one person spoke negatively about my work ethic (who has never even seen my work ethic first-hand).

I was good, but in the back of my mind, I was angry at this person. How did things get so bad when a few months ago things were fine? Then I decided I would not give this person power that they didn’t deserve. They aren’t in control of my destiny, God is! I sought God, not to give me a teaching job, but to put me where I am purposed to be, and that I use the time I have to start tapping into my purpose. Maybe I will return to the classroom one day, but bigger than that, God used this situation to show me that he is in control, I have purpose that no man can take away, I am great even with the stigma that comes with leaving a job, and God will take care of me no matter what!

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