Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

I’m Hired!

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Lessons Learned, Teaching

I was offered a teaching job last week, but I’ve been too pooped to even tell you about it!

On Tuesday morning, I received an unexpected call from a school asking me if I’d like to interview for an ESL position. I hadn’t even seen the posting yet, because it had just become available, and so I was really surprised! I interviewed the following morning, and they called me back within an hour to offer me the job! This was Wednesday, and I went back to the school Thursday to spend some time with the instructional support teacher to learn more about the curriculum and the classes I’d be assigned. Friday was the first staff development day, and I’ve been pooped ever since!

The Lord continues to teach me of His faithfulness and provision. Although I already miss the freedom and opportunity to write that ¬†I enjoyed just one week ago, I’m learning to trust His plan. I’m still writing, although it’s exhausting. My goal is still 1,000 words per day; some days I don’t quite make it. His choice of provision right now is for me to work as a teacher, and I’m thankful for it. I’ve met some great people, and I’m excited about the opportunity to meet some great kids!

As always, thank you for your support and prayers! ūüôā



August 8, 2011

So, I didn’t get that job at __________ High School. The assistant principal called this morning and said that although he really wanted to hire me, he couldn’t because of my certification. He used the phrase, “they won’t let me.” It’s weird — I feel exactly the way I told everyone I’d feel. I’m disappointed, but not that upset. I want to write, not spend my life figuring out a new teaching job I plan to quit once I have a baby anyway. At the same time, I know I have to get a job one way or another. Not getting this one means I get to keep looking and admitting I’m a loser to every person I meet who asks, “What do you do?” (I’m meeting people frequently these days, since we’ve moved to a new place, so this is happening¬†at¬†least¬†every Sunday.) It’s exhausting, really, and I’m tired of talking about it to everyone. I know it’s a major thing in my life right now, and therefore a natural topic of conversation, but I’m tired of it already. Let’s talk about anything else in the world except my lack of a job. If I get another interview or an actual job offer, I’ll tell you. Otherwise, just assume the worst and save me the humiliation. Please. I love how I started this by saying I wasn’t that upset, and then griped for a page! The truth is, I didn’t totally want¬†that job, for a number of reasons. Not getting it was a slight relief. However, getting it would have remedied a lot of short-term annoyances and embarrassments. Long-term, I would have hated the drive (~40 minutes without traffic), hated not having my own classroom (it was a floater position), and really gone crazy with learning a new curriculum and trying to stay sane outside of school. I may well have loved it, though, because I do love teaching. Oh well! I asked God for a good interview, and He abundantly blessed me with one. Since I’ve been waiting, I’ve been praying for His will and His help in embracing whatever His will is. God is faithful and full of grace.



This is a terrible time to be looking for a teaching job in Texas. (Anywhere, really, but we just had a major budget crisis over here and it’s a huge disaster.) So what am I doing? I’m looking for a teaching job in Texas! We recently moved for the husband’s job, so that meant that I had to leave my job. From what I hear, my old position was filled internally by an amazing person, so I’m really happy about what God is doing there!

I’m not exactly sure what God is doing here, though. I’ve had four interviews, and all of them really went great:

  • I was offered the first job at a private school, but I declined. (It was a 45-minute drive, about 1/5 of my previous salary, and no benefits. Honestly, not worth the gas.)
  • I sort of expected to be offered the second job, but they went out of their way to avoid me after my awesome interview. They never responded to my follow-ups, not even to say, “We hate you; would you please leave us alone!?”
  • By the third, I was just worn out by the whole disappointing¬†rigamarole. I put on a good face, and I was called back for a second interview, but eventually passed over for someone with more experience teaching that particular class.
  • I’m waiting to hear back about my last interview, which was by far the best interview of my life. The assistant principal called me on Thursday to let me know that I was definitely a top contender, but that he’s running into some snags with my certification, (history vs. social studies), and he’s trying to get it worked out if he can. He’s hoping to give me an answer today (Monday).

My husband and I went on a date on Friday, and he asked me this question, “So what’s the plan if you don’t get hired?”


Let’s take this one step at a time and see what the man says. Let’s let Future Lainie deal with that problem. Let’s just relax and enjoy the nachos. Let’s not talk about things that make Lainie cry.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t know. I don’t even know if I WANT to be hired. I know I need to be, because I know we need the money. Here is why I want to get hired, and why I don’t:

If I Get Hired

  • Benefits! I would love to continue my insurance, and to actually have maternity coverage when that time comes. (Did you know that if you seek individual insurance in the state of Texas, they don’t offer maternity? AT ALL? You have to be part of a major company.)
  • Money! This is great, because we have lots and lots of debt. A lot of people think that we’re living on easy street now that my husband is in practice. Not so. You try having so much student debt that it’s like having another mortgage to pay — on top of regular expenses. We’re just as broke as you. You should see my sad, paint damaged car that was born when I was in 7th grade.
  • Fulfillment! It’s true that teaching is very fulfilling. I love students, and I love teaching. I know I’d love it, once I got into it. I know I’d miss it if I didn’t have it.
  • Not having to find another job! This is nice. If I get a teaching job, I don’t have to answer David’s question. I don’t have to agonize over whether to substitute teach or work retail. I don’t have to feel like a rejected loser who can’t get someone to hire her.

If I Don’t Get Hired

  • Writing! This is a big deal, even though I’m not getting paid for this, and I’ve experienced no success at it. I feel dumb making it sound like a big deal, but it’s a big deal to me. I love writing, and I feel like I’m doing what I was meant to do when I’m doing it. I wrote recently that August is typically my month for giving up. That’s true. I don’t know how people can have a full-time job, hold down normal household and life responsibilities, AND write. I have no idea, because I end up having to give up writing when school starts every year. Presently, I’m super-involved in this novel I’m writing, and I’m really upset that I might have to give it up in a week.
  • Less stress! Teaching is super-stressful, no matter what. Your first year at a new school is that times ten million, and I’m not stoked about that. I’ve already done it twice, and I know that getting this job I’m waiting to hear about would have its own unique stressors. One of which is NOT having my own classroom! They have so many students and so little space that you have to pay your dues as a newbie and carry your classroom on a cart from room to room throughout the day. I’ve done that, and it sucks. You don’t ever feel like you have a home, and your kids can’t make their classroom their own, because it’s not. Boo. Plus it’s high school and all the kids are bigger than me! (I want high school over middle school, but I wish they were shorter.)
  • Better marriage! Honestly, I’m a better wife these days. I can take care of things and offer to help him with whatever he needs done during the day, and I’m always super-excited to see him when he gets home. No griping and stressing and grumping because I have to make dinner, clean the litter box, sweep the floor, grade papers, and lesson plan in two hours. When you’re teaching — especially your first year at a new school and/or subject — you never stop working. It’s hell. I’ll be a terrible wife.

So what now? We wait and see what the man says, then let Future Lainie deal with it. Enjoy the nachos.


July 30, 2011

Today, I met [a friend] for lunch. I hadn’t seen her in about 2 years. A lot had changed in two years for her, so we had a lot to catch up on. I didn’t have nearly as much to share, but when I did, I told her something I didn’t even realize about myself before I said it. I said I’m currently happier than I’ve been for as long as I can remember. What a change, right? Even from just a week or two ago, when I was writing about depression. Well, here’s what changed: I started writing — really¬†writing. Scheduled, 1,000 words a day writing. I love it. I’ve come alive. I’m me. I’m dancing around my house and singing praise songs to God. Well, I should be thorough and say that I started praying for deliverance from depression, and praying through the Psalms, before the Spirit prompted me to stop moping about and to get serious about writing. I feel connected to Him, like my story is His¬†story, like I’m doing what I was made to do, and it’s a great experience. Problem is, July is traditionally my month for writing. Summer school is over, I get a lot of free time, and my typing fingers start flying. And then school starts. The thing is, I can be a writer, a wife, and a housekeeper. Or, I can be a teacher, a wife, and a housekeeper. I have not been able to successfully be all four. If I try, I fail and get depressed. If I drop the writing, I’m good at the other three, but I’m aching inside. Stephen King says,¬†

If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it? (On Writing, p. 147)

Because, Mr. King, I don’t know how to do it all. I can’t yet quit my day job — well, technically I don’t currently have one, but the plan is to find one — and I am not superwoman. I really don’t know how to do it, but I sure am afraid that I’ll desert Luke and Catie’s story the way I walked away from Josh and Leora’s last August. It terrifies me, actually, because I know¬†I’m supposed to be writing, and I don’t want to give it up. But, August is traditionally my month for giving up.¬†



July 27, 2011

My interview with Mr. B——- at the high school went awesome. I can fairly confidently say that it was probably the best interview I’ve ever had — he interviewed me for an hour! I’m so thankful to have had a positive experience. I’ve been praying every time that God grant me a good interview, regardless of the ultimate outcome. I’ve just felt so much pressure to get a job, and so it’s easy to feel like a failure when I’m not getting the job each time. At least if I have a good interview, I can confidently say I gave it my all. I won’t be agonizing over what I could have or should have said — at least not too much! God has been so gracious in giving me four positive interviewing experiences. I’m so grateful! On another note, I realized that I haven’t thought of an enemy for my book. I have to have (a human manifestation of) the enemy! Circumstances aren’t enough… I need real temptations. Unexpected ones. Hmmm. It’s gonna be good!¬†


I have to return a call to a principal who wants to schedule an interview. I’m terrified of calling people I don’t know, because I just know I’ll trip over my words and sound stupid. This is a bad thing made even worse when you’re trying to get the man to hire you.

So. This is what I write in a Word document before I call.

May I please speak with Mr. B———?

Hi Mr. B———-, this is Lainie Gallagher returning your call to set up an interview for a social studies position.

I am definitely still interested, and I can be available either Wednesday or Thursday, whichever works better for you. My phone number is ***-***-****. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Thanks; hope you have a great day.

You might notice the breaks and the lack of continuity. This is allowing for multiple possibilities: speaking to a secretary first, speaking directly to him when I’m transferred, or getting voice mail (which really is the ideal situation). No matter what, I’m covered.

I do this with nearly every professional call I have to make, including calling parents when their kids are bad. This is something I’ve always done. Calling is a very last resort if I can’t take care of a situation via email or through someone else making the call for me. Does this make me weird? I submit that this is further evidence that I’m a writer. ūüôā



This was a busy weekend because we went up to our hometown — mostly for David’s 30th birthday. ¬†It was exciting because I actually pulled off a surprise! ¬†We went to a baseball game with David’s family, but I had arranged for a bunch of his college friends to be sitting with us, too. ¬†It worked — he was surprised and very excited to see all of his friends! ¬†Saturday was a stressful day, because we also had to visit with my mom and my sister’s family. ¬†We are in a pickle with them, because visiting at one of their houses is always really uncomfortable and never-ending; it’s hard to find a good time to leave, even when it’s evident that we still have nothing in common and thus nothing to say. ¬†We’ve taken to suggesting restaurants instead, because there’s a natural stopping point. ¬†However, it’s embarrassing. ¬†I really feel awful being embarrassed of my family, but I am. ¬†They are openly rude and insulting to people, and it’s just awful. ¬†I just feel like I should go behind them and apologize to strangers for their rudeness. ¬†I don’t, usually, because it can make an awkward situation even worse. ¬†But I really don’t know how to handle it when people in my party are rude to the waitstaff, or audibly express disgust that the table of Mexicans next to us should learn English, or loudly make comments about the sexual orientation of two men not three feet from us. ¬†What should I do? ¬†It’s really, really horrible, and I hate it. ¬†Reasoning with my family is fruitless. ¬†Any visible discomfort on my part invites combative and provoking comments. ¬†Total silence suggests agreement. ¬†Perhaps we should just go back to meeting at someone’s house to spare innocent bystanders. ¬†On another note, school starts tomorrow for teachers. ¬†I was pretty down in the dumps over it all week, mostly because I feel like my summer was wasted. ¬†Today, however, I’ve resigned to the inevitable, and I’m actually excited to see some of my friends. ¬†That’s a start! ¬†I really want to be intentional about forming relationships this year, because I am very isolated because of the subject I teach. ¬†It’s time to focus on making it a good year!

Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague: I met “Joe’s” little brother yesterday at Camp [Insert Name of Middle School]. ¬†He’s so excited to be coming here next year!

Me: Oh yeah? ¬†Does he look like “Joe”?

Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague: (shaking her head) Not really. ¬†A little bit, but he doesn’t have the same beautiful eyes! ¬†By the way, we just love “Joe” in our department! ¬†What an awesome kid!

The conversation continued, and then we changed the subject. ¬†I left feeling about two inches tall. ¬†I do not find anything about Joe to be “beautiful.” ¬†I do not “love” him. ¬†In fact, he drives me up a freaking wall. ¬†I already know they’re going to put him back in my classroom for the third year in a row, and frankly, I’m not happy. ¬†It’s exhausting. ¬†He soaks up so much of my time and energy that I am not the teacher I could be/need to be for the rest of the class.

Is he a bad kid? ¬†Not really. ¬†He had some emotional problems last year that caused some confrontations, but he’s matured a good bit. ¬†We got him the help he needed, from the aforementioned department, and his behavior has gotten even better.

But he’s so needy. ¬†I get that he has issues. ¬†I get that it’s not his fault. ¬†I get it. ¬†But, I am not “that” kind of teacher. ¬†Everyone always says you have to be a certain kind of person to work with that particular population. ¬†Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague is that kind of person. ¬†She’s amazing. ¬†A day in the life of Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague would leave me in tears and would probably result in the termination of my employment one way or the other. ¬†I am¬†light-years¬†away from being “that” kind of person. ¬†This is precisely why I didn’t choose her line of work.

But Joe is still in my class. ¬†While he qualifies to be in the aforementioned department, and spends half of the day there, he also qualifies to be in another special population: the one I teach. ¬†It’s an equally needy population, but for different reasons. ¬†So, here I am every day with a classroom full of needy kids, and there’s Joe. ¬†Double-needy, persistent Joe. ¬†Completely honest ugliness: I want him out. ¬†Gone. ¬†With Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague all day.

She uses words like “beautiful” and “love” when she talks about him.

I can’t get past the hygiene issues and the incessant hand-raising.

What a disgusting, horrible person I am.
Christian?  Evidently not very.

My prayer the next morning:

Show me something beautiful in all my kids today.  Especially Joe.


None of the Ws.

Posted: April 30, 2010 in Holy Matrimony, Teaching, Writing

LG: ¬†“I can’t seem to fit writing and wife-ing and working into the same day. ¬†How does one do it without one of them going to total crap?”

KD: “Honestly? Something is going to suffer, and that something is usually you.”

I’ve been very selfish lately. ¬†I feel called by God to write, so I’ve been feeling this sense of entitlement, like everything and everyone around me should cater to this. ¬†Obviously, this is wrong; none of the Ws should suffer.




Yes — write. ¬†Lainie, WRITE! ¬†Maybe no one around you understands why, but I¬†do. ¬†I made you to write. ¬†So write. ¬†“Wife-ing?” ¬†You know that I made you to love the mess out of that man in the next room. ¬†You need him, and he needs you. ¬†Don’t go acting like your writing is more important than him; don’t you ever be so arrogant. ¬†You love¬†him like I made you to love him. ¬†Shut your computer and love him. ¬†And working? ¬†Think about the students I gave you; they love you and need you like none of your students before ever did. ¬†You can’t slack on them, either. ¬†So what’s going to suffer? ¬†Not a W, that’s for sure — a Y.

Y O U. ¬†Get over it now and figure out a schedule. ¬†You’re doing all three Ws, and you better do them with all your heart. ¬† No excuses for letting any of them suffer.

What are you waiting for?




An easier answer? ¬†If I’m honest, that’s exactly what I’m waiting for. ¬†An easier answer and more time. ¬†Unfortunately, I don’t think either of those is going to happen, so I guess I need to get my butt in gear!

Ws, here I come.