I Will Not Stop

Alexandria - Los Angeles, California
Entered on March 12, 2009

I am more active when I am on vacation than when I am at work.

This week, I am attending an intense five-day technology training that is designed to help teachers update their curriculum to serve students in a digital age. In the evening, I am entertaining friends for dinner, plan baby showers and organizing volleyball tournaments.

“Do you have a picture of yourself where you are not running or jumping?” my new doubles partner, Abhi, asked.

He’s right. I can’t sit still. I’m a multitasker and an overachiever. My instructor told us that we have to pick a project to design for our students: make a brochure, record a podcast, produce a video or make a PowerPoint. I want to choose ALL of them, not just one. And it is due today. I am fully engaged with life, even on vacation.

A couple of people tried to recruit me to play on their team in a local volleyball league in Santa Monica, but I could not commit.

“I am just too busy with work,” I said.

“Don’t make sacrifices for work,” Steve said. “You won’t always have your job, but you will always have volleyball.”

Teaching is not a job. It is a passion. I love interacting with my students. I would devote my time to creating curriculum and empowering young minds even if I didn’t get paid.

My friend Shaun volunteered to help me plan a Civil War unit on his day off. Shaun is a second lieutenant in the air force and he is preparing for a promotion next month.

“It is too bad California’s educators are desperately underpaid” Shaun said.

California’s educators are more than desperately underpaid. California’s educators are now desperately unemployed. On March 10, LAUSD, the second largest school district in the nation, voted to issue 9,000 pink slips to its employees.

I received mine today.

The news was unsettling, but not unexpected. On one hand, I am worried that

I will not have a steady income and concerned that I might end up in a job that I do not care for.

On the other hand, I am excited to see where I can go from here. I can take time off to travel. I can look for a school that is founded on innovation instead of district mandates. I can move to an area with cheaper housing and safer streets.

“There are only two things that limit you – time and imagination,” my instructor Jeff said. “One of them you can control. One of them you can’t.”

Responding to unemployment is a test of faith and self-efficacy.

I might be out of a job. But I will always remain active. I might be unemployed. But I will not lose hope. I might not be able to pay for gas, a plane ticket home, or a movie ticket. But I will never encounter true poverty and the suffering that accompanies it.

In July, I will likely join the 12.5 million Americans of the labor force who are currently unemployed, but I am not concerned.

I have my family. I have my life. I have my passion. I will not stop teaching. And I will not stop learning how to be a better teacher. Oh and let’s not forget volleyball.