Coping with Life Change

Mar 31, 2016 by

Coping with Life Change
Six years ago I was laid off. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I think about it because the emotions are still pretty raw associated with this time period in my life.  Looking back on it now, I am able to see that God had a plan for me and thus doors needed to close. That chapter of my life is behind me, and I am thankful that I have moved on to other things. God gave me the strength to move forward to find the next chapter of the story.

I’m interested though in how others deal with tough life changes. For me, clearly, I have to write about them. I have to vent and get things out of my head. I have to pray too of course, but writing is truly how I get things out of my heart, how I clear my head, how I stumble through angst. But, being laid off impacted my heart. I couldn’t handle the mixture of hurt and grief, so I had to write things down…

Pink Slips and other things that suck…

I work hard. I do not have a cushy job like so many of you believe. I do not have weekends and summers “off”, I do not get to work only 9-5. I am good at what I do. I work hard for every penny that I make, and of those pennies I pay back my loans for my bachelors degree, I pay back my loans for my masters degree, I buy pens and paper and books for those that cannot afford it, I buy colored pencils and notebooks so that they can express themselves, I buy lunches for those that forgot, I spend money to further educate myself, I hand pennies over in support of extra curricular activities… I stay up late working and I get up earlier than I have to so that I can be to work early for them. I create, I engage, I write, I plan, I learn…I teach.



I honestly thought it would be pink. It’s not, in fact, a pink slip at all. It’s a plain, white, piece of paper with the same letterhead that only a few months ago boasted a huge, bold faced “Congratulations!” at the top. The same letterhead that told me at the end of the last marking period that more of my students were passing than the marking period before and that I was indeed doing a great job. I don’t even get the original. Just a photocopy, signed by the guy in charge, but delivered by my principal. I realize that he is probably having just as bad a day as I am, but that doesn’t make me any less bitter. At least I have been laid-off and not fired; it’s like an honorable discharge and not a “hey- you-suck-at-what-you-do-get-the-hell-out” notice. But it bites just the same.



I’m trying not to be a pessimist. I’m trying not to hate everything about my life. I’m not seriously considering launching myself out my second story window. (besides that would only hurt a whole hell of a lot and not end the whole game) I’m trying to remember the reasons why I do this in the first place, but it’s hard to do in a society that seems to be falling down around me. I have expectations in my classroom that my students treat each other with respect. I insist that they make choices and stick to the consequences that come from those choices. I instill upon them the value that they act like people that care about the well being of others. I’m sad that I am teaching them the rules and guidelines for life in a society that clearly does not exist. There was such a lack of respect in that little office as they told me that my position was being cut, it left me wondering how I can hope to teach my students respect when there are no clear examples from their superiors.



When it gets to a point like this it’s easy to fall back, to fall down, to just fall… and to question everything. Mostly though I find myself asking “why bother?” over and over. Why do I keep trying? Why don’t I use all my sick time, and pop in a video for my students? It’s then I remember the 110 faces awaiting me tomorrow, and I know that apathy won’t cut it. If I don’t care then they don’t care, and we’ve worked all year to boost their responsibility for their own education.



There is something that many people don’t think about. There is a face behind these layoffs. That face is me. I am not a number, I am not a price tag, and I am not a budget cut. I am a teacher and I make a difference in the life of a child.



What really gets my goat is that my school district is running an initiative that puts priority on literacy. On what planet does fewer teachers (especially English) and more kids in a classroom equal a positive learning opportunity?



So tomorrow Mr. Bossman, when you’re busy looking in the mirror for 122 minutes and 32 seconds, I’ll be reorganizing my lessons for the day, considering closing activities for my students, stressing about the student who told me she was experimenting with drugs, and thinking of ways to help the kid who just bombed my exam. When you stand there adjusting your tie and looking in the mirror, I’ll be busy adjusting my resume, making copies, and talking to the teenager who just broke up with her boyfriend… And please make sure you can look yourself in the eye and reflect, because I know when I see you in the hall you won’t be making eye contact with me.



Besides, I don’t do this for you anyway. I don’t do it for the pay check, or the experience, or because I needed something on my resume. I do it for them, and I’ll continue to do it until June. Even if you think you don’t need me, and the school doesn’t need me, and the community doesn’t need me…. They need me and that’s why I do what I do.



When life throws you a curve ball, how you react speaks volumes about your character. #change… Click To Tweet



How do you cope with drastic life change? What advice do you have for people dealing with events that are truly out of their control? How do you come to peace?


  1. Ugh. It sounds like you are in a truly exasperating, stressful situation. I can only imagine you are frustrated and exhausted, yet you are determined to push through to excellence for the sake of your students. I know a few teachers, and I might not know much, but I know that it is HARD.

    My husband and I are in the middle of a lot of things we can’t control right now too. I am a new military spouse, and with deployment coming up, we can’t control that and we can’t control the Army suddenly making changes and screwing up our schedules and expectations and last chances to spend time together for a year. When crazy hits me, I have to find ways to express myself, to get it out rather than bottle it in, process it, and then adjust. Sometimes the adjustment even means accepting that things are going to suck for a little while and that’s okay, and forgiving yourself for bad days because everybody has them. I am sorry you are going through this, especially when you saw practical evidence of how well you do your job. I hope you find ways to focus on self-care, to work through it, and to find a place to share your passion with students again soon.

    • I understand completely. My husband is right between two (seemingly) back-to-back deployments. He was gone for

      months, home for

      (several weeks of which was spent in training exercises away from home) and about to head out again on his next 4-5 month trip. It’s extremely frustrating! I think if I was in charge of the Army it would run much more efficiently!

  2. About

    years ago my husband got laid off and I suffered a miscarriage all within about

    months of each other. I turned to scripture and music for help. “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns was my theme song!

    • Oh I love that song! I’m so sorry you had so much hurt all at once! I hope God has brought you peace since then!

  3. how frustrating! canada and usa are so far behind other countries in education.

  4. this sounds so horrible! our children needs their teachers so badly, and it’s such a shame that as a country we can’t recognize that and support teachers more.
    For me, in a difficult time of change I lean on my husband. He helps bring calm to any situation and really is my rock. I also pray like crazy, by myself and with my husband.

    • Oh man, it was a rough moment and prayer definitely helped! Unfortunately I was not married at the time so I didn’t have my hubby to lean on. He is a great support system though now!

  5. I have to write things down too. I also try to recognize when things are out of my control and turn them over to God/The universe. This helps me focus on what I can do to change a situation. I also really focus on what I’m grateful for and what is going well in my life.

    Sending much love.

    • It’s so hard to remember that I am, in fact, NOT in control. Turning things over to God is not something I’m very good at and required LOTS and LOTS of prayer on my part.

  6. So sorry you are having to deal with this right now- I know this must be frustrating. But most importantly, I think it shows that you are doing what you do because of the passion you have for the kids and helping them beyond just school work, but helping them deal with issues in their day-to-day life, which is sometimes a rare come by in the form of a teacher. People like yourself who are passionate and have a good heart will be rewarded in then end, so keep your head high and I’m praying that things get better for you soon 🙂

  7. Losing a job is so hard!

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