First things first, thank you all for your concern about my mom. She’s home now, and doing better, but we still don’t have a concrete plan for her mental health moving forward. We are all optimistic, but as with many things, this is not going to be straightforward. For my mom’s privacy, I probably won’t get into any more detail than that.
The events of this weekend have just been the cherry on top of the hellacious sundae of stress and anxiety that has been my life lately. The current political climate is certainly a contributing factor, but the biggest issue right now is that I feel like all of my short- and long-term goals are dependent on something that’s completely and utterly out of my control.
As many of you know, Ben is a teacher, and he’s currently on a temporary, part-time contract covering a leave of absence for another teacher. His school was able to cobble together enough hours as an Instructional Aide (IA) that combined with his half time teaching position, he is a “full-time” employee with benefits. While it was wonderful and generous of them to do this (his benefits are saweeet), his position is both tenuous and undesirable.
Because he splits his time between teaching and IA duties, he has less preparation time during school hours to do things like grading and lesson planning than other teachers do. This in turn means he has to spend more of his own time at home doing those things and less time pursuing his own interests. His salary is also a fraction of what he should be making. And there is simply no guarantee that he will have even this half-time position next year, let alone a real, honest-to-goodness full time teacher position. The school may decide to interview for the position and he might not get it. There may not be enough enrollment to keep the position at all. Ideally, this would become a full-time, permanent position, but we just have no way of knowing, and won’t know for months.
This uncertainty makes EVERYTHING we want to achieve this year harder. We can’t get approved for a mortgage if we don’t know what Ben’s salary will be, or if he will even be gainfully employed come June. And we certainly can’t have a kid if he doesn’t have a job with benefits, because the plan is for me to stay home with the kid(s) until they reach school age. Conversely, if we’re not going to be house hunting or procreating this summer, I’d love to cram in more theatre before having a kid makes that a hell of a lot harder. Stowe has got a great lineup of shows for the summer, and auditions are happening over the next few weeks. I don’t want to miss out on auditions assuming that things are going to go well with Ben’s job situation, and then be bored and disappointed in a few months. But I also don’t want to commit to doing a show and then find out that house hunting and baby making are on like Donkey Kong. The FOMO is real.
On top of all of this, I feel guilty for putting all of this pressure on Ben. It’s not really fair that all of this is hanging on his professional prospects, but it is. He’s just as stressed as I am, and honestly, just as helpless. He’s doing the best he possibly can in a really shitty situation, and just hoping that things work out. He’s checking school spring every week to see if new job opportunities come up, but the teaching market in Vermont, particularly in the desirable districts, is WAY over-saturated, and so far, no other opportunities have come up.
I just feel like everything is up in the air. I know all of this is incredibly first world problem-y because hey, I have a place to live, and a job that pays really well, and health and dental insurance and a family who loves me and blah, but still. I just feel so dang helpless.
Any other teachers or teacher spouses out there? Have you struggled to land a full-time position?