Managing lupus can be hard. It’s an unpredictable condition, so you never know how you’ll feel from minute to minute. Teaching, especially in this generation, is difficult. It is very stressful, and stress leads to flares.
Some people have asked me why I would risk my health for this career. There is actually only one reason. When I walk into the door, I feel needed. I’ve always wanted a career where I felt appreciated. The districts I’ve applied to over the years are not the ones teachers fight to get into it. They’re usually in areas that have a high turnover rate. However, I genuinely care about these students’ futures, and I want to make a difference. It may sound cliche, but it is the truth.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been an easy feat. My teaching career has been rocky to say the least. I’ve taught in five districts over the past seven years. I was cut from three of those districts.
When you are not tenured, they don’t have to give a reason for letting you go. In each district, I was told it was due to the low enrollment or budget. However, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the meetings when they decided which teachers to cut. My evaluations were always good, and the students and parents loved me. I am sure that my absences were the deciding factor.
I wish they could understand that I try to miss as few days as possible. I’ve dragged myself into work many days when I knew I should have remained in bed. I sometimes wait to see my doctors by scheduling them on an off day. However, there are some days when I just have no choice but to call off.
This is the first year since I’ve been teaching that I haven’t been hospitalized. The school I am at this year is not nearly as stressful as some of the others. Teaching has definitely been a challenge, but the good has outweighed the bad. Nevertheless, I am thankful for this break to take care of myself.