My name is Anne Clark, and since 1999 I have been a teacher. My final day as a teacher was September 4th, 2019. And since then, I have been out of work. For the first half of my career, I truly felt that I was where I belonged. In the middle of my career I was moved to another school. Although I ended up having much love and respect for my new boss, things were run much differently, and I was starting to feel the burn out. It was getting worse every year. I kept telling myself, "Oh it will be so much better next year." So I would stick it out. But it only kept getting worse, especially when I got a new supervisor that lacked a great deal of empathy for his staff and just didn't know how to coach, motivate, inspire, or teach his new staff. In fact, his only communication was when something was wrong. We were never ever celebrated for the positives. Eventually, the teachers in the building had less rights than anyone else. I grew tired of working harder and harder and feeling more and more like I was failing all of the time. It was taking a huge toll on my mental health, to the point where I just couldn't be the super star teacher to my students anylonger. I was failing everyone, including myself. It was time to go somewhere where I could learn and grow and be empowered. I knew that meant that I had to get out of teaching. During my 20 years of teaching, I gained so many transferrable skills. I knew that anybody would be happy to have me working for their team because I was a hard worker, eager to please, eager to learn, and so empathetic. I was so naive and hadn't been in the job market since 2004. I thought for sure that with having a Bachelor's degree, that it would be easy to find another job. I really struggled, but also didn't have any clue where I wanted to go. Well when I put in my resignation, it was because I had had such a bad day. Going home that night, I realized that I was making a huge mistake without a plan. I tried so hard to rescind my resignation and couldn't. So due to my unique circumstances, I tried to apply for unemployment. What could I lose that I hadn't lost already at this point? I applied in March. By this time, Covid hit which isn't something anybody saw coming. So not only was it even more difficult to find a job because so many people were losing theirs legitimately to the virus, but that meant that there were so many people applying for unemployment as well. I waited to hear back about my case until July. Of course I was denied. I appealed just to exhaust all of my options, but here we are two months later and still nothing. During this time, I had completely run out of money, and all of the financial responsibility ended up on Brady's shoulders. Though I couldn't have met a better man to help me, he is working two jobs full time just to make sure that we don't lose our apartment. Though he hasn't complained even once, I can see the toll that the stress has taken on him, and I can't stand to watch it. I keep applying for at least 20 jobs per week. I even had an unofficial offer and then they rescinded because they found someone with more experience at the very last minute. That was so devastating! Not having a job to go to, not having a reason to feel worthwhile, not feel productive has only hurt my mental health. I have put on weight like crazy, literally stopped caring about my health, and my mental health has never been worse. I even thought about looking into welfare. I applied, but it hurt my soul so much knowing that this is where I have ended up - with a college degree and spotless 20 year career behind me. So I thought, well if I can't find a job right now, I will look into going back to school. I even completed my FAFSA paperwork. In these last several months, I've learned that one of my passions is listening and being there for people who want to share their own struggles. I am empathetic and have the ability to feel and understand even if I haven't been in their shoes. I feel that I am wise and insightful and being calm and laid back helps too. I would love to gain the tools and knowledge to help others navigate their own life struggles while I do so with my own life. I have struggled with my mental health since college. Many of us struggle with it. I want to be someone who can help somebody else find ways to improve and grow and move past things in their own life that are holding them back. Maybe even help myself along the way.
So I started looking at online colleges that had programs similar to what I was looking for and talking to one of my wonderful aunties to get some direction and find somewhere to start. However, once I started looking, I was reminded of the fees to apply to each college ($50) and each college needs an official transcript ($12.50). That is just from EWU, not including all of the courses I took throughout my career. I found 6 colleges, but thought of giving up since I don't have any money to take care of any of that. I feel like everywhere I turn, there is a roadblock. So a few people have said, "Well then just go back to teaching." That, my friends, is not something that is on the table nor will be anytime soon. If I care about my mental health at this point I will stay as far away from that as possible. Yes, by the time I quit, I was making $40,000 more than when I started. But even that wasn't enough to keep putting myself through that every day. If I had known then what I know now, yeah I would have stayed, but I guarantee you that it would have only hurt me, my students, and my coworkers even more.
So, sitting here wondering how I could come up with that money just to apply to colleges, I realized that I could ask. My wonderful parent's have helped me so much, and of course I can never repay Brady for everything that he has done and continues to do. I have to keep finding ways for me to get back on track. I need to find my purpose again. I need to be contributing and helping and providing. Oh how wonderful it would feel again just to have my own money again so that I can pay my own bills without the stress of worrying about which bills we'll have to pass on this month.
I HATE asking, andI HATE doing this, but all people need to do is say no or ignore. I am just asking for a dollar or 5 or nothing at all. The money would just go straight to the cost of applying for the colleges and the fee of each transcript that I have to order. I just picked a number above. If I get anything extra, I can send it back to you or I will be happy to use it to help pay a bill. Brady has been paying my bills and pays them before his own. It's not right. It's generous, and I couldn't be more lucky to be sharing my life with such a generous soul, but I am tired of asking him for his money. I should be doing something about my own money.
Though I am sending this out, I am in no way terminating my search for a job. If you are feeling generous, even a dollar would be generous. Then feel free to forward this along. If you feel that you aren't willing to support or help, I absolutely understand and then feel free to ignore this altogether. That is what is wonderful about this. Also, please don't think I am not aware of how many people out there have been affected by this virus one way or another. I am lucky that I haven't lost anyone to the virus, that Brady has kept a roof over our head, and we have food to eat.
I just thank you for even taking the time out to read this.
Love to you all,
P.S. That is a picture of my wonderful grandparents Jerry and Val Lord. We lost grandma this year to a stroke. I miss them so much, every day!
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