Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fork in the Road: Five

Our fantasy tour down the corporate highway ended in precipitous dismissal and found me unemployed at age fifty, and greatly encumbered with "things."

In the real world, I chose the fork that led to the sixth-grade classroom.  Other than having completed a four-year degree in philosophy and possessing a willingness to give it a shot, I had virtually no preparation for dealing with eleven- and twelve-year old kids.  Thus it was that without doubt I learned a great deal more than did my students.

I took to teaching like a fledgling to the air.  That is to say, there was some hopping along the ground and some flopping in flight before a comfort level was achieved.  But this was my metier, and I came to love my work.  The salary was almost forty percent less than what I had been earning in my factory job. Even so, we were able to buy a new car, albeit a Valiant was certainly entry-level transportation.

At the end of my third year the trustee presented me with a new contract for the following year.  I requested more money than he offered.  He asserted that the offer was quite generous, and though they loved my work, no more money would be forthcoming.  I delayed the signing of the contract and started looking for another position.  I was offered a job in a community forty miles distant at a  salary $100 greater than I had been offered.  That was $100 more for the year.  I signed the contract and wrote a letter of resignation which I hand-delivered to my trustee.  He was floored.  "Well," he said, "we bring new teachers into the fold and groom them into quality employees, then they leave for more money."

Mr. T came to my classroom two days later with a new contract, the amount offered was yet another $100 more than what I had signed for.  "I have already signed with another school district," I reminded him.  

"Not a problem," he replied.  "So long as one resigns a couple of weeks before the school year starts everything is perfectly fine.  People do it all the time."

Another fork in the road.  Do I break my agreement with someone I don't know and accept more money from someone I do?  Do I honor my signature?


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