Teacher layoffs have been obstructing (to say the least) the lives of many teachers, and we have definitely had to share many of such layoffs in my school district. Our district alone had to cut 8 million dollars from next year’s budget. Simply reducing transportation services and offering early retirement wouldn’t put much of a dent into such a large number. One of our schools closed down. And some of my colleagues on my campus have been given their pink-slips. There are a lot of politics behind this and unfortunately, many are getting hurt because of the budget cuts—including our students. While I did not lose any sleep over the possibility of losing my job, the fear of such a possibility led me to spend sometime reevaluating my budget, deciding what I could cut out if things drastically changed. I decided I would sell my car—take the bus or the train to work. I would cancel my gym membership, put a hold on my student loans, make the minimum payment on my credit cards, etc. But most of all, I prayed. And He reminded me of the truth that what ever happened, it could be handled. I wouldn’t die. I wouldn’t be living in a box. And this comforted me.
Today, I talked with my department chair to find out if I should apply for a summer-school job to save money in the likelihood that I would be layed off. And I heard the sweet sound of “March 15th was the last day we could send out pinkslips for certificated staff. If you haven’t received one, you are safe.” I let out a deep breath and tried to contain my excitement in fear that someone nearby who had lost his or her job would have to witness my excitement. But indeed, I am happy and thankful for my job. I know there are many people right now from every field of work suffering because of the tremendous economic crisis our country is in. Teachers are not the only ones suffering from this as there are many factors influencing the economy and in effect, many ways jobs could be in jeopardy. I send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone else who is in a bind with work or money. And while I know it is easier to say when we have our jobs, I still hope that we can all be comforted with the fact that we have friends, family, and even a little government support to help us if it gets bad enough. And finally, I hope that it helps all of us take a closer look at the lifestyles we live. What are we spending our money on that is of little importance? I looked at my life and knew that as hard as it was—cars, clothes, eating out, cell phones, or gym memberships were not the worst things I could give up. I think most of us will have to reanalyze this part of our lives during the next couple of years. And by God’s grace, I pray not too many of us will have to worry about losing the more important facets of our life here on Earth—having a roof over our heads (even if it is a studio apartment in a bad neighborhood), food to eat, love, and health.