Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Beast: Part 16

I was shocked when I read Bob Boss's e-mail. I didn't keep that e-mail, because I didn't want to drag Bob into my mess. He had been through enough, and it had been a personal question for my own decision-making and peace of mind.

What did Bob tell me? He told me to get out and get out fast. He said it was not going to end, I would NEVER win in the end, and with the board victory under my belt I should walk out while the walking was good. He speculated what would happen if The Beast kept it up the following year. I would no longer have board support, because It WOULD do everything in Its power to prove It had tried and that I had failed.

He told me he was sorry I had gone through this. Told me he had enjoyed working with me and that I was a good young teacher who would thrive in an environment that wasn't toxic.

And then. The line I won't forget.

"Without going into details, let me just say you were doomed before you even walked in the door this year. I can tell you that. From what I gathered when I was there, this has been a goal since before the year started. There was nothing you could've done."
And that did it. That gave me that last push. You see, everything had been so WARPED and manipulated I even began to wonder if The Beast was USING Mr. Assistant. Maybe he wasn't looking at my best interest, but playing "good cop" and encouraging me to leave in a nice way, doing so only to please The Beast.

Crazy. Can you imagine living a whole year like that? Always wondering what is real and what is a game? Who is loyal and who is a pawn? Which kids really like you, and which are spies for The Beast (I now know I had at least two confirmed Beast spies as students. Students who did a very good job of trying to get information for It).

But Bob Boss had nothing to gain or lose. He didn't have to tell me any of that. He could've deleted the e-mail and been done with it. And to hear that he KNEW when he was in power that The Beast was going to target me...that was the last straw.

Bob Boss sent me a stack of recommendation letters to help with my endeavors. My first boss did the same. Both were a huge help to me in this time of desperation.

I got the new job. I took it as soon as he called, and wrote up my second letter of resignation.

I explained that I appreciated the board backing me up, but that it was CLEAR that it was never going to work, and that I needed an environment where I could grow and be comfortable teaching, not be on the defensive at all times. I told Mr. English about my decision, but wasn't going to tell The Beast until the end of the day.

Mr. English spilled the beans.

So, I marched up to The Beast in the hall and handed It my letter.

"I didn't really mean for Mr. English to tell you first, but I'm done."

"Awww! Are you sure? After everything I hate to see you do that. I really think we can work together and have a great year next year!" It sang beastily.

You know how you can think a million thoughts in a split-second? That's what I did. I was in awe that It would even SUGGEST I stay. That It would tell me we could work together. That It wasn't satisfied with me leaving. It wanted to torture me further.

"No. We won't," I tossed back at It "It will never be a good environment for me. I found another job and there is no way I'm staying to work for you." I wanted to be clear that I wasn't unhappy with the job. It was The Beast.

Mr. Assistant heard the news and came to talk to me.

"I think you did the right thing," he told me.

"Bob Boss told me I had been doomed before I walked in the building this year," I confided.

"I would say he is right," Mr. Assistant agreed. He understood. It took him a whole year and a lot of mistakes, but he finally saw it. He saw how The Beast had played everyone, even him, and he was afraid he would be next on Its list (he was right).

I was at peace. I knew I was doing the right thing, and I felt so RELIEVED to be going somewhere that I could let my guard down and enjoy doing my job.

My "supporters," however, didn't see it quite the same way, and my decision wasn't acceptable to everyone.

I told the students first, and most of them understood, but there were many who were disappointed. They felt like they'd been a huge part of my "winning" the board battle, and they were disappointed I was surrendering after they went to bat for me.

I tried to explain it to them, but I also had to remain professional. So I couldn't tell them that their principal was bullying me, and had been all year. I couldn't tell them that Mr. Boss told me It was out to get me.

The kids were the most forgiving. There were people in the community, and people at my own church, who felt I "owed" it to them to stay. Here I thought they had supported me of their own free will. I never asked for their support. Not once. I thought they were doing what they thought was right. I didn't know it was a favor to be repaid.

They said things like, "How could she? After all we did?"

They didn't understand that when it came to staying in Hell my thought was, "How could I? After all IT did?"

They thought it was cowardly and wrong of me to take another job and quit within a month of the board victory.

It hurt me that no one understood. No one even tried to understand. I didn't want to leave. But if I didn't go, I was going to be slaughtered.

The Beast didn't like me leaving on my terms. It wasn't very happy that I took the support of the board, then didn't give It the chance to persecute me anymore, or push me toward failure. It also didn't like that I had a whole month to teach without fear. Evaluations were done. There was no need for It to monitor me anymore. I already had another job so frankly I didn't care what It thought, what It said, or what It did.

I wasn't scared anymore.

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