Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I really like this song.

Anyway, I should clariFY what R.I.F stands for: reduction in force. It basically means the district is out of money and needs to cut funds. Which usually means, cut teachers. Which also means, cut the young, enthusiastic teachers who don't have seniority. And since this has happened to Matt 3 times out of the past 5 years, he hasn't been able to avoid being the "New Guy" in any district. Thus, the R.I.F. notice in his mailbox near April (or an all-time early one this year: March 27).

I like what Zeke said it stands for better. I can probably think of much better words to represent R.I.F. Perhaps, Ridiculous Imbecile $#&%ers? :)

Okay, it's been about 24 hours now and I'm calming down. Things are a bit clearer now. I was originally really sad for Matt, as we finally thought he was in a district that wouldn't have to do this, but in January the superintendent hit them out of nowhere with the need to cut $2.6 million. But with the retirement of his department chair, we thought he'd be OK. So then I was MAD. Mad that I really thought this time it would be OK. That they wouldn't cut a teacher they had called "a gem," or written such favorable reviews of. It's just frustrating. When are we going to understand that to have quality education, you must FUND IT???

So (as usual) Matt is doing better than I am with this whole thing. He's joking that the "third time's a charm," and I'm trying not to be too upset in front of him because that's not what he needs right now. He's his typical self--calm, even in the face of uncertainty. He's grappling with the idea of leaving education, which is a profession he loves, but he can't go through this every single year. We're contemplating relocating to a state with a teacher shortage, which neither of us want to do. But do you give up something you love to take a "more secure" job doing something you don't? Or do you do whatever it takes, if that means moving away from family and friends, to pursue your passion?


So the anger is subsiding. Now I just need some guidance. Prayers for guidance are heading upstairs quite often. Hopefully God won't get too annoyed with me. :) But I just don't get it.

I know that things work out for a reason. I just need to have faith and let things take their course.

This is a proverbial flat tire on our bike course. Something that could happen at any time, but you can't really predict it and you usually don't expect it.

Get out the tube, and get to work. Get back on the course.

I really need my training but think I need sleep more. I will most likely take today and tomorrow morning off and try to jump back in tomorrow evening. After all, a flat tire's no reason to quit a race. You suck it up, and push a little harder to get back into your groove.

Maybe that means moving. (I hope not) Maybe that means we go down to one full-time salary and Matt works landscaping for a while for our friend. (Although he'll probably be the only landscaper with two bachelor's degrees and a master's) Maybe we eat ramen noodles and cut back.

Things could be worse. I just taught about the end of WWII today. I had a great discussion with my kids about the liberation of the Nazi camps, and it just kind of put things in perspective.

This is not life and death. This is a JOB.

And we can still start our family when we want to. I'm proclaiming that. I'm not letting this determine that decision. After all, I had quite possibly the perfect childhood growing up, and I didn't even know that we didn't have lots of money. I thought everyone ate pancakes for dinner sometimes. I thought that people who went on elaborate cruises or trips to Florida every break were really strange. We had so much fun in our little bungalow, just Mom, Dad, Mike and I. I didn't know when my Dad's job was on the line several times. I really had no idea.

I can do that for my future kids, too. It's all a matter of attitude.

I'm not going to let school funding ruin my life. School's are NEVER funded enough. That's just a fact. And by the looks of it, it ain't changing anytime soon.

Maybe I get a flat tire at Ironman. You know what? I'll probably swear a bit and get mad. (Okay, I'll DEFINITELY swear and get mad) But I'll get off the damn bike and fix the stupid tire. And then I'll get back on and ride away.

In the scheme of things, over 17 hours, what's a 5 minute bump in the road?


It's nothing.

What gets you through is your ability to see the finish line, the trust you have in yourself, the love and support from the people around you, and your strength that will get you there.

Anyone got a spare tube? :)


Flatman said...

I LOVE your attitude about this. Rolling with the punches is definitely the way to go. Stressing out over something you can't control will only make you sick. I know your hub will make the right decision and a better opportunity will present itself.

Hopefully soon! Keep training, it will keep you sane.

E-Speed said...

My husband has a double masters and works for family friends at a butcher block :) It isn't his dream profession (teaching german) but we get by :)

You and Matt are a tough couple you will get through this and you will pursue the dreams you want to fufill together! I see only goo things for you two!

E-Speed said...

lol i see good things for you, not goo things ;)

Spence said...

I'm a HUGE fan of the public school system having grown up in it myself but what about a private school position? It sucks to have to bail on the kids that need good teachers the most but it could offer some stability that the current situation doesn't. I'm sure you considered this...some of my best public school teachers ended up in the private system after being R.I.Fed. Hang in there...the picture will clear soon and it'll be obvious what course you guys should take...

Cliff said...

TriSarahTop, I was about to comment on the past post but bloggre is down or

I am gald u are feeling better. I am also glad Matt is quite positive at things.

I pray that both of you will have direction as to what to do.

Flatman said...

I see goo things too! :)

BuckeyeRunner said...

Thanks for that post, Sara. Tough times, but your attitude is stellar, and some of that is rubbing off on me and my own work situation.

I hope that things sort themselves out over the next few months, for both our households!

Susan said...

I'm glad things are clearer now! Things always work out for the best.

Rae said...

Great perspective! That stinks that you guys have been through this so much. I was laid off back in 2001 (right after 9-11) and at the time it was the worst day of my life, and then I realized if THAT was the worst day of my life I've really had it pretty easy. Now I look at it as a huge learning experience and a major lesson.

So no spare tire but I have no doubt you guys will end up on top!

Just12Finish said...

Sara - I believe, like you do, that things work out for a reason. It's happened to me too, (ok, so I only have 1 bachelors and 1 masters) but it's been 2.5 years and I'm still here, life hasn't ended!

I've learned that my job doesn't define my self-worth, like it used to. I've learned to value my family time.

I've learned to keep one eye open for that proverbial magic sign! Life is full of opportunites, if only we could pause long enough to see them. Keep your head up, your ears perked, and your eyes open, and you'll begin to find them. Good luck to you both!

Kewl Nitrox said...

Great perspective and attitude! May the Lord's joy & peace be with you and Matt even through this temporary set-back.

I can't believe they are cutting back on teachers in the States. We have a huge shortage of people like Matt here in Singapore - young men/women with a passion to teach, and it is hurting our schools. Maybe you and Matt should come to work in exotic Asia for a few years and be a blessing to the kids here. :)

qcmier said...

I am so impressed with how you always have a positive attitude. I could learn a lot from you. By the way, sorry, I wish I could spare a clincher tube, but I race on tubulars. =) And you're going to finish way before that 17 hours mark.

Eric said...

You can have my spare tire anytime you need it. And next time I see you, you get a big hug.

Fe-lady said...

Sorry to hear about you guys being RIFed. I was "RIFed" years ago...but the good news was that I was able to collect unemployment because of it!
And the $$$ somehow, (doesn't it always?) shows up for most to be re-hired...so let's hope it does this year! It's all such B.S. And we wonder why we can't keep the young, enthusiastic teachers such as you and your husband!? Duh!
I don't know where public education is headed, but it's not the schools or educators that need the "fix"-and I could go on and on...but this is about triathlon training..right? Hang in there and go for a run, swim, or clang some weights around to get out the anger and get your bldd pressure back to normal!

Josh said...

Awesome post - thank you for writing this. It gives clarity and perspective.

And by the way, I thought that I was the only one to eat pancakes for dinner...!

Hang in there!

Keryn said...

My mom fought hard in our school district growing up for funding and quality teachers. I believe in public education. Good teachers make for good schools.

You two are strong and driven. You'll be fine! Training will help keep you sane even though it may feel like it's making your life impossible at times!

Chris said...

You guys will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers!