The details of why I was asked to leave the school early don’t much matter, but I did see it coming. I had become unnecessary and was no longer this year’s “flavor of the month” so I needed to go. Add to that a jealous coworker who, I have, over time, realized that her own job security was threatened if I stayed around too much. She made sure to tell our boss I wasn’t loyal, so I got exited. We negotiated a settlement and I left.
I had no choice in the matter, really. My savings had already been decimated based on the dream that was making this school a reality. I desperately needed my income to continue while I searched for a job. If I had done the “I don’t quit, you fire me” thing, I would have had to take unemployment, which would have been considerably less and unreliable, too.
I ended up with a two-month vacation, paid, during which point I searched for work and began rethinking my own identity. I started my new job just in time so there would be no real gap in my income or even, officially, my employment history. While illegal to pay a settlement over time, that’s how my school does it. You have to pay a lump sum at dismissal in my state, but they never do and no one ever complains since we’re afraid to say anything and lose the settlement.
Anyway, the thing about being an Autistic female is that we are so very chameleon-like that, over time, we have little idea who we are really. I realized, during this journey, that I did a lot of things that only make sense given that I am Autistic. Who makes these grand sacrifices, at the expense of her own career and her relationship with her family? Well, an Autistic woman does, if she has internalized the societal rules of what a “good girl” does and what a “good Catholic girl” is like.
On the journey, I realized that, as usual, I don’t even want to be a teacher per-se or ever administrate a school again. The fact is, I’m good with data and not great with people, assuming those people are largely Neurotypical and assuming those people are adults, besides. Neurodivergent kids? I’d love to spend time with them. I always have. But the thing is I have more in common with a Neurodivergent tween or teen than I do with a neurotypical adult. That breeds a kind of closeness that can be unhealthy, so it’s not per-se ideal to spend too much time around tweens and teens for me.
Beyond that, why am I in education at all? School was where I have historically been treated badly by everyone involved, except when a few teachers who were kind to me. Everyone at the school I just left was trying to stab me in the back last year (and continued for a few beyond that this year). And yet, I kept going back. Who does that, unless she is feeling Stockholm Syndrome?