After two weeks of feeling bad about getting fired, eating cake, putting on weight, soliciting the opinions of friends and blog readers and trying to listen to the comments that made sense, I think I'm recovering my confidence. Some have told me they believe this wasn't just about my performance; they think there must have been other circumstances contributing to my firing. I have to consider this when I think of how much of time passed between receiving my job performance reviews and getting canned. Usually an employee will receive an initial evaluation, even a poor one, and be given some amount of time to improve. My 11:00 a.m. class was observed, after which I received one person's review, and then my 2:00 p.m. class was observed after which I received a second person's review. By 11 a.m. the next morning I received a phone call to set up a time for me to come in and meet with a third person, which was the person who fired me. From the distance of two weeks, I think this sequence of events suggests they were in a bit of a hurry to let me go, either because I sucked that bad or because they suddenly needed my position open or because they were receiving some other kind of pressure to give my classes to a replacement.
In any case, I have no way of knowing exactly what happened, so it's time to stop assuming that I sucked that bad. If there's anything to be learned from this experience, it's that I shouldn't take all the responsibility for a situation that is unclear, especially if there's no way to ever make it clear.
This week I start putting together a new plan of action to find another job (and lose some weight). I will consider if I want to work with children, if I want to teach, how far I'm willing to commute, how the place feels to me, and how much initial training and ongoing support will be available to me. I'd also like to know what system they have in place for giving (new) employees feedback and monitoring improvement. I need to remind myself that I've done best at jobs with solid corporate structure and protocols for training, performance reviews and termination. I like clear rules and above-board explanations. I don't do well in situations where expectations are more fluid and supervision is less consistent, as is often the case with many (but not all) small businesses where the owner runs the daily operations. If it's an organization where we all wear many hats and sort of figure things out as we go and everyone's a troubleshooter, I tend to get confused and overly dependent on the approval of the boss, who's the only one empowered to make final decisions. This has been MY experience. I'm sure others have had completely different ones.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this rough time. I really appreciate all your words. Onward.