Recognized my worth despite spiteful reference.
BackstoryI was out of work for two years after not having my teaching contract renewed by a principal who hated my teaching philosophy and style (in the first three years at a school a principal can let you go for any reason including that one). It wasn't being fired, but it was close enough for me. After I sent dozens of resumes out, and about twenty interviews I finally had a school principal that was very excited about how I taught and as I left she chased me out of the building and offered me the job (as long as my references and background check were in order). I was so excited and relieved I rushed to the car to call my wife -- we'd be able to live like people again after living on next to nothing for two years.
I worked like mad for a few weeks learning the school's curriculum and preparing lessons. During summer break I was called into the school for a meeting with the principal, Simonne, who had been so excited about my candidacy. After contacting my former principal (the one who chose not to renew my contract) Simonne was troubled. Apparently when called for a reference my former principal didn't exactly say anything negative, but hinted at “darker problems of poor judgment” that she couldn't discuss in detail for unspecified reasons.
Of course in the teaching field a red flag like that would guarantee I'd never be considered for a job anywhere. But Simonne talked with me for some time and allowed me to explain. I felt sick imagining all the potential jobs that former principal sabotaged when called for a reference. No wonder I'd been out of work for so long. After Simonne called a few more references she decided to take a chance on me. I'm forever thankful to Simonne for a renewed career that's encouraged so much creative freedom, personal fulfillment, and allowed me to support my wife, son, and two daughters. Simonne recognized my worth despite that spiteful reference, and gave me a chance to be a great teacher.