An associate professor, she had the credentials to teach German. She was well-educated and had worked hard day and night to earn her spot on the prestigious faculty. She gave up opportunities, chances for happiness, potential flings of passion — all for this aspiration.
But she couldn’t get through to the students.
The bags beneath her eyes were heavy as she spoke with the department chair, her boss. The students’ complaints had grown increasingly vitriolic. “Budgeting restraints” kept her without tenure. It was the fourth year in a row.
That night, she cried alone, the tree’s ornaments reflecting her face tenfold.