Tag Archives: teaching

Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad… [Part 2]

And another preface… I had really intended to express how teaching made me feel… but it’s difficult to put into words. Being a teacher was a surreal and incredible experience. I know the more I reflect, the more I could say. 2007-2011 were 4 profoundly important years for me, professionally… and the students who were a part of those 4 years are forever in my heart… I guess that’s all I can say about THAT for now.

My life has changed so much in the past couple of years that sometimes I find myself thinking, “Oh yeah, I used to be a TEACHER.”

I don’t know if I can explain the exact path that brought me to the classroom. I do know that when I found myself on the campus of my alma mater in 2005, I felt safe and at home. So I worked towards the goal of teaching high school English…

More than once during my first year of teaching, I found myself totally caught off guard and in over my head. But as with all things, it got easier and easier. And my saving grace was always, and perhaps surprisingly, my students. They challenged me and kept me on my toes… and more importantly, I knew I was actually doing something good. I was, in my very tiny way, affecting change.

However, as with most jobs, when your personal life suffers, it can be difficult to hide. And I didn’t believe in keeping anything from my students. Not that I was telling them all the details of my life, but I got increasingly irritable and apathetic in the classroom. I looked forward to my time with them, because they were keeping me entertained… but my life had stagnated and I needed to shake things up.

Moving to New York was about starting over. I was unhappy in California and working a very stressful job didn’t help. I didn’t want to become a bitter spinster-type teacher… and I really felt myself starting down that path. I had developed such a special relationship with my school and my students that I couldn’t see myself teaching in a different environment. So when I got to NY, I didn’t look for teaching jobs.

But now that I’m once again in that familiar world of the Job Hunt, I find myself gravitating back to education. Yes, the time off is a huge factor… but also, it’s a world I know well and a world where I knew what I was doing. I do have a passion for teaching… if I didn’t, would I still be in touch with countless students via Facebook? Would I still be willing to edit college admission essays? Would I still be willing to answer last minute grammar questions? Would I still accept phone calls and texts with questions on how to talk to college professors? Would I still be willing to offer words of support to those struggling with the remaining days of school?

So that’s where the Job Hunt is now centered. Am I ready for all the work? Probably not. Am I ready to handle NYC teenagers? Definitely not. But it’s an adventure I’m willing to take on…

Blog song title: “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen


Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad… [Part 1]

First I must preface this by saying that I am super hopped up on cold meds… so if I say anything crazy nuts or, worse, make egregious spelling or grammatical errors… please forgive me.

I mentioned previously that my job may be ending sooner than expected. This is the life of working on a temporary basis. My current position has me basically picking up slack until they can hire someone else (for a position I am not qualified for… obviously I have already thought about throwing my hat in that ring… unfortunately, it’s a no-go). They are already interviewing and I could be out on my ass in a matter of a couple of weeks. Maybe.

So I’m back in that uncomfortably familiar realm of figuring out my next move. It’s really hard to look for a job when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Temp work makes sense because it’s non-committal and easy and pays pretty well. But it gets old. Temp jobs are the one night stands of employment. Fun at first, but after a few you need something a bit more substantial.

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Amirite?

In thinking about what I want to do… I have come up with some points… I want to travel (so I need the means and the time), I don’t want to stab my eyes out from boredom, I want to make enough to get by and even save something (again, I want to travel), I want time to write, I want time to do fun things… so my mind keeps coming back to the educational world. Decent money, time off for holidays (Spring Break, Summer Vacation, Winter Break – yes, please), usually pretty entertaining (certainly never dull), and if I find the right capacity, time to do all the other stuff.

Look, I didn’t leave the teaching profession because I hated it. Quite the contrary… I really loved it (more on that in Part 2). But everything else in my life was suffering for it. I was in a place I didn’t want to be and in a life I didn’t want to have. My job couldn’t be the ONLY thing keeping me happy. So I made a major change by moving across the country. I found the personal happiness I had been looking for… so perhaps it’s time to seek a little professional happiness.

I really don’t want to be defined by what I do for a living. I still want to get out and see the world… and I think that by either going back to teaching, or just the educational world in general, I just might get some (or ALL) of those things that I want.

 

Blog song title: “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen
Photo Credit: someecards.com

 


Behind every desire is another one waiting to be liberated when the first one is sated…

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty self-aware person. And while I know I bring the crazy sometimes, I usually have a pretty good grasp on why. Just because I’m self-aware doesn’t mean I can always control my emotions…

Anyway, if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written – from Facebook posts, to Tweets, to this blog – you know I’m a big fan of the ellipses. See above, ahem. I can’t really pinpoint when this phenomenon started (very likely with my first major foray into social media, the Myspace), but I know that it’s been a punctuational mainstay ever since. I typically feel that the use of the ellipses more closely mirrors the way I talk (and if you’ve heard me talk, you know this blog is pretty damn close to the way I speak)… but I’ve recently had an epiphany: the ellipses reflect my lack of commitment…

Yeah, I know, it’s a big leap. BUT… think about it. If I end a sentence with an ellipses, I’m not committing to an end; I’m letting my statement just fade out. It gives me an opportunity to say what I want without that sense of finality. OK, crazy person, how- or more importantly why – did you make that connection? Well, it may have something to do with the fact that my life is in a state of flux… yet again.

My current temporary position ends on January 31 so I’m looking for a source of income starting right as that ends. I have been on one interview with another in the works. The first interviewer was concerned that I wouldn’t have the staying power that she’s looking for. She wants someone to commit for at least a year. The second job wants someone that will likely stick around for three. And suddenly I feel like the cliche male from a romantic comedy… someone starts mentioning long term to me and I FREAK OUT. Suddenly I’m feeling stifled.

My longest job was teaching… for four years. The longest I ever lived in any one place was when I was in high school… I lived in that house from 6th-12th grades. Before that, and since then, I have not stayed anywhere for too long (two and a half years is my current record). My longest functional relationship? Three years. My longest dysfunctional relationship? Four-ish years. The only thing, aside from my family, that I’ve been able to commit to for the long term is Walter Matthau, my dog… we’re going on six years in May. And as much as I love that friggin’ dog, I sometimes think about what I could do if I didn’t have him (oh, the apartments that would be available to me).

I abhor the idea of getting a job that will last a few years. I can’t fathom staying in my apartment for more than a few more months. And as far as guys go… well, it’s a lot easier when they don’t stick around for too long either. I take a strange comfort in temporary. Sticking to one thing for years and years and years (or worse, forever)… seriously gives me the willies.

I’ve never had roots anywhere. I’m always fascinated by people who have childhood friends or whose parents still live in the house where they grew up… or whose parents are still married. And I’m not saying this to elicit some kind of sympathy from you, Dear Reader. I’ve had all my life to accept this… and accept it, I do.

But I think this means I’m always going to be looking… for anything… for everything… and you know, I really don’t think I’ll ever find what I’m looking for… nor do I really want to… I just want to have fun doing it… DOT DOT DOT

Blog song title: “Weightless” by Nada Surf


You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

So how did a fantastically successful high school teacher (stop laughing) from Orange County find herself living in suburban Connecticut? Well, I’m glad you asked… oh, you didn’t ask? And you’re still laughing about the “successful teacher” part… that’s not nice.

I gave the quick and dirty in my inaugural post… I’m not going to give every single detail of my life thus far here, but I need to give some appropriate context to my current situation. I guess this could get lengthy… you have been warned.

Since 2005, I have worked for my high school alma mater. I started off as a secretary in the counseling office and worked my way into the classroom, first as a sub and then as a full-fledged teacher. From the time I set foot back on that campus in 2005, I felt I belonged in education. Looking back, I think I was looking for comfort and familiarity after a disastrous post-grad stint in Los Angeles (worked a terrible cubicle media job and kept myself in a painfully dysfunctional relationship).

Anyway… I loved teaching from the beginning. I had this wide-eyed (and pretty naive) optimism about it. I felt I had the opportunity to foster some good in the world. It was pretty awesome. And I adored my students. But it was getting harder and harder to be John Keating… outside of the classroom nothing was working right and subconsciously this spilled into the classroom. I had known for a while that I needed a change and in the Spring of 2010, I started looking for opportunities.

First I thought I’d apply to Master’s programs in English… incorrectly thinking I would remain a teacher for life. I labored over my Christmas break in 2010 on my applications. In the meantime, I barely had it in me to return to my classes. When the rejection letters started coming in, part of me was relieved. I had been looking for any excuse to leave Orange County… but this wasn’t right.

By a series of happy accidents I came upon a post-baccalaureate program at Columbia University where I could focus on pop culture (WHAT?!)… I applied and got in. I had no desire to live in New York City… but I couldn’t turn down this chance (educationally and personally). And thus began the complicated task of moving 3000 miles away from all that had been familiar to me for the last 20 years… selling all that I own and saying goodbye…

Of course, things never go as planned. I had to defer my registration at Columbia until January because I couldn’t get any financial aid (still working on that now unfortunately). I wasn’t prepared for the full time job hunt and apartments are hard to come by when you are jobless.

So here I am… staying with my sister and her family in beautiful and peaceful Connecticut. I’m eternally grateful to them for allowing me to stay here while I get things settled, but I never thought it would take this long. On a recent trip into the city (New York, that is… and it’s only 2.5 hours away by train), I had a moment of empowered clarity… I knew that I belonged there. It felt right. With so many questions left unanswered, it was nice to have some certainty. So now I’m stuck in limbo… all that I want is so close, but it feels very far away. It feels like I’ve been waiting for years for my life to start… but I have to wait just a little bit longer.

So is there more to this whole story of my life (la la la la)? Sure… but this is all you’re going to get for now…

Blog title song: “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads


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