Friday, August 27, 2004

So...The Decision

Well, I guess I've put off writing about this long enough.

Why, you may be asking (or not) did I not accept my dream job to continue scraping by on an office job I hate? And why am I not running off to throw myself off the Mississippi River Bridge right now?

Well, there is a simple answer and a complicated answer. The simple answer is that it just wasn't financially feasible for me to move to Connecticut right now, and there just wasn't time to get organized to go. The director of the school had to withdraw his offer of housing for a few months because his father is ill and needs the spare room in his house. Typical Connecticut apartments the size of mine (450 square feet) rent for about $900 a month, plus security deposit, plus last month's rent, plus utilities. Just to move into a place would cost me between $2,000 and $3,000. When you factor in the repairs I'd have to do to my car to get there safely, I just couldn't manage, despite the fact that the director offered to front me my first two month's salary so I could get settled, with the freedom to pay it back over the next two years.

Then, had I accepted, I would have had 8 days to get organized and move before the first inservice this morning. I would have had to have lesson plans ready for 6 classes by next Tuesday. It just wasn't going to happen.

Now for the complicated answer. Despite some forays into other areas, I've assumed since I was five years old that I was going to teach English. I've assumed it, my parents assumed it, my teachers, friends, and pretty much everyone I ever met assumed it. When I changed my major from biology/pre-med to English/sec. ed. after my freshman year, one of my friends actually said, "what took you so long?"

Now I do like teaching. And I am good at it. But it isn't something I can be passionate about. I can be passionate about the need for quality education for all children, not just those whose parents can afford it (in one way or another). I can be passionate about quality literature. I can be passionate about the decline in young people's writing skills and the need to improve writing instruction at all levels. But classroom teaching? Not so much.

I never liked the paperwork involved in teaching that took me away from reading and writing. I never liked taking time away from instruction to enforce silly rules about how high students' socks were and whether or not they were wearing make-up. I never like the way that I felt I had to relax my standards because students weren't taught well on lower levels. I didn't like grading tests (or giving them for that matter), and I didn't like faculty meetings. And I most definitely didn't like dealing with whiny parents or overbearing administrators.

So what did I like? I liked the interaction with the kids. I liked the rare opportunities that allowed me to be creative. I liked encourgaging the kids to unleash their creativity (although I hated it when other teachers squashed that). I liked it when monotony got put to the side, even if only for a little while, and variety and independence reigned. I liked my desk chair until the back fell off.

Even though the job in Connecticut would have been more of what I liked and less of what I didn't, I still would have had to lesson plans and paper work, and go to meetings. I still would have had to remediate the failings of teachers on lower levels. And I still would have had to deal with the monotony, which is like death for me.

So bottom line, I didn't take the dream job because maybe it isn't such a dream any more. I think I've spent enough time doing what other people have envisioned for me, and trying to live the dream of a five year old. It's time for me now to live out my own dreams, to find my own place in the world.

Whatever that is...any ideas?

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