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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Accepting where I am.

In December, as I was driving through a hundreds-of-miles-long heavy fog to Hometown from College Town, for the last time, I was talking with a friend on the phone (which was slightly dangerous considering the driving conditions), lamenting about how I felt kind of lost or without a place. For the first time since I was two years old, I was not on winter break. I was just...done. Coming home to come home, with nowhere to return to. As I said at the time, "I'm not on winter break, I'm just on...winter..." A break indicates a return to something, but I had nothing and nowhere to return to.

This idea was unsettling to me. I couldn’t (still can’t) really fathom the idea of this finality. I am embarking on something entirely new to me. Student teaching, though different in many ways from college itself (I spent 9-10 hours a day at an elementary school nearly an hour’s drive from College Town, where I was living) was still just an extension of the college “experience.” And College, well, that was just like high school (only, I was in a different state and I lived without my family). And well, High School was just like middle school, which was just like elementary school, which was just like pre-school.

But now, I’m temporarily living back in Hometown. For now I can just pretend it is winter break. If I were returning back to a school somewhere, I still would be on break right now. However, the reality is, I am not on break.

At the time, on my transitional car ride, my friend had suggested that I think of myself as simply being on hiatus. I laughed at the idea at first, but actually, being on hiatus is kind of a comforting way to think about it. It takes some of the guilt or pressure away from me to make these few months action-filled and one-thousand-percent beneficial to my future career and life. I’m on hiatus. On hiatus, I need a job, and I will get one. But it doesn’t need to be the best job ever. It doesn’t need to lead to many amazing and wonderful things. It needs to get me a paycheck and a reason to wake up and get dressed in the morning.

In the in-between hours, I can work on fulfilling my future life plans. I can apply to teach at International Schools starting in the fall. I can study for the GRE. I can take the GRE. These things will advance my future self. It’s okay, acceptable, that I am not doing great things right now.

Maybe I’ll be a teacher assistant working with students who are English Language Learners. Maybe I’ll be a substitute teacher. Either of the two have benefits (unfortunately though, not necessarily health insurance-type benefits). The former would give me the opportunity to work with students who are learning English – this would give me additional experience to talk about in my applications to teach abroad, and additional experience to refer to when I eventually apply for jobs in the US (which could be sooner rather than later if the International Schools don’t work out). The latter, substitute teaching, would give me experience working both in a variety of grades, and a variety of schools. This would be beneficial in giving me an overview of the ways things are done in different places.

So really, either path I end up taking, I will be helping my future self. I am not just wasting time. I’m simply on hiatus.

It’s like when your favorite television show is on hiatus, and they show a really bad reality program for a few weeks, and you don’t love it, but you watch it anyway because you’re used to wasting that hour each week. That’s what I’m doing now. Maybe it’ll be a really good hiatus; maybe it will be just that – a hiatus. Not amazing, but something to fill my time.

Regardless, this is where I am. I have to accept that, not obsess about what I am not doing. No, I do not have a full time regular teaching job. That’s okay. It will come. No, I do not attend grad school. That’s okay. It will come. I will make these things happen, in time, just as I am making myself take advantage of the opportunities available to my right now.


Blogger leesepea said...

I know how you feel; it seemed like I was the only one from my credential block who didn't have a job at the end of student teaching. I was very disappointed and stuck in a funk for a bit - then my mother-in-law suggested that I take the classes I needed to clear my credential while continuing to look for a job.

I ended up subbing for two years (including a long-term position from the first day of school until winter break). I learned more about the way classrooms work and the dynamics of students (along with what helps them succeed and what doesn't) as a substitute than I ever did in my student teaching.

Accepting that you are on hiatus is a very healthy way to work through the frustration of looking for a job - I'm sure something will come up soon!

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That hiatus person sure sounds smart :)

10:08 AM  

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