Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Story Time, or what I've been up to.

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who wasn't sure what to do with her life. She loved reading and writing, but she knew writing jobs were difficult to come by and jobs that paid one to read are even more rare. It occurred to her that she loved English and it made particular sense to her, so she decided to become a teacher.

After a year in a master's in teaching program, she got her first job teaching high school freshmen. As is typical, her first year was not the easiest but she had a great time and felt affirmed in her career choice. She had a supportive team of teachers helping her along and giving her advice. But then she had to move across the country and she could not find another school that had the same environment. She taught 8th grade for a year in a very cold and unsupportive environment (everyone was "on their own" with no help from the front office). She taught 7th grade in an amazing school with a wonderful team and terrific parents, but then was restructured out of the job and ended up taking another 7th grade job in a much more rural district with fewer resources.

When these three years had passed, her husband had finished his training in law and they moved to Chicago, where she stayed home to care for first one, then two young sons. Those five years were precious and amazing times in which she was able to slow down and really enjoy the time she had with her little ones.

Financial circumstances changed suddenly after this, and she found herself scrabbling to try to find another job. She found one as a part time teacher of middle and high schoolers at a very rural school, and her children were able to attend preschool at the same site, which made the separation easier.

The following year, she found what she thought would be her dream job: teaching high school English at a school devoted to the performing arts. She loved the students and the other teachers, but for some reason unknown to her, administration was not satisfied with her best efforts and she was not invited back for the following year. While she would have missed the first few months anyway (she was having her third baby over the summer), she was initially heartbroken to have to leave her students. They were invested in their art and motivated (for the most part) to do well in the rest of their classes so they could continue to attend the school. Before the end of the school year, however, it became evident that many teachers were unhappy with how the school was run and chose to leave it and teach elsewhere. She then realized that even if she had stayed, the school would have been very different with such high teacher turnover.

Now, the girl is at a crossroads. She has determined she will stay home probably for at least a few years while the newest baby is small, but she is uncertain whether she has enough courage to put herself out there to teach in a high school context again or if she will figure out a new line of employment. It was extremely discouraging to put her whole self into a job and still be told it was not good enough.

The girl knows she wants to be a writer, but it will be awhile before she will have consistent time to carve out a writing schedule. Until then it will be piecemeal at best since small babies do not follow a set schedule. So for now, she will do her best to give her new son the best start she can and shower her children with love and support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am not a young woman...and I have never known what to do with my life.
A job reading books would be awesome.