I had to lock down my website & blog in April because I started looking for other jobs and by other jobs I mean a complete life-changing career shift. Call me Mrs. B, cuz guess what, I'm a teacher! It happened lightning fast. I signed up for, studied, and took the MTEL's in English. I gathered my transcripts and spoke to every single teacher I knew. I observed English classes at my old high school. I applied and was ignored by many public schools nearby and on a whim emailed the director of a charter school on the Cape and not even joking, a week and a half later - I got the job. When I say fast I mean fast.
So, how'd I get here. Well...after eleven years griping about cubicles and office jobs I finally started listening to my inner voice, the one who screamed at me day after day as I languished in a stale office, staring at a computer screen till my contacts dried up.
"Who cares?? This voice kept screaming. And after all the cancer nonsense it was even more evident that what I was doing day after day after day was helping zero people in this world. This all bothered me to a terrifying degree but I didn't know what to do about it. Because, you know...bills.
Until one day around my birthday I made a pros and cons list. A wants and needs list. And on it I listed what I want and need: Needs: Time. Free time. To write, be with my family. To have a goddamn break. Not 2.5 weeks vacation. Needs: To be in a more bustling, lively environment where I talk to human beings and not a screen, where the tapping of a keyboard doesn't give me nightmares and I don't have to hear the phrase, "Year-over-Year." I wanted to talk about books and reading and writing and make someone's life better, somehow. Who? Whose life could I make better? And somewhere along the line I had the idea to try becoming a teacher. It was helped along by several teacher friends and my mom.
But I also subscribe to this notion written in a letter by Hunter S. Thompson, a letter that I had taped to my cubicle wall. Every year of my life since I discovered this letter, a particular part of it nagged at me. It reached my depths. It helped me make my decision:
"The answer—and, in a sense, the tragedy of life—is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things...When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It's not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.
So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis? ... So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.....A man has to BE something; he has to matter."
And so...I'm three days in to the hardest job I've ever had. I'm already having nightmares about my lesson plans going awry. I wake up every night at 4 AM in a panicked sweat. I think constantly about my kids; especially the troubled ones. My heart hasn't stopped racing. I'm panicking 24/7 over how to fill each class period. I make significantly less money. And I've never, ever, felt more exhilarated, and I've never ever felt like I've belonged anywhere more. Most importantly, I care.