Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to School Season

This is my third year of not teaching. I don't know if I should feel bad about that or if I should congratulate myself.

I successfully avoided all the school supply sales, because I still have an urge to buy things like boxes of pencils and piles of composition notebooks and reams of copy paper. But I no longer have students who can use them.

There is still something exciting about a new school year--the anticipation, the new outfits, the possibilities of starting fresh, being better this time around.

And for the last three Septembers, I have such a part of me that mentally starts skipping down that path. The rest of me pulls back the leash sharply--no no, we're done, we don't do that anymore, that's not who we are anymore. But--but... Nope!

Come the dark November drudge, I am always grateful that I'm not slogging up that endless mountain. I remember all too well the way the dreary days felt endless and pointless and just too hard.

And yet...this summer I almost applied for a teaching job.


It was a long-term sub position covering a maternity leave. (Short, defined timeline!) It was at a charter school. (Looked like a mildly to mostly hippie one.) Located right in Portland, so no long commute to the suburbs. (Sweet!) The hours were the same as public school. (Awesome!!!!!) It was for fifth/sixth grade language arts/social studies. (AWESOME!!!!!!!!!)

I was basically perfect for the job. I wrote a cover letter saying pretty much exactly that. I updated and polished my resume. I didn't even know if I was eligible, because I don't have any Oregon licensure, but I figured I could just apply.

I had nothing to lose to just submit myself. And yet I hesitated.

The teacher bug lives on in me. I suspect it will always be there. I'm not sure if I want to feed it and let it take me over again. Sometimes I want to try and sometimes I'm too scared. Scared that once again I won't be the kind of teacher I want to be, that I feel I should be. Ashamed because I still can't see myself being a career teacher, so maybe I shouldn't take a classroom spot (even for a couple months) away from a teacher who's in it for the long haul. But also piqued because maybe the school scene out here in Portland is completely and utterly different than the mess that is the New York City school system, public and charter. Maybe I would do better here. And maybe it would become a quiet disaster.

The more practical side of me wondered what that would mean for my existing job. I do have a day job, albeit part-time and not terribly lucrative this year thus far. This fall it will be three years with this company, and I don't want to leave. But I don't know how or if I could do another temporary full-time job while continuing to keep my permanent part-time one.

So I never applied. I didn't take the chance. It probably wouldn't have gone anywhere anyway.  It's so easy to avoid failure, by not even trying.

In the meantime, my part-time job has recently ramped up considerably, and I have more work and thus more income. This is a huge relief for my mental state as well as my bank account. I feel better about not having to worry about that other huge potential thing. I'll be able to focus more on this job, and my other job--these growing babies.

Though I have a feeling that next September I might take a peek at that teaching bug and see how it's doing.