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Moving from California to Indiana last summer (can you believe it has already been more than 6 months?) was both a huge gamble and a necessity. We had struggled for years, trying to regain a foothold in California and except for the occasional one step forward, two steps back we were mostly just spinning our wheels, just hanging on. The good things – climate, friends, and proximity to the ocean – weren’t getting any better and the bad things – lack of income, healthcare, and cramped and crowded living conditions – like waves licking at the base of a sandcastle, were undermining our family. If we were going to start over we needed a better lifting off place. I hoped that Indiana, living with and close to relatives in a rural setting, would be that place.
And in many ways it has been. Especially for the children. The schools are better – something I had frankly considered unlikely – and the kids are doing well academically and socially. My middle daughter, energetic, outgoing, always up for a challenge, and my son, gregarious, friendly, and struggling with reading and writing, are both doing particularly well. She has dived into her accelerated classes where she is on the A honor roll, and joined book club, choir, and 4H. He has made friends throughout the entire school and appreciates and thoroughly enjoys the extra help he gets in speech and after school tutoring. All the kids enjoy the extra attention and interactions they have with relatives – so many more adults to attend performances, to show up for cake on their birthdays and teach them new skills. It’s working for them.
And that’s what I tell myself when I feel out of place, off center and just generally out of sorts. After all it’s not like things were working that well for me in California. It’s just that California was home so I felt more surefooted there even when things were at their worst. But the plan isn’t working. And the plan isn’t working because I’m not working. The plan was I would find a job, save up some money and move us into our own house, while at the same time starting our little farming venture. I was hoping we’d be in our own place within 3-4 months, maybe 6 at the outside.
It is important both for us and our relative that we have our own place before too long. Adding a family of five to one’s home is disruptive, more so if you are something of a peace and quiet loving hermit! And we need more space (I share a bedroom with three of my kids and most of our things are still in boxes) and autonomy. Of course I’ve applied for jobs, all sorts of jobs, from full-time jobs in my field (all of which would have required a substantial daily commute), to full-time jobs out of my field, to part-time jobs, and seasonal jobs in retail, the service industry and even farm hand jobs! Nothing has panned out and it’s depressing.
It is hard to stay motivated when you are discouraged and depressed, and feel isolated and alone. Particularly when the days are short and the weather is cold! I feel the need to do something more, or differently, in order to keep moving ahead. The other day, while huddled on the sofa in front of the wood stove, knitting yet another cat bed for my Etsy shop, and listening to the radio for company, I heard a news story on a bill that had passed the legislature and was going into effect.
These new REPA II teacher licensing rules, which the State Board of Education finalized earlier this month, open pathways into the teaching profession for non-traditional applicants who may not have education degrees, but do have expert-level knowledge of content. It allows people who already have a (nonteaching) bachelor’s degree to go through a short program called Transition to Teaching and become certified teachers. I have both a bachelor’s and Master’s Degree and had originally planned on completing my Ph.D. and becoming a college professor and have some teaching experience from my grad school days so this interested me.
I looked into it on the web and based on what I learned (it’s a two semester program and I qualify) I decided to check it out in person. So tomorrow I’ll be meeting with an academic advisor at Indiana University to discuss the program. I hope she will honestly answer my questions – especially the one concerning the true likelihood of getting a job if I go through the program as it is not inexpensive (about $9,000). If nothing else just getting out and talking to someone about future possibilities might be useful in keeping me going forward when I feel like getting back into bed and burrowing under the covers until winter is over!