What’s Not Working

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!


This entry was posted in 2nd Career, back to school, economy, job search and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What’s Not Working

  1. julia says:

    I’m curious… if you were to eventually get a full-time teaching position (or any job, really), would you give up on the hobby farm?

  2. Jeannette says:

    Its never good when the weather is not happy. When the sunshine stays for more than a few hours a week your spirit will lift. In the mean time good luck with the visit to the college, hope something works soon for you.

  3. Vesta says:

    It sounds like a good program for you — hope you will find some information and encouragement too

  4. Janis says:

    Most states will allow you to subsitute teach (anywhere from $80.00 per day up to $140.00 per day) as long as you show you are taking education classes.

    Might be worth looking into ASAP also!!

    all the best.

    Janis and her 3 Guangdong girls

  5. Meg says:

    I hope this is a good fit for you! I know you would do well in both the classes and the actual teaching. Kids would be lucky to have you with your wide experience and maturity. I’ve always wondered if having teachers who started at 22 yrs old was such a good idea.
    Now for some negativity. Sorry, I just want you to avoid what I went through. Just as I was having trouble getting decent jobs after college, I started hearing that teachers were desperately needed! Of course, science and math was urgent, but everyone was welcome because of the coming massive teacher shortage. Somehow I believed this and went back to school. I got all A’s and enjoyed all my classmates and our discussions of why/how we, as older teachers, would be ideal. The univ. where I went gave no indication that anything but great success was waiting for us. Then I met a H.S. math teacher who told me some stories. She had her Masters and 15 yrs of experience. She had been trying for years to transfer from a rough district to the decent one in which she actually lives. Zero interest in her whenever she went to any other county to apply. She said, “When the Dept of Ed. treats me like a human being, never mind hires me, then I ‘ll believe there’s a shortage.” So it may be the same story we are familiar with in our current economy: employers want a huge pool to choose from, and colleges love lots of paying students. I hope this is not just a PR job which benefits them and gives false hope to the rest of us. Good luck!

    • Meg says:

      Well, after reading my own comment, I realize it was incomplete. After 2 semesters of classes and student teaching, I moved away and got a job in a lab, which better suited my introversion. My recollection is that many of my classmates got some sort of teaching job, though getting a position near one’s home was not at all guaranteed. I’ve never regretted not teaching, but I do resent the lack of preparation and support from the univ. staff. One multiple-degreed professor was helpful by telling us her own background: she had taught in a private high school and gotten laid off. She did the many rounds of fruitless interviews and finally was hired–to teach future teachers!

  6. hw says:

    Lots of readers are pulling for you, including this one.

  7. Heather says:

    Oh, I hope it’s a good meeting for you. I’ll cross my fingers!

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