I have a bumper sticker (designed by myself) on the back of my car that reads “Woman on the Verge!” It’s meant different things at different times over the years, most of them rather pessimistic. However it currently has a more positive meaning as I hope I’m on the verge of finding a job in my new field and gradually returning our lives to something resembling normal.
My teaching license was finally issued on Friday the 13th (although the date of issue is May 17, the day I applied) and as befitting something issued on that day it has an error on it that will need to be fixed. Nevertheless I am now essentially a licensed educator. Or rather licensed to be an educator – what remains is finding a job. I seem to be a little slow out of the starting gate job-wise as several of my Transition to Teaching (T2T) cohort are already employed for the next school year. I put that down, at least in part, to the scarcity of jobs within a one-hour drive radius. After all the work we (and our relatives) have done to settle us in here I’m not willing to uproot the family again anytime soon – at least not until all local options are exhausted.
I have applied for the existing jobs – two high school positions and four middle/junior high positions. I’ve had one interview and apparently was the runner up (but close only counts in horseshoes and grenades as we used to say when I was a kid). Several of the other jobs haven’t closed yet so I’m hoping I can improve my performance in the next interview although I worry that my age is against me. I ended the T2T program feeling ambivalent at best about my new profession, thanks in part to the eye-opening and depressing “Current Issues and Problems in Education” seminar. Horror stories I’d heard from teachers during my time student teaching gave credence to the content of the class. I vacillate between the unlikely hope that things will improve (soon) for teachers and the more realistic thought that I will just have to maintain the gritty determination that has brought me this far.
This week, however, I have a nice little bonus – a sort of graduation gift if you will – the chance to travel (most expenses paid) to Washington D.C. to attend the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Conference. Each university that participates in the program gets to invite one scholarship recipient and I was thrilled to be selected. It’s a two and a half day conference of STEM educators presenting lectures and workshops. An opportunity to learn from science educators currently in the classroom and to network for the future. There are some optional museum tours as well. I will be going to the botanic gardens and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. And for me it’s a rare opportunity to have a little time and space to myself (although no doubt I will ruin it by worrying about the kids the entire time).
My conference trip is only one of several scholarship opportunities we have this summer – my son has a week of free day camp at WonderLab (the local children’s science museum) and my oldest daughter received a scholarship to attend IU’s four-day Informatics and Computing Camp. I’m grateful that they have these opportunities as we are back to extremely frugal living now that the small amount of money I was earning doing substitute teaching has ended (the downside to school being out for the summer!). Bills are piling up so once I’m back from the conference, I will continue to look for some temporary summer work (there is a lot of seasonal work locally as we are a tourist community however most employers require you to commit to working through the fall when the season is at its height). And I’ll be back to crafting (even though it is too hot for anyone to want to buy knitwear). I’ve picked up some vintage suitcases at Goodwill and yard sales and I’m going to try my hand at making those suitcase dog beds. And of course I will continue to apply for teaching jobs!
I must at some level feel hopeful (even though it’s my nature now to try and think realistically rather than hopefully) that I will find that job because I keep daydreaming about having a regular paycheck and insurance coverage. I want to get back to a normal life – to be able to save money and not live hand to mouth, to not live in fear of the next car repair or medical issue, to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I want not just the bare necessities and then only if they are on sale or we have coupons, to be able to say ‘yes’ to the kids’ requests instead of no! It’s been such a burden for so long. So many false starts and set backs. Let us be on the verge of something good.
It’s time to renew the web hosting for my blog for another year – I’m wondering, are we done? Is it time to say goodbye to Boxcarkids now that we are (almost/kind of) out of the box? Or would you like to tag along as we continue to try to find our way?