Are We Done?

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?

This entry was posted in 2nd Career, blogging, Family, frugal living, teaching, work. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Are We Done?

  1. Christine from France says:

    Hello Chantal,
    I would be happy to read you again and I wish you good luck for your new life!
    Christine and her two daughters born in Vietnam

  2. I tutored one whole summer for one woman. I commanded only $20/hr because of the area I am located. Plus, I have English/Language Arts certification. However, I was tutoring algebra/maths and chemistry to an older nursing student. Your certification and area might command more moola per hour. I also tutored a homeschooled girl who wanted to just get her GED. The two netted me from $300 to $400 each week and more than paid my bills. I also held craft camps in the summer for one week. Civic centers rent rooms, but a cheaper place would work.

    • boxcarkids says:

      I haven’t found anyone interested in tutoring in the summer. Kids are not in school but off on vacation, in camps, or (the older ones) working. Maybe if I was an SAT math tutor there might be some interest. I have an ad up- maybe closer to school someone will be interested.

  3. boxcarkids says:

    Thanks for the enthusiastic response! If some of you would be willing to make a small donation to help me pay the web-hosting bill we can carry on!

  4. bogart says:

    Count me among those who very much hope you’ll keep writing here.

    (Friday the 13th was also a full moon, BTW)

    Hope you have a great trip and that the kids enjoy their summer activities — and that come fall you are, indeed, employed full time with benefits.

  5. Em says:

    No, please don’t be done!

  6. Victoria says:

    I am anticipating your future success and I want to keep reading your blog and your FB page. Your strength and resilience are consistently inspiring.

  7. Sheila Smith says:

    I would like you to keep the blog if you are able. I also enjoyed the book you wrote and think that needs to find a publisher.

  8. Robin Wilson says:

    If you’re not tired of writing it, I know that many of us are certainly not tired of reading it. I still feel that a book will come out of your hard times; it just takes the right person to read this blog.
    You don’t know us, but we “know”you and your family. The light is shining–FINALLY–at the end of your tunnel. I can’t wait to see you step into that light!

  9. Nancy Ives says:

    I hope you will continue blogging. I am eager to hear about the job you get. I think you will have some good insights into what the teaching profession is like these days. I also want to hear about your little homestead and how you all progress in building it up. And of course, I would love to hear how the kids are doing, especially when things start going better.

  10. Rosa says:

    i will follow you on facebook if you shut down the blog. But if you think you have longer things to say than Facebook allows, i’ll keep reading here.

    I wish you were done though. I wish you had a job and propane and stability and didn’t have anything left to say about struggle.

  11. DeeDee says:

    There will never be a time when things are ‘the way they were’ again. Those of us who have gone (are going) through hard times never truly get over them, we just readjust. Keep the blog. I’m continually surprised by what stupid little wall I hit that reminds me that we can’t go back, even though we have theoretically made it through to the other side.


  12. Sarah says:

    I would love to tag along. I do recognize that asking you to keep blogging is very selfish – I have know idea if you get nearly as much from writing the blog as I (or we) do reading it. Anyways, thank you!!!

  13. Mamie says:

    NO! Don’t be done, please! I most definitely want to continue to follow your journey, and hopefully be able to offer a little more material support as we are able. Your voice is powerful and needed, so I sincerely hope you’ll continue the blog.

  14. Della says:

    Please continue to share your journey toward “normalcy.” I’m hoping for you, praying for you, cheering for each small victory, and admiring your endurance. Your kids have a Mom to be proud of and thankful for!

  15. Selah Gitlin says:

    Oh, please don’t stop blogging! You write so well, and your story is so compelling. I’ve been following you for years and I’m so inspired and awed by your strength, your resilience, your creativity, and your iron -clad will to survive, provide for your children, hold onto your curiosity and optimism, and entrepreneurial ventures. PLEASE don’t stop!

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