Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Something or Other.

Forgive me if this all seems a little incoherent. These are just some of my thoughts I’ve been thinking about the past few days. They aren’t as structured and cohesive as I would like them to be. I don’t know if any of it will make any sense, but I learned a long time ago it helps me to write things out and I learned just a few years ago that it often helps others to read the things I’ve written.

Today I substitute taught as an aid in a special education class for students with behavior disorders. It’s in a class that I’ve worked in before. I’ve acquired many, many interesting stories from my days working there. I really didn’t want to be there today, though. My brother is home from college and we hung out last night and I didn’t get to bed until late and then it took me forever to fall asleep. I had been asleep for a little over three hours when I received the phone call asking if I could come in. I didn’t want to come in. I wanted to sleep longer. I wanted to get up late in the morning and try to do some writing until afternoon, but I’m poor and in debt and I need the money, even if I won’t see it for another month from now. So I went in. It was a hard, hard, day. It wasn’t the worst I’ve seen in my over two years of student and substitute teaching, but it’s up there in the top ten. There was so much crap that I had to shovel through that I just didn’t want to deal with, but I plowed through anyway.

I’ve been reading several books lately about teaching. Seeing that I don’t have an actual teaching position yet and I can’t afford to take graduate classes at the moment, I’ve been doing the whole self-reliance act and reading books, articles, and magazines in an attempt to “improve” my teaching (even though I don’t have a class of my own, yet).

Perhaps it’s because I had a rough day. Perhaps it’s because of the reading I’ve been doing. I’m sure part of it is because I tend to be a very self-reflective person anyway. Whatever the case, I’ve really been questioning this whole teaching thing. I look around and many of my friends and peers have successful careers and are starting families. I’ve had several conversations with several friends in the past few months who have recently bought homes. My closest friends from college are all either married or engaged. I don’t see anyway how any of those things will happen to me anytime soon. If I allow it I find myself getting jealous and that just makes it worse. So, I try to focus on the tasks at hand and be thankful, but it can be so difficult.

This was not how things were supposed to happen. Just a few scant years ago I was supposed to have moved to Orange County and started a graduate film program. At this point in my life I should have had a graduate degree in film directing and video production. I should have been living in a hip, but moderate apartment near L.A. I should have been working my way up in the film industry and be on the verge of being offered my first picture to direct. I should have had a serious girlfriend by now and be planning on when and how I was going to ask her to marry me. I should have found a literary agent by now and at least have a young adult novel on its way to being published. I should be mostly out of debt by now. This was how things were supposed to have been.

Instead I find myself struggling to earn enough cash to simply pay my bills. There’s usually just enough to go around and I know it is by the grace of God, but sometimes I find myself angry about it. Why is there never more than enough? Lines from Fiddler on the Roof (“If I were a rich man”) keep floating around my mind. I’m an “itinerant substitute teacher” moving from town to town, school to school, room to room. I usually have no idea where I’ll be from one day to the next or if I’ll even be anywhere. I’ve tried to find a part time job to help out, but most places I could work won’t have me because I can’t be reliant to work the day time hours—if I get a call to sub I’ll take it. The places that don’t care about that won’t hire me because they say “I’m overqualified”. I used to hear about that happening to people and wondered how that could be true. How can you not give a job to a person because they are “overqualified”. I still don’t understand it, but it’s happened to me several times. It can be a drain.

Yet, I do take some comfort. The nomadic existence I have both chosen and been forced to live keeps me humble. It doesn’t lessen the frustration and confusion I might feel, but it does lift my spirits somewhat.

I really have no idea where I will end up in this life. I can’t say for sure where I’ll be living in a few months. I don’t know what job or jobs I will hold and even though I feel and want to teach, I don’t even know how long that will be. I do know that despite the difficulties I face and the doubts that arise, I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing at this moment. That doesn’t make things easier either, but knowing that will allow me to sleep tonight more peacefully. Also, writing this out near the end of the day has made me feel much, much better. The panic has lifted and for now peace resides.

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