This weekend officially starts Autumn. Along with the wonderful Glimpses of Fall what else does the season bring to mind? It’s Back to School ! Most college students have already been in classes for 3 weeks! And all minors have been in classes for at least a week and a half and I am getting used to seeing those yellow buses again.
I grew up in a educator’s household. In fact this is my father’s 30th year teaching! To me the world did -and still does- revolve around the school year. January is not the beginning of a new year-fall that cross over from August to September- is. It’s the time of new beginnings.
It took sometime for me to accept that I functioned this way; that I was in-fact, like my father, a teacher. I was stubborn and hesitant to take on this identity and wrestled with accepting it all through my TESOL MA program. That is until I finally got in the classroom and had the opportunity to work with (and learn from) my students.
When I saw that sense of relief and joy that comes from understanding on my student’s face, I knew. When I heard stories and examples of how my students were practicing and using their new languages skills and vocabulary outside the classroom I accepted the truth. When I realized I was enjoying writing lesson plans and even grading papers I fully embraced the fact that I was definitely a teacher.
The question I have now is: Are you still a teacher when you are not teaching?
It has been almost a year (come the end of October) that I had been without a teaching job. I have been doing editing work on side but I miss students and the classroom. Last I had just begun to feel as though I had found myself: learning to apply my degree and ; ready to take on more creative practices. Then L and I got married, quit our jobs, and moved to upstate New York. (for more on this see Update Part three: Life in 2012)
By spring I was ready for more and started searching around for jobs teaching ESL. Talking about my job searching sounded boring, mundane and I definitely didn’t want to whine or vent here.
As much as jobs should be based on your experience and resume, the truth is it always helps to have a network (it really is all in who you know). Who did I know? No one! So I did some inquires, asked around, did research, called all the schools and programs that had ESL adult/college courses and came up empty handed. By early summer I started applying to teach college level English writing and reading courses with hopes of landing a teaching job by the fall. Then came the waiting.
And now it is fall and I am a teacher without a classroom. But I am out of the waiting room. Applications I turned in during June are now being looked at for teaching classes in January. I have my first teaching interview tomorrow! It is a start, a foot in the door, but I finally feel like I’m moving forward. As I said before fall to me is the beginning of a new year: a season of change. Now I’m just wondering what changes it will bring.
What does fall mean to you?
What roles or labels define your identity?