Thursday, December 31, 2009

College Dreams and Other Things

When I was little, I was as determined as I am now. I had my whole life planned out. I would graduate with my degree in Nautical Archaeology in 1998, my PhD in 2004, married that same year, teaching at a university a year later. I even had my divorce scheduled in there.
I could imagine no better life than to spend part of my time in the field diving and the rest of it teaching and researching in dusty libraries.
I even had a timeline drawn out to remind me of what I should accomplish when.

It didn't quite happen that way.

I went to East Carolina to study marine archaeology but they canceled the undergrad program my freshman year. And I wandered off into theatre. I graduated in 4 years (no small task at ECU). Then I went off to work in Atlanta, New York City. In 2001 I got a little tired of the politics and decided to apply to the New York City Teaching Fellows. It wasn't nautical archaeology, and it wasn't college, but it was teaching, and I figured it was a good step. I got in, but because of shortages, was not assigned history, but English.
Hey- I like to read, that should work.
I went through a whirlwind training that involved overloading me on grad school classes and student teaching over 6 weeks and in September was assigned my school and started teaching in September 2001. My first year of teaching will forever be tied to the events of September 11th as I watched the towers fall from my school and then dealt with the aftermath with my students. I graduated with my Masters of Science in Education in 2004.
When Mom started getting really sick I applied for, and got a job here at the beach teaching. This is my 6th year teaching here, my 9th year teaching in general.

I love my job, I love my kids, I love seeing that look on their face, I love finding new things to teach them. But I do admit to being a little bored. I've been teaching the same grade for 9 years. The same required texts. And there's only so much innovation you can do. Only so many new projects, writing assignments, tests, debates when you're dealing with the same material. While I've advanced with a lot of things at school (committees, presenting at conferences, creating curriculum, running professional development) I feel a little bored with my teaching.

For the last couple of years, I've thought about applying to the local community college as an adjunct professor. But I kept putting it off. I'd wait until I got my Master of Arts in English Literature from Bread Loaf. The application was dismal to look at. I'd wait one more year to see if I was given a more challenging course load at school. I kept thinking of reasons why NOT to. I didn't have a PhD. I already had enough on my plate. They currently weren't hiring English. And then, over this break, as I researched more about community colleges, and teaching in them, the more I started to think that it would be a good fit. I may not have a PhD, but I'll soon have two masters (in areas that would fit with a community college), I know the students in this area, I know this community, I love coming up with ways to make material accessible. So, even though I could make up a million reasons why I shouldn't, I've decided to go ahead and throw my hat in the ring. They may not be hiring now, but I wanted to get everything together and put it in so that when they do, I'm top on the list.
I've crafted my cover letter, revamped my resume, gathered my transcripts. It was kind of fun to look at my grades from undergrad and grad school. How did I get an A in Physics Lab and a D in the class?

So maybe I didn't end up where I thought I would. But then again, who does?

To me, the coolest thing about this decision was that when I posted it on Facebook, not only an ex-student, but adult friends posted how exciting it would be if I was one of their professors. And as a teacher, there is just nothing cooler.

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