So I’m starting a blog. Duh. I’m starting one, despite my inherent dislike of technology as a voeyeristic means of self-expression for two reasons. One, because I’ve got an inside view of the educational system of the Southern states of America…and therein lies a story that needs to be told. From my perspective. Two, because I am what I like to call a baby buddhist. I’m new to the philosophy- relative to others. But I’m diving in head first, because I am in a hell of my own creation, and I know of no other way to climb out. I have little peace in my inner life, and this is something that my job and my society does nothing to discourage.
So maybe this blog will find others. Others like me. The unemployed, the seeking, the avid readers, the socially inept, the dancers, the buddhists, the hurting, the cowards, the people who stuff it when they should shout it. I’ve never blogged before, so I don’t know how people find this to weigh in/respond/ critique. But I’m hoping to learn.
A bit of history on where I am and why.
I am, for an American, highly educated. I have a masters degree in Secondary Education. So I’m ‘certified’ as competent to work with ‘children.’ Actually, I am very qualified to work with children, but that is largely due to qualities and common sense that I already possessed, and nothing to do with my masters degree, which was simply paying my dues. I’m middle class poor, unemployed, living in sin with my boyfriend and teaching our nations children. My family is working to middle class, and I live in what is considered ‘the Deep South’- Atlanta, Georgia.
I went back to school after working in the world in order to get two things- job security and a bigger paycheck. I was tired of being an office manager and getting two weeks of vacation a year. As a masters-certified teacher with certification in three different subjects, I was fairly self-assured (and assured by many others) that this career path would lead to both of these things. That was in June of 2006. I had every reason to believe that I would never had a problem finding a job. Teachers are in short supply and the schools are only growing.
Fast forward to over two years later. Recession. Pensions collapsing. Record job loss. Suddenly teachers are coming out of retirement to go back into the classroom to supplement their income. Who could have seen that coming? Not me! Suddenly I’m in a position to compete with teachers with 20 years of experience. Guess who won?
I taught my first year in a middle school, and was so miserable (as first years of teaching often are) that after three weeks, I created a website to chronicle my journey as a first year teacher. My first entry is counting the weeks left in my contract. After the first entry there is nothing, since I got so busy, stressed out and unhappy that I forgot about the blog and focused on surviving my first year of teaching. I did, and did not re-sign my contract for the following year. I had nightmares about the very IDEA of signing on for another year of teaching at that school. So, thinking I would have no real problem switching to a different county in my area, I left that school and moved 6 miles away. No job materialized…I could not find a teaching job. Since that possibility did not occur to me when I left the old job, I didn’t really have a back up plan.
So, since Irony is, I’m convinced, a god in our universe, I’m now substitute teaching in my ‘old’ county. A lot of my subbing jobs come from my old school. So I’m teaching without the subsequent responsibilities of teaching (i.e. lesson planning, grading, discipline paperwork).
That’s where I’m at now. Minimally employed ( mostly unemployed) and selling jewelry and books to afford my bills. I’m not living the high life, so my bills are not extravagant. I have no tv, my computer is 4 years old, my car is paid off…in short, I’m not living beyond my means. But I’m still struggling. Thank god I don’t have children thrown into this mix.
This is my beginning. I’m a becoming buddhist. A baby buddhist. My calling is to shift education. I’m in process. And I welcome thoughts and dialogue from others.