A couple of weeks ago a friend wrote to ask why I hadn't posted to the blog in a while. I'd had this nagging thought in the back of my mind that I ought to post something, but the honest truth was that I wasn't feeling all that excited about teaching and didn't have a heck of a lot to say.
Not being offered a permanent job after doing a one-year leave feels like being kicked back down to minor league ball, even after batting .300 and hitting a few home runs in your rookie year. I guess sometimes you're just not on the right team. (Forgive me the baseball metaphor, but my hometwon Cubs are in the playoffs and I’m pretty happy about it.)
I spent the summer in a bit of a funk (and not the James Brown kind of funky). My car broke down and needed to be replaced, so instead of spending the summer working on guitars and lazing around with the dog, I spent it working as a temp in a cube-farm doing IT work. It was barely enough to pay the bills and there wasn't really anything redeeming about it. I had to work hard to get out of bed every morning to get to that job. Going into the new school year without a new teaching job just fed that funk a little more, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling some anxiety about my teaching career starting to slip away.
I guess my penance this year was to spend most of September on the bench before getting called up again. I was finally able to land a long term position covering a maternity leave, and in the first week of the job I feel like I've already been able to shake any doubt I had in my abilities as a teacher. These kids are a tough crowd (more about them in another post), but there's no doubt in my mind that I'm making big headway with them every day. I had to take a day off yesterday to interview for another job later in the year, and the first two people I saw were a pair of girls who are the toughest cookies in their class, and they were almost happy to see me this morning. A few days ago I could sense outright hostility, so I'll take almost happy from a pair of 12 year olds. The third person I saw was one of the administrators, who told me that my presence was missed yesterday and that he can already see behavior improvements from my classes, who started to slip again in my absence. If that ain’t success, I don’t know what is.
Thanks, Mark, for letting me know that you missed my presence too. I'm back, and I feel like I'm already kicking ass.