Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Fluxing Capacitor (with thanks to Mir and Ellen)

I should begin by saying that Spouse's job sitch worked out exactly like Swistle predicted on my last entry, and not long after I wrote it, either. He is really a ton happier.

Things are fixin' to change in a big way for me, as well. Since August 2008, I have applied to lawyer or lawyer-appropriate jobs whenever I've learned of opportunities, and gone on a number of interviews, and even gone on a couple of second interviews. My outlook on life has depended on where I was in the waiting game at any given moment. Recently, after one more turn on the hamster wheel that didn't work out, I decided I was done.

That same week, I'd found out about a new alternative teacher certification program. I'd looked into teaching before, but this was a new thing, only recruiting for high-need subjects in high-need schools. So I went to the info night, and found out that I could take tests and qualify to teach special ed. A field in which the law degree, that $160,000 albatross, would actually come in handy. That just blew my mind.

So I wrote my application essays, sent them off, and was invited to interview for the program. Prior to the interview, as requested, I signed up to take three state certification tests. The interview day went really well--my five-minute lesson was definitely one of the better ones in my small group, and I was absolutely sure I would get into the program. So positive, in fact, that I went inactive with the state bar, which is easily reversible, and really not that big a deal procedure-wise, but my Lord, did it hurt. (I was only mostly done.)

Fast forward to the night before the first test: I got an email saying I was wait-listed. OUCH. I dwelled about this for weeks. I felt like I had been rejected yet again, and like I was being punished for something. Really, though, it meant that I got some sleep, instead of staying up all night trying to teach myself electromagnetism via Wikipedia. (Capacitance is a real thing; flux is a real thing; flux capacitors remain theoretical, but I couldn't tell you why.) I would have kept going, because I'm just that goofy, but once I had that news, I felt ok to eat pizza with Spouse and go to bed.

Eventually I got word that I passed that test, and not long after, that I had gotten into the program. Then I passed another test. Then I did a school visit and was blown away by how skilled the teachers were, how deftly they handled everything the kids threw at them. I've had homework to do, too--a big guidebook to read, a bunch of essays to write about my school visit.

I've been procrastinating, in part because that's what I do, and in part because of ambivalence. This is going to be hard. (On the other hand, it cannot possibly be as hard as the bar exam. Or law school. Or the aforementioned hamster dance.) Historically, I used to bolt when things get hard. (On the other hand: since then, I have become tenacious as all hell.) I still have to actually get a teaching job, which will involve more interviews (but there will be help with that; I won't be completely on my own and isolated like I have been with the law stuff). Communication from the program has not been as instantaneous or as detailed as I would like. (But I can be a tad obsessive: see, for example, having pecked at this all day.)

Summer training starts tomorrow, and until yesterday I'd been feeling disconnected and put-upon and meh about it. I got a very lucky break yesterday, when I read Mir's entry about whether or not public school is right for her son, who has Aspberger's. She was indirectly advised, by a very well-known person on the spectrum, to pull him out ASAP. Strangely, even with teaching stuff all over my desk, I didn't make the connection until I read this comment. A teacher named Ellen wrote,
At my school, we are getting ready to say goodbye to a girl who came in 6th grade totally lost. I am not saying we’d do a great job with Monkey, but [...] It is possible to have success in a public, diverse middle school.
And the light bulb went off: Hey! That's where I'm gonna be this summer!

And: Holy crap! I could do a great job with Monkey! (Eventually, I mean.)

And then I felt a LOT more invested and connected and hopeful.

I have this pernicious tendency to over-believe the negative. I told myself during this whole process that I would end up feeling really silly about all the turmoil re the waiting list if it all worked out in the end. And, well, I've got to got figure out what to wear tomorrow, because it did work out. So my goal for this summer is to focus on the positive, regardless of whatever crap hits the fan. I have no idea where I'm going, only that I'm going somewhere else, and that is HUGE.