I’ve been under a rock for a few months. No no, it was a good thing. I’ve emerged with a couple accomplishments as well as something I never expected to receive. But, I’m back with an arsenal of things I’ve written, and a few follow-ups too. Hello!
Since last October I’ve been in school on weekends getting my teaching certification. It is many things to me, including both an accomplishment and a beginning. Given how long it took me to get to the point where I could be in school again, it’s huge. Considering I told a then-potential employer in 2001 that I “saw myself teaching high school” in my future (wrong thing to tell publishing executive, who still hired me, by the way) and proceeded to go down a long maze of a Choose Your Own Adventure-inspired story of my own misguided self-will, it’s a miracle I made it back out. But really that’s another blog entry. Or not.
Considering the certificate itself is only a “way in”– a piece of paper that says I am knowledgeable and prepared to teach your child, but to “stay in,” more education will be needed on my end, it’s only the beginning. I’m ok with that. While I occasionally climb up on top of something and gasp at the Big Picture, I have grown more accustomed to existing happily on the path of what’s just before me.
The thing about mazes is that you can really think you’re on the right path– for a while– before you realize you have only (at best) paralleled the life you wanted. You know that it’s nearby– maybe just over that tall hedge– but you realize you’re headed towards a dead end. Some people approach their dead ends with the speed of an oncoming train. Luckily for me, I more or less sauntered up to it, sadly, and realized the walls wouldn’t be budged, so it was no use fighting (anymore).
Mazes can also be fun though, especially with the right group of people surrounding you. It’s more of an adventure when you’re learning what’s behind every corner with enthusiastic people who are slowly becoming friends. I was so concerned with getting into school, making arrangements in my life, taking tests, paperwork… where will I stay? What will I drive? Who will take out the team? Have I forgotten how to be a student? I wasn’t even thinking about the people I’d meet. Or the person.
That said, I’m so grateful to have been with the group I got put with, my English teaching cohort. People who know me know there’s a letter on my refrigerator I keep there to remind me why I got put with this group of classmates, and not one before it. What I learned in high school is still true: things happen for a reason. As overstated as that is, it’s simply true. I learned something from all 17 of them: a big enough group to generate lively debate about such matters as agreeing to disagree on the back story of “My Papa’s Waltz,” and a small enough group to really get to know each other in some memorable and positive way, through our quirks, our discussion, or our ability to connect grammar with wrestling, or differentiation to a bobcat. It was exhausting and eye opening– you find out what you’re made up when you stand up in front of a group of strangers and realize that teaching is not explaining, and the difference between mood and tone is not inherently understood by all former English majors. In fact, returning to school after years of work provides an invaluable perspective that no fancy pants school can sell you.
I recommend it.
The “mapping” part of this post is that I feel like a person who has a truckload of tools and resources and ideas and stuff that I need to sort out. I’m excited as hell, but man, do I have a lot to do. Part of it will involve breaking off from this blog into other areas. I tell students to narrow their focus to be most effective, that they won’t accomplish everything in one paper. And so, I cannot keep doing so in one blog. I’ve decided there is a place for a brain dump, a catch-all, a rambling mess of ideas…and then there will be areas of more specific focus.
And the thank you is to my family, who supported me and housed me on weekends and gave me food to eat and cars to borrow and said yes in encouragement over and over.
So here I go, and here I’ll stay. Stay tuned for more.