I have a job now. I blinked my eyes forcefully and next thing I knew I was filling out HR forms and getting a TB test. In fact, it happened almost by accident. After completing my annual exercise in futility, i.e., applying for teaching jobs all over the Southland, I pushed aside my fear and asked a friend from grad school how she got her job and if she could pass along any words of wisdom. Only a few emails later and the school called me in for an interview, hiring me within five minutes of interviewing. I left the room feeling immensely giddy and slightly confused in my uncomfortable suit.
I have…a job? Teaching English? At a college?
Had I sat in my standard Lone-Ranger state any longer, I would not now be doing almost the exact thing I set out to do seven years ago. Thank God I am teachable. Thank God that life can shift without notice.
The next week and a half flew by as if my days on Earth were numbered. Paperwork, background checks, creating syllabi, locating textbooks, pint of blood, the promise of my unborn first child–not to mention all the work in my regular life pertaining to our recent move–meant that the last week of summer dissolved in my fingers in exchange for billows of work. Fun work, to be sure, but still hard work.
Yesterday I had my first class. Though I started the process behind schedule, with little time to prepare, I awoke without a trace of fear.
Hm, odd. I don’t feel any different. It was like waking up on my birthday, only I was getting paid.
Instead of the fear I’d expected, I only noticed an electric wire of focus running through me. I had a list of things to do, and I knew exactly how to do them. Go to the Dean’s office and obtain my roster. See if I needed chalk or dry erase markers, and procure them. Stand up in front of a classroom of students and talk for two hours–or, let’s face it, one hour, because the first day of classes is kind of a Get Out of Jail Free card as far as teaching goes.
Nausea pattered in my stomach only once. As I took my first steps on campus, laughter wafted out of one of the classrooms.
In an hour, that will be me in there. I will be responsible for directing the education of a room full of students.
Somehow, that thought brought about that roller coaster sensation in my gut. I kept walking. There wasn’t time for me to coddle myself.
Though I had gotten to campus two hours early, I stepped into an already full classroom right on the dot. My theatrical training came back to me in a Pavlovian flood.
Don’t rush, don’t rush, you have two hours to fill.
I slowed myself down. Asked questions. Answered questions. Handed out add slips. Timed an in-class diagnostic essay. Collected the essays. Packed up my shabby laptop case, which doubled as a briefcase. Went home.
Wept. Gave thanks.
Man, has this journey ever been long.