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.




Employment. Finally. — 39 Comments

  1. Congrats on the job! I love that you consider the first day a “Get out of jail free” kind of day. So many of us students feel the same way.

    Although I like my news editing instructor so far, being able to leave 10 minutes before the end of class was nice.

    I wish you the best of luck on this new endeavor! (Holy crap that sounds corny)
    Kim recently posted…Dear Writing: I Have a Few Words for YouMy Profile

  2. Inside I am STILL DANCING, having heard this news – oh, I am SO VERY VERY INCREDIBLY HAPPY for you. You really needed this, and not only just ANY job, but teaching. English. PERFECT!

    I hope you have a long and wonderful time in your new role, and that it brings everything you hoped for AND MORE.

    And lookit that – inside five minutes, huh? WAY TO GO 😀 😀 😀
    Considerer recently posted…Two years in the ‘sphereMy Profile

  3. Oh please tell me you used CHALK! I have never used chalk in 16 years of teaching and would love to know people are still using it!

    Congrats to you and making it through the first day — it’s such a hard and amazing profession. I still have the rollercoaster in my tummy on the first day of school after all these years…

    So excited for you, Natalie! 🙂
    Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha recently posted…Zen and the Absurdity of ParentingMy Profile

  4. That’s awesome Natalie, so pleased to hear it. From what I know of your writing, you’ll make a great teacher. I am in the middle of what I am hoping is an about to be over unemployment period, so it’s nice to see someone else on their way =)

  5. I was feeling anxious and worried for you until “It was like waking up on my birthday, only I was getting paid.” Actually, who am I kidding, I felt for you until the end, paid or not. Well done!

  6. I know I’ve told you congratulations at other places, but, great work, Nat.

    Deana and I have been thinking about you every day. Between you and my teenager in college, I’m shooting mutual pride laser rays out of my eyes. Congrats.
    Lance recently posted…What I Like About YouMy Profile

  7. Congrats on your job – and on feeling so calm!
    And I’m delighted to see that “Writing Down the Bones” is among your teaching books. I love, love that book.
    I’m interested that you drew on theatrical training – maybe all teachers would benefit from it. I think I would have when I was a teacher many moons ago.
    Yvonne recently posted…This Post is a Waste of Time (or maybe not)My Profile

  8. Yay! I was hoping you would write about your first day! So happy for you, Natalie. Such a joy to read, and especially this: “Wept. Gave thanks.” It’s that simple and that complicated, the waiting and receiving. A lovely post.
    Meg recently posted…The Weight of a Paper CraneMy Profile

  9. I am so so happy for you, my awesome friend! Is it weird that I’m a little jealous of your students who get to listen to your wise and amazing words for two hours? Um. Ok. Maybe a little weird but in a nice way. Congratulations. I love how it all came together for you. <3
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Our Land: Feeling RespectedMy Profile

  10. Natalie, this was written flawlessly and such a pleasure to read. Great word choices–no repetition of words or phrases. And congratulations to you on your next chapter!! May it be everything you are hoping for. 🙂
    Genna recently posted…the artist’s prayerMy Profile

  11. Congrats! It’s a long time coming, but well deserved. Glad you’re doing what you always wanted. So how’s it going? It’s been a week, most problems/promises of the classroom show up in the first few weeks.

    Sorry I’ve been away so long…I’m kind of on the other side of the spectrum and fighting disillusionment and just trying to reconnect with my blogging friends and writing in general.

    So happy for you.
    Chris Plumb recently posted…Swinging Away with Warning Track Power: A Minor League Baseball StoryMy Profile

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