May 1, 2012

Maybe Maine...

So here's the deal, and hang on because this is going to get twisty.

I failed Spanish. I studied ridiculously hard over the weekend (like 23+ hours) but, while I entered the test feeling very prepared, I left confused and downhearted. A group of classmates who gathered in the hallway afterwards agreed that the test was aggressive at best and mean spirited at worst. We were tested on material we hadn't fully learned and, because most of us are seniors and most of us failed, most of us will not be graduating. I know what you're thinking: this is a reflection of the teacher, not the class! Well, we agree with you and most of us will be appealing our grade with the administration, not because we are over-privileged ponces that want an easy A, but because we worked hard and learned a lot but do not agree with the method of assessment. The problem is that I'm not sure this situation will be resolved in three weeks and if I don't have that degree in hand when I head to New Orleans, I won't have a job when I get down there. But there is a silver lining!

I spent a lot of time on the phone with my sister last night and right before we hung up she said "you're getting very 'glass half full' in your old age". She was unpacking in her new Montana apartment and I was having a very passive aggressive nervous breakdown in the English Department. After I outlined my plan to overthrow the Spanish faculty single handed, we started talking about other options and why this is actually a good thing. Pay close attention while I do some good old fashion justification:

New Orleans is a very fun and interesting city, but I wasn't moving down there for the city itself. I was taking this job because it would allow me to get my teaching certification while making a meaningful contribution to very worthy cause (low income and high risk education). So the question then becomes; can I get certified a different way? The answer is that yes, I can find a state with lax provisional certification, work for a year, and use that classroom experience to apply for professional certification. But where?

Rural Maine, that's where! Did you know that there are towns in Maine with only a one room schoolhouse? Islands that only have a hand full of children? They have trouble getting teachers because, really, who wants live on a tiny island with thirty people for a New England winter? Me! That's who! Instead of beginning my teaching career ("career" might be a bit optimistic) with a high needs classroom and students with behavioral issues, I can get my bearings. Get comfortable with classroom management and lesson plans. Learn to work with parents and administration... In reality this is going to make me a better teacher in the long run and potentially save me from a straight up ulcer.

Ok, I realize that a rural island in Maine is kind of (exactly) the opposite of a large southern city, but doesn't it sound great? They pay decent money (about $34k) and maybe I can do some boating...

15 comments:

  1. Way to go! Bounce back.....it's the only way to do it. I have a friend whos son teaches up on the reserves in Ontario, Canada. It's the only way he could get a job out of school. He get's flown in, and gets to come home at Christmas for a week or two. It's a beginning and a first step...and that's all that anyone needs, a step forward!!
    Good Luck!

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  2. I was rooting you but still an island in Maine sounds pretty cool! The brother of a friend from years ago taught on one of those islands. He loved it! Good luck!

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  3. Will your school let you graduate if you CLEP out of Spanish? http://clep.collegeboard.org/exam/spanish-language

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    1. I hadn't even thought of that but I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip!

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  4. Hi Ash...dang it! I am really sorry about you and all the others grades and failure to make a graduation now...that really sux and I hope you can get some action with your appeals...BUT! I am glad to see you making lemonade! That is the kind of woman I would want teaching my children...you go girl and best of luck on whatever you choose....I am proud of you....
    Bri

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  5. Hello, I found your site on John Rogers "Life in a Volkswagen Bus". I like your attitude towards life's adversities such as not passing an exam! :-)) Maine is sure a great idea. We do live just north of Maine - in New Brunswick, Canada. On a little island! Called Campobello Island. If you find a place in rural Maine, pls. let us know and come see us here. The best of luck!

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    1. What a beautiful island! I'll keep you in mind when I'm heading that direction

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  6. f you can have as your first job a teaching position in which you are not overly supervised you will look back on it as the luckiest break in your life.

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  7. You know if we put pontoons on the gadget-mobile ...

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    1. Don't think I haven't considered it...

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  8. Windows of opportunity are made to be jumped through. ~Alice

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  9. That does sound great. I'm happy for ya, and I really like the way you use what alot of people would have called a negative situation and turn it into something good. No matter what happens, it kinda looks to me like you will succeed.

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  10. If a bunch of you complain to the dept chairman, that the teacher was late or missed class, did a lousy job, especially if he / she was a new teacher. The admin always wants 90% pass even if C--

    Did not give you progress reports - grades on time so you realized you were in deep shit, all those are golden rules that will get the teacher shit canned and your grades redone by the dept head. He may also do a new simple take home test you can send in. Everything is possible if like 1/3 of the class fails or complains. Just think outside of the box a little, you will get your diploma one way or the other from the school.

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    1. Thanks for the advice! I have a meeting with the department chair this morning and this will come in handy.

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  11. I am proud of you for not just saying the hell with it! Rural Maine sounds wonderful!

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