Friday, March 11, 2011

Pursuing New Goals (while finishing up the current goal)

It really does seem like I should just pursue the goal I've got.  Finishing school.  But for better or worse, life doesn't always allow us put blinders on and do that.  As I finish my thesis, I'm aware that I should be turning in my CV to community colleges around the county.  My graduation coincides with a lousy economy and with the worst education budget in a long time.  Maybe ever.  And so I have to consider other options, additional education.  How can I equip myself to teach other types of classes?

As part of an attempt to educate myself on getting jobs in community colleges, I met Donna, who started out teaching French at community colleges in the area.  She quickly learned what seems obvious--there aren't that many jobs for French teachers in an area where most people want to speak Spanish.  And so she began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), something she could do with an MA in a language other than English.  Ultimately she returned to school to get a second MA in English.

We talked after the panel discussion, and she suggested that with my background (BA in both French and English), maybe I might be interested in an ESL certificate.  For a while now, I've been frustrated with my inability to help my students who are not native English speakers.  Some of their errors follow patterns I recognize and help them correct, but sometimes I just don't know what to do.  I started looking into the ESL certification program just so to better equip myself to meet the needs of the students I'll have in the future.

Donna invited me to visit one of her classes, which I did on Monday.  I fell in love with the students and the program of study.  Here is a room full of students from all over the world.  They're here, in the United States, and Donna not only gets to introduce them to American English, but also to American history and culture.  My writing students are in the class because it's required, and not all of them care about writing.  Most of them just want to pass.  But these students actually want to learn.

And so I decided to go after that ESL certificate, and I wished I had decided to do that sooner because there's a community college internship I could apply for and get ESL experience.  But I thought the deadline for the program had passed.

On Wednesday, I learned that the deadline for that program wasn't at the end of February, like I previously thought, but was today, Friday.  And so on Thursday I went and got college transcripts for all my work.  And today I wrote a personal essay, scanned the transcripts, and sent them off to the program with a CV.

We'll see how that goes.

But I'm sort of proud of myself.  Normally I don't move that fast.  And I don't think ahead.  And I freak out over things.  And get anxious.  But this time I made a decision and got it done.

This week I also learned that I probably won't finish my thesis by the spring graduation deadline.  I might, but probably not.  It'll be close.  And I know I'll finish.  And I think that's good enough.

After that I'll need to find jobs.  And I'll need to trust God to lead me and provide.  Like I said, it's a lousy time to look for teaching jobs.

Still, it's nice to see I can break a few broken patterns along the way.  

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