Is such a thing possible?
I love to teach. I love to learn. I love to splash around with words and meaning, to engage in true communication, to discuss, read, observe, analyze, explore.
But I hate grades. I hate tests. I despise all the little soul-killing ways we try to educate our hopeful, energetic youth. I detest the fact that most adults are DONE with learning because they feel, and generally rightly so, that it was all irrelevant crap.
My current plan includes getting a job as a lateral entry public high school French and/or Spanish teacher, then using the three allotted years to get my actual license and possibly a master’s degree.
The thought of being in a classroom excites me to no end. I taught beginning French at the University of Oregon and it was one of the most fulfilling out-of-the-home things I’ve ever done.
But the thought of being a public school teacher fills me with all kinds of anxiety. I think the part I dread the most is my own continuing *forced* education. I will always learn – from life, from books, from sharing with other people, from taking classes and seminars that I deem relevant or interesting, from observation, from internet surfing, to name a few ways.
But to be dictated to as far as what I must read/write/study in order to be a great teacher? I am frankly insulted. I defy anyone to get to know me and what I’ve done in my life and tell me that I can’t direct my own program of study.
And the nit-picky crap that goes along with a university education. The GREs, for example. I’m supposed to take those AGAIN in order to apply for admission. I took them 6 years ago, but you have to take them again if it’s been more than 5 years ago. And yet, within the last 5 years, I took 40 credit hours worth of graduate work for which I earned a GPA of 3.95. The GPA doesn’t tell you what you need to know?
And so I think: freelance? Is there a way to be a French, Spanish or English educator outside of the system? Some possible outlets: continuing education (non-credit classes) at community colleges; classes at daycares; classes at churches whose members want to learn Spanish for outreach or mission work; ESL classes for immigrants; tutoring kids in the system; classes for homeschooled kids; opening a shop to sell education supplies/books to local teachers; selling curriculum I’ve developed; consultant for homeschooling parents… the list seems endless. In my fantasy, once I get my name out there and people get to know me and my passion for language and learning, it seems like the rest would follow.
But the safe path is the one that leads through the hoops. The walls of the box are very comforting, though it’s stuffy in here and hard to breathe. Also, not a lot of sunshine or rain, no mud or ladybugs or greenness. Just the walls and the hoops.
And the silence.