Freelance Educator

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.

Where the experts are - University of Oregon, Eugene

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.

Up a tree - a great place to be (and to learn)

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.

Climbing into the light

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.

4 responses to “Freelance Educator

  1. and…I’m about to break that silence! 🙂
    I too hate exams, which is why I chose to do a PhD in the UK (no exams or tests).
    I think your freelance ideas are very realistic and very possible — if you keep at it, your name will get around – you just need to think ‘business’.

    If you’d still like the ‘qualification’ I wonder if it might be worth looking at doing a research-type degree and head towards a PhD (there are a lot less exams) – even if there is a viva (public or closed depending on system).
    And through a research degree (perhaps look at MFL and learning?) you will have more space to direct your own study.
    Good luck and I’m sure you’ll be great whatever you decide – just keep us posted!

    • Thanks for your words of encouragement! I would love to be part of an educational institution that is genuinely focused on ideas and meaning, and not just how much money they can get out of me before they hand over the piece of paper that validates my worth!

      This is where the “thinking business” part gets sticky for me. I have a hard time insisting on my own worth and I don’t like dealing with money. I think these two things make a doomed combination for a business person. And yet… if I were inspired by the teaching and the subject matter… I have so many ideas that make me so excited to think about. If I could just project my own genuine belief in their worth and slap a price tag on them, maybe I could make a go of it.

  2. How exciting all these new horizons for you. I taught what you would call elementary school here for 15 years, and teaching can be marvellous…but I don’t want to go back because of all the paper work and nonsense. Freelance would be awesome, I think. 🙂

    • Yes, paperwork, and here with our directive “no child left behind” it turns into a veritable labyrinth of boxes to check and numbers to maintain “or else.”

      But you know, I was driving down the road yesterday and the thought occurred to me that I’m not going to be able to get away from the red tape, because if I were freelance there would be receipts, billing, self-employment taxes and all manner of paperwork that is just inescapable. *sigh* I guess “freelance” does not equal “freedom” from that sort of thing.

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