So several weeks ago, I was driving in my car. It was late, so NPR wasn’t playing anything good, and neither were any of the pop or alternative stations. 40 was mostly empty. I was able to safely let my mind wander, keep half an eye on the road and just do some introspection.
I broke myself down into things that I can contribute to society. What am I? I like history. I like dogs. I like writing. I like being around books. I am very good at learning languages. And looking at those things, if I had to be completely honest, only one of those is a unique skill. I am good at learning languages. I enjoy learning languages.
So I thought, that’s it. I’m going to become a foreign language teacher. That is what I am meant to be. That is the unique thing that I am meant to do on this earth.
So for the next few weeks I struggled with wanting to be a Latin teacher or a Spanish teacher. Latin is fun, but Spanish is useful.
Yesterday I did volunteer work for Wake County Animal Center. We went to a barbecue place and encouraged people to contribute to Wake County. It was successful all around, although I got sick and had to leave early (I have absolutely no idea what made me sick, but I popped some pills and lay in the dark for several hours before I felt better). But I had fun for a while, meeting some of my fellow volunteers and talking with people at the barbecue place.
One of the volunteers was a woman named Rebecca. She was a former science teacher. According to her, “North Carolina hates teachers,” so she quit. She is now pursuing a PhD in science education, and hopes to do education research and run science education programs for the rest of her days.
I can back her up on North Carolina hating teachers. I’ve been getting conflicting evidence back and forth. North Carolina teachers are underpaid, given class sizes of 40, and expected to teach to a test, with very little room for creativity and have an overall lack of support from administrators.
I told her that I had moved to North Carolina partially to become a teacher. “Oh this is a great place to learn to become a teacher,” she said. “But don’t stay here. Get your education here and move someplace that likes teachers.”
I know that James wants to stay in this area. I’ve mentioned to him a few times that we could move back to DC eventually. “But we won’t afford anyplace nice up there,” he said.
And besides, I’m really enjoying the lack of traffic around here. Plus, whenever I drive around Fairfax County I’m filled with bad memories and regret. But there’s not a whole lot stopping us from, say, moving to Richmond or Roanoke or Virginia Beach. I know the Richmond area is always looking for Latin teachers, and Spanish is an in-demand subject everywhere. But what is the point of studying education in a state that doesn’t value education? I might as well study Italian and German and then throw myself into Classics for the rest of my life. Or just give up and get a Masters in library science. Or give up even harder and become a Home Depot employee until I die. They like me well enough.
It’s getting time to start applying for college again. I really need to make a decision soon.
I’ve been trying for a week, and I finally got in touch with someone about taking ACT courses (in order to qualify for a teacher assistant position). I have to sign up on a specific website. There’s three mandatory tests that I have to take:
Reading for Information
These tests are each $10 and take 55 minutes to complete. I can also take a fourth test, Business Writing, which costs $20 and takes 35 minutes to complete.
Time-wise, that seems really steep. The first three tests clock in at $1/5.5 minutes. Business Writing is $1/1.75 minutes (100 seconds). But it’s also the shortest test. According to the woman I spoke with, if I pass all four tests, I get a certificate from the governor. I’m not sure what the certificate is for. But it’s from the governor. Wait, who is the governor of North Carolina?
This guy. Pat McCrory.
I was talking with my brother-in-law the other day (I have a brother-in-law now!) and I told him that I was planning on pursuing a teaching degree at the University of North Carolina. He suggested that I apply as soon as possible, for a variety of reasons. With that in mind, I went and looked up the endorsements necessary to get into the two teaching programs I’m considering.
It appears that I am going to be a Latin teacher. Colonial history is going to have to be a hobby. For now.
Lord help me, do not send me eight-year-olds. I did not come into this having to deal with the politics of eight-year-olds. I just wanted to teach them cool tricks they could do with their own body, like how to hop from one place to another like they’re crossing a creek.
The Gruffalo’s Child has six parts. I needed parts for nine kids. So invented a few more parts — I made the tallest kid be the Mouse’s Shadow, I had another kid help me narrate, and lastly, I split the part of the Gruffalo into two parts — the Gruffalo, and the Gruffalo’s Wife. I did not think this would be a problem. The Gruffalo has a lot of lines. By splitting them into two, there would be less work for all involved.
It didn’t occur to me that, by casting two kids as the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Wife, I was making them married and that is so super gross. The word “cooties” wasn’t said but they made their presence known. I had to find ways to keep them separated. Their “daughter” stood between them whenever possible. They spend most of the play asleep on the ground, and I had to assure them three times that no, they were just sleeping, they weren’t cuddling, don’t worry, you don’t have to touch each other.
Speaking of their “daughter”, I had trouble getting the Gruffalo’s Child to come out from under a desk. I sat with her and asked her questions, wondering if she had stage fright. I finally got a reason out of her — she was afraid the Fox would make fun of her. Why the Fox, of all people, considering that she doesn’t interact with any of the kids, really. Part of the reason why I made her the star was because I knew she could speak, but she never really talked. She tended to hang back, separate from the rest of the group. The kid who plays the Fox isn’t even the most rambunctious of the group. That would be the Gruffalo or the Owl. Why would she be afraid of the Fox in particular?
After rehearsal, she again hid under a desk. I asked her, and she again said that she was afraid the Fox would make fun of her.
I had the group play Sneaky Statues* to eat up time and encourage them to be quiet. She seemed fine for that. Then class ended. She gathered up her stuff, then looked around.
“Where’s [the Fox]?” she asked. “Where is he?”
Then it clicked. The Gruffalo’s Child has a precocious crush on the Fox. I have no idea what to do with this information. I also know that if she keeps up this behavior — hiding under tables in between rehearsals and then having to get coaxed out — then I’m going to need to find a new Gruffalo’s Child. And I don’t know how to break that gently.
*Sneaky Statues is a game where the players freeze in place while the “curator” or “guard” or “janitor” walks around them. When the janitor has her back to them, the statues have to move. If the janitor catches them moving, they are out of the game. Last person still a statue wins and becomes the next janitor. I like the game because it’s simple, physical, runs itself, and the kids tend to be quieter during the game. I dislike the game because, especially with small children, they tend to whine about getting eliminated, and you have to entertain the kids who have been eliminated. Eight is about the youngest age you can play with and keep your sanity.