- I would either settle down
- or stay for a few years and then move on, becoming a lifelong expatriate.
Eventually, I became a slightly better teacher, and I was able to get "regular" students to respond. Life wasn't bad.
But still, in the middle of every school year I started wishing for something more. I'd look at the world map in my classroom and wonder about the possibilities. The world is big. Life is short.
Meanwhile, my friends were getting married, having children, settling down. I felt torn: I wanted that too, but I also wanted the independence and freedom to bounce around the planet one or two years at a time. This wishy-washiness doomed every relationship I was ever in. Years passed.
So ... flash-forward to this school year. Sometime in December, I decided that this was it. I HAD to move on. I told my principal I wasn't coming back, asked for a letter of recommendation. I told everyone that I was moving to California, either to the sunshine of San Diego or my friends in the Bay Area. One hundred percent guaranteed. I started examining housing and job opportunities.
I soon discovered that this might not be the best year to move to California: Arnold had ordered school districts to cut 10 percent of their budgets, and teachers around the state were losing jobs, searching elsewhere to work. No worries, I thought: I can do something else. A friend of mine is big time in the blogging world, so maybe I could somehow work with him or maybe he could set me up. Other friends are resourceful and generous, so I'd make it.
Then ... something happened on this blog. Because of this blog. Readers started posting really positive comments about me. Readers got together to donate money to one of my students, and they said they wanted to help in part because of the kind of teacher I am. And I realized: I'm not yet a great teacher, but I'm slowly getting there. And I don't want to do anything but teach, to work with teens, to help in whatever way I can.
So ... what could a person in my shoes do? I thought about my dream to bounce around the planet. I thought about a couple of my friends that had gone off to teach at international schools. And so I checked recruitment services that help place teachers at schools around the world.
I discovered it was too late to attend an international school recruitment fair. But one source listed schools that were still hiring. I checked out those schools' website and was intrigued by one. "Well, it's a long shot," I thought, "but if this place hires me, I'm going."
I filled out the application form, sent my resume and letters of recommendation, and hoped. The school replied, sorry, the position has been filled. I responded, thank you, maybe I'd consider working in the residence hall and wait for an English position next year. (This is a boarding school, so they need people to help take care of students outside of school hours.) They interviewed me. And a few days later said that the English position is available after all, what were my intentions?
I'm writing this quickly, with few details, but mostly as a reminder for myself, so I don't know if any of this makes sense to anyone reading. But the bottom line is this: I have been hired to teach high school English at a boarding school in the mountains of India. I leave next month.
Half my new students will be Indian. The other half from all over the world. Yes, they speak English. In fact, the school has an American curriculum, and many of the students end up coming to the U.S. for university; others go on to study in the U.K., Australia, or all over Asia.
Yes, I'll miss Senn and my students, but I'm excited to move on and start a new chapter of my life. And yes, I'll continue blogging, and will post a link on this page when it's ready. Thank you all for reading; I have a few more loose ends to tie up, which I'll do in the coming days.