So – many years ago – I invited HJ to blog with me, but then I sort of stepped back. He went on to bigger and better things and this blog got neglected.
There is A LOT of material here and I think I’ll let it stay, even though some of my early writing is incomprehensible and cringe.
Anyway, I’m going to do something I usually don’t do. I’m giving anyone who might be interested an update on how I’m personally doing.
So, as some of you might know, I used to live in Flint, MI and I taught at the University of Michigan – Flint. Despite a rough start, my professional life there was, on the whole, positive. The job I took was teaching Integrated Science and Physics Labs. I was even able to create my own Science of Sound course. However, the other person who taught Integrated Science left to work in the Education Department, leaving me to teach all of the Integrated Science courses with no time to teach the Science of Sound course more than once and no time to teach physics at all anymore.
I finally got the chance to teach physics again, during the summer. However, a week into the course, I was in a serious car accident with my infant son. He was badly injured and I was much too traumatized to continue, so another faculty member stepped in.
I continued to teach Integrated Science in the Fall and eventually I really did develop the courses to a point where I was very proud of what I was doing. I had another child and he was born with a life-threatening defect in his digestive system. I spent many weeks with him at the hospital after several surgeries. During that time, basically because I was bored, I would surf the web and I came across a job opportunity in Minnesota. I grew up in Minnesota and this job would make it possible for my husband and I to be closer to our aging parents, so I went for it.
I keep wondering if that was really the right call, but for better or worse, shortly after my son had his last surgery, we moved back to Minnesota.
The stress of a new job, moving, and the trauma our family had gone through due to the accident and my son’s hospitalization was way too much. I did not do well. It’s years later and I’m still recovering from it all in a lot of ways.
I was laid off from my teaching job. I got a job as a community organizer. I worked part-time as an adjunct. There were a couple opportunities that presented themselves and they slipped through my fingers or I simply realized that it wouldn’t work out. Eventually, I got a job as a special education para in order to align my work schedule with my kid’s schooling.
I’m determined not to move because I’m just not putting myself or my family through that stress again, which really limits my professional opportunities. Right when the pandemic hit, I was interviewing for a job as an image analyst. I’ve sent out well over a hundred or so job applications to various places since I was laid-off at this point. We had to do the interviews by phone. I ended up being the top candidate. I was about to get the job, but because of the pandemic, they were unable to offer it to me.
Now, also because of the pandemic, I had to leave my job as a special education para and I am now essentially unemployed.
I know this sounds like a huge pity-party, and maybe it is, but like SHIT I’m tired. I’m just exhausted – not in the I-need-a-nap-way – but in a I-need-to-do-something-way.
My roommate moved out, so our spare room is finally free. I’m going to make a place for myself there to just do what I want to do for a while and figure things out. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do something like that, so even though a lot of struggle has brought me right here and right now, if I don’t take advantage of this time it will be time wasted.
I’m also making the conscience decision to not worry so much about being myself publicly. Believe it or not, I’m often very worried that things I say publicly will bite me in the ass professionally later on. There are a lot of social expectations when you teach that I wasn’t really prepared for going in. Whether or not those were imposed on me or if I imposed them on myself is debatable, but I adjusted myself in significant ways just to make it all work somehow. I don’t think it’s healthy to keep that up, especially when there is no guarantee I will ever have a teaching job again.
We’ll see how it goes.