So I have arrived safely back in Congo after an eventful ten day sojourn in the good ol’ US of A. For all three of you that were worried for me rest assured that I am alive and relatively well, and this time I did not contract Jersey eye. It is, of course, par for the course that the day I reach Boston is the day of their biggest storm in more than thirty years, but that is how life works here in the Rage Cage (oh god, someone make me a T Shirt!).
What was I doing in Boston, you may ask? Well, I had gone to find a new job. As the five regular readers of my blog know I am an international educator and part time raconteur. While the former occupation has allowed me to travel all over the world, see crazy things, and have some of the most powerful, life changing, “movie will be made about it starring (probably) Naomi Watts and Mark Wahlberg (but only if he brings back the shirts from Boogie Nights)” experiences of my young life, the last few years I have been actively striving to make a change for myself. I have been feeling for a while that I ready to branch out from teaching and toss my hat into a new arena.
This past summer I finally completed my admin certification coursework and walked away with a shiny new MA in Educational Leadership (listen to my graduation speech here for the fifth time! It only gets better. Play the diligence drinking game!) This is my second Masters, but unlike my first (Eastern Philosophy/Classical Chinese) this degree can probably be used for more than trying to make awkward conversation with the Korean lady at the bowling alley.
This Herculean task completed I made the decision that I would actively seek an administration position, come whatever may. This is what has compelled me to leave my current job in sunny, spider filled Congo, and this is also why I was in Boston last week, as a job candidate at the big Cambridge Search Associates fair.
Now, for those who don’t know, these international job fairs are a way to bring schools and teachers together in such a way that face to face interviews are possible for people living on opposite sides of the globe. Of course this is set up in one of the most stressful ways possible, and over these weekends there are always plenty of tears, anger, elbow drops, and drunken vomiting inside of potted plants in the lobby at 3 am. That being said, however, for certain positions (like admin) it is thus far the best way to go, projectile bodily fluids and maddening rage aside.
I came prepared. I borrowed ties from people classier than me, did practice interviews, researched schools, shaved my killer mountain man beard and felt generally ready to bring the thunder upon arrival. I was articulate, well groomed, and able to spout off the kind of teacher lingo that would make a curriculum coordinator at a New England charter school reach for her smelling salts.
When I say pedagogy, it has nine syllables.
Did I get a job?
Got some good stories, though. I was told by one school that I wasn't tall enough to be a principal (should have worn the goldfish pimp shoes), had another school ask about my eyes (which is always fun, as explained here), and was offered a “leadership position” as a pool maintenance manager.
It wasn't all bad though. Even though I spent thousands of dollars and traveled thousands of miles to get told that I was essentially Bill Murray from Caddyshack, there were some positives. I got a chance to see some of my oldest, bestest friends in Jersey City, along with my big brother. Also, I got to be there when a few of my TCNJ friends joyfully received their first overseas contracts. To see their eyes light up and the excitement bloom on the faces reminded me of myself, back when I had less randomly sprouting shoulder and ear hair. I knew going in that I would have a hard time finding anything, given my lack of “on paper” experience, so things went reasonably like I had expected.
Oh, and the storm happened. There was some snow involved, which didn't help.
That'll buff right out.
So now what? Is this the end of the line for gorgeous, sweaty me?
“But hold on!” you might be saying.
Hopefully you are also in chaps.
If not, I can wait.
“Don’t you have a job now?”
Why yes, you quick chapper you, I totally do, but I told them in October I wouldn't be returning next year.
“Huh. Well, did you get any teaching offers at the fair?”
Oh, I totally did. I had some before the fair, as well.
“Oh, sweet. So at least you-”
But I turned them down.
“You jackass. And I wore these chaps for you.”
I know, I know. I love the look, by the way.
Maybe I am making a huge mistake, dear reader. Perhaps I’m setting myself up for a colossal failure. I might end up like that dude in Dead Presidents without the killer soundtrack. It wouldn't be the first time I have gone out on a limb and failed miserably at something (read here for an example!). On the other hand, I figured I would give it a shot. I have been teaching now for twelve years and I think it’s time I try to move up the leadership ladder, as they say. It’s a scary thing, sometimes, to take such a big chance. There is a big, sexy part of me that is worried, for sure, about my future. Maybe, at this time next year, this blog will recount my tales of working as the creepy guy who sits too close to everyone on subways.
Who dares, wins.
There is another part of me that will always remember, in moments of uncertainty and doubt, the words of that wisest of sages, Hellhammer: "Sometimes you have to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down."
And if we can’t trust Hellhammer, who can we trust?
May your light forever burn. Also, (Censored- gotta keep it PG, haha) is a killer song.