Kelly: Is the Universe Speaking?
…And just what the heck is she saying? I have two close friends who are big followers of the principles in the book The Secret. If you’ve been under a rock and haven’t heard of it, the basic premise behind The Secret is that if you open yourself up to it, the Universe will bring you what you need. Okay, so I admit, I haven’t read the book, and I’ve thought it was a bunch of nonsense. I’ve always believed you create your own luck and drive your own fate. But lately I’ve been wondering if there’s not something to this Universe stuff. Back in July, I talked about When Life and Art Meet Frustration, basically the struggles I have with time in holding down a full-time job (or two), raising twin girls, and trying to live a creative life. In that post, I talked about a couple changes I was considering, one of which was shifting from full-time college administrator to full-time faculty.
So here’s where that pesky Universe thing comes in. Off and on over the years, I’ve considered joining the K-12 teaching ranks. Now that my girls are in school, that’s starting to look more and more attractive. Working their schedule would be quite lovely, not to mention those summers off, and furthermore, teaching at their school would make my life a very sweet piece of key lime pie compared to the hectic schedule I deal with now. A couple weeks ago when I emailed my girls’ teacher about Sarah’s little smarty pants reading display I talked about here, I also told her that I was considering making a move to K-12 and asked her if she knew anything about the alternative certification program we offer here in Florida. She replied why yes, “I was the professional development facilitator for the alternative certification program last year.” Okay, maybe there’s one point for Madame Universe. Last Wednesday we met and talked about my background and how it might benefit me in a switch like this (“Oh, I think you could bring so much to the children!”). We also talked about what she felt her challenges were as a K-6 teacher. Sure, there are a few, but apparently at this school, not many, as she said, “We have such a great culture here, and I can honestly tell you, it’s not like that everywhere.” The school is an “A” school. She suggested I sit in on some classes to see what it was actually like and directed me to make an appointment with the principal to schedule the visits.
So off I went to the principal’s office to make an appointment. “Oh, she’s available now!” said her secretary. “Would you like to talk with her?” Two points for the Universe? I wasn’t quite prepared for that, but told myself what the heck, since I’m already here, I might as well. Lovely woman, Principal Johnson. We talked easily, and I told her my thoughts. We discussed my background and what would be necessary for certification. “Given your background, there’s a good chance you could simply take the General Knowledge exam, pass it right away, and voila! You’re certified!” Hmmm…interesting. She started making some suggestions on classes I should visit and then stopped mid-sentence. “What did you say your master’s degree is in?” “English.” “Hmm, I have a 4th grade English and Language Arts teacher going out on maternity leave in December, and she’s decided to become a stay-at-home mom and will not be returning.” Okay, did Madame Universe just offer up a slam dunk, here? Seriously! What are the chances that (1) my girls’ teacher was the professional development facilitator for the program last year, (2) the principal just happens to be available to talk, and (3) said principal just happens to have an opening coming up in my subject area? And just for a few more giggles…the teacher who’s leaving? Her last name is Nelson. My maiden name? Nelson. And guess whose class my girls’ teacher’s daughter is in? Yep, you guessed it. Ms. Nelson. Do I need to go read this darn book?
Now to toss a different crouton onto the salad….I’m down a staff member and will start interviewing to fill that position soon. Today, I reviewed all the applications. I have 32. Nearly two-thirds of them are current Duval County school teachers; nearly two-thirds of those are current Duval County elementary school teachers. Are you catchin’ what I’m layin’ down here? (Sorry, I work with college kids…sometimes that stuff just comes out. 🙂 First, I have that danged Universe concept potentially throwing open the doors for me, and then boom! She throws me a curve ball. Why do they want out when I’m thinking about going in? Is this just a “grass is always greener” scenario? So what gives? Fill me with your knowledge, my friends. I’m open to advice! I’m spending the day in Ms. Nelson’s class on Monday.