Sunday, September 4, 2011

School Starts Next Week

I have somehow managed to get two substitute positions in two different school districts. One I wrote about in my last entry. The new one is closer to my home and seems to have more promise. The assistant principal I interviewed with assured me that I will be very busy by the third week in September. He also assured me that the school prefers to hire internally when full time positions open up. He anticipated over a dozen retirements in the next year. I've heard this before from another A.P. who did not hire me. I have resolved to become a realist about this whole thing, yet I am often engulfed in the joy of optimism and possibility. A couple of my fellow graduates were lucky enough to secure full time positions. One who graduated early was hired here in the suburbs. Two others were hired in Brooklyn. One of them even forwarded me a job opening in a Queens middle school that she got a head's up on. I of course emailed the principal immediately. Unfortunately she sent it to me on Friday after everyone was gone for the extended Labor Day weekend. I plan on calling first thing Tuesday morning. New York City schools open on Wednesday. I have nothing to lose. Thankfully I have become more disciplined in my reading. I just finished Don't Let's Go To the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. It's a memoir from a woman my age who was born in England but grew up in Rhodesia Africa. It was so well written: heartfelt, descriptive, funny and tragic. She lived on a tobacco farm with her parents and older sister. Whilst in Africa her parents lost 3 children. One before Alexandra (aka Bobo) was born (a boy) and two (boy and girl) after. After losing the first child the family briefly returned to England where Bobo was born. The family missed Africa desperately and moved back as soon as they were financially able. They never had much money, but Bobo's mother was find of saying they had "good breeding" which was more valuable that money. Life in Africa was so hard for the family: disease, terrain, the oppressive heat, the revolutions, racism and war. Somehow, love of the land, animals and lifestyle overshadowed the tragedy. These people were determined and resilient in ways many of us can only dream of. Bobo retells her mother's battle with alcoholism and mental illness with such compassion and honesty. It's an amazing book. One day when I am teaching I hope to be able to use it for a course on memoir. I think students will like it because it is basically told through the eyes of a child. Kids are brutally honest. Too bad many of us lose that when we become adults.