It’s true; I am one of those foolish human beings who has no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
First, I was going to be a vet. I spent many afternoons dissecting frogs in the basement and volunteering at the local vet’s office, where the tyrant head volunteer made me clean filthy animal cages all day long. Still, I was all down for vet science until I took chemistry, which I only passed because I had a very cute tutor and a very kind teacher, both of whom let a lot slide. Chemistry, I curse you!
After that, I was going to be a high school English teacher. I majored in English and was going to talk about books all day. What could be better than that, right? (I know, a lot of things, but go with me here.) Somehow, in college, the goal transitioned from teaching high school to teaching college, and I decided I wanted to get a PhD in English. Hooray! I could study the commonly read 20th century Irish poets, and get my PhD in Ireland, where I was destined to be all along. I would also get myself an Irish husband and maybe just stay in Ireland forever. But noooo. The Irish universities rejected me because my English university messed up my transfer, and I was left with only one option: to study Shakespeare in England. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Shakespeare, but it wasn’t my first choice. As I did my master’s, I realized that academia is two things: 1. boring and 2. really competitive. I had one lovely, sweet friend on my course, and the rest were a bunch of drips. We all went to see Shakespeare in Love, and they spent hours afterwards dissecting every inaccuracy in the movie. To them, I say: IT WAS A FRIGGING MOVIE. GET OVER IT!
Given that academia was so competitive, I decided to enter a far less aggressive field: journalism. Pardon me while I fall on the floor laughing. Not only is journalism cutthroat, but OHMIGOD are writers a huge bunch of bitches. I had no idea the cattiness that could occur after junior high. First, I worked at a trade magazine about audiovisual systems for a hipster girl from Minnesota who only ate white food and only talked to men. That was fun. Then, after I did my second master’s in journalism, I worked at a magazine for a while. I took the job because no one in my class at j-school was being offered work, and despite the fact that it was a business mag and I knew and cared nothing about business, my professors (and parents) told me to take the job or I would die starving and hypothermic in Central Park. I took the job, stayed for 15 months, and still have nightmares about working there. Good times!
I freelanced for a long time, which was great, because I had regular work for nice people and I didn’t have to take the subway, or later, when we lived in Australia, leave the house. (I spent a lot of time watching and quoting Oprah, which Bucket loved.) But then, publishing dried up and my editors all left their jobs and I had children who sucked away all my spare interviewing/writing/editing time.
After we adopted Peeta, I started a nonprofit, which was not something I thought I would ever do, but was always something I secretly fancied. Oh, the glamorous life of the nonprofit worker, I thought! Serving humanity and going interesting places! Not so much. More along the lines of serving humanity and slowly losing my mind. But, I stuck with it because I love my partner and the kids he works with and I’m pretty sure it’s going to get me into heaven.
As the multiple master’s may have implied, my life’s goal is really to be a perpetual student, but my Mean and Crusty Husband has expressly forbidden me from doing any more degrees, just because we would go bankrupt paying for them. DREAM KILLER! So, I started this blog to keep writing until Noodle goes to school and I can have more real writing time, and I run the nonprofit and beg people for money every day of my life. I thought again about teaching high school, but I am afraid of Youths. I literally see large groups of teens, yell, “Youths!” and run away. So high school is probably out.
But here’s the thing: I love immigrants. In Australia, I volunteered with asylum seekers and with immigrant teens (who are the exception to the Scary Youth rule, because they are generally very well behaved and polite and not scary). They had given up so much to come to Australia, and fought so hard to stay. I started thinking about teaching ESL to adults, which I thought would be a good idea because they would be grownups and therefore really committed to learning (unlike Youths), but also until they mastered the language, they might not find me totally obnoxious (or if they did, their commitment would surely outweigh my personality).
Generally speaking, you have to have a TEFL qualification to teach ESL. I don’t have one, but just before Christmas, Groupon was offering a wicked sketchy deal on an online TEFL course. Bucket okay’d it because it was less than $100, so I bought it.
All of this is a VERY long way of telling you that I am now studying to become an ESL teacher, which will hopefully provide me with some income and maybe enough experience to qualify me to teach at an international school…oh, I don’t know, in Cape Town. Not that I have a plan or anything.