Saturday, July 19, 2008

Days of Teaching & Tutoring

The first few days after I was home after my trip to Ireland were a bit rough; my return was not optimally planned, as it were. I got home Monday afternoon, and had to be up Tuesday morning at 6:45 to start my new gig as a co-teacher (or mentor, depending on whom one asks) for the LIU English Summer Institute.

Hanging out at the Dublin airport, I noticed a few Internet terminals that were open, so I hopped online for a few minutes (as much to kill some time as much as taking the opportunity to check e-mail); I had gotten an e-mail from Ann, who was offering an extra section of ESI to a few of us, since it seemed that one of the mentors would not be able to take the work. The timing was serendipitous, because the e-mail had just arrived in my inbox less than a day previously, so I immediately volunteered and managed to wrangle said second section, so now I'm assisting with one of the two morning sessions, and one of the two evening sessions; the only downside is that there are six hours between sessions, which is a lot but still not quite enough time to make going home worthwhile.

And of course, the downside isn't really a downside, since Courtney lets me hang out at ARC and tutor, help out at the desk, and generally make myself useful. This makes for a long day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays - get up by 6:45 a.m., get back home at around 9:45 p.m. - but it's only three days a week for the month of July, and once I get home, even though I have to get to bed almost immediately, I don't have any work to accomplish by the next day. And the four day weekends are good compensation. I'm enjoying ESI pretty well at this point (I still can't believe it's already halfway done). I'm really enjoying the students, who are varying degrees of eager and friendly.

I've been conflicted about which age group I'd like to teach. I was convinced for a long time that secondary (grades 7-12) was where I should be, but I never quite found my groove during student teaching, but it's quite likely that it was just the places where I student taught, and the short amount of time I was there. I liked the middle school kids, and if I were to be at a school like the Center School again, I could be quite happy there. But I really like the high-school-to-college arc, that young adult age in which kids are still really open and want to share what's on their minds. I also really enjoy being able to guide and mentor the students in a way I hadn't been at that age. The trouble I'm having finding full-time work within the field of teaching is making me doubt how much I want to be teaching at the secondary level. I suspect I could be quite happy teaching undergrads, actually, and could slip very easily into that level; but I feel I owe it to myself to at least try teaching at a high school or middle school for at least two or three years - long enough to get permanent teaching certification, which is the other aspect of it. In order to get permanent certification, one needs at least a master's degree (and I'm two-thirds of the way there) as well as two years full-time teaching. I certainly could use the experience - as well as a paycheck - and I'm not likely to get much more than adjunct opportunities at the university level with just a master's degree.

I also need to consider whether I want to go further in graduate school and get my doctorate - but that's a whole other blog post, which I suspect will be forthcoming.

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