Thursday, April 2, 2009

Self-Inflicted Frustration

This post is partly based on the conversation I had with my father last night, but isn't directed specifically at him; I've been getting these questions from other people as well, and the more I get asked, the more I get frustrated, but I can't direct my frustration at anyone in particular because people mean well and are simply curious.

Two questions have been frustrating me lately:
1.) How's the thesis going?
2.) What are your plans after graduation?

Question number one isn't unreasonable. I wrote my 50-page thesis over about 10 days in early January, during the winter break. It was terrible. Well, perhaps not terrible, but not great. My writing process is such that my first drafts tend to extremely rough, but I need to get everything out there on paper, and then I revise and my subsequent drafts are a lot better. My thesis advisor is head of the LIU Writing Program, and having been in one of her classes before she remembered that about my writing. But between my current class, tutoring, and the very occasional subbing, I haven't even read her comments yet. (And she was extremely thorough in her feedback.) However, I don't want to read her comments because I'll be inclined to just focus on the thesis, and I can't
just focus on my thesis right now. But in any case, the thesis is a thorn in my side, and I don't want to be asked about it. When it's done, and everyone has signed off on it, I'll be proclaiming it from the mountains. I've tried to say as nicely as I can to those who have asked, "Please don't ask; I don't want to talk about it." Yet no matter how I say it people get offended. I don't mean to offend anyone but I really wish people would just leave it alone until I bring it up.

Question number two is a bit more irritating. I've been certified teacher since 2007, and I've been looking for teaching gigs ever since, so my MA will not make me any more certified; it's just one step on the way to permanent certification (I need those two years of full time teaching experience as well). The absence of a degree hasn't been an inhibitor in my getting a teaching job, requirement-wise. But I'm not a 22-year-old who's just completing her BA and doesn't have any idea what to do after graduation; my plans after graduation have been the same now for two years, and will continue to be the same until, you know,
I get a teaching job. I wish people would recognize that there's a lot of competition for English teaching positions; the teacher shortage in NYC doesn't apply to English teachers. I guess one way to look at that question of what I'll do after graduation is, "When are you going to give up looking for a teaching gig and just scramble for anything you can find?"

I'm frustrated with these questions because I'm frustrated by things I can't control, like the job market or the competition. I'm frustrated because I hate not being employed. I'm frustrated because I'm a drain on Chris' resources and I'm tired of being so poor I have to ask for money for every damned thing. Yes, this is a lot of complaining, but I'm finally able to articulate that every time I get asked these questions, my own professional insecurities and unhappiness get brought to the surface again. I wonder why it is I can't get a job and even though it's never entirely personal it always is somewhat personal, and it's really been taking a toll on my self-confidence (what little of it I ever had).

I think about school from the moment I get up to the moment I go to sleep. I would really welcome conversation about anything else at this point. It gets tiring being asked the same questions ad infinitum.

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