Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Future of Perhaps

The future is called "perhaps," which is the only possible thing to call the future.  And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you.  ~Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending, 1957

Its March and my brain is already looking to December.  The lifestyle I've chosen to live these past several years lends itself to the unknown.  In Spain there was a reassessment about three times per year.  One before school started in August/September, one at the beginning of the calendar year and the third at the end of the school term/start of summer camp season.  Each time there were discussions of who would be staying, who was leaving, who was still looking for work and who would go where the wind blew.  There were usually quite a few people in each of those groups, but I knew many people that were sufficiently settled in Spain without any intent to leave.  I arrived in Spain and though I fell in love with the city (despite our regular spats and differing opinions), I knew I wouldn't stay.  My plan had been to go to Spain for "a while" and then live somewhere else outside the US.  Hence, my current location in Jakarta.  I miss Spain terribly and now realize I am more suited to a European life and mentality than an Asian one. 
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In characteristic fashion, I've started looking ahead to life after Jakarta.  I am not going to leave before the end of the year, and plan to enjoy friends and travel in the meanwhile. I do not speak of any future plans in concrete terms.  I realize something might change that inclines me to stay, but I see that as the one chance in a million. The next decision in the sequence then, is where to go. 

Option A: Join a teaching fellows or similar program.  The New Teachers Project/ Teaching Fellows program is particularly appealing.  There are nineteen states (Washington is currently considering joining) that offer this program.  It's a partnership between a city's school district and a local university.  An accepted applicant finds work in the school district in a high need subjects, i.e. math, science, special education, ESL programs. Most of the districts are tough areas with lots of teacher attrition and big populations in the low socio-economic realm. The focus of the teaching fellows program is to facilitate people who have had life experiences and though they didn't initially study to become teachers, they want to be now.  After a six week induction, new fellows are given a mentor, sent to work a full time schedule and enroll in Master's in Teaching classes.  Pluses: salary, benefits, hands on teaching, mentor, reduced tuition and a Master's degree.  Cons: highly competitive, difficult teaching situations and life in general for two or three years until graduation, requirement to be in one of the nineteen included locations (some of which are Philly, DC, NYC, Oakland, New Orleans, Chicago and Denver).
Option B: Look into the possibility of getting my degree outside The States.  I know a few people studying in Spain with American universities.  Canada and Australia are both tempting as well, though I doubt I could afford the international student rates for tuition. 

Option C: Continue pursuing a career with the Foreign Service/State Department.  I can do this while I'm working towards a Master's.  I will probably try the test once more; I'm currently 1-1. Pass or Fail, there will be some decisions to be made afterward.
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Option D: Teach in another foreign country.  Carry on as I have been, teaching English in schools and academies, but not in Asia. 
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Option E: Go back to The States and find work in the education realm but not as a certified teacher.  Or similarly, find work in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) book writing/camp counseling/administration type stuff, either in or out of The States.  I hear many schools in the US are desperate for EFL teachers, but I haven't looked into it enough to know.

Option F: ????

Thoughts? If you have advice, input, know of jobs or have suggestions please let me know. Any final decision will be delayed until at least July, but I doubt anything concrete will materialize before October.  In the meantime, eating, drinking, general merriness (when not sick with the freaking plague of Jakarta illness) to while away the months.


  1. I vote "A" "B" or "C". There is a similar program to "A" in England called "Teach First" - I don't know if they accept foreigners like yourself, but if you don't fancy any of those States, there's an extra possibility for you.
    I'm mostly only voting "B" for proximity to ME! which is selfish and not the right reason... especially as I'm not a permanent resident either.

  2. All tempting options, all of them have a lot of positive things for your future. However, I agree with Matt in all he says, especially on choosing option B ;)