I’ve never really written about my experiences in grad school, nor have I taken the time to tell most people why I decided to become a teacher. To be honest, it was a decision I took very lightly, and I didn’t put much thought into it. Seriously.
I’ll start at the beginning.
I graduated from DePaul University in November of 2010, a term late. While all of my friends graduated in May/June of that year, I wasn’t quite there yet. My mother, being the most amazing mom ever, threw me a surprise “You haven’t graduated yet!” party. My friends, boyfriend, and grandparents kept it a secret too.
Needless to say, it was a complete success.
But after I graduated, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was working at Express, folding jeans, living in the city with Jimmy. I had my Bachelor’s in English and Theatre, or, as I like to call it, the practical-yet-completely-vague-degree!
I didn’t want to be a teacher.
I never wanted to be a teacher.
I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to work for a newspaper or amazing music magazine, like Q or NME (again, I also wanted and still want to live in London somedsay.) I wanted to be a photographer for…Q or NME. Patterns emerged. But, every job I looked for revolved around one thing:
I love writing this blog. I love chatting with people on Facebook. I love shopping for pretty clothes in my underwear. But I did not want to work for a completely electronic company. I wanted to see my work on paper, to smell the ink on my fingers. I wanted to be part of the printed world.
In March of 2011 I got a job at the country’s highest rated hotel. No shit. I won’t say which hotel, but I will tell you that, while I loved everyone in my department and my bosses, I HATED that place. I’m not one to use the word “hate” often, but I HATED the head chef, I HATED the director of operations, and I HATED the clients who spend $25 on a chicken breast for their dog. This was the world I was in?! No fucking way. I would go home and cry, because I couldn’t take how horrible these people were. The head chef was a misogynistic, egotistical maniac who threw pots against the wall and checked out the waitress’ asses while his pregnant wife hung out at home. I have never been able to understand the lives of the wealthy, and this didn’t change my views.
I did get to meet Dave Grohl though. I brought him breakfast. After he got out of the shower. With wet hair (and clothes, don’t be weird) and a big smile.
But while I was in this world of the lavish and the overpriced, I grew weary of my future. I didn’t know what the flying hell I wanted to do, and no one could decide for me. I didn’t want to work for a Chicago newspaper and be a reporter, I didn’t have any professional experience to get a job at the Red Eye or Time Out, and I had just moved to the city, I wasn’t going to pack up and go to London. Also I was broke.
I was completely lost and resigned to working at this witch castle of a hotel.
One night in late May, I was messin around on Facebook, like ya do, photo-stalking friends and loved ones. I am friends with several of my former high school teachers, y’know, the ones who made an impact on your life and helped you become an adult blah blah blah. So I’m going through photos and I see one of my former teachers has a whole photo album from my high school’s newest theatrical production.
I started feeling something. Was it…nostalgia? I…sweet Christ…I actually missed high school a little. But I didn’t miss weekends or study halls or half-days, I missed the hard work and love I used to put into theatre.
This was taken…uhh…my senior year (BUT WHEN?) during one of the many plays I was involved in at my high school. I was being me, which was the best feeling one could have in high school.
And then I thought about all the hard work and love I put into English class. My former English teacher changed my entire view on literature and poetry. He introduced me to existentialists like Hesse and Sartre and lyrical beauties like Atwood and Morrison.
I took this a few months ago when I went to do some student observations. I read almost all of these my senior year, many of which were not assigned to us. I read them because I have always loved literature, and everything he suggested was beautiful.
did I want to teach?
I never wanted to teach.
it seemed like it would fit.
I couldn’t picture myself as a teacher.
I decided to flip a coin. Heads: Grad School. Tails: Work.
I don’t remember what came up.
I applied to the College of Education at my old stomping grounds, just for fun. I figured I had a pretty weak shot of getting in. I was an alum, sure, but I had never taken any education courses, and I had no experience with kids. I say kids like I wasn’t just 5 years older than them!
I laughed at myself a little when I sent in the application. I had to write an essay on why I wanted to be a teacher, and for the life of me, I can’t remember what I wrote. It was good, I know that, because I knew how to write essays for DePaul Admissions. But was it full of the passion and potential they were looking for? Meh.
I went through the first half of summer in a bit of a haze. I was offered a full time position at the hotel and even tried to get a managerial position. I didn’t get it. THANK GOD IN HINDSIGHT I WOULD HAVE GONE PSYCHO. But I was making decent money and decided that this job might not suck so much after all. I kind of forgot about going to grad school.
Then came August.