After several months of stagnation, I am breaking free from my reading funk. I’m still way below par for the year, but a nice spate of Young Adult novels suggests that I have not lapsed into illiteracy. Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay for Now was particularly enjoyable. The novel was reminiscent of Robert Newton Peck (A Day No Pigs Would Die — remember that book?) and of Sherman Alexie’s marvelous book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, only with less swearing and less masturbation. It’s not like Gary D. Schmidt was the first person to write a young male bildungsroman, but he’s done a better job with it than most. The prose is delightful.
I suppose it’s appropriate that Young Adult novels have been thawing my reading freeze since I’ve been working with Young Adults lately.
Ooooh, let me re-type three of those words: “I’ve been working.”
Three times now I’ve worked as a substitute teacher. I’ve still got no insurance; the pay is only $69 per day, and there’s not always work available, and from what I understand there’s a great big mandatory vacation right in the middle of the summer; but even though I am underemployed, underpaid, and uninsured, this means that I will burn through my savings at a much slower pace.
First time I went to a kindergarten class, where a teacher’s assistant and a student teacher rendered me superfluous. I did spend one hour tutoring a young man one-on-one, but apart from that hour I spent the day being bewildered. Apparently with that age group you sometimes have to sing to get them to pay attention. It’s all a bit over my head.
The second subbing session was at an intermediate school, a concept that did not exist in this county back when I was a child. The intermediate school is for fifth and sixth grade students, and I was filling in for a Special Ed teacher. That was good fun. Then today I filled in for a Special Ed teacher at a high school for at-risk kids, and that was really good fun.
Openings for sub opportunities can be posted at any time, but the busiest time is in the mornings, when the teachers wake up and realize they’re sick. This means that I have to monitor the openings at 5:30 in the morning. This is not such good fun.
I’m still no closer to figuring out what to do with myself in the long term. Community college? Another master’s degree? Neither? If I don’t continue my education, then precisely how am I supposed to earn a living? If I were to sub every single school day in a year, I would earn $12,420 before taxes. I’m going to need something a little bit more lucrative than that.
With several months of unemployment/underemployment to my name, you’d think I’d have better answers. It’s not as though I haven’t had the opportunity to ponder my options. I have pondered plenty. I have not arrived at any conclusions, is the problem. And if I am going to apply for fall admissions to a graduate program, I need to get my act together. It is already mid-March.
Speaking of which: Happy Pi day! There is a very strong chance that I’ll make a pie tomorrow, if by “pie” we mean “chocolate cheesecake.” I realize that’s a day after the fact, but that’s okay, because tomorrow is another holiday. I suppose for that one it would be thematically appropriate to eat a Caesar salad, but I think I’ll stick with the pie — not that I love Caesar salad less, but that I love pie more.