I’m done with student teaching, but not because the semester is over.

I did not fail.

I just didn’t succeed.

Last Thursday morning, I woke up an English Education Major. I went to bed that evening as an English Major.

I’m still graduating in May, just not exactly in the way that I had planned.

My student teaching placement was horrible. I was bullied by the students, and a little bit by my supervising teacher. The school was undergoing major changes at an administrative level (they “reassigned” their principal). It was rough. At first I thought I could stick it out.

But then, two weeks ago, my university supervisor came in. I had two options: withdraw on that Friday, or go through the five-day improvement plan the next week and then, if I still didn’t meet the criteria, I would have to withdraw that next Friday.

I thought I could do it. I spent 13 hours that weekend in the library, working on lesson plans. I didn’t go to bed before midnight at all that week. But by Wednesday last week, it was clear – my supervising teacher was getting her class back. I was teaching a lesson, and I could see she was looking for lesson plans. I knew then. Hell, I knew it on Monday that week. My heart just wasn’t in it.

I left the school on Friday. I will not return. I changed my major and talked to Dr. Hartman about the ordeal. She knows I should not have been at that school, and my supervising teacher did many things wrong that hindered me.

Things didn’t work out, so yeah, so what? From Thursday through Sunday, I felt fine. I felt as if a whole weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and my aunt Beth said that if I feel that way, I did the right thing. Dr. Hartman said not to make any major decisions for the next two weeks, since I was still in shock. I’ve tried to take her advice, and so far, I’ve been following it. It’s just difficult because I really want to act, I do – I just don’t know what to do, or think. My mind is in a muddled state.

I went home on Friday and  had a lovely weekend. I went to a school play with my mom and ate at Daddio’s on Saturday. Sunday, I went to visit Alex, and we watched Exit Through the Gift Shop and ordered Yen Ching for dinner. He’s been very supportive, as has my family, despite some initial trepidations, which is understandable.

But Monday, it hit me. I was washing dishes (my mom’s so glad to see me at home – she puts me to work), and I just thought, “What am I doing? What am I going to do with a damn degree in English?” It’s like that Avenue Q song, but not so funny when it’s happening to you.

I outlined my four main options now, which can be mixed and tailored as needed.

Option 1: Substitute teaching. It would give me more experience in the educational field in the event I go back for my post-bachelor degree. I think I was lacking in experience when I went into my student teaching, and this could help me. I could do it in Muncie Community Schools, since I’ve already had my background check. Since my lease is up in May, I could only do it from now until then, which isn’t much. I would probably have to do a little extra to substitute in Madison County, but I’d be able to live with my mom.  Then, the question still remains – What do I do when school is out between June and August?

Option 2: Grad school through BSU. They don’t have the exact options I’d want, but at least their deadlines for application haven’t gone whooshing by. I could get a masters in rhetoric/composition, and teach English 103 and 104. Not perfect, but I’d at least be teaching students who want to learn and are paying to be there, not students who don’t care about what I want to teach, which is what I’ll face if I’m in a public school system. Another con, though – money.

Option 3: Grad school through IU. If I could have my choice of masters degrees, I’d get one in library science. My friend David is currently enrolled in the library science program through IU, and he loves it. He told me about it when I saw him at our friends Jason and Julie’s wedding a few weeks ago, and I was sold. The problem is , again, coughing up the money for grad school, and also, their deadline for fall applicants has passed, so I’d have to wait until next spring. I’m okay with that, except, like Option 1, what  would I do with my time between May and next January?

Option 4: TESOL. I know that there are degree add-ons to be certified as a teacher of English as a second language, but there are some programs in which I could become  certified online – no teaching degree required – and then go teach in a foreign country. There  is the small issue of money for the class and for travel, but I would be getting teaching experience, a cultural experience (which I’m totally for), and my students would actually want to learn what I have to teach them. The major problem is obvious, though. I don’t know how long I’d be gone or what access I would have to a computer/Internet. Could I bear to leave Alex for so long?

I’m in a dilemma. I need to choose something. Yeah, Dr. Hartman said two weeks, and I’m obeying it. But I can’t stop thinking about what comes after.

Today I went to formally withdraw from my enrolled course as a student teacher. Soon, my student access to the gym, library, and Health Center will probably taken away from me. I was told by the Financial Aid office that I owe $900 because, since I’m not going to officially be a student, I need to repay some of my financial aid.

I sacrificed money this semester. My hard work should have paid off, but because of the whole situation, I can’t get any of my tuition refunded.

I sacrificed my job this semester. I can’t get it back because, again, I won’t be considered a student.

I sacrificed myself. I’m getting her back, but it’s not easy.

 

I just keep asking myself – What now?


P.S. Anyone have a job opening for a recently graduated English major who has worked at a public library/customer service/receptionist job before? Some teaching experience, just not certified.

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