May you live in interesting times…
It seems opportunities arise in the most unlikely places. Back in 2001 when I was fresh out of grad school and feeling like the world was my oyster, I thought I would be on my way to a full time teaching career with all the benefits and pitfalls that come with a new job. I applied for job after job, only to be greeted with nicely worded rejection letters. I was getting worried that all the money, time, and commitment I put into getting my degree would amount to very little (if anything).
One day, I saw an ad in the paper (yes, the newspaper) for a full time instructor at a local community college. I applied, got an interview, got a second interview, and…didn’t get the job. It went to another candidate — who later declined the offer. Well, the very same college called back and asked if I was interested in teaching part time. Having zero prospects, I took the job and spent the next three years teaching part time at that school — with some brief stints at other schools. The pay was low, the hours were long (since, you know, I really believed in my vocation as a teacher and did extensive prepping for my classes), but I really enjoyed getting in front of a class and talking about politics, film, music, history and culture.
But enjoyment doesn’t pay the bills, so I eventually left it for a full time job in radio – which did pay the bills. I’ve been working for the same company since 2005 on a full time basis, with a seven month “sabbatical” in 2008, and it’s been a job that has many benefits that go beyond a paycheck. I’ve made a number of connections in the area, have learned about my own abilities as a negotiator, and have become a pretty good manager of my department. Moreover, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the radio industry (more than I ever had when I was just doing on-air work). Well, I suppose all that experience has spilled over to impress The Powers That Be at that very same community college I worked at all those years ago. They want me to start teaching a course in radio that’s part of a certificate program. I’m excited at the thought of getting back in the classroom. It’s going to be a different vibe from when I taught political science, or film, or humanities, because it’s more a trade program that culminates in students getting a certificate and a portfolio — which they can shop around for jobs once they get out. I’ll still be at my current job (I got the “a-ok” from my boss to teach again) and the college is going to reschedule the class from an afternoon course to an evening class to accommodate my work schedule. So, this summer I’ll be prepping for a class I’ve never taught, but it’s a subject I know a tremendous amount about.
Living in interesting times, indeed!