Back To School, Round 2: Mom's Turn

Thursday, September 22, 2011

After a glorious three and a half month break, it is time for me to hit the books once again. Although this time around I am a "big girl" and stepping onto a university campus. Yesterday was a full day orientation replete with all the do's and don'ts of being a public school teacher. Unfortunately it was full of more "don'ts" than "do's". I learned that showing cleavage, buttcrack or midriff is unprofessional but bring on the tattoos and piercings. No limitations exist on either of these artistic expressions. I also learned that 34% of the teachers in my state (or roughly 20, 000 educators) will reach retirement age in the next 3 years. So all you naysayers will have to stop warning me that "there will be no jobs." However, all along I have felt this journey has been about so much more than simply landing a contract. I can't wait to watch it unfold.

I sat in a room full of future educators and walked the campus where 90% of the population was easily half my age--or more. Actually it was definitely closer to "more". I wrote on my Facebook that I was hoping to not be mistaken for a parent. At the lunch break, as I was standing in line to pick up my student ID card, the young lady in charge asked me if I would be living the dorms! Yes, the dorms. I guess it would be cheaper--especially if I could bring my family along, but seriously? I found it a little (actually a lot) flattering. Kind of like when you're 19 and a construction crew whistled at you and you got mad and now if it happens, you scream "Really?? Thank you so much!!" I'm sure this sweet co-ed wanted to retract her question as soon as it crossed her lips but I happily let it sink in to my wrinkled skin and tired body and let myself be puffed up while I waited my turn.

Since I was denied the opportunity to feast on Chick-fil-A, as they no longer exist on our campus, I grabbed a cold, tasteless sandwich and returned to my advising session. As we sat at our respective tables one of the professors asked if anyone in the room had any desire to work with 11-to-14-olds as this would mean a change in your advisor assignment. I quickly shot my hand up only to discover that I was completely alone in my enthusiastic response. Not a single one of my fellow classmates joined in. They have no idea what they're missing. Or maybe they do and I'm about to find out why. This lovely lady, who also loves middle schoolers, came over to chat with me and suggest I add another course to my schedule this quarter as it's only taught two of the three terms--at 8:00 A.M.!! I think this night owl will sleep on this decision. Literally.

Today I arrived at the Park and Ride with my new bookbag (thanks, Mom!) and caught the bus to campus. I think the bus driver was the only rider older than Moi. I really need to get over this, huh? I only had one class today and I quickly decided that this was a course I wanted to be in every single day. Our professor is one of the loveliest, charming women I've ever encountered. She hails from England and if listening to her accent wasn't wonderful enough, her enthusiasm and personality only put her over the top in likeability. Just when I start to doubt or worry about this path or what each quarter will hold I get a treat like this to confirm yet again that I am exactly where I need to be.

Now, about that sunrise class.......