I suppose it’s about time for an update over here. Especially because I’ve been all cryptic and acting like I’ve got secret agents from various Asian countries after me. No, I tend to be melodramatic; it’s really nothing more than what you’d have to worry about putting online and having a US employer get upset about. It’s just that there are different definitions of what causes people to become upset, and I’m constantly guessing here. And since my employment is directly tied to my visa, well, I was rather anxious.
It’s hard to believe that in less than one month I will be starting my first job as a lead art teacher in a school. Yes, I went through student teaching, yes, I did art outreach work in the summer of 2010. But this will be my first, full time job in my own classroom. And that’s a really, really big deal to me.
Looking back, I thought to myself, this is something I’ve been striving for since graduation in May 2009. But thinking further, really, I was striving for it those full five years at Purdue. And really, though I hadn’t made up my mind to pursue art education yet, even when I was planning my future in middle and high school, it was always ‘well, I’ll get a science job like my parents want so I can build a really cool art studio.’ That lasted to about October of freshman year of college. I still remember the trembling phone call home to my mother about changing majors, if she would still support me, if she would not tell Dad yet. And the people who supported me in that decision then, though many are no longer in my life. They served a very important role at a pivotal time.
It seems surreal, that I will be walking into my own art class. That I will have a proper health care plan. That I will have a real school calendar, with set vacation days that I can actually take instead of sit, play, work…
And I’m not completely naïve. I know that I’m not entering Nirvana. Though my new school did not flood in the Great 2011 flood, during a rainstorm the nearby Khlong overflowed and THAT caused a slight flood in the school. You can see the water marks on the wall. Note to self: Most important art supplies do not go on the bottom shelf. Perhaps nothing goes on the bottom shelf if possible, I doubt that’s possible.
I am going to miss my current English students. I was so touched by the hugs, photos and notes they gave me. And now I’m glad I caved in and created a teacher’s facebook account, separate from my personal space, because I will be able to see what they do after this. Probably 10 students jumped up and shouted you should be our art teacher, we’ll go ask the head mistress when I told them I was leaving to teach art. I told them it cannot be, the school charter dictates that a Thai will teach art. And I really have no desire to take a job from a Thai art teacher in their home country. Though in some ways, that is exactly what I’ve done at my new school, though they were looking for someone with a better command of English, and that’s exactly the skill I can bring. I’m very conflicted about the stratification I see here. But this post is not about that.
This post is about what I’ve overcome, my excitement for the future, a dream 8+ years in the making coming to pass. I know I put too much expectation, too much pressure, too much grief onto this dream. But that’s exactly why I refused to give it up. I’ll move half way around the world before I’ll give up.
I don’t always rub everyone the right way. I’m outspoken, I’m opinionated, I’m ‘easy to anger’ as my current boss notes with chagrin. I have views that other people don’t agree with, don’t know when to keep my mouth shut and hate being politically correct. But that’s why I get along with my closest friends, even from literally the other side of the planet, and that’s what has allowed me to keep up this relentless pursuit. Next month, I will arrive.