Finality: MFA Road Trip Days…oh, I lost count like I knew I would

Posted: August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

There’s a strange silence presiding over things on the last couple of days of residency. Week 2 launches like a cataclysm, all noise and excitement in spite of everyone’s clear fatigue. But it’s a new start in a manner of speaking, so it feels like everyone is pulling themselves up and out with all intentions of flying through this second week like they did the first.

But then there’s that silence. It comes through occasionally. Small grumbles here and there. Mentions of home that didn’t exist during week one. The drive has settled down a little bit. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but for a two week period as loaded as these two here at Ashland, it makes sense.

The schedule I’ve gone over and over, so I won’t overdo the subject. Suffice it to say, that continued through the second workshop session. Yes, we change professors and students in the class, but there are common refrains of tired brains, missing home and even television. I told one of my roommates here that I wanted to go to Walmart and when he asked why, I told him I just needed a change in the scenery. It really is beautiful here, but even the loveliest locations become overwhelming when they aren’t the norm. Sure, over the long haul I’ve no doubt that I could settle into this, but then I’d know that I was here for a longer stretch; the anticipation of knowing this is a short-term place in your life really forces you to search for stimulation. I’ve spent the better part of my time in three different buildings over the past two weeks, so I was ready for a change.

So we went to get cheese. Well, to be fair, we went to Grandpa’s Cheese Barn, where they sell more cheese than I’ve ever seen in one place, along with popcorn, spreads, dips, dressings, meats and all assortments of food items grown locally. Not to mention the myriad chocolates, candies and fudge at the affiliated shop across the way and it certainly was a stimulating experience. Also, I got caramel/chocolate popcorn, cherry licorice bites, rice crackers and salted caramel fudge, so I’m all good.

In the midst of all the people talking about going home, I’m torn. Like I said, I think I could get used to this being around writers all the time and the experience of life back on a college campus. Which isn’t to say that I don’t miss my family and friends back at home, just that there’s an excitement in being here. Plus, it feels like it’s taking me somewhere, a feeling that I really don’t feel at home very much. Again, this isn’t a knock on the people, but I feel like the city is a dead end for me. It’s where God has me for now, so I’m grateful for what I have, but I do know that I don’t want to be teaching public school 6-12 kids for the rest of my life, so I feel a very strong connection to Ashland because of its ability to help me in doing that. It’s not the only step by any means, but it is a step.

Which brings me to this: I got a call from a principal I interviewed with a few weeks before I left. Well, two calls, technically. The first was the old “thanks for coming in, but we gave the job to someone else” call. The second was a new one: someone resigned and we’d like to talk to you about the position. Mixed feelings rushed over me. A job would be excellent, but it’s middle school again, so I’d be working with another tough age group. And while I agree I can learn from the experience regardless of the grade level, I was very much hoping that this job situation would be an opportunity to move onto higher levels of the educational realms.

Long story short, he asked who the principal was at my last school and I told him the name. After a few back and forth calls and some miscommunication, he was able to get in touch with my old principal, who told him, as I understand it, that while I had great potential and good content knowledge, that my classroom management needed some work. No shock to me, so I told him about the situation in my classroom, and after that phone call he told me he was going to be putting in the recommendation to HR for a one-year temporary contract, which he made a point of saying wasn’t the norm for the county. Again, a job at this point would be great, so I decided that would be fine and I’ll worry about the 2014-2015 school year when the time comes.

He called me back again today to tell me that HR suggested that look at other candidates, and while that didn’t make it impossible for me to get the job, I can’t imagine how this would be a good sign for me, considering that he had this little red flag going into the recommendation anyway. So we might be back to square one, but I won’t know until Monday or Tuesday.

It’s weird to think I have a red flag on me in any way. I’ve never been a negative character guy or anything, so this is new for me. I’d certainly appreciate continued prayers on this front. I’ve been considering my options if this doesn’t go through, so we’ll see how things go from here.

Anyway, I drive back tomorrow morning, with hopes of being home late Saturday night. Might take the slow road. We’ll see how I feel. In any respect, thanks to Ashland for a great first residency. Charlotte, I’ll see you tomorrow.

 

God bless,

Robert

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