Ladies, I’m at my wits’ end. Every plan I’ve had has disintegrated, and I don’t do very well without a goal and a purpose. I could use some advice.
See, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. From about the time I was eleven, I knew I wanted to teach middle school, and so I worked through high-school, then community college, and then UC Berkeley. I amassed some loans, worked while parenting and doing school, slept just enough to stay alive, and graduated. Faced with the impossibility of doing a traditional teaching credential program while staying at home with my kids, I opted for Western Governors’ University, because it was the only one the CA accepted, and it is NCATE-accredited.
Well, after nearly three years in the program, I had to withdraw. There’s no classes, no teachers, not even any lectures. It really is a lot of “find it yourself, then write a paper, and hope you did it right. If not, do it again.” Spending the kind of money it costs, losing a whole term to their program changes, and having done an entire BA worth of Social Studies work later, I was faced with having to locate a school at which to observe students (on my own), locate a student teaching position (0n my own) and after completing the whole program, earning a Utah license. Then I’d be qualified to apply for an Oregon license, with some extra tests and math exams, because I’d have an out-of-state degree. After two and a half years, it was going to take me another three, and eighteen thousand more dollars in tuition, to get to where I could start looking for work. I quit, supposedly with the option to come back later.
Then, in January, I started my Signing Time business, where I’d hoped to teach sign language to families and children who needed it. It wasn’t my dream, but I figured this might be something I could do that would fill that “teaching” hole, as well as help people who have kids like my son. So, I refreshed a bit in some online classes, certified at their highest level, and even ended up their associate director for the Northwest. I also enrolled in an accelerated class at our local community college, with the seemingly realistic goal of taking one class every trimester and applying to the 2 year interpreter program in Fall of 2011. For April, I scheduled four baby classes, with room for 10 kids in each class. I also scheduled one preschool-aged sign/and/art class in May.
All but one of my classes got canceled, and there are only two other moms in that class, so I’m paying for luxury of teaching it. The summer camp I’m in only has enough kids to keep the first 2 weeks from getting canceled, and I have two people signed up for my one July class. I’ve done a bunch of fairs and kids’ expos, and haven’t sold enough DVDs to come near to breaking even on them. I’m tired, and after six months of this, it really doesn’t look like it is going anywhere. I know most businesses take longer than that to get started, but DH still hasn’t found work and I’m feeling a lot of pressure to get a job, any job. If he got a full-time minimum wage job, he wouldn’t make as much as he gets in unemployment right now, so he’s focusing on helping with the kids, taking care of Mary, and looking for a “real” job. I love ASL, but feel like it is a vanity project or a hobby, not really a business.
I’m just feeling overwhelmed. I owe tens of thousands of dollars for my education, which looks like it is going to end up useless. If I could find a credential program that would accept me, I’d be starting all over again and have to find the funds for it, and I’d be 30 before I even got started looking for a job. The same is true of the interpreter program, except it would cost a little less. (I know 30 isn’t old, but I’m 26, have been doing all the “right” things, like going to college and working my way through it, and ending up 30 with a blank resume is distressing). I’m also sort of afraid that I’ll never reach the kind of fluencey needed to interpret. My Examiner writing, while cathartic, doesn’t come close to even minimum wage, and I’ve sold two art pieces in the last three years. (I had a show at UCSD I was invited to be a part of this year, and I had to overnight a piece down for it. DH sent it via FedEx, and didn’t pay for insurance, so when it arrived destroyed, I couldn’t even get the shipping refunded).
I’m not even qualified to serve coffee or wait tables, according to the craigslist ads I’ve searched, because I’ve worked retail since I was 14. And paying of student loans with a job at Target doesn’t seem like a winning proposal. The only other option I’ve got is nanny-ing, but I’m not terribly good at it, and watching the two kids I do only pays enough for Rory to go to school. I feel like taking another serving-class job that I despise will break my heart, but I’m clueless as to what else to do.
I never wanted to be a SAHM and housewife, and I’m finding myself trapped in those roles. I never wanted to be this overweight, or have this much wasted education, either, and it makes me feel like I’m becoming my mom. To be happy, I need to feel like I’m doing something to make the world a better place, or helping someone, or doing something of value, and doing laundry and cooking just isn’t fulfilling for me. Help!
Thank you all for your ideas and input.
Healthwise, I’ll head back in and try to find a new shrink. I’ve never really felt like I get much out of therapy, but I feel like I’m supposed to be going, so I’ll find someone. My GPs my whole life have done thyroid tests (t3, t4 uptakes) and found nothing wrong with me, have made me keep food and activity journals…all to no avail. The joint pain is caused by the new weight, as are new foot problems, but no one can figure out what to do. I take Aleve and sigh a lot.
As for childcare, spending time with just Julian is fantastic. He cuddles and toddles and signs at me, and we have a great time. However, I don’t really get time with just him, because I’m kid-sitting in my home. I’m not qualified to do head-start or work at Rory’s school, because those all require Early Childhood Education credits, which I do not have. Not to mention, that if I don’t like three extra kids here, having fourteen extra kids doesn’t really sound any better.
I can’t afford to go back to school full-time, which is what the credential would require, can’t substitute teach, and since experienced teachers with credentials are having a hard time finding positions, schools aren’t really interested in the Alt-path applicants. The catholic schools only want people who have experience AND a credential, and no amount of CL trolling has found any “in-the-field-but-not-teaching” jobs. I’m looking, I promise, but all of them want experience, and I don’t have any. Tutoring seems geared more to Math and Science, but I’ll go see about SAT prep.
As to my resume, though, ladies…it’s pet-stores, a bagel shop, and food delivery until 2005, and babysitting and baby-stores after that. Oh, and keeping Andy alive. Not very marketable, either. :/ Even Examiner isn’t impressive, although I’m hoping to use it to build some sort of a writing portfolio in the event I find a paper willing to publish something that I say.
And I know I’m only 26, but the idea of agreeing to give up the next few years doing nothing, knowing I won’t even be working on getting to happy, is really hard.