My interview for teachNOLA is in 3 weeks. Just enough time to drive me a little bit bonkers- going back in forth in my mind about whether I will like it there, can I handle it, do I really want to teach again right now, can I manage a wild NOLA classroom, do I want to live in the path of hurricanes, will it be a crappy environment to raise Noah, will the move be beneficial to Michael- or just hold him back from better opportunities? Endless questions. No answers. Time ticking away very S-L-O-W-L-Y!
And then there is the negativity spewing from people. Oh, wear a bulletproff vest. WTF!? Hookers on swings in windows. Don't ever walk alone anywhere. Don't bring a car, it will just get stolen. Of course, some people are just trying to prepare me for what is in store, certain dirty truths of the place. But I think some of it is fear.
Here are my reasons for wanting to teach in NOLA:
1) These kids need help! I could actually put my ideals to work. Help those in need, like I've always wanted to do. I don't have to go to a third world country...
2) I believe strongly in the power of education to empower people. Give them tools to overcome obstacles. My background is a testament to that. But students in NOLA need to be told that, and they need to be given those keys. Obama and his Sec. of Ed., Arne Duncan have said that Education is the civil rights issue of our time, and I agree wholeheartedly. These kids that live in an environment of poverty, violence, drugs, and of course devastating natural disaster... need to be given access to education. Real education. Teachers who are passionate, intelligent, and dedicated. That's me.
3) NOLA is going through some exciting changes in education. Public schools are becoming Charter schools. Under-performing schools are being shut down. Innovations are being made to engage students. Risks are being taken because ...well, traditional, mainstream methods have failed. I want to be there to be a part of change.
4) Louisiana is a heck of a lot closer to my family and friends in FL. And I'm not cut out for this Syracuse weather. Not to mention the fact that there is no growth here. No opportunities. Everything seems to be withering away here.
5) NO is an important city for it's culture, and music. It would be a wonderful learning experience for Noah to grow up in such a diverse and historic location.
6) Probably the deepest longing to move to NO has nothing to do with the city itself. It has to do with me, and my silly pride. I have been waiting impatiently to gain some independence. To return to my career. I love taking care of Noah, but I am under constant financial stress. It is shameful for me to receive WIC, Medicaid...these are (sometimes) wonderful programs (yet, much abused) that I grew up on. And food stamps. But that is why I worked so hard to get a college education...to achieve some degree of financial security for me and my family, to get off the gov't's teet! I've never had a desire to be wealthy, but I don't want my son to have to worry about us being able to pay our bills. The blemish of poverty wears a child's esteem down in our culture.
So, April 4th is the big day...my interview for teachNOLA. If I don't get into the program, hopefully I will find another way soon.