Friday, November 9, 2012

My job saga.

My life has gotten very quiet and I kind of like it.  Time with people, time with Paul, time to read and time to knit.  Several people have encouraged me to think of this time of not having a job as a gift and indeed it has been.  But that all changes on Monday when I go back to work!  Yes, I finally have a job teaching ESL (English as a Second Language).
I've been really surprised at how hard it has been to find a job here.  ESL is a very competitive field here and even with many years of experience, a Master's degree in TESOL and just having come back from living and doing some teaching in China, I am (as another teacher told me) just another cog in the wheel.
I started looking for a job last Spring when we were still in China. I contacted a local junior college and received a fairly curt reply saying that I should check with human resources.  I filled out several online applications to different places in the Portland/Vancouver area and had two interviews.  One was for a four hour position and they hired someone else.  The other was dependent upon student enrollment and I never heard back from them.  I sent a resume to another place and they e-mailed me back saying that they'd like to interview me but that I needed to do the on-line application.  I did it and never heard a word back, inspite of follow through e-mails on my part.  One lovely school told me I was the best interview they had had all year but that they had no positions.  Sigh.  I've heard from several different ESL teachers that this is very common-there are so many people looking for jobs and so many people willing to drive all over the place to work that normal professional courtesy isn't even necessary.
I heard about another college that had an MA TESOL program and was looking at their website out of curiosity.  I discovered that they had an ESL program and sent a resume last September.  I got a polite response back that they weren't hiring but they would keep my resume.  Then a few weeks ago, I got an e-mail asking if I was still available, did a phone interview, observations, real life interview and now I have a job!  I'll be working for ELS Portland which is housed at Concordia University.  All though I will be surrounded by statues of Martin Luther, the program is separate from the University.  The campus is beautiful and it's surrounded by a beautiful neighborhood with beautiful homes.
Each person that I have met has been pleasant and helpful. The program is an academic English program that runs in one month cycles.  Most students are Arab or East Asian- Japanese, Chinese and Korean. I start at the lowest ranking which means that my job depends upon enrollement.  This month, I will teach 20 hours a week or four classes.  Next month?  Who knows?  In order to get to a more permanent status, I need to work three consecutive months in a row at 20 hours.  So it's still a "maybe" job but one that I am thankful to have.
It's been a little over three months since we have moved here and we are still blown away by the beauty of the area.  We like the church where Paul is working and the people there have been warm and welcoming.  Elisabeth is happy at college and that makes us happy.  She has a work study job working with developmentally disabled teenagers- fruit of having a developmentally disable child in our home for two years. I will be seeing her next weekend when I go to Seattle to see some friends-yay!
I read these two quotes  about "sainthood" this morning and I am pondering them. The first is by Frederick Buechner.

 Maybe more than anything else, to be a saint is to know joy. Not happiness that comes and goes with the moments that occasion it, but joy that is always there like an underground spring no matter how dark and terrible the night. To be a saint is to be a little out of one's mind, which is a very good thing to be a little out of from time to time. It is to live a life that is always giving itself away and yet is always full.

The second is by Thomas Merton.

Sanctity is not a matter of being less human, but more human. This implies a greater capacity for concern, for suffering, for understanding, for sympathy, and also for humor, for appreciation of the good and beautiful things of life.

So here is to great joy, deep joy that also lives in the tension of a great capacity for concern and suffering.  I love that Merton mentions humor as I believe that a sense of humor is the unnamed fruit of the spirit and just necessary for survival in life. Here is to living a life that is full enough to give yourself away.