Eighty days is how long it has been since my last blog post. That's a long time considering that shortly before that post, I vowed to post at least twice a week. Let me try to catch you up on my world a little bit. Some major changes have happened in my life since I last wrote.
I have mentioned many times that I'm working on a graduate degree for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. I am now sixty percent of the way through my degree and should graduate in August. However, there has been some concern over my graduation date for the last several months.
In addition to my classes, I am required to do 100 hours of practicum in this field. In other words, I have to find a place to start teaching English before I graduate and start doing it. I have now been in this program for a year and have yet to acquire a single hour. But this is not for lack of trying.
My problem was due to living in a small town with little cultural integration. My hometown has a small population of Spanish speakers and a Chinese restaurant whose employees who do not seem to have a decent grasp of English. There are virtually no English language classes anywhere in the area. I called the local community college to see if I could assist in their ESL (English as a Second Language) courses. They told me they only offer one ESL class every year and no one ever signs up.
Only one high school in the area had a foreign student. That one student had moved from India with his family and only spoke Kashmiri. In the entire world, less than 6 million people speak this language, so it's not easy to find translators for this language. Especially in Southern Illinois.
When I went to the high school to offer my assistance (my FREE assistance, by the way), it was met with much excitement in the counseling office. They basically had no system in place to help this kid who was months away from having to take his ACT and could not speak a word of English. My daughter said he just sat in class and nodded when anyone spoke to him. There would be some legal hoops to jump through, but they were very excited that someone from this field was offering to help. One of them even said that my walking into the office was an answer to her prayers for this kid. Since I was already certified to substitute teach in the school and had been doing so for over a year, I didn't expect it would take very long. However, after a few months, I still couldn't get into the classroom.
Not long ago, I was sitting in Red's apartment in Indianapolis when someone knocked on the door. He wanted to know if there were any Spanish speakers in the apartment. They were starting an English language course at the apartment complex and wanted to make sure anyone who might be able to benefit from it was aware.
Unbelievable! I had been unsuccessfully struggling to get into one of the extremely limited courses back home and in Indianapolis the opportunities just come knocking on the door. The only thing keeping me from getting my hours was where I lived. A few weeks earlier, my advisor had jokingly made a comment suggesting the same thing. I had just become convinced that she was right.
It took some effort to pull it off, but two weeks ago, I moved to Indianapolis. Two days later, I found a place to start teaching three blocks away from my apartment. It took almost no effort and there are teaching opportunities all over this city.
Plus, I now live in the same city as my girlfriend! No more 200 miles commutes every other weekend.
For those of you who have been following our story, I guess this is our next big step. We started out 900 miles apart. Almost two years ago, it dropped to two hundred miles. And now, she is a 10 minute drive from my apartment.
Life is pretty good right now. Now, I just need a job.