Well, a lot has happened in the past year. We left Pittsburgh for the warmer weather of Tampa, Florida, but not before being extras in a film about Mr. Rogers. Amanda finally became manager and with that took on the task of whipping her own social media team into shape. We found our literal dreamboat but had to give up on the purchase of the 40′ sailboat when we realized it would not fit under the bridges in upper Tampa Bay. I even made a career change, something I promised to expand on that in an earlier post, so here we go.
We moved to Tampa knowing I didn’t have a job lined up and that we’d be okay on Amanda’s salary. I put my skills out on the freelance market but wasn’t making any headway. I never considered myself unemployed since my writing was bringing in a little money but the frustration of constantly applying for jobs and not hearing back or getting a letter telling me that they decided to pick another candidate, even when I was more than qualified, was disheartening. As the school year began, I decided substitute teaching might be a good option to make some money until landing a “real” job. The work of a sub is tough, I knew that going in. Even so, I still nearly walked off the job at one school due to the frightening number of disciplinary problems. The money wasn’t great, either. I eventually found the schools that worked for me and settled into a grove. I came across a long-term assignment to teach computer science and almost didn’t take it. I’m not a computer science major and I don’t have any real expertise in the field. I decided to call the school and ask them about the class and what they were teaching to help me prepare for the assignment. The funny thing was the apologetic tone in the department’s head voice when he said, “I’m sorry. It’s not all computer science. You’ll also have two classes of TV Production.”
I don’t remember my exact words but the feeling was HOLY CRAP! WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO? I explained that I spent my career in TV News and video production and was now really excited about the job. I took over the classroom of a teacher who decided to leave after the first semester and did not leave me much to go on. I was playing catchup the moment the bell rang on my first day. I was planning lessons for each class a period ahead of time in some cases. The strangest thing happened: I didn’t want to run away. Even better, before the first week was over that the department head and the assistant principal both told me they wanted me to stay and asked if they could start the paperwork to bring me on full time.
It wasn’t like they could wave a wand and “poof” make me a certified teacher. I had to do some serious work, too. I had to take a state exam for Business Education to get my temporary certificate. The test was hard. I studied and studied and studied… and passed. I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that I’d be teaching business, but here I am, in Florida, teaching computer science, TV Production, and digital information technology for the business department in a high school. I’ve got a lot of other hoops to jump through to make my certificate more permanent but I’m well on my way.
What a year it’s been. I had considered teaching very early in my career but that was decades ago and far from my mind. I guess that goes to show you that even when things get so frustrating you just want to give up, they can occasionally turn out okay — even if it’s not what you expected.