For the past 12 months, I have been working towards this moment, this letter arriving in my mailbox. The studying, stressing, and sleepless nights devoted to the Praxis tests, the applications, the substitute teaching, the building of relationships with administrations and schools, and the updating of resumes, have all led to this letter.
I’ve been accepted to graduate school to get my masters in teaching. In two years, I should be a full-blown, 100% certified high school teacher, which is something I would have laughed at my senior year in high school. Things change, and I would have never imagined I’d be doing this. So, after a year of hard work, I’ve finally reached my goal: get accepted to graduate school. The exaltation of sweet accomplishment quickly wore away when the next obvious question entered my brain: “Now what?”
I suppose you’re sitting there thinking, “You go to graduate school, idiot. That’s the next step,” and you’re right. But, it’s also more complicated than that. I’ve built this moment as a sort of threshold, a doorway that is only one way. Once I go through, there is no going back. I’m firmly into adulthood, and it’s suddenly very real. It’s scary and exciting. The challenge has been laid before me, and I have to pick up the gauntlet and run with it. I have to finish what I’ve started, and I think finishing what you start is the mark of an adult. I see too many people my age following the Joker Model in terms of how they handle their ambitions: they are like dogs chasing cars, and they don’t know what to do when they catch one, so they end up chasing the next car. This could be endlessly drifting through travels, relationships, careers, etc, and while many in this generation find that sort of restless life to be romantic, I don’t have the means to live that life, and I don’t find that romantic. It works for vacation, not every day life. I have to find something I’m good at and settle into it. Will I do that forever? Probably not, but I need to plant my feet somewhere.
In the movie Liberal Arts, an old professor says to his younger protegé “Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret,” and for some reason I find that comforting. We are all trying do the best with what we have, and it’s all we should expect anyone to do. Adulthood is making everyone else believe you know what you’re doing, even if you’re flying by the seat of your pants. What’s next for me? Find the next goal, then do the best I can to get there. Once I get there, repeat the previous step.
So with that being said, anyone looking for a high school English/Literature teacher? 🙂