In November of 2010 I began The Chalk with a post entitled "Welcome to my Free Fall". I had just submitted a letter of resignation, effective June 2011, to my long-time employer and given myself seven months to “create a new livelihood and find a new direction.”
It’s June 2011, so I thought I should update all three of my readers on what is happening career-wise. You can decide for yourself if there was an authentic change. I’m not entirely sure.
I rescinded my resignation in late December at the urging of the Director of Human Resources. He was kind and appreciated my intentions for giving the administration so much time to prepare for my departure. I truly wanted to leave on the best of terms. Tom, the head of HR, was protective of me and asked me to hold off on the resigning until I actually had a job (DUH!!!). It was fortunate, because there was not much out there worth quitting for. Instead, my public school system made some big concessions towards making my program better and my life easier. Next year we are positioned to be a very strong program. The truth is, things had to get pretty bad before the administration saw the need to change. Without going into too many details, suffice it to say it was a very tough year at work, punctuated by a dangerously low student-to-staff ratio. Next year will be much better. The concessions that were made are thoughtful. I just wish things didn’t have to hit rock bottom before meaningful changes took place.
As I looked for work this year, I stumbled upon an opportunity to become a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Coach, i.e. a nationally certified riding instructor. Sponsored by Training Wheels, I went through a real meat grinder of the MSF training in early March. I started teaching in April and now spend most of my weekends on the motorcycle range. I can’t believe people actually pay me to ride motorcycles!
I’m set up for one of the best summers of my life. I’ll spend my summer teaching drums at a local arts camp on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and coaching riders on the weekends. The rest of the time, it’s just me and my son (and possibly Blue).
So I did not have a wholesale change, nor did I stay stagnant in an untenable position. I’m somewhere in between.
I’m going back to run my program for another year, but if someone asked me what I do for a living I also mention that I teach and ride motorcycles.
I’m still searching. In the meantime, I hope that the personal cost of doing what needs to be done for my students is not too high. I don’t think it’s too dramatic to acknowledge that the effort and commitment it takes to be successful with students who have severe emotional disabilities takes its’ toll on caregivers. I’m not a religious man, but….. Lord, give me strength!!
I think I landed from my free fall. Unfortunately I landed on a cliff jutting out over the abyss. Still looking for a parachute in the right color.