2005 Iditarod StartWow, I've not been in here for two months! I FINALLY got bombarded with work in March and have been since, but it looks like it will peter out come July since I now mostly have a bunch of kids I'm working with (albeit nice kids :)). I just have been too busy to update here.The truth is that after what was the hellish winter of insane underemployment I have finally decided I need to focus on one thing and one thing only and that is trying my damnest to get the hell back to Alaska and back to teaching there again. I am all out of damns to give and do not give a damn about anything else except for doing what it takes to get there. I like teaching, I enjoy working with my students, but I am completely fed up with the context in which I do it here and the instability factor. I need stability. I'm also sick to death of the chasing about all day. I want my CLASSROOM back! I am just too ambitious for this and no, I don't think it's a crime to want to better yourself career wise. I am a proper, qualified, classroom teacher, not a bloody courier! I will now openly admit that one of the single biggest life mistakes I have ever made (in addition to not getting an additional major in biochem) was leaving a secure tenured teaching job 10 years ago that I actually enjoyed. The fact is, I liked where I was then and wanted to buy a house there, but didn't have a hell of a lot of saving power at the time. OK, to be fair, I had a plan. I was going to teach in Moscow for 3-5 years MAX in order to save so that I could return to the Anchorage area to buy a house and dare I say, perhaps stay put for a bit. OK, that was working fine the first 3-4 years and then it didn't.
Objectively looking at the big picture, I have failed to do what I originally had set out to do and have effectively wasted 10 years of my life and lost 10 years I could have been putting toward retirement in my early 40s. Had I managed to save a crapton of money over the last 10 years, I could live with that, but at the end of the day the bottom line is indeed the bottom line.I know some of you are thinking but what about the experience? Well, I had all the language and culture experience in my teens and 20s from high school to grad school. I came back to Moscow to use my skills to get good work so I could later invest in my long term future in Alaska. It was supposed to be a "time out" not a TEN YEAR HIATUS. I am a pragmatist to the core. At the end of the day the bill collectors don't give a rats bottom about your"experience". If this "experience" lands me a job back in Alaska, then it's somewhat useful, otherwise, really? What purpose is it serving?
So, I've got two choices as I see it in order to have decent stable work. Option A- go for a full time governess job that will most likely be live -in and with heavy travel. I would rather be shot dead than live with strangers. I've been on my own essentially since I was 17 and that's a compromise I cannot and will not make.Yes, I'd make a crapton of money, but it's not going to help the retirement cause. Option B- get my butt back to Alaska sooner than later and be open to accepting jobs in the Bush. Provided I could get SINGLE teacher housing, I'd take the Bush ANY DAY over live-in governess. I'd actually see it as a learning experience and depending on where I may end up, may ask the kids to teach me how to dry salmon strips in fish camp:) With my multicultural background and experience, I think I'd do just fine in the village. Sure it may be tough at first and I know about the issues and why turnover is high, but I would no longer be wasting time, I'd feel like I'm actually being productive again, making a difference, and I'd even have something to show for it when I got done. The drawback is I'd be limited to racing when school is out, but I know that going in. Some districts do have track ans xc teams even on the islands, so I would be keen to get involved in coaching and helping out with that.
On paper, I am 6perhaps7 years from full retirement in the Alaska system. I am now 40 and while I still have my health, am feeling the pressing need and WANTto go and do the rest of my service. I'd probably realistically work more than that minimum if I am still healthy. I no longer want to put this off. And with that, I finally registered with Alaska Teacher Placement hoping to speed up the going home process. 10 or 20 years ago I would have said YUK to living in the middle of nowhere and even Fairbanks was a bit too isolated for me at the time. At this point in my life, I could handle the quiet and some isolation. I guess I just did everything BACKWARDS and lived in the quiet isolated place at a time when I still wanted to have a life in my 20s, but now the quiet is appealing. Now, I don't get out much to concerts,events, and things here because they have all just gotten so expensive over the years and my antisocial work schedule isn't helping the cause either. I just don't get to do the things that used to make Moscow a fun place to be anymore. So, I may as well be living in the proverbial cabin in the woods anyways. The thing is that at this time, that proverbial cabin has more appeal to me now and I would like that.So, with not much left to do in Moscow work wise, it's time, on so many levels it's time, it's SO TIME to go. So the burning question is this: Once you really make a big mistake, do you ever get a chance to fix it? I am making a final attempt to try. I have been getting some responses actually and have another skype interview next week. I'm hoping for the best. Some of these positions are dependent on the funding though. Alaska, like Russia is also oil and gas dependent and the economy and state budget for education is hurting now. If I get lucky and get an offer before school starts, I'd keep my flat in Moscow since the budget is volatile and there is always the possibility of being RIFed at the end of the year. I'd be coming back on winter and summer breaks anyways like I used to to keep my language skills up.
Oh and yeah, I miss the trail and mountain running scene like MAD!
This is Hatcher Pass Sept. 2004. I lived about 20 min from here in Wasilla.
So, that is why I have been radio silent for two months. I've had time to eat, sleep, work, run, and comb the job postings and contact schools.
OK absence explained, I did race a bit in April and in May and did quite well:
I'll continue in the next post:)