Thursday, April 8, 2010

A lot can happen in just two days

I found myself looking into the Praxis exam today. It's the exam that I'd have to take and pass before I could re-enroll in my graduate program to get my teaching certificate. I didn't think I'd ever go there again. When I withdrew from the program last year, I told myself teaching wasn't for me--especially if I'd have to teach for tests and worry about my job security the entire time. I'm not saying that teachers shouldn't have to prove themselves as good teachers to teach, because I agree. I just know that when I said I wanted to teach English it was because I love to write. Nothing seemed to suit me better than to show that there is a refuge and an outlet in writing. Now, English classes are being taught with test scores, school rankings, and job security in mind. Not my idea of a good time.

However, there is something I must admit. For me, having a teaching certificate appears to hold security. I have an English degree, but no teaching certificate. I realize that an English degree is very versatile, but with no teaching certificate, all I see are jobs with a flood of office work and papers to be filed. Again, not my idea of a good time. Even as much as I talk myself out of getting pushed around by daunting numbers within the school system, I can't help but re-consider the job that I was so sure that I'd have for eight years or so: teaching.

When I withdrew last May, I'd been highly troubled by the realization that teaching wasn't for me. After all, I'd considered myself a soon-to-be teacher for many years, and even took teaching English courses my junior and senior year of college. However, things would take a turn after I was accepted and began the Masters in Teaching program at Washington State University Vancouver, and while I spent four months attending classes feeling half-blank to the idea of policies and...politics within our schools.

As I wrote and wrote my way through the semester, I began to unravel that maybe it wasn't the teaching that I thought I would love, but is the writing that I love. So I took a plunge and withdrew. Then I went to the library and checked out a bunch of books on freelance writing. Then a few months later I received an email from Tim Perrin, a screenwriter, responding to a post that I wrote last May, where I quoted an excerpt from an article he wrote. He basically told me to quit putting off the thing I love; to quit saying I'll do it later when I have more time, because the amount of tomorrows is unknown. Stunned that an actual "writer" would send me such an email, or rather, an inspiring essay written solely to me, felt like another nudge in the direction I'd been dreaming about: writing. I emailed him back with much thanks. He emailed me again with another letter worthy of framing.

Then another couple of months later, I began my quest of writing my book proposal. Things would go great--success on the horizon; passion exploding from my fingers; an aching turned into advocacy--a reason for my pain.

Then things would start to unravel. Struggle would bulldoze its way into our lives and the lives close to us, wiping out normalcy and contentment. A death, lies, an overdose, a relationship teetering on a break-up. I've been trying to gather some perspective here, but it feels like with all the uncertainty, the last thing I should be trying to do it start a career in a field where there is no certainty. In freelance writing, you are your own boss. You come up with the ideas, then work your ass off to bring them to fruition and to sell them, if they get sold at all. Then I envision myself crawling under the blanket of normalcy in at least a teaching career. See me running circles?

With my mind off-kilter and uncertainty looming over the once bright horizon, I write for answers. I reach out to you, my blogging friend, for encouragement. I write with hopes that by the end of this post, I'll have stumbled upon some realization--a thought that might catapult me back the other direction where the clouds were breaking and the horizon promised something clear and beautiful; when the thing I loved felt attainable, and positive affirmation whispered to me: you can. you can.



a little bit biased April 8, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

Cassie, that was a great write up. I can see your struggle though. Maybe all I have to offer is the message that you should keep writing no matter what - even if it's for yourself, in a journal or something. When the time is right things will happen. But you are not expected to be the bread winner right now, so don't stress about making it happen. Do it for yourself and when the time is right things will fall into place. I say go after your dreams. Those people/things/activities worth having in your life will support, encourage and uplift you. Love you sis! I'm thinking of you!

alexis April 8, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

freelance writing can really suck sometimes. just the other day my husband asked me what happened to all my clients...i was all, well, i finished everything they needed. and now i need to find new clients...such is the life. it's full of rejection, uncertainty, and rejection again. there's really no escaping that. and i've thought about taking the "safe road" and teaching, but honestly, that holds no appeal for me. i just know i'm not cut out for that type of thing (unless it's at the college level, which is a whole other story). i understand the allure of a steady income, but i think there are things that are more important. and if those things are important to you too, it's worth sticking out the writing thing. you're a wonderful writer. someone, somewhere, will appreciate it just as much as your blog readers do. don't give up.

mme. bookling April 9, 2010 at 12:03 AM  

you know i taught high school for three years, right?

well, i loved the kids, i loved the subject, but i was so not cut out to extrovert myself that much all day. you may like it, i wouldn't be so quick to label teaching as a cowardly way of skirting your dreams.

dreams do best without harsh judgement or definition.

be cassie.

in all her various forms.
with a long life of passions and outlets.



concern yourself with WHO you are rather than WHAT you do...and I do strongly believe that your what's will feed your soul.

b davis April 9, 2010 at 6:27 AM  

It may be hard to see now, but things will fall into place. You will find what you want. We can't always take the short (or easy) road to our dreams, but it sure would be nice. The good thing is that when you look back, you'll appreciate your journey.

Janet Fonoimoana April 9, 2010 at 7:35 AM  

Sweet Cassie, I wish I had some words of wisdom. I tend to be a "security" type person, but I sure know teaching is not a field to go into unless you really really want to. All I can suggest: be prayerful, listen carefully, and you will be led.

Cassie April 9, 2010 at 8:03 AM  

Thank you ladies. I am gathering your words and listening to them carefully.


Erin April 11, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

There is reason. There is purpose beyond your imagination in your desire to write. Your desire is not a fluke, not just something you stumbled upon. It burns in your heart because it was placed there by the one who knows how this all turns out and sees every heart touched by your words and vulnerability. As much as you (and I) want to see the big picture, the completion, and the security, it might not be for us to see...yet. Just keep writing. It's your passion. If he can do it/ she can do it/ they can do it...Why NOT you?

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** April 13, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

Oh sweetie! Like everyone else here, you MUST follow your dream. It will be hard. Very hard. You might have to find another temporary job to keep you afloat, but in time, if you keep pressing on, it will happen. You'll always regret it if you don't. I go through this all the time with my music, so I feel your struggles. Stay positive my friend! :) xo

Cassie April 13, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

Thank you. Thank you. Your words are truly encouraging. I appreciate them more than you know.

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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