Sunday, August 3, 2008

and the year begins...

ok, so this is the first installation of my (hopefully prolific) series about my first year of teaching in an american kindergarten in shanghai. in order for everything that i say this year to make sense, i am going to begin by giving some background about me.

i was born and raised in lincoln, ne . my family is fairly average - middle class; white; two mildly overbearing parents; two siblings, one older, one younger; formerly a cat, currently a dog. my family is pretty close and we tend to stay close to our roots. i love them dearly and would have a pretty hard time being where i am were it not for their help and support.

i've wanted to be a teacher since about the 4th grade and i've been teaching since the 5th. the grade level and subject matter are still evolving, but i can't imagine doing or being anything else. i always kind of assumed that i would do the college thing and then graduate, get a job, get married, have kids, settle down. the american dream. and maybe i will eventually. but about a year and a half ago, my life took an interesting turn. it happened while i was doing a study abroad down in costa rica and simultaneously trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. i travelled a lot while i was down there and discovered that i love traveling, seeing new cultures and learning about how they see the world. and i realized that i wanted to be able to continue doing that, even after the study abroad was over.

which led me to africa. for whatever reason, i have this burning desire to go and spend some time doing whatever i can to help there. really help. and it suddenly occurred to me that there is absolutely no reason why i can't go do that. it seems obvious, but this was a landmark realization for me. i don't come from a family of world travellers and i had never really considered doing anything outside of getting a job teaching in the states. the idea of moving to a foreign country to teach was kind of huge.

my next thought, of course, was that it's going to be expensive to go teach in africa if i want to go with any sort of program and i'm not exactly rolling in the dough at this point in my life. this thought was immediately followed by, you can make a lot of money teaching english in japan. or china, that would be good too. and thus my current life was born. i pretended to think about it for awhile, as much for my benefit as everyone else's, but pretty much as soon as the thought was thought, i was in. and i think it shall be one heck of a ride.

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