Ideas on education, the English language, and the teaching profession.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Educational Wish List

"Getting our kids ready for a complex world is the nation's second-most important challenge, behind controlling terrorism. The education challenge grows even more important when you factor in the large – and irreversible – wave of Latino immigrants enrolling in schools across America."
-An editorialist for the Dallas Morning news writing yet another article about education's importance.

The chant for better education in the American public system continues. The message drones on and on, everyday, ad nausea. A concerned American may only read the paper for three days, and find at least five editorial columns on education. The writers will demand that school ends poverty, racial inequality, crime, unassimilated illegal aliens, sexual immorality, obesity, and naturally, widespread ignorance. The newspapers actually have more items on this wish list; these are simply the latest to be read. The editorials accomplish very little since they offer absolutely no ways to actually address these demands in social progress, but they do effectively cloud the definition of school.

Writers and pretty much everyone outside of education don't know that their clamoring often makes the problem more difficult and, even worse, puts the creation of a solution into the government’s hands. Of course, they don’t intend to do this. They just seek greater accountability from a bloated, poorly run government institution. This is a valid judgment for most public school districts, especially ones in big cities, which are in fact bloated and poorly run. However, simply asking schools to do more does not solve the problem. Rather than offer solutions, so many columnists cynically make their demands and conclude with a "Shape up teachers!" with the tacit consent of frustrated parents who need someone to blame. Unfortunately, piling on so many more duties and burdens to school create a philosophic conundrum for schools: Just what are we trying to do?

This question used to be easy. People knew that schools were meant to guide (notice, I didn't use the verb, force-feed) kids in learning how to read, write, and reason logically. Like a mother bird regurgitating food to the baby bird, the teacher regurgitates these huge skills into digestible servings that the student can handle at their respective level. If the student follows the teacher's instructions, he will climb the tower of knowledge, and eventually arrive at a point where he can teach himself and keep informed. At that point, he could find a trade or attend a college or university and try to pursue the reaches of his intellectual potential according to his own academic proclivities. The student's success depends on his willingness to achieve, which in turn depends on his parent's willingness to encourage achievement. If these qualities do not present themselves, the student wouldn't have to burden the teacher nor wouldn't burden the student.

Now, school has become a complicated place. All children must attend it, even illegal aliens and the severely mentally disabled. Actually, this rule has necessitated vast truancy departments set on catching miscreants playing hooky. All students must learn material at a certain level at the same or similar pace despite having very different capabilities and very different backgrounds. All students must take seven or eight different classes everyday and spend at least 7 hours a day in a school building even if it's unnecessary and even detrimental to independent study. All students must proceed to some kind of higher education after completing 13 years of school as if a four-year college was the only way to adequately prepare kids for the real world. All students must find some intrinsic motivation in learning, despite the frequent pointless assessments and ensuing punitive consequences for not performing that effectively blow that concept of learning for fun into the realm of fantasy. All student behavior and discipline must be held accountable to the national standard even if they are criminals, addicted to substances, or come from families that encourage irresponsibility. All kids must be physically fit (this is a relatively new one) despite their poor meal choices (including school lunch) and chronically lethargic living habits. All kids must know the details of reproduction and effective contraceptives even if they still continue to have children regularly like their parents did before them. All kids must learn a foreign language despite their struggles with English. All kids must be capable on the newest technology, so they watch it become obsolete the next year if it's not obsolete already. All kids must read the designated canon of books, which are often years beyond their level.

In essence, schools must now become the omnipotent ubiquitous influence in every developing individual. Every aspect must be covered from sexual activity to a nominal understanding of the prescribed canons of school literature including riveting works like The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations. Furthermore, every demand must be implemented and assessed collectively. Every moral failing of parents and the students themselves (don't be fooled, young people aren't completely blameless for their stupidity) must be undertaken and accounted for by the school. Luckily, the endless vices of materialistic modern society amply provide a continuous flow or moral failings and thus more demands. Finally, for all those who don't have these failings in discipline, morality, or character, they will be put with those that do and gradually be pulled down with them. Schools will determine success and failure in all matters of life since they will eventually encompass all levels of judgment. The good teacher will be the one that effectively keeps his kids in a prosaic delirium. The good student will be the kid that follows orders (no matter how irrelevant they might be) and complains the least. Surely, someone might find their valedictorians having this obsequious quality instead of actual cerebral aptitude.

If this sounds Orwellian, it's because it is. One only needs to visit the nearest school and remark the eerie resemblance it has to jail or factory. Schools are the intimidating monoliths of the collective. Like every collective, they will never endow brilliance or virtue. No collective ever has. The decisions made by the individual will always triumph over the decisions of the collective. Like they were in the past, schools should only be the tools to enlightenment providing the means to individual progress, nothing more. Otherwise, intellectual responsibility, personal discipline, and academic quality in general become severely compromised. Just take a look at American public schools.

Still, how can people hold schools accountable if not by making demands of them? After all, kids need to be ready for the new challenges of the modern world. Schools need to teach the kids before China takes over and every menial job not done by machines will be exported to Asia or South America.

The only way to improve is to stop making demands. Clean the slate of school's responsibilities and determine, realistically, how it can serve the intellectual progress of students. Allow the kids and parents a choice in what they want. Pave the way for independent study instead of clinging naively to the extended sessions of jejune worksheets and standardized tests. That huge, nasty school bureaucracy that infects every large community can be purged and greatly simplified. Real results or progression could be achieved instead a great mass of nothing that costs so many tax dollars. Kids shouldn't have to wait until college to actually learn something on their own.

Unfortunately, government never gets smaller. If any improvement arrives, it will come from a resilient individual conquering the barriers of the collective. Good parents and good teachers are also necessary, but they’re very few of them. It's unfortunate that most students would have to follow the advice of Mark Twain for now, "Don't let school get in the way of your education."

Friday, July 13, 2007

The "Urban" school

As part of the certification requirements for my school, I had to observe one of the schools in DISD. I like to think I made an appropriately lurid picture of the "urban" school. It's pretty typical though.

Field Observation #1

As I drove through the pristine lofts emitting their rays of stylish cosmopolitan pleasantness uptown, I searched for my designated school of observation, North City High School. The expectation of a school matching the area around it soothed my worried mind about some well-off kids likely taking that step out of the ignorant swamp the school years I knew into that tall mountain of academic reform touted by so many schools these days. Following the maxim of conventional wisdom (or more truthfully, conventional prejudice), I assumed affluence equaled ability. However, I forgot another important maxim (again, arising from conventional prejudice), the affluent despise poverty and always opt for the nearest private institution. Behind the new cafes, boutiques, and Vespa dealerships lies an old crumbling building accompanied by some monotone portables complete with an unkempt lawn and a parking lot paved with weeds and gravel. This was North City High School. Beyond the school are some crowded tenements. This was where the school’s students came from.

I observed Remedial English teacher, who happened to be the department chair. He took on the students that basically suffered from illiteracy, requiring them to take his class, titled Reading 2. Failing students of Reading 1 needed to continue on into Reading 2. While talking to me in private, the teacher clarified his class’s title more accurately as, “Reading -1”.

Judging from the procedures of class, curriculum originated wholly from the TAKS standardized test. In the first two sessions that I observed, the teacher devoted class time to copying three sample essays from the TAKS test. They briefly discussed the differences between good essays and bad essays, but most of the kids concentrated on finishing their copying. Once the students completed the TAKS later that month, I eagerly awaited what the class would work on afterwards. Observing people copying sample essays for TAKS bored me probably more than it bored the students.

Unforuntately, the week after the TAKS served as free time for the kids as a reward for their good work that whole year. Again, this was a fruitless observation for me. However, the teacher assure me that the following week was devoted to preparation for Lord of the Flies, the first real book that they would read that year in Reading 2.

When I came in the next week, preparation included watching an extremely old documentary (almost contemporary with the period it covered) of Hitler and the Nazi regime. The students were to make connections of Fascism with the government that the kids set up in Lord of the Flies. This connection proved difficult with the kids since most of them slept during the documentary and somehow had no prior knowledge of World War II. Dismayed at their ignorance, the teacher muttered that they would be perfect goons for following a dictator like Hitler.

In my last session, I observed them trying to outline an essay concerning the first third of the book. The students did not know how to write an outline for an essay, or much less, write an essay. The prompt for the essay asked them about the necessity of rules in society and how the boys in the book recreated a system of rules on their island. The students spent much of the period either staring at an empty page, fiddling with a broken pencil sharpener, or sleeping (I marveled at this, since I personally found the seats incredibly uncomfortable). Noticing the blank pages on the desks, the teacher became flustered and hastily showed them how to make an outline for an essay on the chalk board, which the students then voraciously copied. When the period ended, the teacher sarcastically commented to me, “Walking into this classroom is like catching a glimpse of the Dark Ages. No such thing as reading or writing, or organized thought. Just a bunch of brutes filled with random meaningless thoughts.”

Indeed, I thought of the Dark Ages when reviewing the type of environment that these students enter. They are cramped in a dark mean building with small rooms at school as well as their home, which they often share with nine other people. The teacher rigorously beats them into submission like serfs by intimidation, insults, and threats of law enforcement (it is not uncommon for students to mysteriously disappear after an outbreak in class). As a result, the kids carry poor spirits about school and develop only a rudimentary thinking in academics that will never expand or help in any way. I can see that the students have accepted their fate as mediocre dullards along with their teachers. The teachers mistake their cynicism for realism to justify their lack of assistance to these already impoverished kids. Very much like the Dark Ages (history has so many lessons), the school maintained order but at a very high cost.

After my sessions at the school, I often mulled about a resolution to this problem that plagues most urban schools, but I found that a real conclusion would only come when I became a teacher. So, I would usually grab a drink at the nearby Starbucks, admire uptown, and forget about the whole thing altogether like most people.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Notes on Subsitute Teaching Part II

"Today wasn't as bad as it I expected. I'm only going to have four periods to do and two of them are floral design (small classes with girls), one of them is BioMed (the class with Indian kids who seem to like me), and only one Agriculture (ugh, the knuckleheads). And, on top of the small load, I get to go home. I just hope that I don't get picked for another class on one of my off periods. I think that I've gained a bit of seniority at this school though and now the other subs are getting picked. I say this beause the secretary was talking about her regular subs (ie. me) and that they're great, plus I was only saddled with one extra class, the BioMed (to make it a full day) instead of 3 which she is entitled to put on me. I guess all that leaving early business and other happily unmentioned jabbering on my part has been all forgotten. I've been blessed the chaos of public high schools. "

"It was something of an uplifting thing to overhear a conversation in my first class. Apparently, some guy was discussing religion and Christianity and how this football coach (some of the biggest oafs you'll run into by the way), is a mean old man, but professes to being a Christian. I guess the coach got the great idea of preaching instead of conducting practice for the football players. The girls being Mexican Catholics thought that it was wrong to do that kind of thing, but that religion was important and the guy should respect that. The guy relented from his brutish way of talking and conceded to the girls. It gives me the idea that more mild mannered girls might be the key to pacifying the more at-risk guys and getting them and their children into church. That eases my mind a bit about their future.

The library seems full of life today. Two classes are doing some "research" on college campuses and college life and all that. I have my doubts as to the actual pertinence of this activity to some of the kids who appear to be sleeping right now, but I hope all the best for them. In back of me there was some faculty meeting about ID badges and their cool new functions (oh the joys of an administration career in education) that the teachers rightly yawn at. So, I guess I won't be lulled to sleep like other days I take a nice comfy chair in here.

I had a thought on my mind when subbing for some teachers. Is it a regular thing that women will adorn their desks with baby pictures, and them and their friends, but never them and their husbands? Is it the same way at your job? Or are they divorced? I know some aren't divorced, they just prefer their little babies. What is it about the whole maternal attachment? Maybe you could tell me. Heh, maybe you'll get it too.

A feeling of familiarity with the kids and the building have definitely eased my mind somewhat about my work. I pretty much know what to expect and I'm even knowing faces, and the kids know me. It makes a difference, for sure. Oh well, sticking to high schools which are few and constant certainly gives me that opportunity."

"Right now, I'm in a class that has only 3 people left in it. the rest seem to have gone to some pep rally. One of the kids has been staring at his fingers for over 20 minutes that makes me wonder if he has some natcotic buildup in his veins causing some hyper extended stupor in his mind. The other is a anime girl clad in all of hot topic's latests threads and another is some quiet Mexican kid...."

"Today was a swell day. Much better than yesterday. The teacher I subbed for trained his classes well. The kids knew what to do and most didn't give me any crap except for first period pleading for a "free day". But, even they finished their worksheets. So, it was a good day. Everytime I go to that school, Newman Smith, I'm pleasantly suprised. They have a good faculty. I can't really say that for the school yesterday, which was its rival, R. L. Turner. I was back to normal and got some reading done and there hasn't been any call from anyone.

Heh, one of the highlights of the day was this program I could use. It controls the whole network of computers so when kids were looking at things they weren't supposed to, I could override and close it. I only got to use it one class though, and most of the kids were good. I did get to close some anime fan art thing. That felt nice."

"Today was a crumbum day that I just wasn't ready for. Agriculture should be renamed "Dreg 101". The teacher left me with a pack of untamed hoodlums and a lesson plan written on a post-it note. It was a shitty situation. Kids came in leisurely having no assigned seats, no routine, no notice that there'd be a sub, or any kind of consequence. They had an assignment that they knew wouldn't be graded and a whole bunch of time to be annoying.On top of it all, they were all boys, and all delinquents. Simply, a situation that makes you cringe.

I held my own and did pretty well keeping them from killing each other. Though, at the end of the day, I just wanted to go so I thought I'd let the class leave early. Seriously, this class had NOTHING to do. And I knew very well that what I was doing was wrong and there really wasn't anything to justify myself except that I was tired, bored, and wanted to see if I could actually get away with it. Plus, I just really hate walking through overcrowded hallways with nasty kids. I dismissed the class 8 or 7 minutes early. I had my stuff ready and took it to the office where I'd sign out. As I was signing out, the secretary received a call right then about my dismissing my class and I got reprimanded. I meekly pleaded that I just wanted to avoid the bustle of kids, and that the group was small and they completed the (non-existent) lesson plan incredibly fast. Oh well, she told me that I'm not supposed to do that and that I was caught either way. She told me not to do it again and that I could go since the teacher I was subbing for came back anyway. I apologized and left. I don't think I'll get banned, but you never know....

Ok, I just called the sub system, and I was requested (as it I was specially requested) to sub again for the same class next week. I even called the lady to verify and she was very friendly. I took it. Kewliez (yes, there it is in writing). I guess I'm off the hook in that case. Better get some more word searches."

"I managed to get a break. It's always appreciated. I have one more class then I'm coming back home to eat. The classes have been going just fine. I'm pretty used to the behavior kids feel like giving. They always come in loud and obnoxious, they leave as quiet as mice. It's the same ol' song. Children are never creative or new. I know them better than they know themselves."

"I'm subbing for ESL right now. Boy, is it quiet. One of the great marvels of technology is this new program catered for English learners. So, at the moment, the kids are staring at the screen doing whatever. Well, honestly, only some are doing what they're supposed to be done, some others are making a meager effort, and the rest are staring off into space. Heh, I love ESL."

"My 3rd period has come in and they started. I had to quiet down a few chatty ones, but it's cool now. Taking a closer glance at the program they're doing, it looks pretty dumb. More memory games than actual language comprehension. But, so it goes. People (at least, education people) are harping on using technology to teach, but it just seems super expensive and utterly useless, even serving to dumb down the kids. I got to sub for a teacher who had to attend some workshop that was supposed to train the teachers on this new software that they might receive. It's alot like that thing you have in your class where there's a question on the overhead and all the kids can answer it with a remote that's given to them and the results are immediately sent to the teacher's computer. Even in Law School, the thing is stupid and time wasting. Imagine it in the hands of middle schoolers who are the most hazard prone individuals you'll run across. What's more, each machine is 4000 dollars! That's one machine per class! That's more than my whole yearly salary as a sub at that district. Oh well, you now know the biggest drain on school funds that cause people to gasp. Not teacher salaries, or even the beauracracy (that's 2nd), but all this stupid high-tech trash."

Notes on Substitute Teaching Part I

As requested by some people, here are some live accounts of my lovely job as a substitute teacher taken from different e-mails I wrote while working. I got a nice taste of just how little regard a person required to have a college degree receives at a school.

"I'm glad you were given a break. I could sure go for one too. The class I'm subbing for at the moment is really making me an ugly person. They just can't keep still and read. They're supposed to be advanced placement and all that, but they're all immature brats. I do my thing walking around talking down the rabble rousers, but it's pretty futile. Oh well, another bad report. Still, I have to keep things at an acceptable for the good kids that are doing what they're supposed to. Only for their sake do I admininister discipline because I really hate doing that stuff."

"Sorry to bring up work again, but here I am, and man, this lesson plan is terrible. Allow me to tell you "The kids should get their books and read the whole period." What shit is that?! Is there a grade at the end? No. Is there any assignment to be done? No. Is there any accountability at all? Not at all. What can I do? The whole class has books in their hand while they go on stupidly. And no one has assigned seating letting them jabber on with their friends before I have the move them myself. Two classes over 30 kids and the rest over 25.

Hold on. I'm going to have to take this sucker out. Referral!

Ah.... sweet tranquility. It's funny what a difference one student can make. It's such a pain to pull out the big guns but what's done has to be done. Fortunately, this last class is looking much better. Eh, stupid kids. Really Rita, if you ever got aquainted with kids your age or younger, you'd understand why young people get no respect at all. They're absolutely idiotic sometimes.

Now, I take a deep breath. I'm so ready for this week to be over. Waking up before sunrise again and again is taking its toll. I think I've been spoiled with previous assignments I had because today and half of yesterday were pretty tedious. Man, when was the last time I had an advance placement class? It seems like all the jobs I'm doing are the classes full of dregs. This is depressing. I'd like to tell you that these are the exception. There are a whole bunch of good kids with a future, but they're such a narrow lot. They're like endangered animals in the school world. I'm still unsure how things will be when we have a kid."

"Right now, I'm on a subbing assignment babysitting a World History class. Unfortunately, I'm having to encounter the lowest common denominator that seems to grow and grow as time passes. They all speak Spanish and there's not a blue eye to be seen. The all-star cast that I'm with today is Akram, Aldo, Mario, Marco, Perla, and Mayra. A good group of kids that have issues with basic reading comprehension.

Ah, ok, now I've settled them down. I feel like a sheep dog having to bark at the sheep so they do what they're supposed to. It's a workout sometimes. But, I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else at the moment. It's just funny to reflect sometimes."

"Subbing has now become something as routine as J.C.Penney. I know the procedures, nothing surprises me, and the days go by swimmingly. Taking on another class is like taking on another few customers. Behavior problems are like returns. A really bad kid is like an angry customer. I'm unfazed. I think the kids appreciate that. Heh, it's funny when a kid guiltily looks up when I tower above him catching him in the act of eating candy. I tell him to share with me, and all is well.

Right now, I'm in the middle of fifth period. The last period I tricked a student into logging me in. Heh, I'm so clever. Unfortunately, there isn't much amusement online. I read the paper and some sports news, gaze at a few comics, get my chuckle then it's back to the riveting Plutarch. It's hard to take as a historical document since much of it so far comes from myth. Then again, I've been doing Theseus and Romulus. The founder of Rome and the founder of Athens. It's just a hard thing to tell."

"Heh, it's funny looking at this one kid. He's a pale red head boy and the only white kid in the class, plus the only one with glasses. I just want to remark "My oh my, what are doing here?" But, that'd be inappropriate. He doesn't seem to look alienated, so that's good." -I found out later this kid was hispanic and spoke Spanish.

"Ok, had to quell a bathroom request. Ugh, these kids are really weasles sometimes."

"I get the bad feeling that today is going to be a long day. I’m in my second period right now, and none of the kids are doing their work at all. You see, being the 8th substitute they’ve had, any sense of accountability has completely been drained from them, and well, they don’t feel like doing French anymore. What’s more, they’re given a long-term group project of something they don’t seem to understand. This is what you call royally screwing the sub in a classroom quagmire. I’ve done this before in a Math class a few weeks back as you know. What I’ve learned from that experience is that it’s an impossible battle. Therefore, I’ll concede defeat and let them waste their time and be the babysitter.

Ah well, now I have the older more advanced classes and they’re much more cooperative. Still, the lesson plan was crummy and vague. They’re supposed to make some kind of lesson plans for the lower level French classes about French geography or something. I told them to look at the assignment make what they can of it, and go with it. So far, most people have been doing just that. I check on their progress ever so often. Some of them were reading Canterbury tales or American History! Heh, I actually talked books or history with them before getting them back on task. Yeah, I’m cool.

I know, I know, it’s just my job, my job, my job. How can I make this interesting to you? I really try. But, maybe there’s just no getting around it. Once something becomes an actual occupation it loses its luster in conversation. It was much more intriguing anticipating than simple recounting. Oh well."

Friday, July 6, 2007

Indulging in a little vanity

You know, people will always ask how you are, or what you might be up to, but you're never given the time to explain yourself. Instead, you skirt the question and move on, sputtering off some mundane drivel that might unfairly define you in the eyes of others forever afterwards. Like most other people, I lack a convenient outlet for simply explaining my life adaquately, so like other people I write a journal or a blog to suit the purpose of answering that popular question "What's up?". When faced with an "About me:" for this blog, I wanted to merely introduce my very ordinary situation, but it ended up having too many characters. Thus, it has become my second post:

I'm a bright eyed youth embarking upon the noble profession of teaching. I love working with young people and hope to give them a brighter future like an English teacher once did for me. I was obstinate towards literature and poetry until she opened up that magical world that liberated my soul and gave me the gift of expression. Who knew Shakespeare could appeal to an apathetic teen brought up on television and videogames?

Actually, I am none of the above except that I am a person embarking upon the profession of teaching. I’m not sure how long I'll stay in it before pursuing some kind graduate or professional degree. I’m not so fond of young people, but I consider that a strength. I've had terrible teachers, especially in English, so my motivation would be to illuminate dim adolescent minds with a flicker of academic prospect. I’m not too keen on Shakespeare, at least, not for modern youths struggling with words over three syllables.

I do love learning, so that is why I teach. It really wouldn’t matter what subject I taught so long as it’s something I respect. My general humanities major allowed me to teach history or English. Knowing that history teachers in Texas are usually coaches, I chose our modern Lingua Franca, English.

To get experience in the classroom, since the classes for teaching certification offer absolutely nothing, I subbed from 2006-2007 in a nearby school district and worked for pennies teaching English at a private summer school program at the Catholic school my mother worked at. I’m not a complete novice, but I don’t have a classroom (or in the poorer schools, a cart) of my own.

Right now, I pursue a job. I’m not completely certified, so I’m probably going to be left with the teaching jobs no one wanted. My first post explains the overwhelming progress of my job pursuit.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The start of a new career

I woke up early this morning to start my search for a teaching position in English. The hold on non-certified, non-disctrict-alternative-certification, should have been lifted by now according to the bureaucrat that happily dismissed me a month earlier when I sought a job. My status forces me to wait until the district goes into desperation mode. It's kind of like playing "Chicken" (that game where two cars speed towards each other until someone swerves out of the way) with the two sides usually losing.

Allow me to explain my situation. I've gotten pretty good at it after going to two job fairs and doing a few interviews. Here's how it usually goes: Right now, I'm a candidate for probationary certification, meaning I have everything done (coursework and tests) except my student teaching. I have had experience as a substitute teacher and a summer school teacher at a Catholic school. My school allows an academic year of internship in place of student teaching. However, it's upon me to find a contract with a school district willing to hire someone not completely certified. That leaves only private schools who have very few vacancies and terrible pay or bloated urban school districts who need fresh meat to tame the thugs. I've tried the private school route, and now I'm trying the thug taming route.

That morning I renewed my effort to simply get somewhere in terms of a job. I telephoned the HR office who then transferred me to the recruitment office who then transferred me to the calling center of the recruitment offices. No one answered the last transfer, so I repeated the process twice more before resigning myself to leaving a message to which I felt certain that no one would bother responding.

I certainty was confirmed. An hour passed, so I called the office again. Someone actually answered and pretended to know nothing of my previous message left. After explaining my desire to arrange an appointment with their "representative" to fill in one of their vacant English positions, I was told that they only do that with Math and Science teachers. My only option was to attend one of their job fairs at the end of the month, and to fax my resume to all the schools that needed someone.

For the moment, I peddle in yogurt. For anyone curious about these teacher shortages, most of it lies in the incompetence of these vast HR departments. They serve no one, neither the employers nor the employees. All they can do is dismiss people like me by sending us in circles on the phone and hand out pamphlets for the next job fair or their new Internet site that functions only half the time. They are one of Public School's many examples of wasted tax dollars. The actual interviewing and reference is done through individual schools, who I now inquire for the possibility of employment. Unfortunately, the principals happen to be on vacation right now.

I get an eerie feeling that this job pursuit until the very last week before school begins. I'll try all I can to get a response before then. I've faxed 8 cover letters and resumes to 8 different schools (a task that took me much longer than anticipated). I might try calling next week. In the meantime, I'll just read some books, write a bit, honing my English skills.

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