Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Life Without Teaching

This is the first time in ten years that I'm not preparing for the new semester.

Normally I'd be slamming together my class syllabi, making trips to campus for copying, checking my online rosters to look for students I know, relocating my other-than-pajama-like clothing, and commiserating with my colleagues in disbelief over how instantly our "break" disappeared. Oh God no, we say, the students are coming back. Run for your lives.

Living life on semesters becomes a significant pattern, a little ditch that the monkey of your brain jumps into for 16 weeks, and then back out of for semester break or for summer. And then you stop teaching altogether and the pattern is gone and the monkey stands baffled, scratching his itchy monkey butt, trying to find a ditch to jump into. Ditch gone. Monkey lost.

So what am I doing now that I'm no longer teaching? Mostly flailing in a beastly, frothing sea of uncertainty, and scratching my monkey butt. It is, to say the least, a challenge.

If you were reading this blog when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of my students and of the drudgery of trying to force the rotten little scum-sucking bast--, um, trying to persuade the slacking 90% of them to do any work, then you may be thinking "Bitch, are you ever happy?"

No.

OK, yes. I have moments of happy. Lots of them. But there are of course pros and cons to every job, and one of the pros is the familiarity. Or wait. Is that a con?

It's both. Two mints in one! (Are you old enough to know that reference?)

I admit it, I already miss being in the classroom. It's in my blood, as they say. It helped turn me into a person. But I truly do need a break. Especially after that ridiculous intro semester at the community college, which felt like the hazing at the gates of Hell. "Here you are, Candy! First, just put on this nice jumpsuit we made for you. Oooh! It fits perfectly! What? Why yes! It is made of agent orange! Now stand over there by Mohammed Atta while we gather up the leeches..."

The things I miss most are back at the Big Giant University. And that has to do with the people there. The colleagues as well as the, dare I say it, higher quality of students. I do not miss the sororities or the fraternities.

If I find that I'm pining away for teaching, I'll go back. Already I'm scheduled to teach a creative writing class this summer. I said yes because it was a fluke of an opportunity, given the way the system works here, even if it does pay the equivalent of a cold pile of horseshit.

Scott is watching all this Candy-tilt from a unique perspective. When he left the rock 'n' roll world 4 years ago and moved from L.A. to Phoenix, he also felt lost in the fog. 18 years in the music business suddenly came to a screeching halt, all because he was brave enough to make a change, and walk away from something that had become wearisome. The process he went through to recalibrate was an arduous one, with flailing and baffled ditch-monkeys of his own, and hope and confusion and pain and the ever-present blazing desert sun. We are very different people, but I find it helpful that he's on the sidelines rooting for me.

Today I went in a completely different direction from teaching college students. I applied to work at a place that provides help for the elderly in their homes. Whatever they need to remain independent. There are people who know me who will do a lot of WTF-ing about this. I'm a little weirded out myself. But at the very least, I wanted to do something that felt worthwhile. Dammit. Did I just turn into a Miss Teen USA contestant? Let me tell you what I hope for in the way of world peace. As soon as I adjust my swimsuit and smear Vaseline on my teeth.

In my mostly-vicious heart, I've got a soft spot for old people. Which, hopefully, on Judgment Day, will balance out how much I generally despise children. At least when they're unleashed.

Next week I go for "training." Guess what's up first? CPR.

43 Comments:

  • At 8:16 PM, Blogger EB said…

    I'm not WTF-ing at all. This makes complete sense to me. Wait. Are you doing something that makes sense to me? Uh oh. . .

     
  • At 8:39 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Of course it makes sense to you. Because you know I'm only going into their homes to rob them.

     
  • At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go for it girl! Was it in this blog that someone said they were glad that they weren't in control of their life because they would have created a far poorer version than the one they actually got? It is your destiny Grasshopper . . . Look! Blogging, Scott, marriage, Arizona, old folks. Yikes, I wonder where you are headed next!

    All kidding aside, when I was having one of my mid-life crises I read "Transitions - Making Sense of Life's Changes" by William Bridges. Great book! It wasn't of much practical value but it helped me make sense of it all.

    Anyway, DON"T STOP WRITING and sharing your experiences. I'm sure the elderly will be at least as funny as the college kids. I, for one, want to hear all about it!

    banjo picker

     
  • At 12:14 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Banjo Picker...

    I think it was Futuresis who wrote that quote somewhere in the archives. It's true. If I'd been in charge I'd have made a sweet mess of things.

    I'm anxious to see what's next/terrified to see what's next. And very impatient. Me and the rest of the world, right?

    Need to go look up that book. Thanks for the recommendation!

     
  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Hey, Banjo...Just looked it up. As it turns out, I DID read one of his books: The Way of Transition. It was really good, too. He had to face a huge one.

     
  • At 3:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think you will be wonderful---actually, you already are. Sounds like a great challenge, Candy. I've never seen you try anything and bomb at it. Wear those glasses you bought at the thrift store...remember? Black with diamonds and a bit of a curl on one of the cat eyed lenses? They'll be a hit! Take them off during CPR, though...you could poke a jugular and completely negate your efforts. Love you. Want to hear more about this. Anita

     
  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger Gail said…

    That sounds perfect for you.

     
  • At 10:47 AM, Blogger Citlali said…

    Like putting on the air brakes, huh? (Earnest Saves Christmas, my fav...) Well, it seems to me that choosing a new job that may have very special meaning to you is one of the best ways to fill this new vacuum. You could get a lot of joy out of this. The fact that it's a child-free zone for the most part could add to that just a little, eh? lol. I thought I was the only one that hated children... hmm. = ]

     
  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger Dana said…

    I love it! Who wants to make sense anyway? Well, in a living your life kind of sense. Not a living your life like Britney, not making sense.

    I give up. You however, are pretty amazing!

     
  • At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Jackie O. said…

    Remember, Candy: the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation you'll be practicing next week is *different* from the mouth-to-mouth you and I used to practice in the office.

    Uh, and I'm pretty sure that blood pressure cuffs aren't supposed to be used the way we used them.

     
  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Anita! Just 2 weeks ago I broke those glasses in half! I screamed. Next time I find them (yes, of course I kept them anyway) I'll put a picture of them on here.

     
  • At 12:19 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Citlali, maybe I'll assign essays to them so the transition will be less jarring to me. I'll take a gradebook to their homes to scare them.

     
  • At 12:20 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dana, I've done so many things that make no sense in my life that I wish I'd kept score, percentage-wise, of the ones that turned out well and the ones that shot me into batshit. Wouldn't it be cool to have a spreadsheet of that stuff?

     
  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thanks for the tip, Jackie O. I get confused about the intended uses for things, since I left our dark delicious den of iniquity. Sigh.

     
  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger Dana said…

    Something that would make sense of all the senselessness?

     
  • At 1:39 PM, Blogger Dana said…

    Oh and my mother is paralyzed and has 24 hour nursing care. Many people from where I work visit her on a regular basis. It has made a difference in her life. So you are doing well with this one, I don't think it will shoot you into batshit.

     
  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Exactly! I'm not a fan of senselessness. I know most people love it.

    That's wonderful that your mom has visitors. Good co-workers you have there.

     
  • At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Ana said…

    http://www.holyexperience.blogspot.com/

    That's a great blog, Miss Candy. Something to do with your time as you sit in the monkey ditch. Ignore all the references to children, though. Well. Try to.

     
  • At 3:08 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thanks for the tip, Ana. I just visited.

    I can stand children as long as they are not my own, or in my charge.

    When God handed out gifts and talents, he held back on the "I love kids" and gave me an extra dose of "Look! There's a kitty!"

     
  • At 3:28 PM, Anonymous futuresis said…

    Oh, Candy, you are so full of crap. You're awesome with kids--and I have pictures to prove it! At least, you are with mine. You come up with the best games with them and they ADORE their Aunt Candy! You are a very cool aunt!

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger LD said…

    I'm not sure that I'd have what it takes to help the elderly, but I have to say that I admire your willingness to make a change that needed to be made. It's gotta be a scary proposition to start something new, to start a life from scratch. I'm sure you'll be fine. And if not, the elderly couldn't put up *that* much of a fight, could they??

     
  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis, I forgot how much your kids liked that game where I duct-taped them all together and threw them in the trunk and we played "Try to Escape the Kidnapper Before She Drives Across the State Line."

    Those were the days. Thanks for staying in touch with me while I'm incarcerated. My "wife" Butch says hi.

     
  • At 3:40 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    LD, exactly. I distract them with DVDs of Matlock while I hotwire their Buick Regals. Easy Street, here I come.

     
  • At 4:01 PM, Anonymous futuresis said…

    They especially liked the "Happy Swamp of Discipline." You come up with the best games. I was so happy to hear of your new position as the inmates' recreation coordinator.

    Say hello to Butch for me. We all look forward to meeting it when you get paroled.

     
  • At 4:07 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis, Butch has agreed to give me one night off if you would be so kind as to send it a carton of Lucky Strikes and a soldering iron.

    [help me]

     
  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger Tony from the Bronx said…

    Is it a candy mint? Or is it a breath mint? It's both! It's two mints in one! Best metaphysical puzzler since the mind/body problem.

    Old enough to remember this commercial? Ma'am, I'm old enough to remember minty Chlorodent gum. Turned your tongue bright green, but also made your breath "kissing sweet." You never know when Mr. Postman is going to send you a Special Delivery.

     
  • At 4:54 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    The metaphysical puzzlers are more easily solved when a one a-CERTS himself.

    I was hoping you'd stop in, Tony!

    Chlorodent. Mmmm.

     
  • At 5:17 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Note to Jackie O.:

    LOVED the Christmas card addressed to "Prostitutia and Scott and Hankie."

    Made my day.

     
  • At 6:47 PM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Your narrative reminds me of how diligently we apply ourselves to self-awareness and self-knowledge in order to see the patterns in our lives...in order to make good decisions about our next steps.

    But, no matter how hard we try, we seem to oscillate between contradictions and ambivalences. We can't wait to move forward and away from old circumstances; then, we find ourselves regretting or reevaluating.

    No matter how hard we try to take control of our lives through insights and revelations...we wind up conflicted and curiously dissatisfied...hoping for that next new insight...the next new horizon that will precede the great transformation.

    And, like all hyperaware, ultra-introspective metro-neurotics, we interpret the trials and journeys of others as our own...projecting our lives upon their issues--like I'm doing.

    I really, really hate January.

     
  • At 7:08 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, damn, you do know how to dig into the muck.

    You're right about that push/pull thing between what we leave and what we're going toward. It's deeply annoying. Like hanging between 2 trapezes.

    I thought a metro-neurotic was someone scared to get on the subway.

     
  • At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Ana said…

    "Happy Swamp of Discipline"

    Well dog my doggies.

     
  • At 7:41 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    It was sort of a combination of a croc-infested bayou and a bootcamp. The children are different now than before they got there.

    Very.

     
  • At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Belle said…

    Now that you are working with old people, can I teach at a college? We could have a new show called Job Swap.

     
  • At 10:03 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I thought of you many times when I was there to apply, Belle. I'm going into your universe now.

     
  • At 10:30 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    "baffled ditch-monkeys"

    Heh.

     
  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Oh. And I suppose YOUR ditch-monkeys AREN'T baffled??

     
  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Jackie O. said…

    'Twas my pleasure, Prostitutia! I was actually going to put my cat in a Santa suit and FedEx him to your house, but since you and Scott had your own Hankie Claus, I decided to go with a card instead.

     
  • At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    I'm happy to come home from the office early, if you need to practice your mouth-to-mouth...

     
  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

     
  • At 1:12 AM, Blogger Mad Grad Mom said…

    Candy, this makes perfect sense for you.

    Remember, they hide their money under the mattress.

     
  • At 1:18 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Mattress. Mattress. Gotta remember that.

    Dang, Mad Grad, count on you to have mattress info.

     
  • At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Walk said…

    Old people are cool. After all, they are really only us, in a few less years than we would choose. I'm not sure when we will fit into that old people category - I guess we will just slide into it and let the rest of the world tell us when we are there.

     
  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Walk,
    I think I've already made the slide. It snuck up on me.

    And yes, old people are very cool. They know stuff.

     

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