I just had a huge fight with Midwestern Man. He really is such a know-it-all twat, and there is nothing (I repeat…nothing!) I hate more than know-it-alls wankers who aren’t informed about a subject but who decide to open their mouth, anyway.
Somehow Midwestern Man seems to be an expert on teaching, and the American public school system, and its hiring practices; and, oh yeah, he’s apparently also an expert about immigration to the US, and the US’s immigration policies. It’s fascinating how one man can know so much. I truly am fucking blessed to be married to such a polymath! He’s a fucking 21st century Renaissance Man. That’s what he fucking is!
Tonight’s fight was caused by my innocently pointing out that there was an article about Baltimore in last Sunday’s “New York Times” travel section. I’ve never been to Baltimore but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’d like it a lot, as I generally enjoy more blue-collar, racially diverse cities on the East Coast. I’ve also heard that it’s got a thriving arts and culture scene. To be honest, I think it might be a lot like Glasgow.
Baltimore came up a couple of months ago in conversation when it was apparent that I’d have to drop out of my teacher certification program due to lack of a work permit. I could re-apply to that God-awful program for admission next year, but that would mean staying in a city both of us are bored of until summer 2011! We were considering places where I could apply to go to grad school, and Baltimore seemed like a good place because Johns Hopkins University is there – and it’s a good school – and the city itself appeals to me. I have since shelved the idea of applying to grad school to get certified as a teacher (well, at least this year) because, quite simply, I am broke. Also, it’s unlikely that my immigration status would be fixed out in time for me to become a conditional permanent resident, and be able to apply for financial aid.
I then thought about applying for “Teach for America” and “New York City Teaching Fellows” which, if you’re American, you may know about already. If you’re not American, well, these are just programs that basically take the “brightest and best” potential teachers and then throw them into some of America’s toughest and most under-achieving schools. You get practically no training (something both these programs have been criticised for a lot) but you start earning a salary straight away and, in many cases, you even get a subsidized Master’s of Education. “New York City Teaching Fellows” does not guarantee job placement, which could be a major disaster for me if I got accepted to the program, moved to NYC, and then didn’t find a job. “Teach for America”, on the other hand, does.
What, you may be asking, does this have to do with Baltimore? Or, more to the point, what the hell has it got to do with the fight you had with your husband?
Well, seeing as “Teach for America” guarantees job placement, this made me more keen to apply to them than “New York City Teaching Fellows”. “Teach for America” also allows you to choose certain specific cities or regions you’d like to teach in. I thought it might be a good idea to pick Baltimore seeing as it wouldn’t be as popular as somewhere like New York, and therefore might make it more likely for my application to be accepted.
Despite this, there are some glaring problems with “Teach for America”. Quite simply, I’m not really sure that I agree with their modus operandi. First of all, it’s incredibly prestigious to get accepted to this program, and it appears that most people who do are, for the most part, rich and privileged recent college graduates who have very little, if any, experience of working with troubled youth in the inner-city. Worse still, most people don’t apply to “Teach for America” because they’re desperate for a career in teaching. Rather, they seem to see it as a nice way to while away two years (getting a cheap Master’s in the process and a nice boost to their résumé – employers and grad schools look very favourably on “Teach for America” participants) before applying to law school or getting a job on Wall Street. Take a look at the “Teach for America” website and see what things their alumi are getting up to. Very few have stayed in teaching.
Now, I know I’m smart, and I also know I’d be a great teacher but, from the limited information you have about me from my writing on this blog, does it really seem like I’m the kind of person “Teach for America” would be looking for?! I am, after all, not a 23-year-old recent college graduate who wants to be a doctor or a lawyer. I may have an absolutely fantastic undergraduate degree, and a Master’s but, at the end of the day, I’m a 31-year-old, broke, hungry erotic masseuse with gaps on my résumé because I’ve been working in the sex industry, and have been unable to find a legal job due to immigration restrictions.
Add to this the “small” problem that if I were to apply and get interviewed, I would be unable to produce any documentation proving that I’m not an illegal immigrant to the US, as it clearly says on their website that I would be required to do. This is because, technically speaking, I am an illegal immigrant. I’ve yet to save up the $1,355 I need to change my immigration status. I’ve been trying for months to set money aside, but it’s been pretty hard to do given that I sometimes can’t even find the money for food.
I merely suggested to Midwestern Man that I was no longer so enthusiastic about applying to “Teach for America” only to be told that I “should just do it”. I probably will “just do it” but I certainly need to wait until my immigration status is fixed out. Apparently, though, Midwestern Man has insider knowledge about “Teach for America’s” hiring procedures because he seemed to know better than me that it would be OK for me to apply there despite my being an illegal alien. He also seemed to know that it wouldn’t matter about my age despite the fact that I’ve been told personally by two “Teach for America” graduates that they wouldn’t take somebody my age.
I don’t mind somebody encouraging me to do something, but it’s galling when they ignore what you say even though they’re quite ignorant about a topic.
Earlier this year, he told me that I “didn’t try hard enough” to find a job despite the fact that, um, I didn’t have a work permit and that many teachers with years of experience couldn’t find one either. This was, without a doubt, one of the worst years ever to be looking for a teaching job but, according to Midwestern Man, they were just growing on trees.
I wouldn’t mind taking career advice from somebody who actually had a career but Midwestern Man doesn’t. He’s been working in the same fucking coffee shop for four bloody years while he “works” on a graphic novel that never seems to be nearing completion. Tonight he told me that he was angry about my wavering about “Teach for America” because I’m “incapable of finishing” anything. He has a point in that, yes, I do have a problem with deadlines and finishing stuff. I’m not particuarly proud of that but, in my defence, I want to say that nearly all the stuff I didn’t finish was stuff I didn’t really care about in the first place. Somehow he includes my aborted teacher certification program among the things I didn’t finish despite the fact that I had to drop out because I didn’t have a work permit.
When I filled out my immigration application, I often checked online to get help for filling in some of the questions. There are lots of online immigration forums, and I’d always be reading about “Brad” bringing over “Tatjana” from Russia to get married. Clearly, “Tatjana” wasn’t paying for the immigration process herself. I don’t expect Midwestern Man to help pay for me to become a conditional permanent resident but sometimes I can’t but think that if he wasn’t such a big loser he could have lent me the money, and then I wouldn’t have had to drop out of my teacher certification program. But he can’t because he has no money.
I really do feel that he’s a fucking loser and, yet, I have to hear all about what a failure I am.
He’s also been getting chubby again lately. When I first met him, he had a huge belly but he lost it once he started running with me. He soon got out of that habit, though, and now barely does any exercise. I find this deeply unattractive. And he wonders why I don’t want to have sex with him!
Honestly, sometimes I think I should have an affair….Maybe with the gorgeous teller at the bank I met earlier this week. You don’t really expect bank tellers to be cute but, ooh, this one was…and he was very witty and smart. I found him extremely charming, and, unless I’m sorely mistaken, I think he was flirting with me, too.
The fact that I’m even thinking about having an affair with another man, no matter how whimsically, makes me wonder if I even love my husband. I don’t feel particularly passionate about him, and sometimes I feel that I only want to hang out with him because I’ve got nothing better to do. I know I don’t have the feelings about him that I should, but I always just put that down to my being emotionally fucked up and afraid of commitment, or being wiped out by financial worries. But what if it’s not that?
What if it’s not that complicated?
What if I just don’t love him?