Tag Archives: New York City Teaching Fellows

Worrying at Wholefoods

I’m sitting in Wholefoods typing this post, sipping a peppermint soy chai and trying desperately to relax. While buying some spices I got talking to a guy from Guyana, and he had such a joyful, laid-back vibe that I could have burst into tears. “Joyful” and “laid-back” are the last words anyone would use to describe me right now. This guy was in his early fifties but looked twenty years younger! Damn, I know black don’t crack but I’ve never seen anybody look that much younger than their actual age. People usually think I look about five years younger than I am, but for how much longer? I feel so stressed out that I’m surprised there aren’t deep worry lines etched into my face.

Ever since my last blog post, I’ve just been working my arse off so I can afford to take off with “MM” on Christmas Eve to the Midwestern city where he grew up. We’re going to buy a car up there (it belongs to his stepdad’s mother, who’s ancient, so it’s a total deal because it’s got hardly any miles on it, and it’s practically brand new), and then drive it all the way back to The Land of Republican Wankers. We’ll be gone for around ten days and, well, erotic masseuses don’t exactly get holiday pay, so I’m even more stressed about money than I am usually. How will I manage to find the money for my rent; my bills; the cat sitter; flights for my two dogs (yup, they’re coming with me); the few remaining Christmas presents I have left; gas/food/motel money for the trip back etc., etc., etc., etc???!!!!

I’m so worn out, and I wonder when any of this will ever come to an end? Will there ever be a day when I’ll just be able to come home and not worry. I heard back from “New York City Teaching Fellows” a few days ago, and they’ve offered me an interview. This is good news, of course, but even if they accept me that doesn’t mean everything will be OK. They expect you to move to New York at some point in June where you have to attend a full-time, *unpaid* training academy for around to six to seven weeks! How will I ever survive in NYC for that length of time with no money? How will I ever manage to transport myself and seven pets to New York? More to the point, how will I ever find a place to live for me, “MM” and seven pets in NYC?!

All of the above would be do-able if I knew there was a job for me at the end of it all, but NYCTF doesn’t guarantee a job, which means I could very well move to NY and be jobless!

I don’t know why I’m worried about this now when I’ve not even had the interview. I have enough present worries without adding possible future stresses to the mix.

“MM” is one of them. We had our very first couple’s counselling session last Wednesday, and while we obviously couldn’t cover all that much in only one session, it was an enormous relief to me to have somebody to help me. I feel that “MM” unfairly blames me for everything, and there is no way he will ever see that if we are left to our own devices. He wears me out. I just can’t take it anymore. I need someone to mediate our arguments.

Yesterday’s session was not so fruitful, however, in that it ended up with me bursting into tears, and us walking out of the building separately at the end of the session. This afternoon I received a whiny, self-pitying, angry email from “MM” blaming me for something over which I don’t have much control.

I really have no idea if I love “MM”. It’s possible I do, but that the stress I’m under maybe just obscures my feelings for him. Sometimes I just think to myself that I will stay with him until I get my ten-year permanent resident card, and then I’ll divorce his sorry, whiny ass. When I first met “MM”, I thought he was good for me because he seemed more optimistic, and laid-back, but in the last six months or so I’ve seen a side of him I don’t especially like. He’s such a moody, bad- tempered bastard. I would never have married him if I knew he was like this.

I suppose there is one thing to be thankful for, though. If I think life is stressful now, it would be a million times worse if I were here illegally, which is what would have happened if I hadn’t married “MM” before my visa ran out. Life may be hard now but at the least my future permanent resident status means I can apply to teaching programs, and improve my lot a little.

Wholefoods is mercifully not playing any Christmas music, so it’s time to get out of here before they do. I’m sorry if all I ever do is bitch about the same old stuff every time I write, but unfortunately “the same old stuff” is what’s on my mind at the moment, so you’ll just have to bear with me until that changes. Let’s hope it does.

Composed on my iPhone, so please excuse any typos!


Is Arekino actually “Belle de Jour”?

Is it just me or do you also find it suspicious that Arekino (see the comments on my last blog post) returned to the blogosphere exactly one day before Belle de Jour finally outed herself? Could they be the same person? You never know. Anyway, whatever your story is, welcome back, Arekino.

Ooh, I have been naughty, haven’t I? I’ve stayed away for such a long time. I don’t know what happened really. I just got out of the habit of blogging. Also, I have been really sick with allergies, and too tired to do anything but the very bare minimum.

I don’t exactly have very much to write about either. The higlight of this month so far was finally saving up the $1600 I needed to file my immigration paperwork so I can adjust my status from a student visa to become a permanent resident in the US. I have no idea why it should cost so fucking much to send off four forms, but it does. It’s outrageous. If all goes to plan, I should receive my work permit by the end of December/early January. The next stage will be the interview for the green card in which Midwestern Man and I have to prove that we didn’t just get married for immigration purposes. Shouldn’t be too difficult to prove that, as it is a real marriage. Mind you, we definitely wouldn’t have got married so quickly if my visa hadn’t been about to run out.

There are times when I think we made a huge mistake getting married only a year (almost to the day) after going on our first date. No matter which way you look at it, we weren’t ready for it. Almost as soon as I’d fedexed my immigration paperwork off, we startred having huge fights. I don’t know if that was just a coincidence or if things suddenly seemed more serious now that we were making our marriage “official” (at least in the eyes of the USCIS – United States Citizen and Immigration Services). Things have calmed down a lot since then because I actually emailed Midwestern Man’s mother telling her how unhappy we were. Perhaps it sounds weird that I did that, but I just wanted somebody else to know about what we were going through. I think it helped us a lot not to have to struggle all by ourselves. We’re going to get counselling, too. We both have such horrible tempers and are incredibly stubborn, so we often end up in a stalemate with neither one of us wanting to back down.

I think things will work themselves out. We’re both going back to Midwestern Man’s parents’ place for Christmas in (surprise!) a Midwestern City. I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled about going there again (it’s hardly a top holiday destination) but his family are quite adorable, and it’s lovely to see what a healthy family dynamic looks like. There’s just so much love to go around, and a total lack of judgement. My own family was exactly the opposite. We will also be buying Midwestern Man’s stepdad’s mother’s car, and we’ll be driving it all the way back down south! I’ve never been on a road trip in the US before (although I did go from Coast to Coast all by myself by Amtrak when I was eighteen), and the romance of it really excites me. I’m pretty obsessed with road trip movies and if I could somehow get by being on a permanent road trip, I would! The idea of constantly moving and never staying in one place appeals to me a lot.

The good news is that I will be able to post every day from the road with my iPhone, so hopefully there will be some more interesting posts coming up soon! Hurrah!

Hmmm, what else is new? Oh, I’ve been applying to alternative teacher certification programs again – I reapplied to the one I was in before (although the idea of actually being accepted and having to deal with that Southern Belle Bitch fills me with dread) and a different one, which might suit me better because it’s run by a non-profit organisation and is actually geared towards putting teachers in high-need schools. I’m also planning on applying to New York City Teaching Fellows and Teach for America. I don’t know how I feel about these programs, however, as I’d have to relocate if I got accepted, and I’m not sure I can handle moving to a brand new place right at the moment and having to deal with being a first-year teacher in a challenging school. Both Midwestern Man and I are totally broke so, even though we’re both tired of this city and want a change, it might make more sense for us to stay here, and build up some savings before taking off for somewhere new.

Well, I’ll let you know what happens as regards my teaching career.

Shall I meet you all back here tomorow night then, eh? Just a suggestion…trying to keep myself accountable.

My husband is such a know-it-all twat.

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?