Going on two years of unemployment had me looking for an alternate job opportunity while I waited out this rut in education. I’d been scraping by with a little freelance proofreading and private tutoring, but I needed something a bit more stable so that I could reclaim my self-worth, as well as bring home some decent money to contribute to the life I’m building with Greg. I was beginning to seek out hourly filing jobs in our nearby hospital, when I was called to substitute for a week as a teacher in a child development center (CDC) summer program. One week turned into five weeks, and those weeks turned into landing me an interview for a permanent teaching position within the CDC during the school year. I aced the interview and was offered the position. While it’s only part-time, I figure, it’s better than no-time, and it has a high possibility of becoming a stepping stone to landing a full-time teaching position next Fall. Plus, I’m meant to work with kids; not standing in a back room filing charts.
The moment I knew I had to give up looking into menial part-time jobs and continue to pursue my quest to work in the education field, happened a week ago while subbing at the CDC. Working at a school located a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, we would frequently walk the kids to the beach for a free field trip. I was doing caboose duty on one of the walks back from the beach. This happens to be one of the most tiring positions, as you have to continually encourage the tired, slower children to “use their quick feet” and “take big, dinosaur steps” in order to keep up with the rest of the group.
When we were within sight of the school, I heard a soft shuffling behind me. I didn’t think much of it until I heard it again. The thought of a person walking right behind us sent chills up and down my back, so I quickly turned around to face the perpetrator and dare him/her to try and steal one of our children. ‘Cause that’s totally what any person walking in a public neighborhood is planning to do. In any case, when I turned around, no one was there. Instead, I noticed the sound came from dry leaves sliding across the sidewalk due to the gentle ocean breeze.
This caused my mind to rationally think, “What would I do if zombies were behind us?” The thought made me physically scared, and as I glanced behind me one more time to make sure there really weren’t zombies, I initially decided that I’d push past the kids and get to the safety of the school. I was at the end of the line with the most fatigued kids, so the zombies would be content with them, giving the larger group, and myself, a chance to get inside the school and set up a barricade.
However, as I calmed down, I realized I couldn’t do that. I took a good look at the tired kiddos around me, and just knew that I couldn’t let them die. I imagined myself grabbing the tiny 2nd grader, who was dragging his feet next to me, like a sack of potatoes and running him to safety, all the while shuffling the other kids along. I recognized that I would rather sacrifice myself than let them get eaten.
I’m not saying all this for praises, or to brag that I’m a saint. I’m not. It’s just that this was a moment of clarity for me. I realized how sincerely I actually care for kids that are of no relation to myself. I love those innocent, albeit sometimes tiresome, little humans. Zombies scare the living crap out of me, and if I would allow myself to get caught by a zombie hoard just to save their little lives, then I need to be working with kids. If I were to be answering phones in an air-conditioned cubicle, who would save the children?