Rockford, Illinois, USA
February 05
I'm a regular middle aged guy, living in a regular middle class neighborhood, in a regular middle-sized community in the middle of America. I am an expatriate Texan transplanted to the Midwest, and wondering how I got here, and where I'm headed.

Procopius's Links
JANUARY 1, 2012 5:43PM

Good News and Bad News

Rate: 29 Flag

The week before Christmas was  met with both good news and bad news for me.  I'll start with the good news, with a little background.

As many of my regular readers know, I lost my job just before Christmas of 2008.  I had been in the telecommunications industry for nearly 26 years, mostly at a single company.  I was one of the millions who were directly affected by the Great Recession.  I was 50 years old, with a wife and young son, and unemployed.  It's a sickening feeling, as far too many others in our country can attest.

After several months, I accepted a job in a completely different industry that I hoped might provide a refreshing change of pace and positive prospects for advancement.  Unfortunately, that job just wasn't for me, and I quit after about three months.  Then I did something I should have done years before:  I went back to school for a year and took the necessary courses to become a certified high school social studies teacher.

I completed my student teaching a year ago, and entered the job market immediately thereafter.  Of course, the spring semester is not the best time to look for a teaching job, and to no one's surprise, none was forthcoming.  However, I was able to substitute frequently, so I was at least able to contribute a little to my household income.

As the spring progressed to summer, it became apparent that there was very little demand for new high school social studies teachers in Northern Illinois.  I interviewed for each open position within a 30 mile radius, but nothing materialized.  So many school districts were laying off teachers that the few that were hiring chose the experienced teachers who needed work, not the greenies like me.

Then came the week before Christmas.  One of the openings I had interviewed for in the summer was at a local private school.  When I did not get the job, the principal told me I was number two on his list.  Number one was one of those experienced teachers who had recently been released from another school.  It turns out, he was quite popular with his students, and was apparently a very good teacher.  However, his wife was offered a very lucrative new job in a different state, and after just one semester he resigned so his wife could take advantage of her job offer.  As last summer's runner up to the teaching position, the principal called me and asked if I was still interested. 

Yes, I was.

Then it got weird.  Five hours after accepting the offer, the principal of the school where I had been a student teacher last year called me and offered me a job there.  It is a very good, suburban school, with a student body very similar to that of the private school where I had just accepted an offer.  What's more, the suburban school was offering more than twice as much pay as the private school.  Holy canolli!  

I immediately called the private school principal and told him what had happened.  I said I could not turn down the other offer when they were going to pay so much more.  When I asked if there was anything he could do to sweeten the earlier offer I had accepted, he said he would discuss it with his director and get back to me the next day.  Long story short:  The private school increased the pay by about 70%, still less than the suburban school.  However, I decided to accept the private school's revised offer.  Although neither school is guaranteeing the position will be permanent after the spring semester, I feel there is better chance that the private school position can become permanent than the suburban school.

 Thus, after nearly three years on very limited income, I will begin receiving a regular paycheck beginning next week.  It's a teacher's income, and a beginning teacher at that, so it won't be much.  Still, it will be better than the three days a week of work that I've averaged as a substitute.  It's truly a good news story for me and my family.

Now the bad news.  As a new teacher, I'll be creating most of my lesson plans for the first time.  It's a lot of work, and it will take me away from Open Salon.  I'm far too fond of this place to stay away completely.  I'll check in periodically to see what my friends and favorites here are doing.  I will probably even post a little bit myself, but not very much, at least not for a few months.

As we begin our new year, I am excited by the new opportunitites before me.  On a macro-economic scale, I am hopeful my positive news will be repeated on a much grander scale.  Maybe 2012 will be the year America finally pulls itself out of the terrible economic malaise it has had to live with for nearly four years now.  Maybe Europe will get its economic act in order.  Maybe India's new economic might will translate into new sales of American products and services.  Perhaps China will free its currency to allow more fair competition and a better standard of living for its citizens.  Maybe the promises of our last presidential election will actually become reality.  

In my household, at least, there is hope.

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Congratulations! I know you will be a big host with anyone lucky enough to take your course. Hopefully, you can capture some of it and share it with is here occasionally. I'm selfish, that way.
Hey---this is great news. As a former social studies teacher (Go Beloit!) I can tell you that the lesson plans are not as hard as you'd imagine---because they are FUN! We're not talking power points on cost per minutes here. And as to the writing here? Since July, I've been working 1 and a half jobs ---and I now write more. Both here and on fictionique.

Why is that? No clue. Total mystery. I do not know. But it's true.

Oh. . .and as a fellow member of the first group of OS's---I don't want you to go!
I am thrilled for you! Good luck on the lesson plans. You will be missed of course, but it is for a good reason!
Congrats, and good luck!
That's a lot of maybes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in your favor. Makes it difficult to pick up a coffee cup but it's worth the discomfort.
Nice to hear of some good news out there. Funny how things come in bunches. A few years back I finally ended a 15 month bout of unemployment. Two days after I began with my current employer, another one where I'd applied a few months earlier called me in for a day long series of interviews. Their starting pay was $25 K more than I'd just signed on for but I had to turn them down. Good luck on it turning permanent.
I know you will be A BIG HIT with ... Dang auto-correct
Congratulations. Do you have to wear a tie to work?
Congrats on the new job, and seeing your love to write-I am sure we will still see you often.
I am so bloody happy for you. I'm sure you'll teach the kids that the Constitution isn't a list of suggestions to be ignored if inconvenient.
2012 is off to a great start with this news. So happy for you, but please find some time for us. I'm sure you will be a wonderful teacher and they are lucky to have you!
This is great news! (OS aside...but I imagine you will find your way here : ))
I think you made a good decision, payscale considerations and all...I hope you find yourself in a great position with fabulous kids : )
Happy New Year to you and yours, Procopius!
Thanks to all of you for your very warm, kind comments! To Leepin' Larry, no I don''t have to wear a tie, although my wife has given me some pretty cool ones that have historical themes which I'll be wearing often!
Hope. I read every word. Yes. Hope.
Hope when there seems no reason to.

Think about Kerry the editor. He mute.
He may take a sign language GED course.
His luck is he'd beak his thumb pre-exam.
He'd climb up Apple Trees with broke toe?
He'd prune Apple trees with broke thumb.
It be the first honest work he's ever done.
he could speak sign language to tree stump.
Congratulations! I know how hard it is to get work around here. Teaching is such important work. May you enjoy every hard minute of it.
Well Steve, the bad news isn't as bad as I anticipated, but it's still a loss not having all your extra time spent here...I think it's a fair trade for a while so you can get your feet on the ground. You'll be an excellent social studies teacher Steve, and will shortly gain a following of devoted students. You're one teacher who will make a difference with the seeds you'll plant. Best wishes to you Steve, always.
First congratulations on your new teaching engagement. I'm very happy for you and the students who will be lucky enough to have you as their teacher. Bad news is not something that cannot be lived with, once you get into your rhythm, you may find more time to visit Open Salon. We will miss your contributions and look forward to them when you find the time. But as a conscientous teacher, I know you will be away during work hours. Very best to you.

Well this is just excellent and I hope the best for this new direction in your life. Just goes to show you that one must just keep on keeping on! HNY and more.
I am so happy to see someone getting some much needed income from a job.
I sure hope it works out well for you.
Good new indeed. Wishing you the best.
So happy for you, and the work of creating your lesson plans will fly by...
Steve, that sounds great! Remembering your history posts, I can only imagine you'll be a great teacher. Good luck, and I hope that you find students who will be inspired.
Great to hear it! I didn't know about your job loss a few years ago, so I'm delighted you've found something that's very clearly up your alley. If your lesson plans are anything like your blog posts, then your students have really lucked out!

Your students are in for a real treat. I know you'll teach them more than what they've garnered from previous teachers.
Congratulations! I'll look forward to hearing from you when you have time to write.
I wish you the very best, and congratulations on your new job. I hope you have fun, and that the job is long lasting.
A great way to begin the new year! Congratulations!
Congratulations!! That is awesome!
Thanks again, everyone, for your warm well-wishes. I really appreciate your kind thoughts. I hope you all have a very happy and prosperous 2012!
Dude - congratulations! Creating lesson plans is consuming . . . but it can also be a lot of fun. All best in your new job!