I graduated from Miami University in 1977 with two degrees in education; one was for teaching elementary grades 1 - 8 and the other was for teaching LD/BD (the acronyms back then stood for learning disabilities/behavior disorders).
My graduation coincided with the passing of the national PL 94-142, otherwise known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). School districts were scrambling to comply with this new federal law, so a person with my degrees was in high demand. I actually got my first job in the same district where I student taught. I was put into a closet of a room where the only identifying qualifications to get there was a student must not be learning or behaving in their current environment. No documentation necessary (wow, have have times changed!).
I'm sure you can imagine which students teachers in my new middle school wanted to "unload" into my oh-so-tiny broom closet classroom. We had no space to separate behaviors or learning issues, and there were plenty of both. It was a very tough situation and I didn't have the tools or the maturity to handle the situation I was given. After many difficult issues throughout my first year of teaching, I realized that teaching was not the life path I was meant to take.
So, based on very little information gathering, I decided to resign from teaching, take my paltry retirement fund (where was my financial advisor with that decision?!!), and move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I packed my bright yellow Buick Skylark with all my worldly possessions (there weren't many) and headed out west.
Jackson Hole Bound
Was going to live in Steamboat Springs
with a friend
but she decided her life challenge
would be to work on her relationship with
boyfriend in dental school
Might have hindered a typical person
but not me
still packed my car and headed out on I-80
to Jackson Hole instead
much to my parents' chagrin
They had just paid for
four and a half years of college
what was i thinking??
nothing more certain in life than
a 20-something who is sure
she knows best
Lots of "didn'ts":
didn't have a job
didn't have a place to live
didn't know anyone there
didn't know how to ski
but I was sure this
was perfect decision for me
Even got sidetracked on first attempt westward
ran a red light outside of Chicago
totaled the other car
major damage to my own
luckily all individuals weren't hurt
Some people might have seen this incident
as a sign to change minds
but did that stop me
Just a bump in the road
had to come back and live with my parents
until the car could be fixed
more opportunities to hear
why this was the wrong choice for me
still left two weeks later.
Finally arrived in Jackson Hole
two days later
one of my first memories
the antler arches in the middle of town
Several "dids" happened that first day:
did find a job
did find a place to live
did find a roommate to share expenses
(knew at least one person now)
Still didn't know how to ski
I may come back and revisit this piece later. But sometimes the "getting there" is the hardest part. Thanks for sharing my story with me.
As always, thanks to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge!