In my quest for employment, I have inquired about and applied for many positions. I’m getting the most work from a web-based service called Wyzant — this site helps me find students and helps students find me. So far I have tutored a high school freshman getting ready for finals and a high school senior preparing for the ACT. The site also connects me with editing jobs– I’ve helped a high school student with a short story and a college student with a transfer application. Each day new opportunities pop up on Wyzant. The site provides an email portal, a place for a my schedule, and secure payment. It’s clean and professional. I like it.
I mean, the joke among my friends is that this is a step up from the gigs I was getting through Craigslist. Each time I mentioned I was meeting a new client I found on Craigslist, my family and friends rolled eyes, gave cautions, and laughed a little nervously. But to be honest, my best client is one I found on Craigslist. He’s been with me since November as he writes his Master’s thesis for his graduate degree from Harvard. I’ve never met him, but we send documents back and forth through email, talk on the phone, and text. I woke up Monday morning to an email that said, “Got my draft done!” I am so looking forward to reading and editing this work on high stakes testing and educator cheating — it’s fascinating! Craigslist has also allowed me to meet a local author and an international graduate student, and not one axe murderer!
Tomorrow I am starting a journey on perhaps the most legitimate of pursuits so far — employment with the Educational Testing Service as a certified test rater. I was unaware until my confirmation email came — after a lengthy application and verification process — that the subject area I will be working in is — gasp — math! (As I typed that little four-letter word, I heard laughing all the way from St. Louis, Missouri and Tanzania as former colleagues envisioned me doing anything — aside from counting — with math.) Tomorrow morning I am supposed to spend four hours — four paid hours — learning how to be a test rater. If I don’t pass the certification tomorrow morning, they will pay me to retake it one more time. Well, ok, I will give it a try, even if it is math.
To be fair, the content is elementary level. And there was that one year when I was a long-term substitute teacher in the fourth grade and I lead math lessons from the chalk (yes, chalk) board. I don’t remember anyone complaining that their number sense was destroyed for the rest of their educational career, but I have moved around a lot; maybe they haven’t been able to find me.
This journey has been very interesting. I have no idea where I am headed, but I am exploring several different paths. The good news is that I feel energized. I love meeting students who want to learn. Yesterday, as I was headed to meet a new student at a library I had never been to before, I received a text. “Mrs. Rathje, This is S________. I am at the library. I secured a private study room, 2B. It is up the stairs and on your left. See you soon.” Did you get that? A high school senior arrived 30 minutes before I did, found us a room, logged into the internet, got a login code for me to use, pulled up her ACT score report, and greeted me with a smile and a handshake when I walked in. (All the high school teachers out there are reading this with their mouths hanging open.) This girl, who is a full-time student, a cheerleader, and part-time McDonald’s employee, leaned in with me for two hours and learned strategies for improving her score on the ACT. She looked in my eyes, asked me questions, and agreed to do extensive homework before we meet next time — on a Saturday morning for two hours.
Pretty sweet, isn’t it? So, I have no idea where I am going to end up, but I am not minding it one bit. Each day I have a new experience. I’m not bored in this next chapter.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us —
yes, establish the work of our hands.