I had my first teaching dream in a long time last night.  I was visiting a school to teach a sample lesson because I was applying for a job there, and the classroom teacher told me “you’ll find we keep things a little more casual here than at a lot of other schools,” and then, as if on cue, all of the students slumped way down in their chairs so they were sitting like this (except with less of a 50’s greaser look and more of a 00’s street style look):

And I can’t precisely remember the rest of the dream, except there was a metal detector at the door of the classroom (instead of the door of the school, where they’re more typically located,) and the kids at one point were all ragging on me, saying I couldn’t handle it in their school because I was too dorky, not aware enough of the way things really work (combining teaching anxiety AND regular old garden variety high school “I’m not the cool kid” anxiety into one dream!  Bonus!) And I remember feeling profoundly sad, because for some reason in the dream I knew that one of the kids in the class I was teaching was not going to make it, was going to die tragically in a shooting that afternoon, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

This dream was not totally random.  There’s been a lot of violence involving teenagers in Chicago recently, a sad number of kids dying on the street, and those stories always hit me hard.  My friend MasonNYC (the artist formerly known in this space as Mason’s Sister) has been looking into teaching jobs in the Chicago area, and has been teaching sample lessons, and we’ve talked a couple times about the various schools she’s applying to.  And next week, I’ll be out of the office all week, working in a high school as part of a school site visit, writing a report that we hope will help the school improve the quality of teaching and learning there.  So clearly I have school on the brain. 

I miss working with kids, whether it’s being in schools on a regular basis or representing teenage clients.  I don’t like the part of my job where I feel like I’m looking at these issues from a view 15 stories up- I hated those 15-stories-up-view people when I was teaching, and now I am one of them.  It’s frustrating.  It makes me think hard about what I should look for in a job going forward.  I like the job I’m in now very much, but it has always been a short-term fellowship.  My career so far has been jobs and/or grad programs lasting:  1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 2 years.  I figure I should eventually get a job that I plan to stay at for longer than a year or two.  My thirties seems like as good a time as any to give that a try. 

Because of the weird way law hiring works, within the next couple of months I’m going to have to start making some decisions about where I want to go next, and if I want to apply for certain categories of jobs when my fellowship is up.  You know, in September 2009.  OVER A YEAR FROM NOW.  Law hiring is so weird.  If I want to pursue a clerkship, for example, I should start looking, oh, yesterday.  If I want to pursue another kind of fellowship, I’ll need to get organized over the summer.  If I want to go into certain kinds of government work, I should probably get my application in about 9 months before I actually want to start, because that’s about how long it takes to go through the entire hiring process in some of these offices.  But if I want to go into a more traditional legal service job with a non-government entity, I shoud wait to apply for those jobs until summer 2009.  In summary:  If I play my cards right, I could be constantly in the process of applying for jobs, with the accompanying updating of resumes, accumulating of letters of recommendation, asking for references, suffering through interviews and rejections, and sitting on pins and needles waiting for answers, for the next year and a half.  Hold me.