Alli and I met in the summer of 2005, which we spent together at Camp Ramah Darom. We didn't quite become friends until the very end of that summer, but from the moment we did, Alli has been a wonderfully creative, funny, eternally calm presence in my life. I am especially grateful for all our coffee dates around Jerusalem last year, where Alli helped me articulate some pretty major life decisions.
I think this is the only existing photograph of myself and Alli (and Greta and Alyssa - what's up, guys?). Another photo shoot appears to be on the way.
Nowadays, Alli and I most often speak to each other's voicemails, but someday soon, we hope to beat the system.
We will call this … seven daily reasons why being unemployed doesn’t totally suck.
1. Alarm clock, you are not my master! Of course, I set an alarm clock every evening before I go to bed to create the illusion for myself that I am, in fact, a productive member of society. But the truth is that on most days, I hit the snooze button several times. When I finally decide it’s time to get up, I flick on my lamp and stretch out across the width of our queen-sized bed … which I can do because Max has already left for work and I won’t wake him up (this is in comparison to my 5:30 am wake ups during my first 6-week stint as a teacher.)
2. How I Met Your Mother. I have taken to calling it my “unemployment show.” That is, during the first few weeks of my being laid-off (this is to clarify, more for my feelings of self-worth and less for you, the reader, that I was not fired) I devoured episodes. I watched two or three episodes during the day (which is, for the record, only about an hour of television) and developed a Friends-like obsession with the show. Unfortunately, I am now caught up with the rest of the employed-world and have to wait a week for a new episode like everyone else. But today I was able to watch last week’s episode entitled “The Playbook” and poke around the internet to find out if anyone had posted “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap.” (They have not yet.)
3. Cleaning and packing. Things I have time to do now that I definitely didn’t when I was spending 20 hours a day teaching and lesson-planning: laundry, sweeping, dishes, cleaning the stovetop, sweeping (yes, I know that I said this already but I really like the sweep and I swear the leaves that blow in from the front door are reproducing), filing, folding, and packing in a leisurely way that makes me feel confident that I have not forgotten anything.
4. Tea. If you are surprised that tea gets its own spot on the list then you clearly don’t know me well enough. I love tea. But when I was teaching and wanted to savor every minute of sleep, my morning routine was something like this: fumble around in the dark to silence the alarm, stumble out of bed, hop in the shower, throw on clothes, find my keys, stress about running late, brush my teeth, and fly out the door. Notice that tea (and breakfast, for that matter) is missing from the list. But now, I can have tea all day long. A delicious cup of Earl Grey or French Vanilla tea with a little milk and honey in the morning. A mug of Green tea in the afternoon. And something of the decaffeinated or herbal variety at night. Mmm mmm mmm.
5. More time with Max. Enough said.
6. Time to do my homework. As an Inspired Teaching Fellow, I am a teacher (or supposed to be one) as well as a student. I take one night class a week and one full Saturday class a month as I work toward my full teaching certification and my Masters. Naturally, there is homework. I hope it doesn't come as a shock to anyone that when I was teaching, reading Chapter 5 in “Teaching Math Developmentally,” for example, just wasn’t high on my priority list. But now that I have much more free time, I’m the most prepared student in class. Another plus: the books that my teachers have selected are actually very interesting, thought-provoking, and helpful. I am now full of ideas of how to teach math “developmentally.”
7. The potential of something better. When I was first laid off, I was heart-broken. I’d worked tirelessly for my 22 second-graders, and then with no goodbye or closure or explanation I had to leave them. But the truth is that I was miserable at that school. I had little support from the administration. My colleagues hardly ever talked to me. I felt isolated and overwhelmed and exhausted all the time. And the school, in general, felt more like a prison than a place where children come to grow and learn and play. So while applying to job after job and going on interview after interview can be very discouraging, there is still the possibility that something great is just around the corner. Yesterday, I had an interview at a really unique charter school in DC, and today they asked me to come in and do a demonstration lesson in the 5th grade class. And it was awesome! I taught a really engaging geometry lesson (transformations and tessellations), and the assistant principal and teachers observing me had nothing but wonderful things to say. I am sure that the school is interviewing a lot of qualified and experienced educators, so the chance of my being hired there is actually very small. But it’s possible. (Keep your fingers crossed please.)