Last night as I was writing yet another essay about classroom discipline models, I found something online. Something incredible. Something I’d only joked about with my friends and family to try and hide how desperately I wanted it to be real. My dream job.
There are three things in life I am passionate about; making, teaching, and growing. In the few classrooms I’ve had so far I’ve tried to combine these three into one well rounded and inclusive learning experience. I do everything I can to instill a sense of respect, responsibility, and curiosity in my students by exposing them to worlds they never get a chance to see on Cartoon Network. I have always had, and am completely happy with, the notion that it would be up to me to provide all of these opportunities and try to work them into a standard school curriculum through my own ingenuity. But lo and behold, there is a place that has already done this for me.
The Camphill Special School is a waldorf styled school that works with special needs children and young adults to find ideal vocations for their particular interests and abilities. They use their biodynamic farm, traditional crafts of woodworking and textiles, drama, art, and vocactional learning as forms of therapy. I could apply and end up working as a weaving instructor for special needs kiddos on a 77 acre farm in Pennsylvania. Ideal. But I can’t.
I’m working on my masters and as part of the grant that funds it I have to stay in the DFW until the completion of my program. While this means that my MED is entirely payed for and I receive a small monthly stipend (which is, really, no small thing) it also means that it’ll be a long while before I have the opportunity to realize my dream. It also most likely means that the ‘long while’ will evolve into ‘never’. The job, while offering everything I want to do with my life rolled into one position, does very little to put me and my family on the track to a secure financial future. They provide full room and board, medical insurance, and a nice vacation package, but you are only paid $190 per month. At this point in my life, that small amount of monthly income doesn’t matter too much but it is too little for me to ask my family to make this commitment with me later on in life. But I’m not going to let that bother me. I may not be able to start my dream job immediately but at least I know that it exists, with health insurance! And if it exists there, it must surely exist elsewhere and with potentially more of a paycheck to help support my family. I don’t want to sound like I am bent on having a lot of money, but I do want us to have land of our own and a home before we’re too old to take advantage of it. I also have considerable medical expenses that would eat up all of my income and then some.
All things considered, it is really just reassuring to know that my dream job is out there and it gives more merit to my jokes about a future career as a special needs art teacher on a farm. It is also reassuring to know that there are enough like minded people in the world for a school like this to exist. Maybe one day, when we’ve been able to purchase land of our own, I’ll be able to start a school like this and offer this experience to even more people who thought they’d never realize their dream job.