The OF Blog: Monday Book Porn, plus a bit of bittersweet personal/professional news

Monday, March 08, 2010

Monday Book Porn, plus a bit of bittersweet personal/professional news

 
First, the books that arrived today (might as well get the little matters out of the way first):  Received these books in the mail.  Bought the Calvino and Aira, the rest are review  copies from Tor and Orbit US.  Of particular interest is Karin Lowachee's The Gaslight Dogs, her first foray into fantasy after three SF novels that I enjoyed greatly.  Blake Charlton's Spellwright I believe is a debut epic fantasy series opener.  Might have more time to read these sort of time-consuming books now...

Why now?  Because after waiting for the hatchet to fall for the past few months, I was officially laid off from my position teaching social studies and mathematics to adolescent males 12-17 who were in an in-patient residential treatment center for behavioral and mental disorders.  Hard to justify having two teachers for only six residents and it's looking very grim for this place that I've worked for, off and on, for parts of the past six years.

But I'm not sad or stressed, far from it now that I've vented about the innumerable screwups that led to such low numbers (those, and places such as these seeing drops in enrollment due to fewer parents having the insurance necessary to afford such treatment for their children).  I found out back in October that I'm likely eligible (indeed, looking at the web site, I would fall in the "first priority" section) for a Tennessee Department of Education grant program called BASE-TN, where I could enroll in special education classes, the state would pay for tuition and books, and I would agree to teach special education for two years.  Considering how high-demand special ed is compared to social studies, it's a no-brainer.  So hopefully, I can get that, get hired to teach evening classes for the local community colleges, and get educational retraining that would stop this ping-pong/yo-yoing that I've been experiencing in my professional life since 2001.  (I should also add that my total debt load with student loans is around $700/month and without it, it'd be $300/month.  Good thing I rent from my parents now...)

And for those jaded, cynical readers here, this also means that while I go through these steps, I'll have plenty more time in the next 3-6 months to blog and to read more than just BAF material, so there may be more reviews and commentaries.  Thrilled?

9 comments:

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Sorry to hear that Larry. My mom works in education (7th and 8th graders) and layoffs are not uncommon. So sad especially when good teachers are sorely needed.

Larry said...

I've been looking for a way to pay for more classes, so in some senses, this might be a blessing in disguise. As for me being a "good teacher," I dunno. I think I'm better with traumatized teens than I am with "normal" middle school and high school students, so perhaps teaching special needs students might be a happy medium for me.

Droidprogrammer said...

I will actually say congratulations (if all goes according to plan)! I work in the domestic automotive industry, and let's say last year was pretty tough. I was actually hoping to get laid off so I could retrain (I am a Robotics Technician) to do something a bit different, but never got the chance to. This could be the divergence point in your professional career so i say good luck! And let us know how The Mage in Black was, looks like a romance novel...

Alec said...

Best of luck Larry. For all you talking up the situation it can't be all that easy. Having recently entered the workforce, looking for a job is probably one of the most stressful experiences next to divorce.

Glad we will be seeing more of your witty prose though...

N. R. Alexander said...

Well no, not thrilled - it's a bittersweet development, as you say, Larry. But sure, I'm pleased we'll likely be hearing more from you in the months to come.

Best of luck with the grant, mate.

Roh said...

That's some bad news and good news all in one, Larry - I hope everything works out for you. Good luck and squirrel nuts!

I mentioned this on RAFO just now, but we don't get Lowachee in Bangalore. My life is sorrow. (We do get Calvino, so it is not overly bad.)

Let us know what the Lowachee is like!

Larry said...

Well, things are off to a decent start. Still need to apply for graduate school and take the GRE for the first time in 15 years (this might be a horror story, since I haven't had a math class since 1992!), but outside of that, things are looking up. Just filed the initial unemployment claim and may be eligible to receive it until nearly 2012 (after which time, I'll be ready for the Mayas and the Olsen Twins to team up with Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, and Poochie in an attempt to take over the world). Community college applications will be readied tomorrow, plus I'll probably do some "networking" with local superintendents about job-related matters. Not my first or even third time through this, so I think I can make it.

But yes, I'll discuss the Lowachee book in the very near future, along with Gail Carriger's second book, Changeless.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Dropping in out of lurker mode to say sorry about the lay off but it sounds like it is leading to bigger and better things. I have to say you always have the most interesting books and my wish list is growing. Plus making it difficult to stick to my buying ban. Gaslight Dogs sounds particularly good.

Larry said...

I'm just glad I have a semi-plausible plan for once! :P And yes, Lowachee is a good writer and I hope to have a review of this book up in the next few days. I will be reviewing more books here for the springtime, I believe.

 
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