last march i took a job teaching an SAT class at a fairly prestigious bilingual school here in santiago. the intention was to teach the class and get my foot in the door to teach there full time this (current) school year. i went through their ridiculous process (seriously, it was like seventeen interviews, an aptitude test, six demo classes - i think they just needed a sub - and a whole lot of bs). after the fourteenth interview, i realized that if it was this hard to get the job, i didn't want to know how hard it would be to work there. so, i put out my resume and wow. the response was incredible. every private school in the city was knocking on my door.
on a whim, i dropped off my resume at the university where i work now. and after one short interview and "bring me these documents" and i was in. that other school called and called once they had decided they wanted me, but i was content with my choice. and i still am. even despite the craziness sometimes, and the hilarity of some of it, i like my job. and i love my students (mostly).
but, when we opened the can of worms that was me going to work on a more "formal" basis, i never imagined how many opportunities would arise.
i first came to the country working in the church - it was a complete disaster and it turned me off the ministry for a long time. money was siphoned into accounts, never getting to where it was intended; kids were denied basic services if they couldn't pay. it just wasn't my thing. so i got out. (it's actually a long story, but there's your reader's digest version).
and for five years, i avoided anything that smacked of "foreign money" in ministry. there were so many things i saw (and see) that drove me crazy.
oh, that however. my heart was still there. yearning for something more than preparing kids for the SATs and getting richy-riches out of trouble at school.
i got a call during the summer from the (missionary) parents of one of my students. we need help with our new project, can you come take a look? it's close to your house and we really think you'll be interested. of course, i'll go and take a look. but don't count on anything.
so, i went. and took a look. and fell in love. i love their idea of ministry - of not creating dependency by giving things away for free- but charging (minimally) for services, and offering options for parents to help out at school if they can't afford it. options.volunteer work. service. amazing. it's a school basically, with the potential for so much more. it's a way to give people responsibility for their lives instead of saying "here, we hve more than you. let's throw money at this problem and it'll get fixed."
it's about making relationships. and teaching people ways to support themselves, provide for their families and strive for something more.
this year, i've been in and out and around. feeling it out - seeing how they do. but numerous times they've offered me something more substantial. something a little more permanent. and i wiggled and squirmed and said let me think about it.
but now it looks like it's going to happen. we're in talks to make sure that this is what is right for everyone. what will the responsibilities be? what kind of lee-way is there to implement new ideas (because man, has god filled my head with ideas since i opened up to saying yes)? how do they raise their money? once we get everything ironed out, we'll get to work - together.
one of our first projects is a mini-camp in the summer. a sort of day camp in the afternoons.
i'm so excited. beyond excited. and i hope that this door remains open and that it all works out in the end.