Last October, I wrote a post lamenting the fact that the plans I made for fall 2012 didn’t pan out. I was sad and frustrated, because I felt like I deserved to have things work out after waiting for soooooo loooooooooong. But instead, the job I thought I wanted—a virtual school instructor—fell through, and instead of graduating August of 2012, things got delayed because my major professor pulled a stunt.
So there I was, jobless and still in school, slaving over data analysis and the completion of my dissertation. Fortunately, my brother moved in and paid the bills as they related to the house, but it didn’t cover the things I did for myself in terms of pampering. It was a sacrifice of the highest order, as I’ve worked steadily since age 19.
As an educator, jobs come available at certain times, so fall came and went, as did winter. I worked on finishing school, as that was all I had to do other than write my novels. The phone remained silent and I was terrified that I’d be stuck having to take a job at yet another public school. I will not elaborate on why that terrified me, but y’all ain’t stupid. Three weeks ago, I successfully defended my dissertation and the very next day, I got an email from the principal of a school in Asia, asking me if we could Skype; he was interested in my educational profile. Things went extremely well, and two interviews and ten days later, they offered me the job.
So...I’m moving to Asia to teach at a posh private school.
Was it what I wanted when I left the public school classroom last spring? Not exactly, but I’ve learned some things during my time here on Earth. What I thought I wanted was something that was short-sighted; a temporary fix; a band-aid for a broken spirit. The time it took me to finish school was the amount of time I needed to regenerate. I’m not an educator who feeds her students out of a long-handled spoon. I’m better when I’m physically with my kids. Being a virtual-school instructor would have been a ginormous, grievous error. My friend, who is currently in this position, says that she spends 10-12 hours a day seated in front of a computer, teaching. While she doesn’t have to deal with the day-to-day madness that comes when handling children in real-time, there is the fact that because she’s dealing with students all over the world, she doesn’t have a set schedule like a classroom instructor does. And she doesn’t get to experience the things that teachers appreciate; like the look a kid gets when they finally understand something, or when they know you give a damn about them. This matters and it’s the lifeblood of any real educator. I’m supposed to be in the classroom and the year I spent out of it let me know this. And I’m so excited, so this is absolutely right.
Leaving the country has been a dream of mine since I first put my hands on a globe. Italy is my dream location and I may very well retire there. But that, too, is something I had to let go of in order to be blessed in the way I have been. I’m going to have to leave a lot of things behind, but I own those things; they don’t own me.
If you have a dream, don’t be afraid to go after it. I spent eleven years working on my doctorate and now it’s mine and no one will ever be able to take it from me. I will leave the United States with Dr. prefixed to my first name and/or Ph.D. suffixed to my surname and go to a place where I will get the salary it commands and the respect it deserves. I gladly leave all *this* behind. I will, of course, share some of my experiences here as well as on the Blasian Narrative and Black Girl Nerds. But my future has arrived and I’m going to embrace it.
Dr. Amaya Radjani
Amaya Radjani, Ph.D.
P.S. I’m still getting used to being called “doctor.” It’s surreal. I keep looking around wondering who they're talking to. Though, to be honest, this is the only time I'll mention my new title on my blog, as it's not really relevant to what The Dark is all about.