[Friends Seminary. [Photo credit: Google Search.]
I spent New Years Eve, 1990 alone in a bar in Binghamton.The only kiss I got was from the off-duty bartender who had started celebrating early. He kissed the top of my head and said: “I love you, man,” and then fell backwards onto a table.
I was at the wrong end of a bitter divorce. Working as a ‘temp’ at IBM in Endicott, NY, I felt I had nowhere else to go but down.
Fate stepped in and made me buy a copy of the Philadelphia Enquirer. (It was a legit paper, not the Enquirer that your thinking of). I found an agency that placed teachers. Without losing a moment to think, I circled the ad and sent in my resume.
I was hired after a single interview at Friends Seminary in the lower East Side of Manhattan. So I packed up and headed to the Big Apple. A month earlier I was walking in a park in Binghamton. The local NPR station ran a public service piece. The host read a list of ten questions. If you answered yes to five of the ten the advice was to seek professional care ASAP. Clear signs of sever depression.
I answered yes to eight of the ten. Was I down or what?
Without boring you with the details, I got a 26th floor studio on W. 92nd Street. It was perfect.
So, I started teaching again. This time it was in a Quaker school. Make no mistake, only a handful of staff and teachers were Quakers. But, I learned what a unique place it was the first time I attended an Upper School “Meeting for Worship”. It was not religious at all. The students just sat quietly and only stood to say what was on their mind when they felt the need. I heard sad stories and funny incidents. I learned more about the adolescent mind in the two years at Friends that twenty years in public and private schools.
I was happy there. I taught my way, but as it turned out, it wasn’t the ‘right’ way. The head of the middle school didn’t take to my methods and I couldn’t understand her demands of me.
By contract, the Head of School was supposed to observe you teaching once before your two-year probationary period was over. He came into my Astronomy class on the last day and left before the class was over.
The next day, he and the middle school head told me that my contract would not be renewed.
Did I feel cheated? Yes. Did I cry on the phone to Mariam when I told her the news? Yes.
I found an agency that pointed me in the direction of The Town School on the upper east side. I taught a class in front of the science head and others
I got the job and I never looked back. I spent ten years at Town. I was asked to join the board of The Association of Teachers in Independent School of New York.
I was even the science department chair a few times.
Sometimes it’s a glove…sometimes it’s a shoe or a coat. But you always know in the end when the perfect fit happens.
[The Town School. My best fit. Photo credit: Goodle Search.]
Sorrowful but worthy of serious thought. Hope all is well or at least better now. Have you left snow country for the winter? Paul