Well, we're closing out April with a bang over here at the Hebert house. Last month, I published my letter to Gus "On Moving." We now know, after a long wait, exactly where we'll be moving: Sunny Southern California!
California, to be certain, was definitely not our Plan A. We had thought we would end up heading back to New England. The whole family enjoys the changing seasons — especially autumn in New England! — but, alas, this was not in the cards.
In truth, California hits so many of the things we were hoping to find. Natalie and I exist on a very lower-middle-class budget: she is an actor and I'm a writer and teacher. We don't have a lot of extra cash. In recent years, we've constantly found ourselves scraping by due, in large part, to a combination of expensive healthcare and property taxes. Housing and healthcare are the two biggest pieces of our budgetary pie. My housing will be taken care of by my school: this is the only way we could afford to live in Southern California, I imagine. Moreover, the healthcare situation should be about $7,000 cheaper per year for us. Combine all of this with better teacher salaries in California, and we're coming out way ahead.
It will also be nice to be back in a blue state. I recognize that this is controversial for some, but, for me, it's important. As an academic, I'm troubled by the recent calls to ban books and stifle teaching on important topics like identity: race, gender, and sexual orientation, especially. We could argue about this endlessly, I understand. Not everyone reading this will agree with me. That's fine. Personally, I believe schools should be encouraging students to explore their identities. It's part of the DEIJB ("Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging") work I do with schools and with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).
(I should note here that I'm thankful to be working in independent schools where we do not typically fall under the requirements of laws such as Florida House Bill 1557 [aka "Don't Say Gay"] or Texas House Bill 3979 which attempts to ban talk of critical race theory in public schools. For what it's worth, as a teacher who spends quite a bit of time talking about America's troubling record of racial injustice, I have never taught critical race theory. Talking about race and teaching about systemic racism and internalized oppression do not equal critical race theory. Again, we can debate this endlessly...)
As a result of this job search, unfortunately, my writing output took a hit in April...sorta. I wrote A LOT of cover letters for jobs in February, March, and April. In fact, over the course of this job search and interviewing season, I've produced an estimated 300 pages worth of documents: cover letters, CVs, plans for lessons and professional development, statements of educational philosophy, statements of leadership philosophy, statements about the importance of DEIJB work in independent schools. This does not include emails and other correspondence required to get these applications out.
In short: it was a lot and my writing output has not been great this month.
But that's okay...here's what I did put together!
it's not working yet
I'm still on hiatus from novel rewrite. But, I've got workables out there:
NOTE: Jared has a GREAT series of posts he's working on. I hope we'll be able to start publishing them soon!
the unruly buddha
That's it, for now! What's next? Well, we'll be looking to purge and pack and get moving. We'll see what the next chapter brings. Hopefully, I'll find some more time to write. :)