Last week I received some news that I had been expecting, but it came as a shock at the same time. The decision has been made to close our ESL program at the end of the semester. That means that after six years here, after taking an idea on paper and turning it into a successful ESL program, I will be unemployed.
As I said this was not really a surprise. Other big programs in our area and across the country have closed, so it was only a matter of time before ours disappeared, too. Our enrollment has been on the decline for the last two years at least, and it no longer pays the salaries of myself and my colleague.
And it has been a very good six years for me. I have learned so much about myself, about teaching, and about establishing a program like this. I have had the support of the institution to make conference presentations both in this country and abroad. I have developed as a professional in ways that I could never have imagined six years ago.
And now it is time to move on. At this point in time, there is no clear plan. I am applying for jobs both locally and elsewhere in the country. I think it may be time to reinvent myself a bit. Since ESL programs have been cutting back for awhile now, I am looking at different kinds of positions at community colleges right now. It is exciting — and a bit sad at the same time. I know there is something else out there for me; I just have to find it!