New job! or, T.S. Eliot Rides Again

I am delighted to announce that beginning in the fall of 2015 I will be teaching in the new high school program of Abiqua Academy in Salem, Oregon.

I began my teaching career in 1980 at South Salem High School, but the opportunity to return to Salem 35 years later has come as a complete surprise. Pushing the age-limit for work visas in China, I needed to find a country and a school that was senior-citizen friendly. I was worried that I would be left with few choices, so I posted an open letter to my former students, asking them to write some ‘references’ for me. The responses were both slightly embarrassing and enormously gratifying. I am not sure whether they made any difference in my job search, but I do know that such comments from former students mean infinitely more to me than any supervisor’s evaluation ever has.

When my Class of ’83 yearbook editor, Merideth Webber, heard that I was job-hunting, she mentioned it to another of my former students, Steve Thorsett. Steve returned to Salem recently to become the President of Willamette University. One of his associate deans, Norm Williams, who teaches in the WU College of Law, is the chair of Abiqua’s board of trustees, and he had mentioned to Steve that Abiqua would soon be opening a high school program and would be looking for teachers. Steve mentioned me to Norm, Norm gave my name to Jo Ann Yockey, Abiqua’s Head of School, and through this remarkable sequence of events I was offered a position this week, and happily accepted.

In “Little Gidding”, T.S. Eliot famously writes,

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Ain’t it the truth.

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