I spent part of this morning at CPS. I was invited to today’s all-day meeting earlier in the week, but I wrote to Dr. Wong and told her that a) I wouldn’t be able to stay the whole day and b) I wasn’t sure, given the ambiguity of our relationship, whether it would be appropriate for me to be a part of those meetings in the first place. We decided to split the difference by having me come in for an hour or so this morning, and Dr. Wong and I got a chance to sit down and talk specifics.

It turns out that they have no money to pay me, or, Dr. Wong said, they’d have formally hired me by now. She seems genuinely interested in having me as part of her team; she told me that the dean who sat in on the workshop I ran last week had nothing but “glowing” things to say about me, and she recognizes that my particular discipline concentrations are decidedly lacking in her current staff. She really wants me to get a feel for the school and the kids and the community – despite the fact that she can’t formally offer me a job – so she invited me to come and teach a writing workshop two days a week on a volunteer basis. That would give me a time to see whether and how I would fit in with the place, and would give them a sense of what I can do with students. I agreed to a six-week trial; we’ll reassess the relationship after that time.

Dr. Wong seemed really confident that there would be a position available for me in September, but a lot depends, of course, on the money situation. The school will be more than doubling its enrollment in the fall, they’ve decided not to expand into the building in which they currently reside (they were thinking of breaking through a wall and taking over more square footage, but they’ve put that plan on ice for now), and the expectation is that there will be money in the budget for me. I won’t know that for a while, though, so for now, I’m going to do the volunteer gig and see what happens.

It’s not an ideal situation. I would really like to be paid for my time (especially given that I get to tack two travel hours to every trip I make out there). This gets me in front of a classroom, though, working with kids, doing what I love, and making an impression that may well secure me employment for the next school year. It’s not perfect, but it’s something I can live with… at least for six weeks.