- keep dating (or marry) Ed
- avoid a long-distance relationship
- have (before I'm too old) or adopt (if single or too old) children
- get a master's degree
- continue to earn money
I'd love to stay in Denver and get a master's degree at CU-Denver, which I can probably get into, and which has a program that interests me. But going part-time would take me six years, which (a) keeps me in Denver for six years while Ed is elsewhere, and (b) takes me beyond the age at which I'm likely to be able to have biological children. And I can't really see working, getting a master's degree, and having a baby. And that goes double if the baby's father is in, I don't know, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, if I instead blindly follow Ed to wherever he goes, then I would lose my job, which is lucrative and almost uniquely suited to my talents. There are jobs everywhere, of course, but this is a good one. And then I'd have to move again in another few years anyway.
I still have the dream of teaching.
This morning I was pondering all of this and I thought about resuming my previously abandoned plan of seeking alternative (secondary) teacher certification in Houston. The advantage of doing so in Houston vs. Denver is that Houston pays teachers much more than Denver does, has more openings, and is cheaper to live in. (Of course, you have to live in Houston. But since I haven't visited during the summer in a long time, I mostly long for its greenery and neighborhoods.)
It's kind of an interesting idea. I think I would get into the program (standards are not actually that high, and secondary math teachers are typically in somewhat short supply). The way I envision it is that, when Ed leaves for his PhD program, I would leave for Houston for this. We'd be apart, but that is likely to happen anyway unless I essentially prioritize "living in the same city with Ed" over everything else (i.e., job, master's degree,...), which seems foolish. (He's not prioritizing staying in the same city as me over his other goals, which I think is very smart. Why wouldn't I apply the same reasoning to myself?)
There are several advantages to this idea. First, teaching is something I've always wanted to try, and this would be a great opportunity for it. If the teaching doesn't work out, Houston is one of the cities I can most easily find employment in. If it does work out, I'd have teaching certification after a year-long program, and high school math teachers are employable pretty much anywhere, so that moving to be with Ed would be easy from an employment perspective. Teaching is also an ideal job for having/raising children, in terms of the hours that you work and the holidays/summers that you have off. Teaching is also reasonably compatible with getting a master's degree part-time, if I decided to go that route.
Finances-wise, the starting pay for teachers with no experience in Texas is around $41K. The program costs a few thousand dollars, which they deduct from your paychecks over the first year. The program starts in the summer, and you start teaching in the fall, so I'd have a summer of no income while I took classes (at St. Thomas), but I should easily be able to save up for that by then. And I'd have moving expenses, of course. But overall, in my current debt-free state, it seems very doable financially.
So this is something I'm strongly considering again.