Today, I was going to list out goals for the month, to try to keep myself accountable for something. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that right now, setting goals just isn’t for me. It’s not that I’m goal-less or that I don’t have anything that I’m stretching for. Trust me, there are plenty of things I’m working toward. It’s just that, for the first time in months, I feel content. I feel like the path I’m on is the right path for me. To some, the path of substituting to make money and blogging (for free) doesn’t look like it’s heading down any lifelong path, but for me, right now, this is right.
Over the past few months, I’ve struggled with job hunting. A lot. More than anyone (other than my poor Jeromy) probably realizes. At the core of the job hunt wasn’t finding a job I could do, but rather a job that I could love.
Once I decided to be completely honest with myself, I realized that teaching is what I should be doing for the rest of my life.
When I left teaching 3 years ago, I was a lost puppy. I thought that because the life I was living at that moment wasn’t the life I wanted, that meant that EVERYTHING in that life was wrong. And to some extent, it was. I’ve realized that teaching in a public school is NOT right for me. Sure, I went to public school, and the only places I’ve ever taught were public schools. However, I’m realizing, as a teacher, this is not the right place for me. Without getting too fired up (because man, this fires me up), I can say definitively and without question, public school teachers are lacking the resources and structure that they need to be the most effective they can be. And while many, many teachers (and some of my best friends) are making the best of a shitty situation, I know that I can’t follow that path.
So I’m going private.
Am I selling out? Some people probably think so. I have a lot of respect for all of my friends and teachers who have dealt with budget cuts and pay plateaus and unsupportive administration. However, I know that if I put myself in that situation again, I will not survive. I need to be the best teacher I can be to the students who are looking to me for guidance and support, and in public school, I won’t be the best teacher I can be. For me, guiding and supporting is what teaching is about. Sure, they need to know how to write a complete sentence and read Shakespeare, but what they really need is affirmation that they are being heard and support through the most confusing times in their lives. High school is hell, y’all. If I can help one student get through it easier, then it will all be worth it. In public schools (at least the ones I have experienced), there is resentment, fear, and struggle that would overshadow my ability to be the best teacher I could be.
I’ve been really hesitant to talk about it out loud for fear of judgement. Also, while I have applied for a position that I am perfectly (both educationally and personally) suited for, I’m still waiting for a contract. That’s scary, and this whole journey to now has been a roller coaster. Last month, I pushed myself; I set goals and worked hard to achieve them. I pushed and pulled to get myself on the right path.
But I finally feel like I’m on the right track.
So this month, no goals. No pushing. This month, I focus on my fiancee and our little family, I focus on finishing graduate school, I focus on working hard to keep food on our table. But I’m not striving for more. I’m coasting, and I’m ok with that.
For now. For November.