Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Debating ...

Most of you who read this know me, and if you know me you mostly know my resume, so I'll skip that.  You also know that despite feeling guilty all the time that I didn't go to med school when I could have, and lately feeling a little like a failure (I am most certainly NOT in the position I hoped to be in at this stage of my life, and these feelings are only exacerbated lately by my upcoming 20th high school reunion), I am pretty happy and have done a variety of things that might seem like floundering but were each rewarding and (hopefully) in their own ways, steps forward.

Thing is, I keep getting emails inviting me to enroll in various professional development classes for teachers.  I've not kept my New Hampshire or Georgia certification.  I only have Alabama at the moment.  And if you know me, you know how much I absolutely LOVE teaching.  But I've been (and continue to be) so discouraged by the state of public education, that I've left it -- and here's the quandary:  I am not sure if this is, or if I even want it to be, a permanent decision. 

I certainly have no desire to go back and teach the behavior problem kids or deal with the piles of paperwork or the constant worry of on whose Web site I will appear ... but on the other hand, the good classes, and the good kids (not always the "honors" kids, mind you, but the kids who care, and they come at every level and in every color), and the personal satisfaction of really making a difference -- I love that.  I miss that.  I still, two years removed from the classroom, find myself looking at stuff thinking, "what a great lesson that would be," or, "what a wonderful example this would be!" to teach various concepts.  But if you gave me a public school teaching job tomorrow, I wouldn't take it.  And yet when I look at the want ads, I always look to see who needs a math teacher.  I'm just a bucket full of contradictions and conflicting emotions, huh?

So, what do I do?  Do I take the PD classes and pay the money to keep my certificate active, just in case?  Or do I make a conscious decision to let it go, and move on to focusing on building some education policy practice or consulting business?  Normally for me, Planner and Back-Up Planner Extraordinaire as I am, I would think it's a no-brainer to get the certificate -- even if all I did was have it in my back pocket.  But now I'm starting to think it might be time to walk away; to force the issue that I have to move on, to put myself in the position where I can't teach even if I want to.

But what if I wake up and decide I really want to?

Sigh.  This is a tougher question for me than it should be.


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