Trying Not to feel Unaccomplished
It is a funny thing being in touch with people who I haven't seen in a very long while. It is very seldom, (ie: has never happened) that I meet up with an old classmate or coworker and discover, yes, she also has been home with her kids for the last ten years and is perhaps just returning to her proffession. Ten years is a lot of career building, a pile of work experience, a bazillion accomplished goals and places traveled, or in my case 3 kids ages 4,8,& eek! a boy who will be 10 in seventeen days! The most jarring to me though, is when I meet up with old coworkers or other teachers who have been teaching all this time while I have been home. It makes me feel like I dodged the draft by leaving my proffession right when all the hoop jumping began for MCAS, No Child Left Behind, and now Race to the Top. I start to feel a little like I have no right to have an opinion, or to voice it, with regards to the state of education at present, and I feel a little unaccomplished having SAHM on my resume for the past 10 years. I worry that my determination to return to teaching, to do better for the kids, will be viewed as idealistic know-it-allism from a wannabe teacher who has stayed home for more years now than she has teaching time under her belt.
For better or worse, I managed to transition from a newbie teacher to a stay at home parent with my idealism about education in tact. That idealism was challenged while trap tripping over to the other side of the bridge. It took me a couple years to hurd my little ones over the bridge, past the troll, and on to the green, green grass of schools that taste better, and nourish more readily than the barren rocky landscape that we left. The experience has been a different kind of education about teaching and learning, different than slogging through the fog of high stakes testing and accountability that teachers have had to do. I like to think that being on the other side of the bridge gives me the kind of perspective that will be necessary to improving the state of public education in the years to come, toward balancing accountabity with sound and innovative teaching practices. I worry though, about being perceived as someone who thinks it is all in the power of the teachers to control, as someone who thinks most teachers are not doing the best they CAN within a system that is not working well.
I am particularly sensitive to the fact that I had to fight hard to get one of my kids what he needs in public school and the glinting notion that I may somehow be seen as an enemy, upstart, or merely an idealistic fool by folks who have "dedicated their lives to the education of our children" while I stayed home dedicated to raising my own. Do they see this huge chunk of my education, this badge of honor as a scarlet letter? Then of course I flip it and ask, why do I care? I guess I can get over the idea of others not readily "seeing" my experiences as education, but I care really, because I want to get a teaching job. My solution is to create current references and experiences with the courses I am taking and the job I currently hold that will validate my teacherness somehow and pave the way to reigniting my teaching career in this current climate.
Just occured to me. . .Is this post just nerves at the thought of beginning the interview process again this year? or fear of the question "Will there be any jobs to interview for?" hmm. . . Breath, Amy