Lately, I’ve been feeling unsettled and unsure of my goals. I have been asking myself, “What do I want to do professionally?” Now that my children are older, I feel more and more compelled to return to work at least part-time. This past weekend I had a nagging feeling to do more than what I am currently doing. I wish to engage with other educators again and to do work that helps others.
I was a teacher for ten years and I loved it even with difficult circumstances because I loved my students. I left the classroom when I had my second child. It was around the time of increased state testing and accountability. Policy changes and instructional practices were implemented which I felt were developmentally inappropriate for Kindergarten students. With the combination of low pay and the focus on testing, I made the choice to stay home with my children.
In Arizona, there is serious teacher crisis and teacher salaries are some of the lowest in the country. We rank anywhere from 48th to 50th depending on the data and statistics used to rank teacher pay. I would love to return to the classroom. My heart is in learning and teaching. It truly is my passion. Yet, I can’t imagine raising three kids and working full-time in a position that requires so much dedication.
For the last twelve years, I have focused on creating a fun and playful home environment for the kids where they can do crafts or learn about topics they find interesting. I have dedicated my time to providing materials and opportunities to make and learn. I help them find inspiration and plan going-outs (A term the kids’ school uses to describe trips to visit places in the community based on a child’s interest).
In all these years, I have forgotten to do the same for myself. I did however, spend most of the last 12 years running and training for half and full marathons. Running gives me the time and space be alone and with friends as well as helps me be a better parent and partner because I take the time to do something for myself. It is my hobby.
In 2016, I went back to school for a M.Ed. in Gifted Education. I was interested in learning more about the needs of children identified as high potential learners. My interest began as that of a parent. As I gained greater insight my interest grew as an educator.
I completed the program in December, took time to enjoy my family and the holidays. I began this blog soon after to share my thoughts and ideas about learning and teaching, gifted education, learning environments and learning at home.
In the months since completing the program, I have been thinking about what is next. What can I do with the knowledge I gained in my program and the experience of parenting for thirteen years? I need to dedicate time and effort to find my inspiration, to research the areas of education that I am interested in, and to read how other educators follow their passion. My hope is that by remaining curious, I can find an opportunity or create one that makes use of my skills and serves the needs of the community.
It is important to take time to reflect about our own interests. Whether we are a classroom teacher, home educator, or working parent, we need to take the time to do what we love and are interested in.