Looking for a Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name....
Editor’s Note: Warning the following is deeply reflective, and is the musings of someone thinking out loud. Be prepared for depressing, maybe even a hint of defeatism, but hang in there, I’m sure it all works itself out in the end.
I’m stuck. Professionally I am in a point in my career where I never thought I’d be. When people have asked me what my 5-year plan was, my typical response has always been, “I don’t know”. I figured that if I worked hard, did great work, the course of my career would take care of itself. I would pursue jobs and positions because the work interests me, not money or prestige.
But now, I’m not so sure if that was a great plan. I’ve defined “great work” by the scope and impact I could have on students. In my mind, the ability to influence students’ lives was the measure of a great job, a great position, and most of my professional decisions have been made based upon this philosophy. The problem with this flawed thinking is that it has taken me away from the one thing that I was relatively sure I was good at, teaching a classroom of kids how to read and write.
So, in this quest to expand my impact, to work towards the place where more and more students left high school college and career ready, I work in a field that no longer sees me as a member of its profession. Because I’m no longer assigned to a specific roster of students, many of my fellow colleagues no longer identify me in their ranks. I’m no longer considered a “teacher”
And, since I’ve never been an administrator, policy maker, or work in higher-ed, I’m not considered someone in those ranks either. I find myself in this in-between spot, hence the stickiness, of finding myself constantly trying to bridge these two worlds, push both of them closer together, but not really belonging to any of them any more.
Which leads me to the quandary I’m in at the moment. With the inability to feel the day-to-day wins, how do I continue to believe or know, that I’m making an impact? The evidence is few and far between. Compound that with the fact that I have no sense of belonging in the profession that I’ve spent most of my adult life in and it doesn’t help.
So, I’m stuck. I don’t feel like I’m doing great work, much less good work. I guess my real question is why in Education are the roles so delineated and adversarial? Why aren’t we all colleagues working on the same work?