One of the (relative) downsides to my involvement in IWP is my exposure to the wider world of education. In the past few years, the circle of educators I’ve come to know and learn from has grown, and as a result I am much more reflective about my practice. These amazing people push me to think critically about education in general and literacy education in particular. How can this be a bad thing, you might wonder…
I’ve been in my current teaching position for 18 years. That’s 18 years teaching seventh grade language arts; 16 of them in the same classroom. I’m not complaining, mind you. I realize that I am lucky to have had a steady job in a school district that has many resources for both students and staff. I have amazing colleagues and administrators who encourage my professional growth. What I’m realizing, though is that I’m beginning to itch for change. That itch is due in large part to that ever-expanding network of colleagues I mentioned before.
I have options, I realize. I could go back to school and get my administration certificate and a second master’s degree. I could begin working on an Ed.D. I could write a book! Perhaps I could explore the idea of consulting, drawing on my 18 years of experience as a literacy educator. I know I’m not ready to leave the field.
I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to leave the classroom. I love my job (well, most of it, anyway)! I love the time I spend in the company of adolescents talking about books and writing. I love the hum of conversation and the quiet sounds of fingers hitting keyboards. The thought of leaving all of that behind is scary, given that I remember how desperate I was to land my own classroom in the first place!
Change is scary, no matter what. Ultimately, I will have to make a choice. I will have to decide what my next challenge will be. Perhaps I will decide to get more letters to add to those that already follow my name; perhaps I’ll find new ways to challenge myself within my current position. I don’t know.
Those crossroads are tricky. That is one thing I DO know for sure.