Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Refreshed & Rejuvenated

I have a confession to make.  With the tornado that has become my career in the past year and a half or so, my desire to continue in education has been tested.  When I first decided to leave the classroom to become a technology coach, my desire was strong, but with the ups and downs of having that job cut out from under me on the last day of school, to finding a tech coaching position at one school, rather than several, to making the leap into administration, to deciding that now was not the time for administration, to now in my position as a PE teacher, my mind has been churning.  On top of all of that, there are some other family developments that may potentially dictate where I will be living in 6-9 months time.  However, what I can say with the utmost confidence is that over the course of the past couple of weeks, I have been able to determine that I am in a good place for many reasons.  

My first thought was, "What would I do outside of education?"  Education is all I have known, outside of cooking in various restaurants in high school and college.  I knew as a sophomore in high school that teaching is what I wanted to do.  I walked into college declaring biology as my major and chemistry as my minor.  Granted, that changed a few months later when I decided that I wanted to do social studies and PE/health.  Either way, I was set to go into education from the time that I was 16 years old.  Where can you find work with a teaching degree and years of experience, but no longer want to do it?  In my short time researching, I wasn't able to find much.  

My next thought was, "So, I am able to find a job.  What if we have to pack up and move in a few months?"  It would be hard enough to start over knowing that you'll be living in the same area.  Multiply that with a potential cross-state, or even cross-country move.  The stress of having to pay bills, provide a roof over my family's heads and food on the table, etc. is something that definitely crossed my mind.  

Then comes the mental part, the question of, "Why can't you just suck it up and be happy with what you have and realize that some people don't have it as good as you do,  you selfish jerk?"  My answer to that is twofold.  First, the question answers itself, maybe I do need to appreciate what I have, a good job, a good salary, a good schedule, benefits, the list goes on and on and on.  However, I am also a firm believer that nobody should do anything that they do not like and do not want to continue.  I think about a lot of people, especially in earlier generations, that worked a job that they hated for 30 years just to provide for their family, rather than trying to find something that they enjoyed and could provide for their family.  

However, my faith in what I am doing has been renewed in the past couple of weeks.  All it took was to get back to my roots and my passion, plus a bit of tragedy mixed in.  The CUE-NV Silver State Technology Conference surrounded me with over 125 like-minded educators, passionate about learning what they could about educational technology and pedagogy.  While my current position severely limits what I can do with edtech (PE in a behavior school that does not allow for students to use devices), I want to keep up on all of the latest and greatest, especially since I am pretty sure that I will not be in this position for the next 25 years.

Quick disclaimer:  this does not mean that I do not like PE, teaching at a behavior school, etc.  It simply means that I taught social studies for 11 and a half years and sprinkled in almost a year of tech coaching.  I miss social studies, I miss sharing my knowledge of social studies with students, and I miss being able to use technology in exciting and engaging ways and sharing my love for technology with my peers.  Teaching PE at a behavior school is an interesting challenge every day and for the time being, it is something that I am enjoying; I miss my previous career path too much to want to continue down this road for a few decades.

This coming weekend, I will be going to the San Gabriel Valley CUE Innovation Celebration to learn with nearly 700 educators.  So many people that I now call friends will be attending, presenting, and even keynoting this event and I am very excited to see them socially and professionally.

The tragedy in Las Vegas, my home for the past 12+ years, hit me hard as well.  It put into perspective a lot of things, namely how brave so many people were on that night, the outpouring of support that so many were willing to offer in the days following, and how there is still a lot of good in this world in the face of so much that is evil, including, but not limited to gun violence, racism, homophobia, terrorism, and more.  It also put into perspective how many lives that I have had an impact on over the course of my career.  Even if only one former student comes to me and tells me what a positive impact that I have had on them, that is enough to continue to impact more lives.

Image result for jump start car in the cold
Too many memories of this... photo courtesy of
Growing up in Michigan and its cold winters, the occasional jump start was needed on the car to fire it up in the morning.  However, once the car got a jump, it would run fine, without issues, until maybe another frigid morning where you needed another jump.  Eventually, you would need a new battery, but you never had to pay thousands to get a new car because the cold destroyed your battery.  My career at this point was simply in need of a jump.  I look forward to the remainder of the school year and, wherever the road may take me in a few months, I look forward to the next step.

Until next time... 

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