Tuesday, October 5, 2010

At the Crossroads

Establishing yourself as a teacher requires staying in one place. And my life was not destined to play out that way. I married a Navy man and spent the early years of my career traveling around the country. On the positive side I was able to earn a Master’s Degree for a lot less money and in a lot less time than many of my peers. I also learned the fine art of resilience and have some crazy stories to tell about the places I have seen and the people I have met. But in order to establish myself as a teacher, we needed to settle down. So when my husband was faced with the decision to re-up or get out, he got out. For my sake. We moved back to our home state so that I could finalize my certification and put something substantial on my resume. I found a great job a few hours from where I grew up and was able to work there for almost four years, earning tenure and gaining confidence. But the nomadic lifestyle that we had grown accustomed to in addition to the growth of our family pulled us here. I left the comfort of my teaching job in hopes that I would easily find another in our hometown. Who could have predicted the crash in the economy and the profound impact it has had on education. It is now nearly impossible to find a permanent teaching job despite my years of experience and multiple certifications. Luckily I have the distraction of two amazing sons to keep me busy, but the pull of the classroom remains deep in my soul. I am faced with the decision of staying at home to raise my boys and ignoring the empty hole left by what should be a great career, or starting over in something completely different and more suited to the current economy? The other day I saw a story about a lawyer who was forced to enter the home cleaning business in order to make ends meet. It breaks my heart to think about people who spent years educating themselves and building a career only to be sidelined by the unavailability of jobs. I have to ask myself, is this a sign for me to try something different? Or do I just stick it out, knowing that eventually the economy will recover and the hiring of teachers will begin again?

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