Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When I Grow Up

"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Since it’s taken some time finding a full-time position in Social Studies, my husband has encouraged me to take more classes and/or acquire another certification. He reasons that if I obtain another certification (perhaps something more popular in a down economy), then I’ll find a job faster. Humanities? Language Arts? Special Education? Go back to school or take a test for what, exactly? What do I want to be when I grow up?

When I was an undergraduate, by my second semester of school, I fell in love with history. I thought I’d be a high school teacher, when a college professor said, “Don’t sell yourself short.” I got my BA in History, and with that professor’s words ringing in my ears, I decided to get my Ph.D. in History. The first year of graduate school was the worst period of my life, but not because of the workload (Which was considerable). Virtually every professor and student spent an enormous effort to show how smart they were, while working to make others feel less so. The only part I enjoyed was being a Teaching Assistant because I got to teach once a week. One day during my second year, I gazed up at the trees, surprised that autumn was in full swing because I’d been too stressed to notice. That moment was an epiphany for me – whatever I wanted to be, it probably wasn’t a college professor.

After some soul searching, I realized that I’d rather teach than research. As a professor it’s publish or perish, so teaching high school was a better fit for me. I completed my Master’s Degree and then began taking courses for my Social Studies certification. Student teaching was rewarding, and I knew I’d made the right choice.

But in recent years, I’ve also found a passion for writing. Perhaps taking the Language Arts state test be a way to combine my love of writing and teaching, plus it would make me more attractive for those Humanities positions. Early this year, I taught an after school creative class to fifth to seventh-grade students, and found the class to be rewarding as well.

So my problem is not that I don’t know what I want to do – it’s that I want to do too many things. Does anyone need a Social Studies teacher? Or a Language Arts teacher? Or a Humanties teacher? Or would anyone want to publish one of my manuscripts? I’m ready to begin.


  1. One target at a time, even though you there can be several targets and several arrows in the air at the same time, each arrow can only hit one target.
    I have a coworker who's is quitting the daily grind to become a home caterer and dial-a-chef. He's theory is that for one half of a couple to be able to pursue their dream the other needs to be able to support the pair. For the past few years he's been doing the grind, his boyfriend has been breaking out as an artist. Now they can switch roles.
    My lover and I don't work that way... We want to make it on our own with minimal financial help.
    In uni, I recall a prof pushing me to target a professoral teaching position. She said, "I work three hours a week and the rest of time I'm sitting on my duff doing nothing! Er.. I mean research."
    The pages are blank, and we shall what lies before us as it happens.

  2. Alesa, I like the professor quote.

    I think good couples make room to pursue each other's dreams. How it's worked out varies, but it's the support that's important.