Something’s gotta give…

[It’s been way too long since I’ve posted.  The answer as to why is included in the following.]

Perhaps it’s just the upcoming holiday craziness and the need for a break in general, but I feel like everything is getter the better of me right now. I can not make a dent on the pile of papers on my desk, and it’s been way too long since I collected them. My lesson planning is growing thin; I feel more often like I’m surviving than teaching. Add Forensics season starting, graduation details already being worked out, committees and curriculum work, and…well, we all know the drill.

More importantly, I have a (very patient) wife who has to deal with my pre-occupied state of mind, and two boys (six and three) who need a dad. I am to the point where I feel guilty playing with them because I have too much grading to do, and I feel guilty grading or doing any school work because I need to spend time with them. I can’t remember the last time I read a book, played a game (digital or otherwise) or sat and watched a movie or show without feeling guilty that I wasn’t chipping away at the piles.

Add to that the myriad of tools that I haven’t even had time to explore. I finally figured Skype out, but now need to look at Yugma. I’ve recorded a few things that could feasibly work as rough podcasts, but need to explore the publishing end of that. I’m comfortable with many of the Google tools, but haven’t tried Notebook or KML in Google Maps and Earth. Just when I figure out Twitter, everyone is moving to Pownce. Some of the other programs that I haven’t really used yet–VoiceThread, for example–are as embarrassing to admit to as an English teacher confessing that he hasn’t read Moby Dick, East of Eden, or Tom Sawyer (and no, I haven’t).

Now, believe it or not, this is not a whiny rant of self-pity (though it is a good start to one.) It IS a catalyst for something that I feel is going to happen. I’m just not sure what that is. Or when it will happen. Or how.

I never thought I could see myself leaving the classroom, yet now I wonder if that is where I’m heading. Not out of education, but into a different role. I would still like to work directly with students, but I am enjoying my growing role in the workshops that I’ve been able to run in my district. Is that where I’m heading? Technology Integration Specialist? Library Media Specialist? Teaching pre-service teachers? Will this mean more certification and courses? A move to another district? Too many possibilities…

It doesn’t help that a number of ed tech professionals that I follow on my Twitter network are also switching jobs: one went from English teacher to tech coordinator, one from ed tech and school design consultant back into the English classroom. Another quit his tech coordinator position at an international school in China, another moved from tech into curriculum. But moving makes me nervous, too, with another adoption (from China, coincidentally) in the works.

And then, I bounce back to the other side again. Can I really keep juggling all the bowling pins of being an English teacher, then add another child into our already crazy household? Mentally, how much longer can I split my energies between the demands of parenthood and the overwhelming paper load? Couldn’t I make a much greater impact on the quality and relevance of education in my district by assisting my colleagues in teaching their 21st Century learners than just my classroom of students?

Or am I just hoping to rid myself of the burden of grading papers?

Obviously, this part of the story is just beginning…

9 thoughts on “Something’s gotta give…

  1. The questioning process is stressful, but healthy! I’ve no doubt if you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll ‘discover’ your next step – whether it be something entirely new or just changing from within! And to plug ‘lifelong learning’ – never hurts to explore those courses or certifications that might open the door when you are ready — speaking from 25+ years of experience!

  2. Take it one day at a time. I’ve been teaching computers/ math for six years now. I get the spread thin feeling, too. It’s so important to put first things first (family) and the rest will follow. I can’t follow everything myself at times, but I know more now than I did six years ago by just doing one new thing at a time. Getting involved in blogs, wikis, Twitter (and Pownce) has helped me grow. Look at all your options and see where your heart leads you. As Marie said, questioning is healthy.

  3. I’m going to keep it short and say thanks for the Twitter connection – I followed back 🙂 – and if you haven’t read Sean Law’s Slam Teaching, he has a nice way of challenging ideas of the necessity to follow the rules of homework and piles of grading in order to be a “good teacher.”

    Hope you continue charting your evolution. My own post “On Leaving Teaching to Become a Teacher” has blown me away with the response. Lots of people feeling this.

  4. This is a delayed response… but only because I too, have been feeling way behind. In fact, as I began to read your post, it sounded exactly the way I’ve felt for the last six weeks or so. But here’s the thing – I’m not a classroom teacher. I’m a principal, and have been out of the classroom since 1999. Trust me – you don’t have all that you have on your plate because of the job you have – you have it on your plate because of the person and professional that you are. That tendency, to take on more and more, will follow you into whatever specific job you take on.

    So, follow your heart – go where you want to be, and do what makes you feel fulfilled. Find balance in whatever you take on, and enjoy the challenges your choices bring. It’s part of who you are, so the trick is to pull it together into a “you” that makes you happy.

  5. Doesn’t it seem that you could be hurting your students in the end here?

    If you’re not sure about teaching and don’t have the motivation to provide the positive work environment that so many students need to strive, then why teach?

    In my opinion, the sooner you get out of there the sooner you can have the time with your family that you desire.

    If you don’t do it for yourself, why don’t you do it for those students who would have to deal with a teacher who has a lack of motivation?

    In the end, you’re not happy and I imagine that it is fairly obvious to your students.

    “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.” – Horace Mann

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