Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whine. Do I Have to Choose a Career?

Here's the thing: it's not like I want to do nothing with my life. I love the feeling of being good at something. It just so happens that I don't love anything that will translate into a successful career. I suppose it can be argued that a successful career is in the eye of the beholder, but that's bs. We all know what a successful career looks like. It's not a static job. It's upwardly mobile, with a salary, and conferences to attend. Where am I going with this?

The small private school that I started my teaching career at, has asked me to come and work with their elementary teacher as a consultant. The school's director envisions me working in the classroom, giving lessons, and being a mentor to their current elementary guide in order to shape the elementary program into a self-perpetuating success. It sounds like an interesting challenge. It definitely is my strength. I know Montessori pedagogy inside and out. Running a Montessori classroom is a skill I have complete self-confidence in. Why am I so reluctant to take the job?

First of all, I'm not sure that I want to be a classroom teacher anymore. Although I might be excellent at running a classroom and giving lessons, I am terrible with the work that is required outside the classroom. Diplomacy completely eludes me. I thought I was getting better at it. My fourth year of teaching was very successful and parents and administrators alike seemed to love me. The fifth year was a total disaster on the scale of Hindenburg. I went down in flames! I realize that being a consultant would not require as much parent interaction, but it would require diplomacy with the other guides and the director of the school. I am really afraid to repeat what happened to me last year. Once you've been on the Hindenburg, you're not eager to get on another dirigible. (Bonus points for using "dirigible" in a blog.)

The second reason is that the job is in Corvallis, the small town where I lived with my ex-husband for nearly a decade. It feels like a giant emotional step backward to go back to this school, which was what I was doing when the marriage fell apart. Corvallis is his turf. He got the town in the divorce. I feel reluctant to start this consulting job because what if it turns into a permanent offer? Will I be able to turn down gainful employment just because I don't want to live in the same town as my ex? I guess I could, but not without feeling pretty stupid and selfish.

Anyway, so back to the whole career thing. I feel compelled to do something productive with my life that earns money. I can't leach off my parents for long with any self-respect. So I guess I'm going to try out this consulting thing and see where it leads. In the meantime, there's also the possibility of grad school. But applying for the doctorate program is turning out to be more of an emotional land mine then I expected.

This post is long enough, so more on that tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Consultancy is a great career however. Definitely upwardly mobile. This might be a good stepping stone in that direction - work where you're familiar, work out your own kinks - then offer yourself up to other schools when you're ready.