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As soon as we got settled back in Missouri, I began looking for a teaching position. My goal was to replicate my PA experience and find work as a reading specialist. Around this time, the economy began to show signs of softening, and education was taking a huge financial hit. I taught as a long-term sub for about a year and a half, with no sign of landing a permanent position in sight. Meanwhile, I earned my graduate degree in literacy education, holding onto my dream of working with middle schoolers who needed help their reading skills. Nothing. No interviews. Barely any jobs to interview for.
About a week before the 2011-2012 school year started, I was offered a position at a charter school. I accepted it because it came with the opportunity to teach both English/Language Arts and Remedial Reading as well as tinker in the library. Was this another chance at a dream job? You'll find the answer to that question here and here. The remedial reading aspect of the job never materialized, and my passion and enthusiasm quickly disintegrated in an environment of constant stress, mismanagement, and unnecessary competition.
I made the decision not to return to the charter school this year, and it was the right one for me. But now, I'm left wondering if I chased the wrong dream. I just finished reading Ron Clark's book, The End of Molasses Classes. In one section, he writes about his hiring process for teachers.
As Iread these words, and the read them again, I couldn't ignore my inner voice, which screamed, "That's you! That's you!"There are a lot of teachers who are passionate about their curriculum, and there are some who like the idea of teaching more than they actually enjoy teaching children. Their classroom is very neat and their lesson plan is crisp, but they act as if the kids are ruining the scene by having the gall to simply be there.
Did my Ideal Reality and my Real Reality clash in the ugliest of ways? Or is that me because of last year's experience? Am I just suffering from temporary burnout? Or is it me because I chased the wrong dream? I'm back to writing and editing right now. Is that what I'm supposed to be doing? How do I know?
How about you? Have you ever chased the wrong dream? Or thought you did, but didn't? I'd love to hear from you.
Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... keep it real.