I used to play school with my big sister. Of course, being the younger sister, I was always the student. She showed me what it meant to be a learner. For some reason, my younger brother never wanted to play school with me when I got older. 🙂 Luckily, my younger neighbors allowed me to discover what it meant to be a teacher. And being a teacher was always a career aspiration of mine as far back as I can remember. I dabbled with thinking about other possibilities along the way, but when I dug deeper, they never matched up with my visions for my future.
Fast forward 18 years into my life as a career woman. I left the classroom five and a half years ago, but have never stopped teaching.
I was having a Google Hangout chat with a friend this morning and he asked if I was going to continue consulting. My immediate response was, “Absolutely. I love the work.” His reply, “or maybe it’s time you took a cabinet position in the department of education….” I jokingly told him to call Trump and recommend my name for Secretary of Education, but then I went on to say if I could do my work without dealing with the politics of it all, I’d be more interested in something like that (at the state-level, pretty sure I’m not ready for D.C. – haha). Unfortunately, politics gets in the way of education even at the local level. I just want student-centered instruction, teachers who care about kids, and administrators who give them the training and support they need. On top of that, I want state testing that’s actually beneficial for student learning and not as a yardstick to measure teacher effectiveness (as there are much more thorough and accurate ways to measure this). And wouldn’t it be amazing if our elected officials (including school board members) had backgrounds in education if they are going to be making decisions about educating our children? I say that a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it’s a valid point.
After we went back and forth a bit about the issues facing students and teachers in the United States today, he said, “YOU NEED TO FIX THIS.” And while I appreciate his confidence in my abilities to fix the entire national problem, I am trying to fix it in the ways that I can in this moment. I’m starting with having conversations with school leaders. I’m working with teachers to change the way they think about instruction. I’m working alongside them, in their current environment with their current resources, to reframe teaching and learning.
So, while it’s never too late to be what you’re meant to be, I’m right where I have always supposed to be. Teaching, learning and leading others to do the same.
What are you meant to be?