Since March 2020, my professional life, as well as the lives of millions of teachers around the world changed drastically. Up until that point, I talked about student centered learning and providing ways for teachers and students to work more efficiently using technology, and creating videos for students to watch instead of listening to me babble on for 15 minutes, etc. Yet, after the beginning of the pandemic, it became apparent, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and how to do my job in an efficient, manageable way. Or, at least that’s the way it felt.
Yes, there was upheaval unseen before in education. We discovered that most of the people out there with teaching licenses probably had no business with them in the first place and there has been a great purge, with excuses galore for why many are walking away. Some excuses are legit and speak to those people being honestly reflective about who they are, what they really want to do with their lives and how, maybe, they should do something different. Others, place blame on everything and everyone but God. A few went there and blamed God. I’ll keep praying for them.
I left the classroom in 2022. I discovered in the 2 years during the height of the pandemic that although I love teaching STEM, the shift to something “not normal” was taking too long and I was too impatient to wait. I recognized I could be of service to teachers at this point in my career than students. I spend a few months in 2022 attempting to do that, to no personal or professional avail.
Don’t get me wrong, I like working quietly from home, creating and supporting and learning. I’ve just discovered I don’t want to play by the rules of those who are still working so slowly to create the new normal that is necessary for education to move forward. So, for the time being, I’m just going to teach virtually, one to one with students, while I come up with a new plan. I have 3 years left on my license and I don’t intend to renew it. What can I come up with to support and engage and be a change agent.
Who I am as a professional educator isn’t what defines me as a person but it does breathe life into me spiritually, socially, and intellectually. I’ll be a teacher until the day I die and thereafter if I do this right. What I’ve learned here, as the pandemic morphs quietly into an endemic, is that 1) I was right about what NCLB did to a generation of Americans and its scary watching them fumble through adulthood completely ignorant of science and history and being completely ok with that because “YOUTUBE HAS THE ANSWERS”, and 2) the new generation of educators, fresh faced and eager in this world of insanity, need to become the leaders in how to learn in the 21st century. As I always say, us 20th century dinosaurs have too much bulk and move too slowly to be of any real support to these sleek, fast moving 21st century kids.
And that is where I sit, trying to come up with a plan to shed some of my professional bulk and align myself with sleek runners to help create the truly new normal for students who need to be taught how to figure it out, not what to figure out. I’m working on my Spanish. I’m writing outlines for books. Stuff. Wish me luck, I’m going to do this.
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