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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Missing The Classroom

Background: As a former preacher, I truly believe in the idea that everyone has a gift - that special something, given by God, that helps a person identify what they should do with their life. The gift is that innate desire to do something that you know you would enjoy doing, but may not really understand how the idea came to you. Once you decide to follow your "dream," you are willing to do what it takes to make the dream a reality. When you finally get to live your dream, you experience a personal fulfillment that others doing the same thing do not experience because they may not be living their dream, or using their gift; they are misplaced.

Foreshadowing: I believe my gift is teaching. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in 5th grade. When I was in high school, I went to my counselor's office one day my Junior year, when an announcement was made for those interested in going to college. I went, my counselor was surprised to see me (I must not have been considered "college material" by the "experts"). I was told, "You don't want to be a teacher. Kids these days are terrible." This was 1980. I did go to college, but it was as a ministry major. Once out of school I was what I called a "preaching youth minister." I preached every weekend, but during the week, I spent my time with the young people. I enjoyed the work, but had to find ways to teach, and usually teach young people.

Fast Forward: After a little more than nine years in ministry, I had my fill of adults who were more interested in power and control over the church than service and surrender to Christ. So I left the ministry, did what most former minsters do; and started selling insurance. I did this for a little more than 2 years, and was even more miserable. Then one day at the dinner table my wife said, "You need to quit your job, go back to school, and get your teaching degree." Two days later, I was enrolled in classes.

Current Day: I have been in education for 13 years. I taught one year in a Christian school. I taught Science, Social Studies, and Boys Health in grades 6, 7, and 8. I had seven preps a day, and I loved it. I wish I could have stayed there forever, but I needed to earn more money to support my family and raise my two boys. I went to a public school setting, and have been there for 12 years. I have taught 7th grade Social Studies for five years, Computer Applications for five years, and I am in my second year in the Media Center as a Media Specialist. I have enjoyed my time as a Media Specialist, but I cannot get my mind or heart into the classes I have been taking. I can't get excited about which Dewey Decimal numbers to put on a book. To me, it really is nonsense. This is not meant to be disrespectful to those who enjoy the process of cataloging and classifying books. It is likely their gift. But it's not mine. Mine is teaching.

The Future: I needed a sabbatical from the classroom. Our school has nearly 1500 middle grade students, and every one of them passed my room every day, It was too loud, too much time separating the pushing and shoving in the hallway, and I was beginning to dislike the non-teaching aspect of education. I needed a break. My principal was gracious, and accepted a request to work in the Media Center as a technology person. However, the state of GA requires certification, and only from an accredited program within the state if you are already teaching in the state. I need to get back in the classroom. I have observed other teachers, seen what I would consider best practices from others, and have recharged my battery. I miss the daily interaction with the students. I am back to my 5th grade desire again - I want to teach. The gift and blessing is pulling me back.

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