To Go or to Grow?

Every teacher must at some point question staying with the profession.  My moment came last fall.  Oddly, this was not a case of my asking whether I still enjoyed the job; I do without a doubt. 

Recent changes, though, in my state and across the nation have made it more likely that I will be forced out of the profession before I wish to go.  An experienced teacher, even a highly effective one, costs more money; online programs and young teachers cost less.  My state, like so many others, has chosen to focus on money instead of quality in education.  I began to fear that I may have to find a second career before I want to leave this one.  I say fear, but really it was more of a panic.  Teaching is more of a calling than a job for me, and there have been no other career paths that have interested me in the same way.

It took a while of living with the fear before it crusted over with obstinacy – and maybe just a touch of righteous anger.  I began to see that there were two paths to choose from in the next phase of my life: to go or to grow.  I could choose to go – to leave public education for a career at college or in the private arena.  Or I could choose to grow – to develop my skills, to evaluate my techniques, and to embrace the changes that will improve education for students in the 21st century.  I chose to grow.  I am delving into new ideas and innovations.  I am going to continue to improve what I do and to make a difference for students.  I am going to continue to do what I love.

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