Just over one year ago, I was very concerned that I was about to lose the professional momentum that I was experiencing as a result of graduate coursework. At the time, I was finishing a graduate diploma which had completely transformed my teaching practice and I worried that the end of the coursework would coincide with the end of my professional growth spurt.
Now, a little over a year later, I am confused and indecisive as to which way my professional life is headed, hence the reflective nature of this post. I did not lose the momentum as I’d feared; in fact, there is too much momentum and too many options before me to choose from. Time seems to be speeding by and more and more opportunities are piling up. I need to slow things down. I need time to process, time to think, time to listen to my intuition…it’s a good thing summer holidays are right around the corner! I need time to find that inner map and decide which road to choose.
The first road leads a year of coursework to complete the Masters in Education degree. The application is submitted and the waiting has begun. If I am accepted, I have one intense year of academic study during which I’d love to explore how to use technology to improve the critiquing process associated with an art program. My art class blog is inspiring me to investigate this topic more fully, more completely and with proper academic perspective. I like the art class blog for many reasons. I think it’s a great idea with wonderful potential and I would love the opportunity to explore it as an action research project. I feel like this year my first attempt was just a taste of what I could really do with blogging in an art program. I want to finish the MEd and I am excited about the idea of one more year of intellectual overload. I do not look forward to the negative impact from the travel and time away from home life, but it’s only one year and timing is right, so it’s manageable.
I’ve been asked to participate in a shared instruction project within my district. This involves team teaching with another teacher from a school in a different community using video conferencing, Elluminate and Smart Boards as tools to allow such a project to work. This is exciting, innovative stuff. This would be a great project to be involved in, especially from the beginning when one could have a lot of input into the initial planning and shaping of the project. The problem is, I’ve already submitted the Masters application. I can’t do both the Masters and the Shared Instruction project. I’m hoping that even if I drive by the off ramp to Road #2 this time, that I can circle back and take that route a year from now, provided it’s still open for me to take.
I won’t get to this road for awhile – this is the route to administration. I would like to move into administration 8-10 years from now. This will be a difficult road (at first, anyway) but one I’m interested in exploring and one I’m sure that I can do, and do well, with the proper training. Perhaps 5-10 years as a Vice Principal to learn the job from an exceptional mentor (high expectations, as always) then finish off my career as a Principal before retiring to do a PhD in Education. That’s as far as I’ve thought along that route, but I think it’s a good option to keep in mind as I move along in my career path. The MEd route fits in nicely along the way, as does Road #4…
This is a side road to leadership. I like this route. I was asked to participate in a Leadership Series that started several months ago. This project involves developing leadership capacities in teacher leaders within a tri-district group working under the direction of the British Columbia Education Leadership Council (BCELC). There’s some action research involved (I think mine’s leading towards encouraging teachers at my school to increase their transformative uses of technology with their students – sound familiar?), a great deal of collaboration with others and guidance from a few well respected experts in the field.
Family circumstances being what they are, a move is inevitable at some point in the near future, near future being no more than two years away. The move would need to be to a new community, which means securing a new job. I’m pretty sure that my teaching experiences thus far is unique enough to at least make districts take notice of my resume and it allows me lots of options in terms of what teaching positions I can be successful at. The problem here is that I strongly dislike not knowing where I’m headed. Which road above, #1 or #2, will most likely lead me to Road #5? And then what happens to #3 and #4 along the way? And what happens when I turn down the road that leads to a new home and a new job and all the changes that go along with relocating? There, at least, my sense of adventure kicks in and I get excited. Once I find the route, I can relax and enjoy the ride. I’m also playing with thoughts of a major change – international school? teacher exchange? So many routes there, I don’t know where to begin…
The last option is more like a parking lot than a road. I could do nothing and just stay where I am. No MEd, no shared instruction, no move. I could just let the career car idle for awhile. Not very environmentally responsible, and not really me either. So, not really an option, but I need to be aware of it as a choice so that I don’t get stuck idling and then five years from now realize that I’m still sitting in the parking lot trying to decide which way to go.
There are other smaller side roads branching out along the way too – maintaining and building on my web log, CEET (another project I recently became involved in) and others. The further I travel, the more branches there seem to be along the road. I guess that’s better than the alternative, but frustrating for someone with an open and sometimes indecisive mind.
I need to keep the professional momentum moving, not too fast, and not too slow. Any ideas? Which road(s) look the best? Which route would take? Feedback, thoughts/ideas, or any maps you know of would be greatly appreciated…
Imagery from Flickr.com – Too fast by raysto, crossroads by StuffEyeSee, and Private Parking Only by Shrued
This might be a little late, but if you changed your MEd focus a little bit, could it not include the Shared Instruction Project? What ever route(s?) you choose, it looks to be an interesting ride 😉
I tweeted (first time I’ve ever written that!) a quick response to your comment, but thought I’d elaborate here. I did consider the shared instruction as a MEd project – it would make for some really interesting research – but I don’t think it would be wise to do both. First off is the travelling commitment. If I get into the Masters, it’s travel (at least 6 hrs away) for a weekend of study 1-2 times a month, plus all of spring break. The shared instruction project involves at least one day a month of travel for collaboration and planning. I think that’s too much travelling, especially in the winter months.
Also, the person I was supposed to work with didn’t respond to the emails about the project. I would really want a keen, motivated partner not someone reluctant to participate.
And finally, there’s that little voice in my head saying that I don’t want someone else running the agenda for my Masters work. I’m really excited to finish the degree, and I want to be able to decide what I’m going to study and how. Is that selfish?
I think there’s still a remote possibility to do something on a smaller scale if I want to. Our district is very geographically spread out and upper admin is very interested in connecting learners via technology next year.
Definitely too long for a tweet! Thanks for the comment, better late than never!
I think you’ve made a wise choice. You definitely want your Masters project to be your own, and no, that’s not selfish at all!