Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I Lack Direction

Shortly after I moved to Norfolk from the DC suburbs two years ago, I announced that I was never moving again. I've moved a lot and it sucks -- the packing, the U-Haul, the carrying hundreds of boxes of books up multiple flights of stairs, the unpacking, the settling in. . .ugh. Sure, I thought I might someday move out of my apartment into an actual house, but as a military brat, I really like the idea of roots -- of being FROM somewhere. And I love Norfolk, so I decided I would live here forever and ever and ever.

The trouble is that I hate my school and I don't plan to work there once this school year is over. I could go work in some other school district, but that would mean driving out to the suburbs every day, and a big part of why I moved to Norfolk in the first place was because I didn't want to teach (or live) in the suburbs.

And despite the fact that I have long thought of teaching as my true calling, every day I spend at my current school is a day I grow less sure I even want to be a teacher at all. I'm a powerful literacy, Socratic seminar, inquiry-based instruction girl in a standards-based, data-driven instruction, high stakes testing world, and I don't think this NCLB accountability bullshit is going away any time soon. So I keep debating whether I should continue working within a fucked up system to try to do what good I can, or whether I'd be doing more good by refusing to be a part of a system that's completely fucked.

Actually, that dilemma -- now that I see it on virtual paper -- is pretty much a no-brainer for me: there are few things I am more passionate about than the importance of public education, so I just don't see myself getting out of teaching. That would be like moving to Canada and letting right-wing Republicans take over my country. But I'm tired and burned-out and I think I need a break. I just don't know what to do with my break, and I don't know who I'd be if I wasn't a teacher.

I also have no idea where I might like to live, and to complicate matters I seem to be falling -- and falling hard -- for a man who lives in a galaxy far, far away.

So, for perhaps the first time in my life -- certainly for the first time in my ADULT life -- I find myself completely without a plan. I am not a spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. I ALWAYS have a plan, and the thought of winging it freaks me out a little. I have never ended a school year without knowing what I'm doing A) for the summer and B) for the following school year, and this is the sort of shit I tend to start thinking about in January or so.


In three months I'll have to renew my lease, and in five months I'll have to sign a contract for the 07-08 school year. But you know what? I don't think I want to do either of those things. I think come June I might just put all my worldy possessions in storage, travel to the galaxy far far away, find some indie bookstore job, and see what happens.

No doubt the universe will unfold as it should. Right?

18 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Life is too short, go for it!

Valerie said...

I moved once when I was five and then didn't move again until I went to college. Then after I got married, I moved an average of once a year in a ten year span. Crazy, yes I know. And moving with kids is even worse. We've been in our last home for just over a year now and we have no plans to move anytime soon (thank God).

But enough about me...to be in your position, with endless posibilities (I think) would be extremely exciting!

I'm not sure if your post is you just "venting" or if you're looking for advice...so I'll hold my thoughts to myself...for now...

Regardless, good luck. Maybe things will be made more clear as time goes by.

Coaster Punchman said...

I just typed a long and thoughtful comment which the computer ate. What I said boiled down to this: I can realate; I have been through similar dilemmas; moving sounds like a great plan because you can take your teaching skills anywhere. Keep us posted!

Megan said...

Elizabeth - Hmmmmmmm. I think I need to think about that for a few more months. :-)

Valerie - I was mostly venting, but advice is usually welcome. And, unlike most people, the idea of endless possibilities does not really excite me - it kinda freaks me out.

CP - Thanks. That is one of the nice things about teaching - that you can do it anywhere.

Melissa said...

I think I am going to write a post in response to this...Stay tuned!

Phil said...

Go. Thinking is overrated. Just go.

Flannery Alden said...

I agree with Phil. Just get there!

vikkitikkitavi said...

I'm like you, Megan. And just reading this post freaked me out a little.

However, I have planned the shit out of my life, and that did not stop some really bad shit from happening to me. Plus, some really good shit came to me in spite of some pretty gargantuan efforts on my part to keep it away.

So, I have been working on a notion for a long time. And that notion is that I need to stop planning everything so much.

And one day, I plan on following through on my notion. Maybe. We'll see how the year goes.

Chris said...

Who is this guy, anyway? Luke Skywalker? Maybe it's Boba Fett. Could be you go for the bad boys.

Amy said...

I'm kinda a lurker, so what the hell do I know... but I think you should go for it, too.

I made a decision like that myself almost 7 years ago, and I'm a pretty happy chick :)

Anonymous said...

I think that you should take your time and figure out whatever you need to do to recharge yourself. You & I both know that you're a pretty kickass teacher, and dammit, we need kickass teachers. We need the teachers who believe in our kids who are being left behind. So I definitely vote for taking a break - for however long is necessary - because you know that you'll eventually get excited about planning and discussing which branch of gov't is your favorite.

lulu said...

I would make sure that the little corner of the galaxy has a bookstore before I went running off. A larger corner of the galaxy, one known for wind and pizza might be a better place to make those difficult life assessments.

Seriously, life is too short to spend it working at a job you hate, and you don't have a morgage; what's keeping you in Virginia?

Megan said...

Melissa - I read it. . .thanks.

Phil & Flannery - Your position does seem to have a lot of support.

Vikki - That's sort of what I've been thinking. So far, planning the hell out of everything really hasn't done me a whole lot of good.

Chris - You don't really expect me to know who Boba Fett is, do you?

Amy - Lurkers are always welcome!

Anon./Eileen - I had a pretty good teaching day today, but yeah, I need a break. Which brings us to. . .

Lulu - Oh, there's a bookstore! And a darn good one.

Valerie said...

This comment is not realated to this post: I was looking at your flickr photos. Awesome. You have a keen eye and great photography skills!

Tenacious S said...

Sometimes a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered. And the universe does hold many wondrous things worth looking for.

Megan said...

Valerie - Thanks!

TenS - Yeah, but when I say "far" I mean FAR.

Big Orange said...

Boba Fett, ay?? hmmm...

I just read this. I'm in the same boat: mine goodwife is having yet another panic re; $$$ since there's no way in hell we can live on my teacher's salary alone. i'm the same way you are: I am NOT a lockstep, NCLB, get-back-into-your-box type o' guy, hence I"m not doing so well in this edd-yoo-mah-kay-shunn-al woild we live in.

And folks wonder why the average shelf life of a teacher is between 3-5 years...

Megan said...

Orange - There is quite a bit of DATA indicating exactly why the average shelf life of a teacher is only 3-5 years, but those in power choose to ignore said data because it's politically expedient.