Rethinking the future

I am really, really excited to be able to say this now. I waited until I had told my family – my parents, my sisters, and my community – and have had a little time to think it over and see if I still stand by it. I do.

Okay, deep breath, and….

I won’t be student teaching next year. I might not ever. Or I might go back in a couple of years. My options are still nice and wide open, and I’m following what seems and feels to be the best option right now.

I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I could remember, without any doubt or any question, so it may seem strange I’d cop out this close to finishing up. But I’ve had a growing discomfort with the prospect of teaching; at about this time last year, I decided to pick up a special education minor so that I could work with special needs students. That placated me for a little while, but I’ve been getting restless again within the last few months.

Teaching seemed like the most applicable career choice for me – working with kids and special needs kids, but in much larger groups than I’d like to. In order to get real applicable experience in it and see if I could deal with it long enough to get promoted to the small-group based jobs I feel a calling to, I’d have to go through an intensive nine month program and take out student loans.

I was reminded last week that there are other options for what I want to do, that do not require a credential and are available fairly widely. And I’m eligible for them right now! (Just to be clear though, I will still finish up my degree) When I realized that it was possible for me to not be a teacher, I felt both hyper stressed out – teaching is kind of part of my identity at this point, and having that evaporate is scary – but also incredibly relived. In the time since I realized it was an option, the stress has disappeared (except for trying to figure out how to tell my family), but the relief has stayed.

I hadn’t realized I felt locked into a certain path until I stepped onto another one, and it’s amazing the difference I feel. My classes suddenly feel like they have real meaning, the end of my school is so much closer that it makes the whole thing much more tolerable, and I’m refreshed, invigorated, and excited for all of the possibilities.

But like I said, the prospect of telling my family was scary. Sister number three disapproved. Mom was mildly optimistic. I debated waiting until the end of the holidays to tell sister number two, so that two and three couldn’t gang up on me over Christmas, but the timing seemed right so I told her anyway (I also got a little courage from an old/new friend’s sermon last week). Overall, not nearly as bad of a reception as I expected, which is heartening.

It is weird to think that in just six short months, I will no longer be able to use the “but I’m just a college kid” excuse. Though I guess at that point I could say that I’m just a young twenty-something, that seems pretty decent.

Ooh! And, per my semi-regret of not getting an art degree, I realized I can go back to our local community college and take an art class or two just for fun. I feel like I missed out on all my “fun” classes, all my electives got eaten up by excess classes from program changes, so I’ve gone through four years of college with a mere two classes that I chose completely on my own just because I wanted to try it out.

If you’re looking for some sort of summary statement, it’d be this: I will not be student teaching next fall, and I feel incredibly great about it.


Just a quick aside, because I’m quite happy that I’ve finished it. The wizard hat is done! The brim is a little floppy, but I’d say it’s not too bad for designing it myself.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. NonCharon
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 20:05:01

    I’m trying to decide if I look like a stoner in that picture or not. 🙂

    And… the human brain doesn’t stop developing until one’s mid 20’s. I guess you still have an excuse, if you need one.

    I didn’t even finish my B.A. until I was 24. You’re still way ahead of me.


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