Sunday, August 02, 2015

A New Direction

I turned 65 at my last birthday and I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never have a successful career.  I have done a lot of different things successfully, don't get me wrong, but my career, as such, has been a haphazard shambles.

The biggest successes have been helping to found Countryside School, in order to meet the educational needs of my children - and numerous others.  The school is still doing well and I am happy about my contribution to its start.  I also am proud of the gifted program I ran for 5 years at Gifford School in Illinois.  Gifted education is no longer supported in Illinois and the gifted teacher/coordinator position was eliminated.  I chose to resign, rather than continue with a mishmash of part-time jobs, as teaching K-8 computer classes, 8th grade algebra, and 6th and 7th grade social studies was too much.  Other teachers may understand this: I had 31 different class preps per week, with NO repetition.  Plus I was responsible for all of the computer systems in the school (hardware and software) and the school's computer network.

I have found substitute teaching more interesting than I expected.  Even though it is discouraging to not be able to see much of a personal impact and it is even more discouraging to be paid so abysmally, I did enjoy visiting different schools and seeing different classrooms.  It is fascinating to me to compare schools (both physical layouts and staff), teachers, curricula, management styles, rules and expectations, and so forth.  There is a lot to think about as a sub.  Intellectually, the job is actually quite satisfying.

But, it is also very taxing.  One of my problems is my physical body.  I am arthritic and overweight and subbing is physically difficult - standing most of the day, bending over to help the younger ones, limited access to restrooms, cleaning up the classroom after the day is over.  Then, there is the emotional challenge.  Very few people seem to care that you are there.  Oh, they are glad that someone is there, they just don't care that it is ME (or grammatically, that that someone is I).  I feel more like a placeholder (Who are you today?) than a person.  At one school, I showed up for a job, but there was another person already there who had spoken with the teacher about it.  I could legally have insisted that the job was mine according to the rules of the district, but it was obvious that I was just an anonymous person and the other woman was REAL to them.  Unless you go regularly to one building only, that's what you are - an anonymous placeholder.

So, I am beginning to think of myself as retired.  I may still substitute teach, but I am more focused now on some other directions.  If you have been reading these occasional posts because you were interested in giftedness and/or education, this new direction may not be your cup of tea.  That is fine with me.

My current interest is in writing music.  It is another difficult field, but I am enjoying my beginning efforts.  So TTFN, as Tigger would say.

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