Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Afraid of Change?

A recent post from Dean Dad has me mulling over some of my past. I noticed signs today at a central office in my district about interviews for instructional coach positions. Some years ago I applied for one of these positions and went through the second round of interviews. At that point I decided that I wasn't ready to leave the classroom and the environment wasn't quite right for me. A few years later a position opened up in the social studies central office. Again, I went through the process up to (almost) the bitter end before pulling myself out. I was pregnant with our first child and didn't think I could handle two major life changes at the same time.

Now I'm left wondering if I'm afraid to move on to something new. I have taught three different grade levels, worked with classes full of English Speakers of Other Languages students, special education students, and gifted students, and done a variety of extra activities for my school and county.I've earned a master's degree, achieved National Board Certification, added an endorsement in gifted education and nearly finished an endorsement in supervision and administration. I would have said I push myself and take risks professionally. Now I'm not so sure.

I don't know if this matters. It is something I feel I need to be thinking about. My parents have long told me that I will regret more those things I don't do over those things I do. I don't want to miss opportunities out of fear, especially if I don't recognize it as such.

Update: Apparently I shouldn't write blog posts as I'm doing other things. This clearly came across as me wondering if I should attempt a new path right now and I didn't intend that at all. I was simply ruminating over options from my past. Right now I am perfectly content where I am. I just want to be sure that I don't let fear rule my decisions in the future.


Anonymous said...

I'm more in a quarterlife situation, but I constantly ask myself the same question. Should I stay where I am? Should I try to move up with my career?

Penelope Trunk is a love-her-or-hate-her blogger who writes about some of these worklife topics, you might want to skim her posts for questions about finding the most happiness in the workplace and whether to move on to new things.

I've gathered a few findings from her personal research and soul-searching:

1) People who move tend to do so because they aren't happy in general. If your indecision is a minor nag in the back of your mind, but you feel happy with your work environment, you might be better to satisfy that nag by looking for other opportunities in your current setting. For example, you're already blogging, but maybe you could to to write more often or lean your posts toward eventually becoming a book.

Anyway, the key there is that it's OK to stay where you are and be happy there.

2) Leading a happy life or leading an interesting life are two different priorities. They're both valid and both can both be high priorities, but you can't help but put one before the other. Are you going to work 10 extra hours a week expanding your blog career so that you can be a public speaker? Interesting! Are you going to spend that time with family and hobbies, relaxing in ways that make you comfortable? Happy!

Maybe this is oversimplifying, but just wanted to give you some food for thought. Take comfort that you're aware of the feelings you're having about it; you seem to be in a good situation to explore them.

Anonymous said...

You could try it out, reserving the option of returning to the classroom if you don't enjoy it as much ... or returning to the classroom in two or three years even though you enjoy the coaching position a great deal. You sound like a teacher your school would welcome back in an instant with open arms. Immersing yourself deeply in one curricular area and working with a variety of teachers and classrooms in that area would mean that you would return to the classroom with more to offer your students than ever.

Sarah said...

I say: do what you love! The problem is that you might not love this new job... If you hate it, would it be easy enough to get back into the classroom?

Good luck with the decision ahead!

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Sneaker Teacher said...
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organized chaos said...

You, of all people, I don't think are afraid of change. You just experienced a change a few years ago, and are planning another one for the near future. I think that knowing you're not ready to leave the classroom isn't the same as being afraid of change. I have no doubt that when you're ready you'll know it and you'll go for it, so why rush it now? Don't force it until you have the itch and you can't ignore it any longer.
In response to anonymous' comment about a happy life vs an interesting life- I don't agree that people who change frequently aren't generally happy. I think there are those of us who know that change makes us happy- not change in generally, but new challenges. For some people an interesting life is a happy life. As much as I am loving extended spring break right now I'm not 100% content- and it's because I'm doing nothing but sewing, knitting, reading, hanging out with friends and enjoying my porch. All things that make me happy, but I just don't have the personality to sit still for so long. Neither do you. New experiences, new challenges, and new things to think about are what make me happy. I think you're the same way. But again, I also think that because of this we don't need change for the sake of change- we know it when it's time. If you're feeling hesitant it's only because it's not time yet.

Jenny said...

These comments are all appreciated! Events yesterday prompted me to reflect on choices I've made in the past and how I hope I will respond to choices in the future. I am grateful for all of the thoughtful advice.

Karen said...

One of the huge advantages of being an FCPS educator is that it's easy to "try the waters"--you can go do something absolutely new, knowing that your old position is waiting if, for some reason, you don't like the new one. In the positions you mentioned you will continue to have interactions with children--but not at the same level--but you would do a phenomenal job of helping other teachers see a way through the darkness and challenges that can be FCPS....you always speak with the voice of children--and I don't see that changing