I’m No Longer Teaching

…at least for the time being. This is a significant career move for me, so allow me to set the stage upon which my decision was made.

My career in teaching and higher education began almost five years ago to the day when I was hired to teach English classes at California College San Diego. I was elated to start, especially considering that the job I held before it was as a hospital registrar. After that, I began taking jobs at various other schools doing roughly the same thing: teaching English. This has allowed me to gain not only experience in teaching and andragogy, but also to develop key professional skills I’ll forever be grateful for. But for the 42 mods that I taught in the classroom at CCSD, I began each new mod with new students the same way; I’d tell them how long I’d been there, where I studied, fill them in on my career background and let them know that teaching will be my profession until I lose a passion for it. In other words: The day I lost my passion for teaching would be the day I’d leave the profession.

I lost my passion for teaching about a year ago.

I couldn’t just up and quit. That’d damage my already near crumbling financial stature. But when I finally identified what was making me so aggravated, I committed myself to finding something else to do for work. At first, I thought I might journey back into marketing and/or public relations, but after doing a two-day job search in that field, I decided my skill set wasn’t focused enough for the jobs I wanted. I was building a business at this point, but it needed time to grow. I sent out lots of applications for jobs, but none produced any follow up. I had to be picky; I’m a work at home mom by choice, and I refuse to give that up. The pool of telecommute jobs isn’t as great as one might think. Discouraged with my job hunt, I decided I’d need to stay with the company I was working for. It was around this time that I began looking into the requirements to work in curriculum.

After learning that I’d be qualified to work in this department, I turned into a puppy you feed once that just keeps hanging around. I followed up with the director incessantly for months. I also liked that in curriculum, I’d still have influence over the student experience, but no more direct student contact. I liked that the positions there were more steady than adjunct work; the possibilities of becoming a full time instructor were so few and far between, and I didn’t have the will power to wait. I also liked that working in curriculum allowed me to use more of my talents. I write well, but I also create – films, art, sound bites, systems – well. Working with curriculum allows for more of that. It also gives me a chance to collaborate with others more – a part of the workday experience I lost when I left CCSD to go online with IU. Teaching online is very solitary, or at least it was for me. The curriculum department works in teams, so the island feel has less chance to exist.

Evidently, the universe agrees that curriculum is where I need to be, because I was offered a position there this past week, and I gladly accepted.

Some who follow this blog might wonder if this means the return of the machine. No. The machine was surviving partially on angst and bitterness about a situation she didn’t know how to change – not enjoying my job for a while caused friction in other areas of my life which both gave me energy and put a strain on me. Somewhere, somehow, teaching and I fell out of love, and the disconnect made me question who I was.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.12.07 PM

Circa May 2012, back when I was still in love with teaching as well as high-waisted pencil skirts. (Maybe I’m still in love with high-waisted pencil skirts)

For five years, I’ve been “Mrs. O.” but I haven’t really felt like her in about two years. Or maybe it’s just that she’s changed. She was 26 when she started. Five years of time flies by and suddenly the life scape looks a little different, and so do the priorities, the perspectives, the passions. I’d much rather retire Mrs. O. as the fire in her is slowly fading, just in case there’s a chance it gets reignited, than drag her along through storm after storm, which will eventually just put her out. It’s important to me that if I depart from teaching, I do so with a sense of my love for it remaining. I just don’t love it as much as I did on that first night I stood up to teach ENG099 to a group of 12. I was scared and fumbling, and all they wanted to know was where I shopped because they liked my clothes. Then they asked how old I was. Then they asked why I’d ever want to teach, and I told them, with stars in my eyes, of my enthusiasm for educating the world on English and communication…

I start my new job on Monday.

Stay tuned…

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