The other day I applied for a job -- a non-teaching job, still in the field of education. I don't really expect anything to come out of it, and even if something does, I'm fairly sure it pays less than I make now.
Yesterday I went to Fire Island with my parents, and on the way back I stuck my head out of the ferry window (much like a dog riding in a car), and I thought about my decision. What made me go browsing around for other jobs? Would starting all over in a new job be preferable to my second year at my school? Or should I stick it out another year, gain the experience that many jobs are looking for, and then cast my net wider for the kind of job I eventually think I want to do -- something in curriculum development or literacy or media?
There was a time for much of this year when I would have said that there was no way in heaven or on earth that I'd be returning next year, but teaching gets you. It's not because I miss my students or even because I feel a sense of obligation to return to them, but because I know that this is a job at which I could do so much better, a job at which I could improve a lot in the next year. It's a job I know I can be better at, if given the time and the chance.
But I'm still feeling that pull toward other jobs, other paths. I went to graduate school to cultivate a career in children's media -- working for companies like Nickelodeon or Walden Media -- and I feel an unmistakable twinge of envy every time I hear about a fellow alumnus who's gone down that road, while I'm "just" a lowly elementary school teacher.
So we'll see. Right now I'm telling inquisitive acquaintances that I'm "keeping my options open," and of course if my Dream Job makes me an offer over the summer, I would take them up on it in a heartbeat. But at least I'm not feeling the same sense of desperation that I was in the beginning and middle of the year, when I would have taken any job just to get out.
Fortunately, we have a lot of summer left to go.