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As my wife Leaves on the Current continues on her journey of recovery from her blood cancer, i have been able to begin exploring going back to work.  In the process of exploring various job opportunities, both within and without the walls of a school classroom, I have been trying to sort out what matters to me, how I want to use what productive time and energy I may have left to me as I approach my 67th birthday.  Knowing that within less than two months I will attend the 40th reunion of my final class at Haverford and the 50th reunion of my high school graduation in Mamaroneck NY also lead to my placing consideration of future opportunities within the context of what has gone before, both in my personal history and in the broader history of the 2/3 of a century through which I have lived.

My thoughts are far from concluded in any of this.

Because having a pension and Social Security provide sufficient income that we could if necessary downsize some and obviate my earning a fixed income, I do not need to consider income as a primary motivation for going back to work.  Time and what I do with it are of far greater importance.

Thus I understand that this thinking "aloud" may not speak as clearly to others as perhaps my writing directly on the nature of teaching or of education.

This community is a major part of my "extended family,"  I am used to sharing my thoughts and listening to what others may offer in return.  

So I invite you if so inclined to continue reading, and will not be upset if the traffic on this is minimal.    I benefit from the simple process of getting it out of my mind and in to a format where I can read it and reflect both upon what I have written and what others might choose to share with me.

A lot has happened in the past week.  I have had two phone interviews and one in-person interview for schools.  I am already scheduled to teach a sample lesson in one school, a public charter that is truly of its community, and have been told I am likely to be invited to teach sample lessons at both of the others, which are independent schools with specific missions that are of interest.

At the suggestion of a friend who works in the system, I have sent letters directly to a number of principals in Fairfax County Public Schools, where i had already completed the online application to be eligible for employment.  Because this next week is their "Trans Fairs" where current teachers can apply to move within the system, no one can interview me as of yet, but I received several very encouraging responses, including a request to check back about ten days from now.  

Yesterday I had a preliminary discussion for an opportunity outside of the classroom.  It would not pay much - an hourly wage in what is primarily a retail setting.  It is for an organization that is very progressive in its orientation, it would in some ways be involved with educating a larger community.  A friend who is close to the owner had suggested they talk to me.  They may well present me with a proposal on Monday, to which I would have to respond within 24-48 hours, before I taught a single sample lesson.

The combination of not working, Leaves needing less of my time, and DK 4.0 allowing multiple diaries in one day has led to my writing quite a bit more.  Some days I have done as many as four posts, and I think once 5.   i have been able to offer thoughts on specific issues, make people aware of materials about which they might not have known, reminded people of important events (such as Pete Seeger's 94th birthday yesterday).  I largely control my own time - when I get up, what I do when, where I spend my time - although Leaves still wants my assistance at certain times during the day.

Any employment will change that freedom.

Further, while the "retail" position would be limited to 40 hours, some of that inevitably would be evenings and weekends.   It would leave me free to write about other topics as I want.  It is an easy drive from my home.

Any full-time teaching position would take far more of my time and energy.  Of the current three possibilities, the shortest commute would be 15 minutes, the other two closer to half an hour.  One might be part-time or full-time, not yet decided.  A full-time teaching job usually means being at the school site for at least 8 hours daily, and usually several more doing school-related work at home, and some additional time on weekends.  When I taught at Eleanor Roosevelt, my commuting time was around 1:20 or more round-trip.  I would be at school usually from 7 until at least 4, and have another 15 hours minimum of work to do at home between reviewing student work, planning, writing letters of recommendation, attending union meetings, etc.  That did not include the time serving as a coach, a club advisor, doing the choral prep for musical theater.   Were I again a teacher, I would be likely to be involved in some student activities, because it is important to have connection with students outside the classroom.  Any fulltime teaching job will mean I will write much less, participate in politics at a lesser level.

Now let me add some more material to the mix.

i am regularly asked to review books, and not just on education.  I have a backlog of four books I have read and not yet reviewed.

I am also apparently on a number of lists of political bloggers that mean I receive all kinds of communications and invitations.  I am for example on the press list for the Embassy of Venezuela, so that for example i have an invitation for an event today.  It seems that Democrats from across the country running for various offices think I will be interested in their campaigns.  In some cases all they want is my money, which since I don't have much to offer I can merely delete.  In other cases I am being offered opportunities to interview them.

And not just candidates.  People have publicists seeking to get attention for their clients, and somehow think I will be interested in what their clients have to say.

But then it gets interesting.  Because at least one of those lists of "prominent" political bloggers does not indicate party or ideology, I have been on the email lists for several Tea Party groups, and recently for some reason also a number of gun rights groups.  

i mention this not because it makes me unique or even special, but because it reminds me of how many issues I have chosen to address in my writing (although often from a different point of view than those reaching out to me).  I attempt to weigh the value of the writing/commentary I do as a result of my varied passions and interests, sometimes by going back and rereading earlier pieces.  Some are dated, but some still seem to carry weight.  A few actually amaze me -  did I actually write that cogently?

Until someone offers me a position, I have not had to decide whether or not I really should accept it.  I am fortunate in having some financial reserves that do not require immediate downsizing absent a job.  I earned enough since retiring and had planned well enough that we easily go another year without any additional income on my part.  Sometimes things fall from the sky:  we had a $500 deductible that we will have to eat for last week's auto accident.  Over the weekend I was invited to be the guest speaker at a faculty retreat for a freshman seminar program at a nearby college.  Want to guess the honorarium they are offering me?   Yes, it is $500.

I may not be offered the "retail" position.  I also may not be invited to do sample lessons at the other two schools.  I may well not do well enough at the sample lesson that is scheduled to get an offer.  Nothing is guaranteed.  

The process of exploration has enabled me to realize some things that perhaps were not clear to me before.

My brief time in the high needs inner city middle school rekindled my passion for teaching.   My wife described it as seeing again the fire in my eyes.

If I am to teach, it must meet several criteria.
-  i have to have enough flexibility to meet the perceived needs of my students
-  On a personal level I have to feel that i am bringing something they would not otherwise receive

I do not need or even want to teach just to be in a classroom.  I don't want to be driven primarily by test scores.

If I were offered and accepted the "retail" position I would immediately withdraw from consideration for teaching positions, including even the scheduled sample lesson.  It is a matter of integrity for me.  I do not like to jerk people around.

Some friends have encouraged me to take steps that might enable me to earn sufficient money from my writing that I would not need to do anything else.  There is a certain amount of appeal to that.  I have explored some of the writing jobs around town and they are not good fits and usually would mean giving up my independent voice, here and elsewhere.  Even making $20,000/year as a free-lance writer is difficult, and requires spending a lot of time making proposals, shopping for opportunities, marketing oneself, all things that do not appeal to me.

So I find myself in a bit of a quandary.  The "retail" position would provide sufficient income not to worry, give me the ability to continue to write on a variety of topics, but would be far less remunerative even than teaching in a small non-profit school.  I would be involved in progressive activities and building something in a way I have not previously done.   There are things about it that would be very appealing.  If it is offered.

One of three schools with which I have talked I would accept in a heartbeat.

At least one of the Fairfax schools that has encourage me is also a circumstance I would accept in a heartbeat.

Does that mean my heart is more towards returning to the classroom?

If so, should I withdraw from anything else and roll the dice?

I honestly don't know,

I had not expected to go back into the classroom in November.  That experience changed me.

I wonder if returning to the classroom is too safe a path to follow.  I am comfortable there, even in situations that are very different.  Will I grow as much by returning to the role of classroom teacher as I might doing something else.

Even those friends who encourage me to write more acknowledge that I remain very much a teacher.  My wife says i did not find myself until I became a teacher.  She was, after all, the one who encouraged me to leave my secure and comfortable position as a local government civil servant dealing with computers to become a teacher.

There are a number of possibilities at various stages of development.

None may come to fruition.

All potentially could, although if I accept an offer for something I immediately withdraw from anything else pending.

Many years ago when I was relatively young (early 30s), was still living in the Philadelphia area and working with computers, I had a day like i will never again experience.  In one day I received 7 job offers, including from two Fortune 100 companies.  I had the luxury of weighing the positives and negatives of each and choosing what was the best fit.

Occasions like that are exceedingly rare.  

I will if offered have to weigh opportunities on their merits.

If I am offered any opportunities.

In the meantime, employed or not, I will continue to explore how I can use whatever gifts I have, whatever time may be left to me, to try to make a difference.

Thanks for reading.

I will read with attention any comments you may choose to offer.

Peace.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (29+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:25:35 AM PDT

  •  It's sort of hard to say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shippo1776, Nespolo, jck

    since the decision about which endeavor is the most rewarding and fulfilling is so dependent on the specific person with the choice to make.

    I'll just observe that to me there seem to be three groups of adults when it comes to children.  The first group doesn't really like spending time around children, and avoids them when possible.  The second group enjoys them in modest measure, but will fatigue after too much immature behavior, horseplay, failure to grasp issues from the "adult" perspective, etc.  The third group can't get enough of kids, and relishes the opportunity to interact with kids and help them learn and develop, despite the fact that this process requires working through a significant amount of childish behavior that the first two groups would find either intolerable or progressively more annoying.

    If I was thinking about myself, I'd probably put me in the more tolerant end of the second group.  If you think you're still in the third group at this point in your life, it might be that continuing to work with kids would result in the most happiness for you.

    •  interesting analysis - let me respond (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tailfish

      the current 3 school activities are two high schools, where I am not yet invited to teach a sample lesson, and a middle school, where I am.

      I am very good with both age levels.

      Middle school teaching is far less demanding of outside time.

      High school teaching gives a better opportunity to remain connected with your students.

      Some of that may factor in to what I do as well.

      I am a very good middle school teacher.  At that level it is often far easier to work across subject division, in part because teachers share the same group of kids which can make it harder to work together.

      Both of the current HS positions are relatively small, so the problems of not sharing kids with the same group of teachers disappears.  

      The Fairfax high schools that have expressed interest would be more like where i taught for 13 years.

      When given my freedom, I am a superb high school teacher.  

      In most schools, I will have to demonstrate I can be trusted to earn the kind of freedom I am used to having.  One of the two with whom I interviewed last week gives all of its teachers that kind of freedom, which is very appealing to me.   But I do not even know if I am still under consideration.

      Thanks for what you offered.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:59:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I would do (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, TRsCousin, jck

    Make a list of values: money, time flexibility, working with students, all the positive things that you might get from a job. Then order them, by your priorities, as much as you can. (You can subdivide, e.g., making at least $X per hour might be more important than making $2X or more.)

    Make a list of negatives, commute time, etc., and order them.

    Put both lists away.

    Make a table of all known options, and list these for each option:
    Pros, Cons, Risk factors, Unknowns, other considerations.

    Then sleep on it all, do something outside to clear your mind, and then read all this as though you are grading it.

    BTW, your "retail" option makes me nervous, for some reason, maybe because my nonprofit experience is that "cause" things tend to want way more than 40 hours, and the nights/weekends end up being added to regular hours. Fine, if that's what you signed up to do, otherwise, not so much.

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:55:41 AM PDT

    •  thanks for suggestion, but (0+ / 0-)

      I have found trying to make those kinds of lists really does not work for me.  I find it restrictive.

      I do consider the various factors.

      I know there is some financial restriction up front from the "retail" situation as compared to even a 1/2 time teaching position, although it would probably give me more flexibility to do free lance writing for pay.

      And it is NOT a non-profit situation, i can assure you of that.  Although the owner is very much committed to progressive politics and social justice, it is part of a larger profit-making entity.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:02:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I couldn't help but wonder as I read your diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, dizzydean

    ...following along the potential avenues you see available...when it is that with 3K diaries, #1 mojo on the site (I know you defer to MB & Kos on this), 1000s of followers, 10 years being a kossack, in-depth expertise in education, & valued progressive instincts... that kos puts you on the front page. Really, what could a person do to show themselves more qualified to be another addition to the front page?

    America's greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

    by catilinus on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:56:28 AM PDT

    •  I have never been asked (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, dizzydean, catilinus

      a number of years ago, when kos still submitted nominations for one-year stints, I was probably as strongly recommended by the community as anyone.  In the official nomination diary I put up a comment noting that I was not sure my writing style was suitable for the Front Page.  That may or may not still be true.

      It is worth noting that not everyone who appears on the front page is on salary.  I do not know if the featured writers are compensated.

      Before Laura Clawson began writing on education, I suppose one could have made an argument that I could have filled that front page role on an occasional basis.  Although Laura has not to my knowledge ever taught in a k-12 setting, she understands the issues very well and does a superb job of covering them.

      As far as total Recs, that is more a product of two factors

      1.  I have been here as long as most people still active
      2.  FPers used to not be able to get recs for pieces on the front page.  I fully expect Meteor Blades to pass me in the near future.
      3.  There are others with far more mojo than me, because they write far more comments than I do.  I rarely am on the first page of people listed with mojo.
      4. It is true that the only ones followed more than me are Keith Olbermann and Meteor Blades, but I think that is also a product of how long I have been here, and how many diaries I have posted.  I think all those who have posted more diaries have access to the front page.

      I have appeared on the front page 3 times.  Once Armando promoted one of my pieces.  Twice Markos did - for the education panel at the first yearlykos and for one of the first reviews of the first book he did by himself.

      I have had my work listed in green diary rescue when I have written on the environment.

      Occasionally when i have written about a topic before a FPer does, they will link back to the discussion thread on what i have posted.

      It is Markos's site.   If he saw a reason to put me on the front page, he could do so.

      I am certainly not complaining about lack of attention.  When I began writing this comment, this diary was on the rec list, and so was my piece from yesterday on Pete Seeger's 94th birthday.  I have twice had 3 pieces on the rec list at a time.  I'm not sure I would necessarily get more attention for being on the front page.

      That said, were I asked if I wanted to be there, I would certainly consider it.

      I am not expecting it.

      Peace.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:13:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Current frontpagers don't bore w/ their neti pots (0+ / 0-)

        and sinus problems....
        I know you've got lots of problems and soul search out the whazoo to the point of utter narcissism, but have you ever considered that many of the
        peeps that post here have problems that are awful and we would never consider sharing?

         

        3/16/2003 Meet The Press: Dick Cheney re: Iraq: We will be greeted as liberators.

        by cosette on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:04:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  boy, you are a bit snippy (0+ / 0-)

          I was answering someone else who suggested I be on the front page.  I have not suggested it, but was giving the courtesy of a response to a thoughtful comment.

          And if you don't like what I write no one is making you read it.

          Many people here share their health issue.

          Perhaps you had better not read the next diary I post updating the community about my wife.  

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:36:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you realize how often you repeat yourself? (0+ / 0-)

            How many times have you 'shared' why you're not going to be a front pager?
            I am sorry that your wife had a medical problem and hope she'll fully recover.
            Most of us do not share intimate details of our health/employment issues here.
            They're probably just as bad; unresolved; un-insured or cobra'd as your wife's.
            It galls me that you post ad nauseum about anything that enters your head....and it gets rec'd up.
            If even a small percentage of the posters here diaried what you do...the site would cease to exist.

            3/16/2003 Meet The Press: Dick Cheney re: Iraq: We will be greeted as liberators.

            by cosette on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:52:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that it galls you is your problem not mine (0+ / 0-)

              that others like some of what I write is sufficient justification

              I have been asked to continue to post about my wife, because many in this community care about her and about me.

              No one makes you read my diaries.

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:02:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Because I and many choose not to lard up this site (0+ / 0-)

                with our personal problems: health/employment/money/angst...we are not cared about.
                Got it.

                3/16/2003 Meet The Press: Dick Cheney re: Iraq: We will be greeted as liberators.

                by cosette on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:07:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The personal can be political (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  teacherken

                  Were you cosetted? This site is a community: cat pictures make me smile, pet death diaries make me wonder why we don't cry for starving children, grieving diaries help make me human, ken's diaries always make me think. I think you have causality backwards, but 'nuff said.  

                  I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

                  by voicemail on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:38:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Do you mind elaborating a bit on the "retail" (0+ / 0-)

    position?  You seem to be very interested in that, but it's unclear what exactly you'd be selling.  

    I am sure you are a great teacher, but I understand your not wanting to teach to the test.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:56:32 AM PDT

    •  afraid I cannot with identifying the place (0+ / 0-)

      and i am not willing to do that at this point.

      I will say I have some relevant experience.

      Which is why a long-time friend who is also friends with the owner suggested the possibility.

      The owner knows me slightly.

      LET's simply see what happens.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:15:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You write extremely well Ken. You should consider (0+ / 0-)

    writing a book.  There are a number of online sites where you can self publish.. A quick search found:

    http://www.lulu.com/
    http://outskirtspress.com/...
    http://mashable.com/...

    •  People constantly raise issue of book (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CentralMass

      I am quite comfortable in shorter forms, up to 4500-5000 words.   I have never attempted something book length.

      When I applied for a specific one-year graduate fellowship, I had a book idea I could have done, knew how to do it, and had a publisher willing to take it.  I suppose I could have tried to pursue it on my own after retiring, but the fellowship would have provided me financial support, and in the interim I have picked up financial opportunities as they came along.

      I am not sure one makes all that much from most books, and certainly not from self-published books.

      I AM somewhat "self-publishing" without the hassles by posting here.  Markos is very generous in providing a site where we can write on whatever we want, and let the community decide if they like it.

      That has led to other writing opportunities for me, some paid, some not but highly visible.

      Insofar as being able to express myself and have and audience, I cannot complain.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:19:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  smashwords.com (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CentralMass

      I come to the same conclusions and posted my opinion on this below...

      The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

      by Words In Action on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:39:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "What do I want to be when I grow up?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    That's a question that never seems to go away. You're very lucky to have so many possibles, but I tend to like the ones that leave the old paths behind. Try something
    "completely different"!

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:01:09 AM PDT

  •  In all honesty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, Urban Owl

    seems like there might be younger folks who really need the money and the benefits and health insurance  from those full time teaching jobs who don't have the flexibility and other options you do.

    If you want something other than the obvious to happen; you've got to do something other than the obvious. Douglas Adams

    by trillian on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:04:25 AM PDT

    •  understood, which is why I won't take a job (0+ / 0-)

      just to teach

      but there are situations where what I can bring many of the younger folks cannot.  Two of the three situations I talked with last week clearly fit that.

      And while I am fully sympathetic to the idea that older people should be able to retire, and support lowering the age for medicare and social security to enable that to happen, I also do not believe we should force out people who still want to be productive.  That right now our national economic policy is not doing what is necessary to create the jobs we need should not lead to punishing those who still want to make a contribution.  For some reason that reminds me of former Democratic Governor of CO Richard Lamm who once said something to the effect that older people had a responsibility to die so that they wouldn't be a burden to younger people.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:23:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are plenty of nonoprofits in the education (0+ / 0-)

        sector that would love to have you as a volunteer, and I'm guessing you might be able to leverage that into a grant...

        The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

        by Words In Action on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:41:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dear teacherken (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, srkp23, jck

    There are certain times in my life when I felt like I had to make decisions while each attempt ending up not quite right, leaving me anxious.

    After few of those landmark moments of having too many paths opening at once and none too concrete, in addition to the urgency and the pressure from my need to "know," I ended up learning something. The dust is in the air but the pattern of future is in that dust waiting to settle. In the meantime, do what you can do to prepare, but don't do too much. Focus on the miracle of "now" instead. Being 67 or 30 is different only because we perceive so. Otherwise, this very moment you are in is "ageless".' Past is not past and future does not exist but only here in the now.

    What I am trying to say in many words is that do what you can and let the rest take care of you because it will. In the meantime, dont spend too much time thinking about it. Take a walk, speak to squirrells, play with your cats, dine with your beloved and listen music. "Now" is really all we have. Nothing other than "now" exists...

    Thanks for reading my "lecture' :)

    Regards...

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:10:41 AM PDT

    •  hardly a lecture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox, tommyfocus2003

      Saturday morning has often been the time where I have sat down and done concerted reflection.

      Trust me, I am nowadays spending a lot of time letting my cats do with me what they want.

      I do listen to music - sometimes with absolutely full attention.

      I read for pleasure.

      I do not spend all my time fretting about the future.

      It just happens that this turned out to be a fairly "busy" week on the job front, and i may have to make some decisions.  In theory  I could be offered a job on Monday.  Whether or not I am, if I do not commit to that opportunity I could be offered a job by Friday as a result of the sample lesson i am committed to doing.

      Thus it is appropriate to lay out some of the factors I may have to consider.

      It is another lovely Spring day.

      I will mow the lawn.

      Tonight my wife will go to church for Pascha, her Orthodox Easter.

      Tomorrow we will probably take a drive in the country and have a celebratory dinner at her favorite nearby restaurant.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:29:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you too Ken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken

        I hope the best for you while wishing Leaves a very appy Pascha. Here is a funny story from me: I love nature, especially the Spring time. So you can imagine how I am spending as much time as I can outdoors smelling and kissing (literally) the grass and the new blooms hanging from the trees while digging dirt in my backyard. Well, yesterday afternoon I ended up at the acute clinic with red bumps all over my face and hands. When the pharmacist looked at the prescribed ointment, I explained her that I did yard work. There was a silence first and then she responded bysaying " Apply  this three times a day and...stay out of the bushes"...breaking into a laughter which was shared by the others who heard the conversation. So here I was all bumpy and itching and surrounded by complete strangers who were laughing loudly at my expense....I too laughed.

        I think that was a good moment. We need more of these...:)

        "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

        by zenox on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:53:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  An exercise to consider (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRsCousin, jck

    Consider doing this exercise. Ask yourself, if I wasn't teaching what would I want to do? You are in the fortunate position where money does not need to figure in to this, so entertain a wide range of possibilities not just "practical" ones. Try them on, see how they feel. Brainstorm, and see where your brainstorming leads you. Don't reject anything while in the process; even a wildly impractical first thought might lead to a very possible follow-on.

    Make this a formal process, not "mere" informal musing. Give it a dedicated block of time, hours not minutes, and take notes. Set it up in your mind as something to pay attention to. This will create gravitas that your subconscious will pay attention to. It really does make a difference.

    Do this more than once. By yourself, with Leaves, in a group with friends. You may not come to the same conclusions each time.

    I suggest this because sooner or later you will stop teaching. Maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now, but it will happen. What will you do then? Who will you be if you are not "a teacher"? Since you are at this juncture now, this might be a good time to try those clothes on and start seeing how they fit. One day you will wear them, they might as well be something you like :)

    •  actually already did this last Spring (0+ / 0-)

      before I decided for sure to take the buyout and retire.

      One was with a friend in Arlington who has some professional experience in this kind of guidance.

      The other was via phone with someone who has been a mentor to me, and who has had to go through similar experiences several times in his life.

      I have also had more informal discussions with a number of people.

      One thing i have made clear -  even when I am given an offer I will want a minimum of 24 hours to reflect and to share with my wife and hear her feedback.

      Thanks for your suggestions.  I do assure you I have done this somewhat more formally than may be reflected in this posting.  It has been an ongoing process for more than a year at this point.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:32:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Haverford. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    I went to Villanova for grad school and my wife went to Penn. I worked for a pre-internet online services start-up that moved, over a 7 year span, down the R-5 from Narberth to Bryn Mawr to Wayne.

    All told, we lived in the area for 16 years.

    Now, back to the diary.

    :)

    The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

    by Words In Action on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:30:25 AM PDT

  •  Personally, I think you should look at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CentralMass

    Smashwords.com

    It's time, tk, to start putting your words together into something bigger.

    Probably on your experiences, views and prognostications for education, but not necessarily. Obviously, you're more versatile than that.

    If you're not interested in the long format, then you might consider devoting a period of time to a formal attempt at breaking into publishing on other, more formally journalistic websites.

    That's just my opinion, though...

    The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

    by Words In Action on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:37:31 AM PDT

  •  It's going to be interesting to see how many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    of us chime in to "advise" you on what you should do.

    It's a pretty popular pastime, I hear.

    :)

    The singularity we are witnessing is the passing of the last wave of people who had the luxury to behave as if the past 30 years did not happen.

    by Words In Action on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:42:36 AM PDT

  •  Can you say which college (0+ / 0-)

    has invited you to speak at its faculty retreat?

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:44:11 AM PDT

    •  not a retreat for the entire college (0+ / 0-)

      just for those involved in a mandatory freshman seminar.  I may write about it later.  It will take place May 22.  And in a few minutes I have three tasks to which i must attend

      1.  mow the lawn
      2.  start lesson plan for sample lesson
      3.  outline my presentation for May 22

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:48:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        I'm asking because the college where I work, not that far from you, is having a freshman seminar faculty retreat this month.

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:02:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oops, ours is earlier in the month (0+ / 0-)

          Darn!  I was hoping it was ours that you had been invited to.

          "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

          by Nespolo on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:05:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  kosmail me if you want to know (0+ / 0-)

            tell me where you work and I will tell you off the record where it is

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:12:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I tried teaching Dual Enrollment - High School... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ramara, dizzydean, jck

    Seniors & Juniors taking their first Community College Course while still in High School.  Though they were the brightest students & many from privileged circumstances, most were indifferent and were still acting childish and not focused - some of the girls were doing others' nails- one was even cutting another's hair.  They were truly not paying attention.  The school was in an upscale community - some of the Asian and Black and Gay students were focused and were serious students.  Two of the White students were also good students.  I did not complete the second semester.  In this case, the teacher was a dropout.  It was difficult and frustrating.

    Generally the experience was not good for me.  I did not have the patience.  I need to disclose that I had a civilian career in Children & Family Child Abuse Investigations and Juvenile Justice, so I did work successfully with teens in the past, though under different circumstances.

    Teacherken - you are a thoughtful, careful & analytical person who is dedicated.  You will know the right decision soon.

    I am fully retired, enjoying living on an adequate but not high fixed income.  My work was so draining and burnout hit me so hard -  that retirement is heaven, even without a high income.  I also have heart disease and other medical issues, including long-term hypertension (controlled now), related to both military PTSD and my work in Child Sexual Abuse Investigations.  I am grateful to have truly served those in need with integrity and honor in my civilian career.  I simply did not fit well in a teaching environment.

    My best wishes to you Teacherken and Leaves on the Current.  Be safe and take care of yourselves.

    PEACE & LOVE

    •  thanks for sharing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean, tommyfocus2003

      I have some medical issues, one of which is brand new and about which I will write in my weekly update about Leaves, which will be written and posted tomorrow.

      I have at time found my teaching to be draining, but that is because of how much of myself i put into it, how much I care.

      It certainly is not for everyone.

      Even some very bright, committed people have trouble.  I had five student teachers.  One was a straight 4.0, junior Phi Beta Kappa, would have been Summa except for what happened with me -  he could not understand why the 10th graders he was working with in my classes didn't share his passion for his subject. I tried to coach him into seeing where they were instead of merely demanding they meet him where he was.   The day he was supposed to take over three of my classes he did not show up.  I found out later he had just before midnight left an email for his university supervisor.

      I do not fit well into all teaching situations.  I suspect that where I am schedule to student teach Thursday may not be a good fit, but I am keeping an open mind until I experience it.

      If I wind up in a classroom in the fall, great.  If not, if i am never again a classroom teacher, I can still look back at the 17 years I did teach and know I made a difference.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:00:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  JSEA and NAIS (0+ / 0-)

    If you haven't looked around on these pages, you might find teaching at an independent school to be very rewarding.  There are a couple of jobs at G-town and Gonzaga Prep on the JSEA page.

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:22:05 AM PDT

    •  Aslo, I once had a teaching gig at the Smithsonian (0+ / 0-)

      for their adult ed classes...was fun and not too demanding with an interested audience.

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:27:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  NAIS - organ that screens for them rejected my (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean

      CV because i had not previously taught at an independent school.

      I am registered with the job board for independent schools in Maryland and DC and do see all openings.

      I am a social studies teachers.  None of the local jobs on JSEA are for Social Studies,

      I also regularly check Craig's list, and get notified of teaching jobs posted at the Washington Post.

      Arlington where I live has no social studies openings for next year.

      Fairfax is not currently listing their openings, but I have a friend in the system who is letting me know what is on their internal site so I could send letter to principals.

      I am registered with Anne Arundel County, but will only consider one school where a good friend is principal and is doing exciting things with a largely working and lower middle class population.

      Montgomery County will not hire retired teachers.

      I cannot be rehired in PG until 18 months have elapsed since i have retired, which would be 2nd semester of the new year.

      I am registered with Loudoun County, but some of the jobs they have are about an hour away from me.

      I think i have done a pretty good job covering the waterfront of possible teaching jobs

      But thanks.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:30:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok..just brainstorming a bit (0+ / 0-)

        Have you looked at idealist.org?  Might be a nonprofit that would float your boat.

        Also, what about OPM.gov?  Might be a job there--I've considered some Park Ranger spots in the past.  Also, I got a job at the Library of Congress before, but had already taken a position elsewhere by the time they got back in touch with me.

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:47:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  right now no fed govt jobs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dizzydean

          because of sequester and fears of failing to raise the debt ceiling.

          I possibly would already be working in a political job were that not the case, although that job would mean giving up writing on political issues - could still write about music and history.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:42:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  From what I can tell, you'd prefer the classroom. (0+ / 0-)

    If that is offered, take it.

    •  not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

      it depends on the setting.  If I am expected to follow a rigid pacing guide it is not worth it.

      Am I a good fit for the school?

      I have tried to make clear where I am coming from, in both phone interviews, in the live interviews, in the correspondence I sent to principals.

      They may not be paying attention to that.

      My feelings are not hurt if they decide I am not a good fit.  Heck, I might decide that.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:43:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what of your health? is that going to impact (0+ / 0-)

    how much energy you have and how regularly that energy will be available for a set schedule?

    •  stress may be a real issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UnaSpenser

      I am already on medication for high BP and cholesterol, although dietary changes and exercise should help address some of that.

      But now I have a new issue that is stress related.  I will discuss that when I do my weekly update on Leaves, either tomorrow or Monday.  Other than having to watch that, I am in pretty good shape for a guy 2/3 of a century old

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:08:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, I wondered because you had mentioned (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken

        a new health issue.

        I live with an auto-immune disorder. Keeping stress out of my life is of the utmost importance or else I become completely non-functional.

        I also have to get weekly infusions which take about 8-10 hours. So, that's one day gone and usually the following day is "hangover" day.

        I have been manage to teach some knitting classes. The owners of the shop are very understanding of my health condition. THey have subs ready in case I call in unable to make it. I wouldn't be able to hold a job any other way, as flare ups are unpredictable.

        I don't know how similar your health issues are, in terms of unpredictability, but it's something to consider when it comes to committing to anything. Finding something where there is flexibility, be it in scheduling or an understanding environment, becomes critical.

        Wishing you the best as you navigate all of this. You've got a lot on your plate!

  •  Is the Quasi retail position exciting & new? (0+ / 0-)

    How much of a challenge are you up to?

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:34:37 PM PDT

    •  it is interesting, with possibilities (0+ / 0-)

      it is not a perfect fit, but then what is?

      It is not guaranteed they will make an offer.  If they do, I will take a day to consider it.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:34:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My thought, are you at this point in your life (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken

        in a position to enjoy that new challenge, something different from Teaching.

        Challenges can be fuel in life.

        What ever happens, best wishes.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:50:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My thoughts (0+ / 0-)

    If $$$ is not a dominant issue, take a few months and do things that matter; you know what's on that list better than any of us do and, I suspect, there is much much more going on than even you -- sharer and barer of your soul here -- have written about.

    You will miss some opportunities, of course, but you may find a better path emerges. Keep writing. In front of me is a paper I've been trying to read for months: "Thinking is for Doing." Do. Be. Write. Think. Love your wife. Go to the reunions.

    Be gentle with yourself. There is no rush. It's hard being driven to write. I'm married to such a one.

    One of my mother's stories was of the time she picked Pete Seeger up at a railroad station and drove him to play at a concert in her town. Your diary yesterday brought her smile and pride at that story back in a rush.  

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by voicemail on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:50:39 AM PDT

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