Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The choice to change careers from teaching to writing

Changing careers is daunting and terrifying with a mix of motivating and inspiring. When you make the choice to simplify your life and chase your dreams aspects of your life gel together in ways you didn't think possible. Through the love and support of my family along with the support and friendships I've acquired through social media I've been able to make that leap and I'm truly grateful. And if I don't say it enough then here it is again...Thank YOU! For without your help and support I wouldn't be where I am!

I didn't want this blog to be about my first love teaching, but I felt compelled to explain why teaching lost its luster.

Unfortunately, Piaget's hierarchy of cognitive development is ignored in the educational system today. Children, no longer valued for begin able to do what they are age appropriately capable of doing are pushed to accomplish and succeed far beyond their capabilities. A recipe for disaster in the classroom. Tears. Frustration. Anger. And that wasn't just me. My kindergarten babies who struggled with interpersonal skills, social skills, and basic letter and sound recognition were forced to perform at levels higher than their knowledge base. Push. Push. Push.

Indulge me and let's pretend for a moment. You've signed up for a basic chemistry class but suddenly are expected to know quantum physics. Does it motivate you to stay? Does it encourage you to learn? Is learning meaningful taught above and beyond your skill set? Compound that with gaping social and emotional deficiencies making it impossible to express your frustration and anger without punching, biting, kicking and screaming. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. Maybe the educator should meet the class where they are academically and socially, therefore making each class an individual society in and of itself instead of a mass producing assembly line of educational goals formulated for the masses. Hm...the last time I checked teachers were thinking, educated individuals who were able to assess their students and strategize a plan to get everyone on point. Not every class should be held to the same standards. Gee, I don't know maybe goal setting should be individualized for each, separate classroom with a plan created by the person who assessed the students in the first place and not the suit that occasionally popped in at the worst time imaginable. Usually, when your barometer child experienced an extremely high barometric pressure day.

 The goal in teaching is to create one successful learning experience after another fostering independence and stacking skills as opposed to expecting Kindergarteners to write like second graders in September when a majority of them, at least where I taught, didn't even know where they were in the world of Kindergarten. Let's throw a little more gasoline on the fire too shall we. The absence of snack time and play time, crucial for the students I taught ratcheted their anxiety and tension to the roof. And what comes up must come down. Where did all that anxiety and tension land? Certainly not on the administrators who created school standards and hadn't taught in a classroom setting in decades. Nope. Not meeting students where they were academically and socially backfired. Administration wasn't pleased. And who was held accountable? You guessed it.

It was a difficult decision. For me, teaching was doing God's work, especially where I taught but feeling more failure than success didn't motivate me enough to stay and encouraged me to simplify my life. My heart will always be with the little ones, shiny and smiling ready to start their day. But the shell-shocked looks on their little faces at the end of the day haunted me. I couldn't be a part of that nightmare anymore and chose to fill my soul with my successes in Kindergarten and my love for words and stories that give others something to chew on while they're swept off their feet.


  1. Meeting anyone where they are at, from children to adults, is so valuable and yet undervalued in our society. thanks for this window into your world. the thing about pushy parents and people is they have learned if they push enough people over, they will usually get their way, whether there way is wonderful or terrible. so we go where we can to make the difference we can make, and the good ones who understand, well, they will gravitate toward the ones who are attractive (in ideas, in love, in compassion, understanding), and the pushy ones will be left holding their curriculums, wondering where everyone went. good for you to get out and go write!

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Katya! It's great to see you here. Sadly they are wondering where everyone went!

  3. i'm glad you quit but sad that it all is heading that way...competition and more competition...such a sad thing...i wish you all the best and i say you are rare,rare to find someone with a soul these days...take care.

    1. Hello Seema,
      Thanks for stopping by. I apologize for the delay it seems my response from earlier hasn't posted correctly. It is sad how test scores drive education especially in the younger grades when they are beginning to relate more to the world around them. Thank you for your amazingly kind words. I think of my colleagues and friends who still teach very often and support their efforts. I wish you all the best as well! Take Care, too.

  4. Oh, Sheila, you were a fabulous teacher. How sad that the system clipped your wings! But you still teach--it's in every word you write. Thank you!

  5. Thank you, Susan, for your incredibly kind words! The system has certainly changed and I applaud my colleagues who chose to stay. They are the everyday unsung heroes. It is my deepest wish that my words will help build connections or offer respite from our everyday lives. Thanks again!