Reflection on a Fork in the Road

I’ve reached the fork in the road. Now what?

I read a very well thought out blog post today by @mrocallaghan_edu today about the moral purpose of schools.  He talked about the Golden Circle and the WHY of schools.  It got me thinking about the WHY of my teaching career.



What do I do?

I show up at a building everyday where administrators, teachers, support staff and students intermingle for 7 hours.  In that 7 hour period, students learn, teachers teach, support staff supports, and administrators manage it all.

How do I do it?

I’m not really sure. Budget cuts, schedule disruptions, high stakes testing looming and overwhelming us all, somehow I manage, daily, to impart knowledge, to facilitate learning, to give my students a reason to want to ask “why” and “how come” and “what do I think?”.

Why do I do it?

Someone asked me that the other day.

“I just don’t know how you do it!  Why do you teach? These kids are so out of control now; teachers have no power in the classroom anymore.  Why do you teach?

Hell if I know.  There was a time when I could answer that question without hesitation.  I teach because I’ve worked in the private and public sectors and I see how education has let people down.  I want to teach science because people need to be scientifically literate and be able to have an intelligent, rational, knowledgeable conversation about the world around them.

That was then.  This is now.  I have one more class in my masters program and I will have my graduate degree in Educational Technology.  There is a part of me that knows how to apply this new knowledge in the K-12 setting. There’s a part of me that knows that in the cultural environment I live and teach in, it would be an uphill battle to apply this knowledge. I need a break from the uphill battle. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE teaching.  I LOVE imparting knowledge.  I just can’t do it in the classroom anymore.

I’ve been considering going back to the private sector and applying my new found knowledge in the education of adults.  I used to do that.  Doing that is, again, part of the reason I decided to teach children.  I think I have something to give to adults that can’t be given to children, not right now at least.  In returning to the training environment, I can sharpen my skills and think of ways to apply andragogical techniques to pedagogical settings.

I think its time to go.  Things are happening in K-12 that quite honestly, frighten me.  I’m not particularly interested in getting caught up in all of that right now.   I’m moving forward.  My mission, my MINISTRY, is to educate those who want and need to be educated.  I want to do that for children.  I will find a way, away from the classroom, to make that happen.  In the current educational climate, I just can’t do it… not right now. So, off I go to hone my skills. I’ll be back though.

O’Callaghan ends his reflection on the WHY of what we do with a reminder about the children.  I haven’t forgotten them.  I never will.  I just need to step back, examine the landscape and find a new way to bring what is needed to the students.   I will keep making a difference.  I have too; who we are as people depends on it.. . on all of us.

2 Replies to “Reflection on a Fork in the Road”

  1. I was in your place several years ago and decided to pursue Adult Learning. I haven’t looked back once! You have so much to give. I hope that the right setting scoops you up so that you may impart what you have learned to others. It will all trickle down eventurally. Sometimes the waiting is frustrating, though. Good Luck!


  2. Laurie, I’m actually excited about going back to adult education! I’ve missed it, and I know that the way training and education is being done now is very different than it was 10 -15 years ago. I’m putting my feelers out there and hopefully will find something interesting and challenging to do by July or the first of August. Thanks for the good wishes… let’s do this!


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