Sunday, October 6, 2013

I found my peeps! And they're digital!

The other day while I was out and about, I ran into a gentleman who stopped to admire my family. This happens a lot. There is something remarkable about a dad shopping with his four kids that just makes people want to stop us and chat. Anyway, he mentioned that he was a retired teacher and had moved up here to be closer to his grandkids. When I mentioned that I was a teacher, he simply shook his head, and said, "I could never teach now-a-days. All of the fuss over teachers and evaluations. All of the tests the kids have to take. No way I'd take that!"

I have to admit, I didn't know much what to say to him. Thankfully, my kids made a turn toward squirelly-ville and I walked away reflecting on his statement. The truth is, I connected to what he said. I've spent the last 2 summers working hard to leave teaching to find an opportunity to get back into the business world. I've interviewed for positions in finance, real estate, and marketing.

But, for me, it wasn't trying to leave because of the current demands on teachers, like this gentleman was describing. No, that stuff I don't mind. If you're good at what you do, you'll meet the demands with passion and energy. Instead, my reasons were due to the complete and total isolation I felt as a teacher. As a man in my young 30s with 4 kids teaching the way that I do ("Info-Taining" - credit @Kevin Honeycutt) I looked around my building and the district and I didn't see anyone like me. Maybe they're out there, but the time to collaborate and gain inspiration from other teachers was not available. I was drifting, and I began to realize that I needed to find some connections, and inspiration.

Then late in this past summer a fraternity brother, and fellow teacher jumped onto Twitter. We started following each other, and I began to see his feed fill with members of his teacher community. I started following a few of them myself, and I realized that maybe there were more out there like me than I realized. I began connecting with some of the bigger names in the field and drawing inspiration from what they were doing and saying about education. These connections began to fill me up, and get my creative energies working again. I have the energy inside to meet what the new Common Core based state standards are expecting of me and my students.

What I've learned over the last 6 weeks has been that regardless of your profession, you need to have a community of support. For me, I found that my community of peeps are digital, and I'm alright with that! :)