Makin’ my way in the world today, takes everything I got…
After 15 years in the classroom, I was presented with an opportunity that intrigued me. A random question came across Facebook Messenger – “Ever thought about changing careers?” I thought, What the heck? It doesn’t hurt to get more info.
So I did, and then I thought some more. Why not apply? What’s the worst that can happen, go back to my classroom and continue doing what I’ve been doing? Seemed like a couple of reasonable questions and after consulting with my wife, I applied…and interviewed…and was offered the job.
Enter new life direction and career!
I am now a software support analyst providing support to school districts (about 50 of them) as they use their student management software. There has been a lot to learn! As a teacher I used the software in the classroom, so I knew how to do my part of the job/software pretty well. What I have learned is that there is much more breadth and depth to the software and there were other people in the district I worked at who were using much more than I was.
Apparently it wasn’t my knowledge of the software (though my presentation was fantastic, I must say) that got me the job. It really came down to my experience as a teacher. While I do support school districts, the main portion of my job is really training people (district employees) and creating documentation/training materials, thus utilizing a skill I have honed over my years in the classroom. Yes, the clients aren’t teens any longer, but adults still have to learn too, especially teachers! I love the fact that I can now train teachers to use the software they use every day in a more efficient or better way.
I have been doing this for a year now. I still have lots to learn, but I like my job. The people I work with are great! But, most of all, the best part of the job is that I got a raise in time…I now have my weekends and evenings back, something I haven’t really had in 15 years. I now can spend time with my wife, kids, relatives, friends, etc. because I don’t have school hanging over my head (or feeling guilty when I didn’t do my “homework” because I chose to spend time with those people I enjoy).
Yes, I do miss the kids. I miss the teaching aspect, but I don’t miss the politics and the constant feeling of being overworked and under-appreciated. I miss the interactions, but not the work. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I did but after 15 years I didn’t realize how burned out I was. The new opportunity opened my eyes to that…
So, new chapter started. There is more to write in this book of life.
I am a full-time teacher. I spend most days with juniors (college prep) and seniors (college prep) as I teach mostly history, U.S. History(11) and Contemporary Issues(12). Most of the kids have a positive outlook and they are some of the best kids I have taught so far.
As a teacher I am attempting to shape, challenge, and grow young minds in their teenage years. I would like to believe I am helping them become responsible citizens and think for themselves, but I find that this can be difficult considering the background of some of the students, but also this can’t solely be my job . . . parents need to help out with this too! Working with teenagers has been compared to “herding cats,” only I believe cats are easier to deal with at times. My sense of humor keeps me going in this job, so often I find myself laughing at things kids say in class when they don’t realize someone is listening.
A Personal Life
I try to stay active, but that has gotten more difficult as the years have passed. There is so much to do, responsibilities and commitments seem to eat up all my time. Plus, age is starting to slow me down. However, if and when I have time, I love the outdoors (camping, hiking, backpacking). I also love to play sports – mostly volleyball, softball, golf, and soccer. I sometimes like to think of myself as a photographer, although I have never really had any training in it and my equipment is about as basic as it gets. I like pictures for myself (careful reading, didn’t say of myself!).
I found and married the most amazing, Christian women a while back. She is very giving and extremely patient with me…reminding me each day how to love, listen, and enjoy each moment of life as it happens. I now have six (yes, 6) kids and five grandchildren. They all make me smile in their own ways!
Life has been good, though challenging at times. I learn from my mistakes (even though I may repeat them once in a while) and try to rely on my God and Savior for my faith that all will work out according to His plan. I am blessed.