I woke up this morning at 3:30 unable to sleep. Tossing and turning for about 45 minutes, I finally got up to check on my kids which always calms me down. In my son’s room I began to think about the day we found out we were having twins and how at that moment, everything changed for me. Suddenly, my wife nor I were the most important people in our lives. It was a sobering experience.
I had just finished my Master’s degree and was doing corporate training for Executrain of St. Louis. I enjoyed the job but something didn’t seem right and, after lots of discussion and fretting over what to do, I reentered the educational arena and went back to the high school I had left a few years earlier to teach kids. This wasn’t an altruistic type of career change and it wasn’t because I thought that I’d enjoy it more. My return to the classroom was for purely selfish reasons. I wanted more time with my kids and I wanted make education better for them. Since then, every move that I make has been dictated by that goal. My involvement on the NCTE Executive Committee, my work with NotK12Online, my move to my current school district (where my kids will also attend) was all based on my desire for their educational experience to be as rich and productive as possible.
Five years ago that seemed like a great reason, but it was a reason that I couldn’t really see and actually picture. I can see it now. This fall my children will be starting Kindergarten. They will be starting on their edcuational experience. It makes me wonder whether, in the last year and a half, I’ve made enough of an impact on the teachers in my district. Will their creativity be stifled by walking in single file lines or will they thrive in an environment in which they have choice and are taught to question? Unfortunately I can’t say for sure. But I now have a different lens. One through which I look at every teacher I work with and ask myself whether I would be satisfied with my kids in their classroom.
My reasons for being in education today are selfish. I want the best for my kids. I recognize that and have come to terms with it because if it’s good enough for my kids, then, in my mind, it’s good enough for everyone else’s kids. Would I have approached the classroom differently if I had had kids when I began my career? Absolutely. Now, as I work with teachers, I have a completely different (and I think better) approach than I would have had before my kids were born. It’s a perspective that keeps me up at night, but one that makes me work harder. Hopefully, my work is making a difference, not just for my kids, but for all kids.