I was just reading over my older posts (not that there are that many), and I can't believe the number of big changes that have come my way in just the last two to three years. I'm sure there are many people who could list major upheavals in their lives as well, but I hate to admit the fact that I seem to be struggling significantly to bounce back from it all.
I've had very close family members and friends who have passed away. I've had three major surgeries (including heart stents and two total-knee replacements). I resigned from the board of directors for the Florida Council of Teachers of English after being the Webmaster for ten years, and I left my middle school teaching position after 15 years to start teaching high school. I've also started teaching night classes at our local state college.
Of all the changes, though, the biggest change has been going from teaching middle school to teaching high school and college. I love the older students, and I am so glad I moved from middle to high school, but it has still been a huge adjustment. I've gone from being a pretty good sized fish in a smallish pond, to being a tiny little minnow in what, at times, feels like a vast ocean.
I do think that not being noticed can be a good thing. It gives me a chance to "breathe" most of the time, and to allow myself to be less than perfect. Other times, I miss being a part of the decision-making team. I also don't like not being taken seriously. I guess it mostly feels like what I have done and been in the past is just that...in the past, and that no one knows me or what I am able to accomplish.
The frustrating part is that I am still that same teacher - the one who loves to be involved and learning new things. Now, instead of having that secure and carved out position where my colleagues respect my accomplishments and know what I can do, I feel like I'm starting on the bottom rung once again.
But do I really want to climb the ladder at all? Is it time for more change and other interests? I'm really uncertain at this point. In the past, whenever I've been at a decision-making crossroads like when I left Pennsylvania to move to Florida, I've had a moment of inspiration that gives me a hint at which path is right for me. Something has sparked my interest, or some opportunity has presented itself. It may take a while, and it may be that I'm supposed to be right where I am for now, learning and growing where I am, but I know that there are more great adventures ahead. I just have to be patient and look for the signs. And when I see them, I'll have to willingly take them wherever they lead.