Making a Plan.

Thank you for all the support – it was a little scary, yesterday, to publish my idea. Because it’s so tenuous.

I’m not SURE I want to teach, but I have an IDEA I want to teach. Very hard to throw that idea out into the universe when it’s not a real formulated plan.

That said, I DO need a plan if this is something I want to pursue.

The first obstacle is schooling if I want to be licensed to teach in public education. In Massachusetts the requirements for obtaining an initial license is that I complete an “Educator Preparation Program.” There are lots of flavors of this which I have spent time researching.

I could do an immersion program – teach AND do classes at the same time, which would be incredibly hard to balance as a mother.

I could do a masters program – there are many schools in the area, which have myriad options. Full time, part time, etc. I like this option; there’s a program which would ask only a weekend a month for me for a year and a half and then a student teaching assignment.

I would like to get my license to teach in the public schools. Mostly because I don’t want to limit myself to only charter or private schools.

But it requires an investment of time and money. Which I would wholeheartedly pursue if I KNEW my vocation was a teacher – that is, if it wasn’t just an idea.

I just don’t know. I need to get into a classroom and see if I like it, or see how the education system works and whether I think I can handle the specific pressure on educators.

And so I don’t think I’m in a place to move on this right now.

The way I look at it, maybe I need to substitute teach*, or volunteer at the school, or work for a non-profit in education. Or maybe I start at a private school/charter school and go from there.

I don’t think it’s a bad idea to change careers, reinvent myself, at age 40. It WOULD be a bad idea for me to  do it without really KNOWING that this is something I want to do.

Really, the bottom line is that I don’t want to waste money on a degree if it’s not going to make me happy.

All careers have pros and cons. I might not like the work I am doing now, but I make good money and it’s relatively flexible. I often cannot imagine doing this for the next 10, 20 years, but I KNOW this career.

It’s possible it might be better to stay where I am right now, too.

So I will continue to research. And when Owen starts kindergarten next week, I’ll talk to his teacher about volunteering in his class, and see if the principal would be interested in me volunteering in other classrooms, too.  Maybe I’ll see what’s involved with being a substitute and whether it’s something I can commit to when I don’t have an active work project.

As much as I want to MOVE on this right now, I know I need to be practical and smart and make sure I know that this is the right choice for me.


*Because, seriously. If you are a substitute teacher, you see the worst of kids. Sometimes the best. But the worst, too. If you can survive running the substitute teacher gauntlet and STILL want to teach, maybe that’s a vocation. At least, that’s what I figure.

7 comments on “Making a Plan.

  1. B says:

    “maybe I need to substitute teach*, or volunteer at the school, or work for a non-profit in education. Or maybe I start at a private school/charter school and go from there.”

    Sounds like an excellent start. In Australia, the government trains TEFL volunteers to help new immigrants get a start. It’s only a short course and no financial investment, then they set you up with classes (part of the deal is a commitment to teach a certain number, but it’s not a huge number and it can be part time). I wonder if you can find some organisation with similar (ie humanitarian) aims, focussing on your target age group?

  2. Deborah says:

    This is a huge step, but it’s awesome that you’re looking into really making it work. One more thing to thing about (maybe you already have): you know you would like the process of helping people learn, but there’s also classroom management, plus the politics of being in a school. I know that I enjoyed tutoring a lot when I did it, but I didn’t like dealing with kids in groups. So substitute teaching would probably be the closest to telling you what teaching would actually be like. Then again, if you find you like teaching but not classrooms, you would have to find out in what environment you could do that.

    Anyway, it sounds like you’ve already thought through a lot of the logistics, and that is awesome.

  3. From my vantage point you are proceeding exactly as you should. You are in the due diligence phase. I would also suggest arranging an informational interview with the principal at Os school. An administrator has a distinct view.

    Bravo mama…move the ball down the court.

    (And, you are prudent to be cautious. One of my best friends, also a CPA who was a Controller and CFO, wanted out of accounting. He decided to pursue an MSW (in his 40s) so that he could be a therapist. He continued working in accounting while going to school then left accounting to apprentice and get his hours and is now in a mix of private practice and on-staff at a woman’s shelter dealing with substance abuse. He hates his new chosen career).

  4. Jen says:

    I worked with an female OB in the past, and she had gone back to med school at 40, once her children were in school. It can be done. And she had zero regrets, even though med school and 5 years OB residency meant another 9 years of schooling. She loved what she did and planned to work past 70.

  5. Justine says:

    Whoohoo! How exciting!

    Substitute teaching is very different from having your own classroom (speaking from experience), but at least it puts you alone with the kids. Another possibility: try being a teacher’s aide for a while? That would give you more of a taste than observing, but without the requirements of credentialing.

  6. Kate says:

    I think ‘test runs’ of new careers are essential. There is a vast difference between working as an accountant (assumedly spending more time alone) than being with a classroom of kids all day. This is NOT to say that I can’t absolutely see you teaching 10th grade English, because I so so so can. I can also see you coaching track:> But, test it out. Figuring out the right volume for how you spend your time is essential.

  7. Turia says:

    I am really behind and massively jet lagged but I just wanted to post to let you know I am reading and I think you are going about this in a really smart way, and if Jeff is on board with it too, then go for it. Honestly, nothing will really tell you whether you will love teaching other than the first few years of full-time teaching with your own class, but all the little steps you are talking about are definitely good ways of possibly making it clear that it isn’t the right move (if that turns out to be the case). Does that make sense? I feel like there are lots of different points at which people can figure out, “Oh, right- teaching isn’t for me after all”, but to really know that it is right for you requires the deep breath and the jump into the deep end. But no reason not to dip your toes in the water for a while first just to make sure you do feel like swimming.

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