Ever since I became a teacher, it has been my ultimate career goal to teach at my high school, my alma mater. Even before I was a teacher, while I was still in high school, I used to sit in class and day dream about how cool it would be to teach there. I would imagine how I would do things, how I would lecture, what the teachers' lounge must be like, and even what summers off might be like. I have always had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I would be a teacher one day. Teaching is not just my career, it is my vocation, my calling.
Currently I am teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies at a school not too far from my old high school. It's great. My students are awesome, my co-workers are (mostly) competent, and many have as much passion for their work as I do, if not more. Daily - well, almost daily - I am rewarded for my hard work with a smile, or even better, a look of new found understanding, from a young, bright eyed student. I love my job. I just didn't realize how much.
A couple of weeks ago I discovered that there was an opening at my old alma mater for a social studies teacher. 'This is it!' I thought, "My chance!" And yet I hesitated. Through the grape vine I even heard my name was being tossed around as a candidate for the position, even before I had approached anyone about it. And still I paused. The thought of leaving my current position, even for my dream job, gave me pause. This was surprising to me.
As it turns out, after much deliberation, and a couple of sleepless nights, I am not going to apply for the job. I am going to stay where I am for a bit. This is for a few reasons. First, I just don't feel ready to move on yet. I am very happy and comfortable where I am, and my gut hasn't steered me wrong yet. Additionally, I am recently married, we are looking to buy a house, and there's just too much else going on right now.
Second, I want to hone my teaching skills and technique before I move to the high school level. This is not to say I wouldn't do well there now. I would. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I am a damn good teacher. But I want to be the best I can be before I move on.
Finally, despite the fact that teaching at my old high school is still a major goal of mine (that has not changed), I like the younger kids. There are so many cool things that are a part of my day that you just don't get to do at the high school level. This is not to say that high school teachers don't get to do cool stuff with their students, just that those cool things are often (I imagine) different. I love the fact that at one minute I'll be having a really great class discussion about an important issue of the day and the students' critical thinking skills will be in over drive, they'll be thinking deep thoughts, probing new ideas, and learning like young adults, and the next minute they'll be playing like children on the playground or in gym class, having fun and enjoying all of the carefree pleasures that being young can provide. I like the fact that you can still surprise them, scare them, motivate them, and make them laugh at silliness. I know all this is possible with high school students, especially freshmen and sophomores, but there's something about that leap to high school that takes a little bit of the kid out of them that I still get to see.
So anyway, even though my goals have not changed, and one day I will teach at my alma mater, I am going to stay put for a while. I am going to enjoy all those parts of my day that make my job so cool. And when I am ready to move on, much like my students, I will. I'm just going to wait until I'm ready.