I’m feeling like a groundhog at the moment. It’s like I’ve been in a deep, dark hole for the past five–well actually, the past seven years of teaching. I’ve taught 13 different subjects, and each year I’ve been in survival mode. I would figure things out one day at a time and sometimes (shh, don’t tell my boss!) I would just barely pull a lesson together before the bell rang. To be totally honest, there has been the rare occasion when I’ve given an Oscar-worthy performance and just made up the lesson as I went along. It’s been quite an adventure.
But now I’m moving forward in other areas of my professional life. In less than a year, I will have graduated with my Masters in English Literature and Rhetoric. In the year 2011, I will have given 4 presentations at various professional conferences and I’ve already won an award at one of them. And this fall will be the first time in seven years that I will not be teaching a class that is new to me. I’m comfortable, confident, and prepared, and now I’m poking my furry little face up out of my hole in the ground and looking around the prairie, twitching my whiskers and wondering what’s next. You’d think I’d just be breathing a sigh of relief. I don’t know if it’s the Air Force kid in me or if I’m just naturally restless (I prefer that epithet to the more negative “discontent”), but I’m ready for the next step.
I don’t yet know what that next step will look like. I’ve done a good job and built a great career. After three years at ECA, I became head of my department, and I’ve maintained the good stuff and implemented some important changes, receiving accolades from peers, parents, and students alike. I know I can do well where I am, and I guess that’s just piqued my curiosity about how far I can really go. I’ve always been the medium-sized fish in a tiny pond. Yes, I know I can excel at ECA and at CSU-Pueblo, but how do I measure up in the big, scary outside world? I know I can be a great English teacher at a small Christian school; could I be a great English professor at a name university? How about a great writer? How about a great speaker at conferences? How about a great Ph.D. candidate? I’m itching to know just how far my skills and talents can take me, and there’s really only one way to find out.
Watch out world; this groundhog is on the move.