Some people are great planners, mapping out their career paths. Others like myself, take the scenic route and I think that’s ok.
A friend and I were chatting about job changes, career paths and open doors. She challenged me to share my story so here it goes, the messy vulnerable story.
I once was told I planned my career out perfectly. Little did they know I couldn’t take credit for any of it. Coming in to education, my goal was to be a grade 1 teacher. I was lucky to enter the profession at the height of a teacher shortage in Ontario. All I had to do was wait a few months and I would have had a full time position but my eagerness (or maybe anxiety) pushed me to accept the first offer. An opportunity came up for a half time planning time teacher gig in Brampton. A pretty awesome musical booklet [Where’s the sarcasm emoji when you need it?] sealed the deal and that August I was completely panicked as I stood in the middle of a dismantled computer lab wondering where to start. It may seem like a crazy choice to others as I drove daily between two schools but that first open door led me to have double the learning opportunities, double the mentors and a chance to be nudged out of my comfort zone as I facilitated tech lunch and learns for colleagues that very first year.
That wasn’t the only OPEN DOOR moment in my career. I think every career marker came with a nudge, a crazy choice, a step into the unknown.
- A nudge towards a literacy coach role in my school when I was in my dream gig in grade 1. I knew I wasn’t the first choice. If I am completely honest I took it because I could teach computers half time but what an amazing way to start a leadership journey with the support of you friends.
- Another nudge came to step outside the school. ‘You should try facilitating AQ courses Tina?’ Somehow we went from ‘We will not need you’ to a 10 year run facilitating AQs
- The ITRT/MLRT role was a big push. If you believe in signs, this one was like a neon arrow highlighting the path with different friends from different roles suggesting it be my next step
- My MED adventure started as a simple chat and ended with me leaving to write my application
- After a few closed doors, taking a chance and applying to a team because they embodied an active learning stance
Don’t get me wrong, not every nudge/suggestion panned out. Sometimes you can think of the PERFECT fit and the door just never opens. Sometimes it opens for a second and slams back shut.
If you ever asked, looking back although every day wasn’t the best day I would have told you every job was the BEST job. Of course there were moments in each stage where I questioned whether I made the right choice, panicked if I was having any impact what so ever. Looking back I can see how each piece fell in place like a toy train track nudging me along. Perhaps it was the BEST job because each role had me bringing a piece of me to it, I found my place to contribute and nudge the work forward.
Whether you are a planner or a more ‘off the beaten path’ person like myself, I hope the story is a reminder in these unsettling times in education to trust the journey no matter where you end up.
You never know where the door may lead.