I promise that this isn’t going to turn into one of those personal journal blogs where people just write about what they had for breakfast each day, but please indulge me in a little personal reflection time for my birthday.
Today is my 30th birthday. I know a lot of people dread this milestone, but it really hasn’t been that big of a deal for me. I have been reflecting on what I used to think my life would be like at this point though. Several years ago, my goals had been to be married, buy a house, and have my first kid before I turned 30. I’m not doing so well on those goals–David and I got married last August, but we’re still renting and no kids planned anytime soon.
When I started my music education degree in college, I think I always knew I didn’t want to be a band teacher my whole life. My private horn teacher in high school, Linda Kimball, was wonderful, and I thought having a career like hers was what I wanted. She has a studio of students and performs with a number of groups. The one-on-one teaching for private lessons has always been rewarding for me and is one of my favorite ways to teach. From Linda and many others, I observed that the best private teachers had started their careers teaching in the public schools. Lesson teachers who had been performance majors were rarely very effective in helping their student succeed, even if they were fabulous musicians themselves. Perhaps that is another example of why content isn’t everything; those teachers had vast skill and knowledge (great content), but that didn’t translate to successful or motivated students.
So I went into teaching, and I became a statistic: I’m one of the 50% or so of American public school teachers who leave the field within five years. I learned a lot in those three years of teaching, and certainly those experiences help me now. That classroom teaching wasn’t where I was supposed to be in my life though, so I moved on to other things. Now I’m doing instructional design–a field I admit I first heard of in the summer of 2003. I couldn’t have imagined developing online learning when I was in high school because the field didn’t exist, at least not like it does now. I am incredibly fortunate to have a job I absolutely love: I’m always learning new things (including blogging!) and I am constantly using multiple skills. With the world changing even faster now, I wonder how today’s students will navigate the work environment with jobs that don’t exist yet.
I’m not where I thought I’d be when I reached 30, but you know, I’m pretty happy with where I am. It’s so cliche, but I feel like I have so much ahead of me. There are so many exciting things happening in the world and so many opportunities to help people learn. I’m glad to have my place in all of it, at least until things change again and I go off on my next adventure.