I am waiting for my dream job right now. For a reply back to an email in particular. I am waiting to know the time when I’ll be interviewed for the final round of a job that I want so badly.
And the thing is: I had no clue, none, until now that I could want this job so badly.
See the funny thing is, we don’t realize we’re changing until we’ve changed.
Four years ago, I came into college wanting to be a lawyer. I had just gotten done working for a political campaign and I thought that it was my calling, my passion in life to learn law, to become a politician, to show men that women can just as well run the world, and to bring about numerous pragmatic political reforms. I remember raising my hand during orientation week at the pre-law event, asking the advisor what kind of law schools most Swatties got into, and how many went onto Ivies. I dreamed of going to Harvard or Stanford. Of being at the forefront of Minnesota politics. The next Amy Klobuchar perhaps. Or even greater.
But then I took Intro to Education on a whim, after talking to my boyfriend at the time on the phone about what my last class should be. I had a poli sci class, a stats class for the future research I would be doing, a French class, what more should I take? Intro to Education would maybe be a good extension of my interest in politics. It’d probably be useful to know a thing or two about ed in order to be a good political leader.
And then, without even knowing it, everything shifted. I walked into my first ed observation, an ESL class full of first graders at a school in a nearby city that I would come to spend countless hours in. I knelt down next to my first child to help him sound out a word. I answered the first strange, forthright question from a kid that made me smile. I noticed how, despite all of the larger systemic problems with the educational system, small worlds could be created inside classrooms that felt peaceful, safe, and warm. I left that class thinking not that I would become a career teacher, but that I wanted to create more safe, warm spaces like the one I had observed. I wanted to created more welcoming atmospheres for young minds. I thought about education policy and that maybe my focus should shift from politics in general to the politics of education. Maybe I could be on a school board, and one of the few female superintendents.
But first, I would teach. Cause there is nothing more frustrating in the education world than the number of people making education policy decisions who have never taught a day in their lives.
So I planned out my future on some sticky notes. Wrote out all of the classes I would need to take for teaching certification over the next three years and a half years, posted them on bookshelf, called my mom up, told her my plans. And somehow, the course of my life changed.
Yet, we’re always changing and we’re always never who we quite thought we would be, for better or for worse. I took more education courses, spend more time in classrooms, started an afterschool program, and began to wonder what life was like before I spent time with kids everyday. Wondered what life was like not planning lessons in my head on the fly or shopping for various supplies. Wondered what life was like not reading education books for fun or griping about the latest reform measures.
I don’t think I would have ever majored in education had the department at my school not been so progressive and focused on education as a means of achieving social justice. If I had gone to any public university, I probably would have been doing far different things than attending elementary education classes. I might have been majoring in environmental science or history or Arabic or still be pre-law. It’s funny how the places we’re in shape us in ways that other places wouldn’t. We’re all a compilation of our experiences and perceptions of those experiences, expected or unexpected.
I would never, in a million years, have imagined that the job I want so badly right now would be my dream job upon graduating college. Or, for that matter, that I would ever hold the ideologies and viewpoints that I hold right now. I think it’s interesting that we’re all in a constant process of development, but we never really know who we are developing into.
I could say that God guides every step of our way or that there is some level of pre-destination to our life paths, but I don’t really think that’s true. I think rather we’ve been given the free will and circumstances to be molded and remolded, constructed and reconstructed, in ways seen and unseen.
I have no clue what my dream job will be next year. Or even a week from today. Or if this idea of a “dream job” will be something I learn to let go of, as no job is really ideal or a perfect fit.
I love teaching now, but who knows if I’ll love it five years from now.
We’ll see what happens.
Learning to let it be.