I chose the wrong profession.
These thoughts and others coursed through my mind this past July as I boarded tiny plane in New Haven bound for Philly. Over sesame chicken in the Philly lobby, I pondered the new queasy feeling in my belly. It wasn’t the chicken and the feeling didn’t dissipate a day later when I showed up for preplanning Monday. I scanned the room of my new colleagues, all eager with anticipation for the inaugural year, and the sinking feeling grew worse.
This summer I had the opportunity to engage in an educator's fellowship program like no other. The pedagogical style was predominately the BSchool case-study model which turned out to be the most engaging learning experience I’ve ever experienced.
Each case chipped away at my confidence as an educator. Each narrative of a teacher or administrator missing the target despite great intentions compelled me to reexamine my values about education and leadership through the lens of grading, expectations, bias, team building, racism, pedagogical content knowledge and facilitation.
Engaging over these issues with colleagues from across the nation (private and public schools) was exhilarating. And then disconcerting. And finally heart breaking. Mostly because my colleagues and the cases challenged me to critically examine my niche of education: ed reform via an elevation of the teaching profession and market-based policy initiatives.
I began to grapple with the reality that our public education system is becoming increasingly more segregated. The opportunities for low income students and students of color are fewer and farther between. Truth? My actions to this point as an educator have unintentionally upheld the status quo of low expectations and limited students’ access to quality learning options. The realization quelled any joy I felt for entering this founding year.