Coming back from teaching abroad with no job lined up, I knew I’d have to be patient. I was content with this, excited even, that I’d have time to work on my own projects (like this) and to focus on finding something great. The challenge I put myself up to solidified an interest I had for education technology. I became inspired and looked forward to a future career where I’d be able to share this passion. But after only three weeks in I began to feel a gnawing sense of social guilt and personal impatience.
What was I doing being 27 and unemployed?
I started looking into teaching jobs as these self-conscious thoughts kicked in, I didn’t even stop to question if this is what I needed right now. Alas, none of the nearby boards were looking to add to their supply teachers list. No surprise there. I turned to private schools, but no luck. Friends said to me, “you have such great experiences,” it must be easy for you to find a teaching job now. I did FEEL accomplished and capable, teaching internationally and working with tech in the past helped me develop a lot as an educator and I felt like I had a lot to bring into Toronto classrooms. But maybe I didn’t do enough AQs, maybe I didn’t do my time right, should I just fork up the money and go back to school again? More self doubt followed. In an attempt to fill in the answer “so what are you doing now?” with what I assumed was a socially acceptable response (“I’m teaching at___”, “I’m working at___”, “I’m going to start my Masters at ___”), I started craving for work, any work. I began job hunting aggressively, at times meaninglessly, for something that would satisfy this craving. To my dismay, that didn’t work either (thankfully). There were a few positions that I was excited about and didn’t get and others that I convinced myself to get excited about and also didn’t get. At the time I thought I was ready for anything new. I didn’t think it’d matter to me whether or not it was related to education. Companies totally saw that my heart was somewhere else before I even realized it myself.
After finishing the last of the Intro to App Development book I paused my regular cycle of aggressive job-hunting, twice a day Muay Thai (which was actually awesome), and coding. I took a break from social media, particularly my KaceCodes Twitter account, because it was causing me more anxiety than inspiration. I spent a few days reconnecting with old friends and realized they weren’t judging me, I welcomed my brother home who I had not seen for over a year since I left for Iceland/Beijing and he left for Cali, and I built an awesome pillow fort with my two nephews.
Then I bandaged what had felt like a billion bullets to my ego, and I mustered the confidence to reiterate what I’ve always known, but needed badly to be reminded:
1. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be unemployed and healthy and to be able to “explore” career options. I got to enjoy the remainder of the summer sun in a city that I love more than ever, coding in my favourite Toronto cafes and reading programming and non-programming books in city parks. I have the time and timezone to finally hang out with friends and family. Life is good.
2. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and teach abroad. I’m grateful for the students who taught me how to be a better teacher, for the lifelong friendships I’ve made along the way, for the beautiful countries that welcomed me. I’ve become who I am because of it and I should never regret those experiences. Life is good.
3. I will always be a teacher, whether or not I’m in a classroom. The things I love about teaching—being open-minded, always learning, being people focused, celebrating creativity—are me. In the same way that a company judges whether or not I fit the company, I have the right to judge whether a company suits me.
4. Remember to stay humble. I’m not entitled to anything, if I want something then I’ve got to put in the work for it, be prepared, be ready to “fail” again.
I had this week of peace and I was ready to start my search again, with more focus and self-awareness. By some heavenly coincidence that Friday afternoon I was also contacted by three companies I was super interested in almost within the same hour. While I still don’t know if I’ll end up at any of them, I was grateful to end the week on a hopeful note.
So, next step?
My goal is to incorporate the two things I love, education and technology, and at the end of the day I want to feel like making a difference in people’s lives. I’d love to create something or be part of something that can give students better opportunities to learn. I can be in a classroom, but I can also support learners from outside the classroom. AND, I’m probably going to keep learning/practicing Swift by building something on my own too 😉