Monday, April 23, 2012

Education Sell Out

When I was in the 5th grade, I wanted to become a teacher or a lawyer, primarily because I talk a lot, and both of those professions would allow for me to do that AND make people listen. A not so secret about me is that I change my mind, a lot.  Over the course of the past 27 years, I have changed my mind more times than I can count about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a back up dancer, a lobbyist, business owner, social worker, fighter pilot, and camp director ( wait, I still want to be that one).

Shortly after graduation I began working with hard to serve youth, (parenting, drop outs, ect) while there, I found that most of these kids were being failed by the schools due to learning challenges that were not being met.  I decided then that I wanted to become an urban high school teacher.  Specifically, I wanted to be a special education teacher.

I spent last year working at a public charter school in the heart of Washington DC.  Where I had a direct supervisor whose only joy in life, was finding ways to for me to enjoy my life less.  I felt my school was only offering a disservice to the students (forcing grade changes, lack of consequences are just a few examples)  I was beaten down.  With no regrets, I left after one year.

And then I sold out, I recently started working at a private Montessori school.  I feel very morally conflicted.  I like my job a lot.  I enjoy this style of learning, the staff is very friendly, and the administration is supportive. But, not only am I not working as high school teacher, it is neither public or urban.  I feel that I have crossed over to the dark side.

I do work primarily with students with learning disabilities and the Montessori method allows for students to access content at their level so at least I am still serving those students. But I still feel like an educational sell out.


  1. Hi Christine,
    You are not an education sell out. You said you like you job a lot and you put "a lot" in bold. I've been working as a teacher in an urban school for seven years and many of my colleagues hate their job "a lot." If you can say that you love your work then you are NOT an education sell out!!!

    Although I still don't think you're a sell out, I know how you feel. I've been getting burned out lately and thinking I might find a job with "easier" kids. I'm still really torn on what I'm going to do, but I get your moral conflict. :)

    Glad I started reading your blog!

  2. If you love what you are doing then I would say your heart is probably in the right place. There will always be more students that you feel probably need you more than those you are currently instructing. I have a close friend that worked with Teach for America in rural NC for two years and what she saw in the school system she taught in led her to get a Master's in Education Policy. Now she will have the opportunity to hopefully bring about change to help her students who needed extra help and someone to encourage and love them.

  3. Yup. I have this debate with myself. My new school is rural but with a huge, hard-to-reach migrant worker population, and every day sucks the life out of me. I love my kids, but I don't know how lunch longer I can work in such a challenging environment. I have the same debate when I think about having kids and what kind of school to put them in too. I don't have a good answer. :/

  4. I don't think you are a sell out! Don't be too hard on yourself. You are still teaching and working with learning disabilities and you are making a difference in their lives, that's something to be proud of.