I’m in kind of a quandry. I do not think people know what I do for a living, or in what disciplines I’ve been educated, nor do I have any chance to tell them. I’ve not had a linear trajectory as far as a career path is concerned. Once an intensive care nursery nurse and certified pediatric nurse practitioner, then came being a mother, a volunteer, followed by being a student, an author, a teacher, and finally an environmental educator. For two of those “jobs” I possess an advanced degree. For all of them, I possess knowledge. I guess I’ve been a leader without a title when I think of all the things I’ve done. But, in certain circumstances, I am seen as “just” a parent. And, not a knowledgeable parent either, but one of the masses that might be thought not to understand educational systems and how they work. At this realization, I wonder, how far from the truth can you get? Yet, I feel I am perceived by some not to know much – they are wrong. Very wrong.
I know education. My new co-workers at the Land Trust for which I now work know that about me already. I have not even been employed there a month and have yet to teach, but they know that I know education. You could say I came with a reputation. Today, when I was revising a grant I asked about the division of grade level descriptions and why they were stated a certain way. I explained myself. It made more sense to divide the grades differently. Supportively, I was told, “that’s why you’re here. You know that and we do not.” It made me feel good.
But, I can tell there are people who do not know me well and think I might not know what I am talking about when it comes to teaching and learning. I do. Most of my recent Master’s degree was spent taking education courses. I might even know as much as these people who erroneously doubt my knowledge! I might even know more than them! But, I’m not perceived that way at all. I am a parent. Yes, I am. But, I am a very informed parent who is also an educator that has worked in both informal and formal settings, such as the outdoors, and in classrooms. I even taught college at one point in my past career in the nursing profession. I was on faculty at two different institutions of higher learning, one of which is highly esteemed, and has a world class reputation.
When educational conversations arise, I hear a lot of buzz words and some evasive answers. I know what they’re saying….we don’t know…..we haven’t done that yet….we don’t have the answer. Well, I just wish they’d come out and say that instead of making me feel like I’m the one that does not know what they’re talking about. I do. I know. Three kids later, with 19 years spent in one school system, I know.
I’ve had curriculum writing courses, methods of teaching and learning courses, advanced educational psychology courses, and strategic planning courses. I’ve had classes on evaluative methods and designed research studies that I conducted myself twice in my professional life. I know. I’ve been in the trenches as a teacher, a volunteer, and group leader. And, I’ve been outside the trench, as a parent, shoring up the student and/or the system.
But, today, no one knows my background. Staff and administration has changed, while I have stayed, like a fixture in an old building. I think I might be perceived as a blow hard or someone that talks for the sake of talking. Worse, I might be perceived as a milquetoast. Neither are true. I am passionate about students, learning, and education. I am passionate about equity and transparency. When I bring up concerns, they are always student centered. But, the students at the center of my concerns are those who excel, those who deserve more credit, and those who want more rigor. Often, in the quest to educate “all” students, those who fall in the upper range of achievement are forgotten. This concerns me most of all.
Am I on a soap box? I suppose I am. I just want to be taken seriously and not have some mumbo jumbo spoken to me like I don’t understand. I do. I surely do.
I know what I know, you just don’t know that I know it.
Such is life.
Today is Slice of Life, Tuesday, a blog forum hosted by TwoWritingTeachers.org. It is a place teacher/authors can share their writing and exchange ideas. Thank you for the opportunity to connect!