What can you do about a future you don’t know?

For some reason, I’ve been reading through old blog posts the last few days.  I’m noticing a trend…I make a big plan, get very excited about it, and then back out, usually for very good reasons.  That sounds awful!  It makes me look like someone who can’t follow through with any sort of promise or commitment.  I was so sure it was time to buy a house, and then I just switched apartments.  I planned to move to Seattle, and now I’m fine with staying here forever.  The thing is, both of those, I know I made the right choice in the end.  I love my apartment and I know I wouldn’t be able to afford a house by myself right now.  And I love living in Omaha, and I’m rediscovering how much I love the midwest after all.  So why does the wrong choice distract me during the process of making a choice???

I’m reminded of a quote I once heard:  Maybe there is no right choice, or wrong choice.  What if it’s just a bunch of choices?

Maybe it wouldn’t have been completely wrong to buy a house, or move to Seattle.  There is no way to know, of course.

I’m backing out of another “plan” of sorts that I was very excited about for a short time.  I began to plan to look into switching jobs.  (Did you get all that?  This was not at all a definite action yet!)  From the beginning, I sort of…wished…that I could work in a Catholic school.  It was a wish because everyone seemed to have the attitude that you only take a Catholic school job if others aren’t available, because it’s less money and you have to teach religion class and whatnot.  For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking that there’s no reason I can’t choose to work in a Catholic school.  I think Catholic education is where my heart is at.  I would love to teach in a place where we all agree to teach the same values and morals, and where you can answer a question with “because it’s how God wants us to treat each other, no matter where we are” instead of “because that’s the rule in this classroom, but at home you have to do what your mom says is the rule there.”  I would love to teach in a place where the most important thing in the school is the same as the most important thing in my life.  Not many people get to say that about their workplace.

I wouldn’t expect it to be perfect, of course.  I expect there would be the usual education politics, workplace dramas, parents you wish you didn’t have to deal with, students you can’t help no matter how hard you try.  I expect that whatever problems I would leave behind, there would be new problems specific to that neighborhood or that school to take their place.  Mostly, I’m just so curious!  I’ve taught in public education, now I would love to teach in a Catholic school and see what is different and what is the same.  There are people who have taught in both, and they say they wouldn’t ever go back to public, and I want to know why.

However…I am not going to do it right now.  There’s no way to know the timing of my future, of course, but if I stay where I am, I expect that I can pay off most if not all of my debt by the time I get married, if marriage is in my future.  That’s important to me.  I also recognize that, as excited as I am thinking about trying Catholic school, I am equally excited about my current job.  I love our preschool program in our school district!  I love the idea of being an experienced teacher who believes in what we do and stands up for early childhood education.  I actually really love the idea of being someone who facilitates early childhood staff development.  (I love staff development!  Such an unpopular thing to say, though…)  I’ve been thinking forever of getting a master’s degree, but I’m stalling because I would like to find one specific to early childhood education.  If there is no marriage in my future, or maybe even if there is, that’s what I ultimately would want.

If only I could combine early childhood education with Catholic education…any really good Catholic preschools in town?  🙂  Can I open one?  You know, one of my favorite practicum experiences in college was in a Lutheran preschool.  I would imagine having a church-based preschool as a full time job would be all the more fun!

It may sound like all my career plans depend on marriage.  They really don’t.  They do depend a little bit on whether or not I have children.  If I have children, I would absolutely want to stay home for at least a few years, if it’s possible.  Because I can’t know the timing, this desire brings up some questions.  If I have children sooner rather than later, is it a waste to get a master’s degree at this time, just to stay home and not benefit from it for a few years?  Would working toward a master’s be the ideal thing to do while my children are little, since it would be more flexible hours than a full time teaching job?  Or in the field of education, would it be stupid to get my master’s while I don’t have a teaching job to try out what I learn?  Would it be totally stupid to say that I don’t want to pay for a master’s until I have my current student loans paid off?  If there is not the money or situation for me to stay home with children, or if my future husband would not agree to it, will I regret not having gotten a master’s sooner?

These are questions that pop into my head, but none of them really matter much.  I can’t possibly know what the future holds.  All I can do is make the best choice I can with what I have in front of me right now.  And right now, the right thing is to hang onto a job I love, and the paycheck that accompanies it.  And to wait on a master’s until I find just the right program. 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Betty
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 19:15:21

    Not that you asked for my opinion, but I will give it anyway:) I think finding the “right” masters program is quite important–why spend your money if it isn’t the right program for what you believe you want. I also think that the timing will present itself if you keep the option open–now is fine but maybe paying down the last bill first is also good; taking classes slowly while home with young children might be good also-you can always use your children for your test subjects:) And I would bet there are several good Catholic preschool programs in your part of the country. There is atleast one here in my town and I hear lots of good things about it. So keep dreaming, planning and preparing–I don’t think more education is ever regretable!

    Reply

  2. Doris
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 09:23:24

    As to the questions about being actively engaged in teaching while persuing a masters, I think there is not a bit of education that you get no matter the timing that is lost or not valuable. what you learn no one can take away from you. A car can be stolen, a house can burn down, but what you learn is there for as long as you use it and longer.

    Reply

  3. Mom
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 20:43:37

    Your last paragraph is the perfect solution to your whole entry. All anyone can do is make the best decision now for the information he/she has now.

    Reply

  4. Joan
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 08:56:32

    If you had never gone to Seatle you might have never known that you like the midwest so well. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. I am selfishly happy that you stayed in the midwest.
    To get a masters is a very good idea. you will know when the time is right. And it can be done when you are married and have children. It just may turn out to be the right time while you are home with children. Possibly at the time you do this will be a time that you can be active in your local school on a part time basis.
    I am so happy to be part of your life at this time. You are a big joy in our life. Love you Joan

    Reply

  5. Trackback: Clarity of Choices « Dawn’s Place

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