Monday, September 17, 2012

Gap Year


For those of you who don't know I am taking a bit of my own Gap Year. I've quit my job teaching in Brooklyn and am taking some time out of the classroom. 
To keep the explanation short and sweet: 
1. I am exhausted from working 13 hour days spent trying to close the achievement gap.
2. Discovered I had a gluten allergy. 
3. Had multiple opportunities to travel. 

So thus began my adventure of My Gap Year... 

I am working hourly from my computer. I found a nice little gig as a digital learning consultant for a national non-profit for a little pocket change. And my parents have been gracious enough to open their home to me again. 
The first few weeks were a little challenging. I found myself still speed walking through Giant Eagle carrying a basket. Missing my friends, being reminded of my students with pictures and messages being posted on facebook. I was cooking crazy Thai food for dinner getting irritated with not having something to do every second of the day. 
I have spent the last week down in Charlotte visiting friends, my school prior to NY. My best friend Sue had her first baby and it just so happened that I had the time to be in Charlotte with her when her husband had to go back to work. My friends have been neglected these last couple years. Sadly I've missed a lot of baby showers, wedding showers, reserving those precious personal days for the weddings and big events. The time down here has been great. I was greeted by my old principals and co-workers with hugs, questions, and job offers. I helped out in an algebra class for the afternoon and got that little dose of students that I miss on a daily basis. The amount of perspective and inspiration that going backwards brings is absolutely amazing to me. My frustrations of missing the classroom back in Pittsburgh seemed to disappear. But I find my passion of education growing with each and everyday of having the opportunity to explore on my own.  
I've spent a lot of time hanging out with people who are around during the workday, for the most part, thats the grandmothers, both Grandma and Mimi. That time has been priceless and sometimes hilarious. My most recently attended movies were the "Marigold Hotel" and "Hope Springs" both times I was the only person in the theater under the age of 50... there's nothing like sitting next to your grandma while Steve Carell is talking about orgasms and oral sex. After the movie she responds with the fact that "it's a good thing Kevin didn't come to that one, it could have been uncomfortable." I laugh in my head, but I guess she thinks I really enjoy watching sex scenes with elderly people, while sitting next to my grandma, lol.  But overall the time has been great. I am not sick of the same old stories, and too frustrated with repeating myself all the time. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder and probably more tolerant as well. 

So I leave you with this quote from Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford: 

"you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever"

My advice at the stage, take the time to look back and connect dots from the past... I'll keep the blogging going as I continue on my adventure :) 



James R said...

Wonderful—the perfect cross between a personal letter and a blog. Some day this will appear on "Letters of Notes".

Obviously, you don't "Mind the gap".

Big Myk said...

For many parts of the world,a gap year is part of one's education and all-around development. Ellen discovered the "gap year" phenomena when she was living and traveling in Europe.

It seems as though Steve Jobs must have had some familiarity with Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard put it this way back in the 19th century: "It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backwards. But then one forgets the other principle: that it must be lived forwards. Which principle, the more one thinks it through, ends exactly with the thought that temporal life can never properly be understood precisely because I can at no instant find complete rest in which to adopt the position: backwards."