Graduating in the onset of Michigan's economic disaster, I knew finding a job would be tough. Throughout my adolescent years I was under the impression that everyone was guaranteed a secure nine-to-five job, with health benefits. I even remember an in-class discussion in my first amendment rights course on whether or not a person had a right to a job in America. After an entire hour and a half, we had anonymously concluded that no, jobs were not guaranteed (by legal mandates, anyway).
It wasn't until my junior and senior year of college that that panic attacks began and the anxiety associated with graduation about life after I received my diploma. Add on top of that the rise of unemployment rates the summer I began applying for jobs. I didn't even receive invitations for interviews and opportunities seemed sparse. I ended up taking a job in retail, where I was promised prompt success and promotion to corporate within a short period of time. Three years later, I truly re-evaluated my life and where I saw myself in five years. I didn't see much of a change in my current "career" path, so I reverted back to my high school dream of becoming a teacher like Ms. Why, my English AC teacher, who opened my eyes to the world of literature. (That, and my mother's intense interest for reading, and books in general, later led to one of my undergraduate majors: English Literature.)
I bring up this story because as one of our guest speakers described her journey from finding that nine-to-five job to going back to U of M to become a teacher, I saw a reflection of myself. Even though she had found a job right after college, in a career field associated with her major, she still wasn't happy. I wonder if this would have happened to me if conditions had been different when I graduated... I'm not a fan of the "what if"s but nevertheless I was somewhat jarred as I sat in class, listening to this woman's story. Another aspect of her journey I found reassuring was when she told us all about how she ended up where she is in life today. I believe she graduated the SMAC program around the same time I graduated from undergraduate school, but the terms were the same for her as they were for me. She recalled being one of the top two candidates for fifteen different interviews, and she wasn't chosen. Even as she was telling us this, she had smile on her face. She told us it was okay because she would never have found the program she is currently working for, and she loves where she is in life today!
I have always been a firm believer that "everything happens for a reason", whether it is through your doing or not. Not to put a religious spin on this post but I don't really buy into the idea that everyone has a plan laid out for them to follow; manifest destiny, if you will. On the other side of the same coin; however, I am not as critically pessimistic to not believe that we are here for a reason and that there are occurrences that are necessary for future opportunities to arise. Basically, I believe that I am supposed to teach, and that most of the experiences I have had, so far, lead me to getting certified and to be a teacher!
And back to last Friday...
There was an uncomfortable moment shared among our guest speakers when Jeff asked how they use technology in their classrooms. They became somewhat hesitant and bashful, and some even looked ashamed that they didn't use technology as much as they (or Jeff) would have liked. It was like our class was watching five protegees letting their master down! I felt for them. Especially after our in-class argument (I would say discussion, but no) over accepting increased amounts of technology in schools. There is a reform occurring in school systems across the nation - but it's taking time and varies among different schools and their classrooms. It's not going to occur overnight and suddenly every single chalkboard is going to be replaced by a smartboard. No. It is a slow process - another theme I have found in the world of education (the first being time). BUT, as educators, I believe it is very important, as well as essential, to be knowledgeable in the forms of technology that may, or may not, randomly show up in our classrooms one day. We will be expected to perform because it will be our responsibility, our job, as educators to teach others through the use of technology.