As you most certainly know if you're reading this, I quit my teaching job last spring to return to graduate school full time. I started a doctoral program in Special Education in August with the goal of helping teachers become even better at their jobs so that they could make even more of a difference in the lives of their students. I wasn't sure what that would look like, but I felt certain it was something that not only could I do, but that it was something would have a lasting impact.
After one semester in school, I wasn't thrilled with what I was learning, but I remained cautiously hopeful. I was encouraged to take as many statistics courses as possible so that I would be more marketable. To whom? To someone who would then want me to do statistics as part of my job! Ack! It began to dawn on me that a vision of my future self sitting a desk doing statistics was not a pleasant vision. Likewise for reading fMRI studies about toddler brains.
As the second semester progressed, it became more and more clear to me that my classes had little to no connection to what I wanted to do after graduation (in four or more years). Had I felt that this material would better prepare me for what was to come, I would have been able to see the purpose of the struggle. But to push onward, knowing that I wasn't learning the skills I would need, felt futile.
So, I stopped. I'm done. I'm free!
What am I doing now? Blogging, for one! I have about twelve books that need to be written about, and I'm going to try to write more regularly.
But my other big venture is my little writing business that I've been slowly plodding away at for a little over a year now. I've set up a new website just for that; it's not completely finished (but when is anything completely finished anyway?), but please check out Annie's Writing Cave!
So far, I am marketing myself as a writing and academic support specialist. I hope, eventually, that I can work with schools to improve their writing programs. For now, I'm concentrating on two parts of the business: 1) working with students individually on homework, organization, research papers, and college essays; and 2) providing resources for students and teachers. I have a number of YouTube videos from my teaching days that are sitting idle, as well as numerous rubrics, quizzes, PowerPoints, etc.
In the coming weeks, I'm going to continue to learn HTML so that I can spruce up my website and make it just the way I want it. I'm working on becoming an Amazon Affiliate so that if you purchase a book I recommend, I make a tiny little bit of money. I've set up accounting software--much better than just having a list of tutoring clients and dates on the notes app! Business cards are on the way, too!
Lest this seem like a seamless transition, I should note that I had been agonizing over this decision for weeks. I did not want to disappoint the people I had been working for, and I didn't want to let down my professors. When someone reframed the possibility of quitting as a courageous choice to do what was right for me (rather than as "dropping out," as I had been thinking of it), I realized it was normal and okay to feel trepidation before quitting something, especially something I'd worked so hard to make happen.
Now that I have moved on, I am certain I made the right decision. It feels so good to be doing something that I truly love doing. Everything feels a little brighter and a little easier.