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Friday, March 4, 2011

Find Your Epiphany

I am not a megalomaniac. But I do have a path. Since starting this blog and sharing my ideas, there has always been one topic that I have grappled with discussing. I'll allude to it in this post. Since the summer I have been re-acquainted with my passion for writing. I spent a good part of the summer reading books on writing and publishing. My brain has been fixated on the prospects of changing my path - because of a change.

I want this post to read as a do-it-yourself for resilience and hope. With teachers being told their teaching placements for next year in the coming weeks; I want to offer my own example in hopes that you can rise above anything you are given. Last year my teaching assignment was drastically changed to one that I had not anticipated or planned for. My leadership role within the school was removed without discussion. I have had one year to make sense of this change.

As an individual faced with a decision, you have to prioritize everything. I created a hierarchy with my family at the top. Just as I believe anyone else would do; I chose them. Since being placed in my current assignment, I have taken 3 additional qualification courses that amounted to completing extra course work in 9 out of the last 13 months. I have just registered for my next course to begin early next month. Professional knowledge and qualifications is the first path to which I am blazing a trail.

I have excelled at my new teaching placement and certainly found the positives and benefits to my own pedagogy by being the teacher in that room. But, I was never in doubt of the value of teaching a special needs classroom. What I have been battling is the process that can take place to alter your entire view of education through one sweeping action - or in this case - one chart on a page.

The second path that I am exploring is one of leadership in and about teaching. I have just earned a place on our Federation's County Bargaining Team during the next round of contract negotiations, and am thrilled at the prospects of being part of meaningful discussions and change in the quality of the teaching profession in this district. Simultaneously, I have created a downloadable resource page for teachers ("Teaching Ideas and Resources"), started this educational critique as a blog ("Ignite. Incite. Inspire.") and have started writing teaching-related articles for Suite101.com as a "State of Education" writer.

The final path for me is writing. All of these experiences build to a creative climax when I sit down to put my thoughts on (virtual)page. I have joined "The Red Room" (a social media site that connects writers) and numerous educational forums (edubloggers, linkedin groups) in an attempt to network and steer the craft. I hope to enter some of my writing in "The New Quarterly" for an upcoming essay/poetry contest and will try to have some of my writing published in teaching-related magazines if possible. .

I am reaching out in three different directions - and all the while I am inspired by the choice.

I have something to offer the world - and so do you. Despite your placement, working conditions, family situation or life hang-ups; I can attest that you direct your fate and next move. "Do not go gently into that good light. Rage, Rage,"[when faced with fight or flight]. I could not be doing what I am without the incredible support of my amazing wife (Chy-Anne) and a mounting group of friends and professionals that give me strength in words to convince me that posts like this are non-negotiable. This is transparency and I welcome the dialogue.

I am in the John Nash moment where the world fades out and he sees the mathematical links in the situation. I am George Malley consuming books and moving objects. I am Mark Zuckerberg furiously programming a revolutionary program. I am in that moment that everything seems to make sense in an unbelievably simple way. I am a writer that happens to teach and a teacher that happens to write. This is my epiphany and I will drag it on as long as I can; if that is what it takes to find the right path.

I am not a megalomaniac. But I do have ambitious goals and something unique to offer the world. I will not be a passenger in my own life. I am driving the ship now and will plan my own route.

Find your epiphany and build your brand. You are the best at what you do at any given moment. If the people that matter are lining the path with you; the ones who don't matter will be pushed aside and forced to consider you in a different light. You have lined my path up till now; I hope I can return the favor when the time is right for you.

2 comments:

Kerri said...

Neil, this is a great post. "I will not be a passanger in my own life" is such a bold, blunt and true statement.
I am hooked and look forward to reading more about your personal journey and passion for education.

nfinney said...

Thanks for the great feedback, Kerri. I'm glad you're finding value in what I write and hope to continue "hooking" you into reading about more of my experiences.

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