I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but there are a bunch of things that have made me hesitant/gotten in the way. I figured when I got a bunch of emails about Twitter mentions this morning, considering I haven’t really been a contributing member of Twitter for a little while, I figured today was probably the day. This is going to be a long post. There will likely be a tl;dr at the end with just the news-related parts at the end, but I would like to get the rest out, because there is a lot of thinking going on that needs to get out.
Where have I been? It starts in August when my wife was contacted about a job at the library she worked at in high school. She had been looking for a professional library job, and this one fit exactly what she wanted. We figured that, having a Master’s degree in Math Ed, transferring my certification from Florida to Iowa wouldn’t be too hard, so I told her to go for it. After about a two month application and interview process, she was offered and accepted the job. She relocated within two weeks, and it now happily working (actual in the library where I am currently typing this post.) It was around the time of her second interview, that I decided I should contact the State of Iowa and start the process of getting my certification moved. I had clearly grossly underestimated the difficulty this process would represent. I was sent an email back from the licensing board that I was missing somewhere between 6-8 classes and I would not be able to get a math license in Iowa until I had made those up. I think I found this the most frustrating because when I made the decision to change careers into teaching, I considered a few options. Florida allows you to complete alternate certification, and you can actually teach quickly if you have a degree and can pass your subject area test. I decided to stay working for the university and work for four years to earn a Master’s degree so I would have a solid foundation in pedagogy before I started teaching, and so that I would likely be able to transfer my certification to another state when we finally moved out of Florida. In the ultimate irony, if I had simply taken the test and gotten to teaching when I actually started my Master’s degree, I would have had enough out of state experience to get a license in Iowa.
For the next little while I found that every time I thought about teaching, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I got very focused on the things I did not do well as a teacher, and this was compounded by living by myself and trying get my house prepped to sell, which exhausted me. When I got on Twitter to chat, I just felt that I didn’t have much to add to the conversation, and I couldn’t get excited by most of the things I was reading. I was also rather busy with moving, cleaning and teaching, while also just trying to lead a somewhat normal life. I did no post about this in October because I have some students who follow me on Twitter, and I wasn’t sure I would be leaving in December, and I didn’t want to share any of this information until I knew for sure what my plans were. I actually didn’t know my plans until right around Thanksgiving. And I did leave my job in December. I couldn’t live 1000 miles from my wife anymore, and whatever craziness the Iowa certification process would bring me wasn’t going to go away if I stayed until May.
So, now I’m in Iowa. Nevada, Iowa to be precise. And I don’t know what comes next. I know I won’t be teaching in a public school for a while. There are a lot of math classes I need to make it through before Iowa will let me do that. And honestly, I’m not even sure if I want to teach here. I love helping students think about math, but I’m not sure I want to be in a system that is so hung up on my transcript and not me as a teacher, particularly when I felt I made the best decision to prepare myself for teaching, and it blew up in my face. I do have a career to go back to in college student advising, which I have enjoyed and hope to get another job in soon.
I want to thank the MTBoS for all of the kind interactions I’ve had. Particularly Hedge, who has been the one person who has been in contact with me about all of this stuff due to reaching out after a particularly cryptic tweet. If I do get back into a better mental place about teaching, and I again feel that I have things to contribute to the conversation, trust me, I will be right back at #MSMathChat and other #MTBoS conversations. And maybe I will find another way to affect math education that has nothing to do with holding certification in this state. I’ve always kinda wanted to operate outside of the normal framework anyway. Maybe this is the kick I need to do that.
I’m not writing this so that you will try to cheer me up about teaching, tell me that I’m great and that it’ll all work out, and I have to keep trying and I will get there. I need time and perspective. I need to opportunity to think creatively on how I might get to teach kids math even better than a public school would, even without certification. Or I need to find happiness doing something else.
I just wanted to get some of this out and down on paper, let you guys, who have been so great to me for the time I have been a part of this, know what’s going on with me, and try to sort things out in my head. Thanks for reading. I hope all is well for all of you.
tl;rd: My wife got a great new job halfway across the country, we have moved, but my teaching certification won’t transfer, so I’m looking for some other type of job in Iowa. Hope all is well for you.