I took three years' leave of absence.
The first year I went to several career counselors, did every exercise in Richard Bolles's What Color Is Your Parachute, read books like crazy, went to Europe for three weeks, and did a lot of thinking. Thinking, reading--a good time.
The second year I went to Harvard University's Graduate School of Education to earn a master's degree. I had to choose a concentration, and though administration never had held (nor does it now) any charm, I chose Administration, Planning, and Social Policy. A believer in the transformational power of education, the social policy aspects seemed attractive. I learned much about charter schools, and even had one class co-taught by Tony Alvarado, my future superintendent Alan Bersin's future right hand man.
The third year I hunted for positions as a staff developer, naively thinking my fancy master's degree would be powerful enough to counter my lack of experience in staff development. I taught a few classes at National University (more on that in a future post), worked at Sylvan Learning Center for a few bucks above minimum wage, and....ran out of money.
Back to SDUSD and into the greatest job ever. I was in love again, passionate about becoming the Best Teacher Ever. Impossible, of course, but I wanted every class to be better than the one before, tried every lesson to improve; I wanted to be a part of the transformation of kids' lives. I worked very hard, was inspired by the amazing staff I worked with, and felt like I was making a difference.
A decade later, and I am feeling like it's 1994 all over again. I don't know what to do.