Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What am I doing (now)?

I have left behind a quite profitable and once-fulfilling career in the data integration niche of the computer industry: designing, developing, supporting, team-managing, marketing, training, documenting, and tutoring. But the nature of entrepreneurial software development is that you run the risk of some of your best work never effectively making its way onto the market. I was fortunate, in that some of my work did find a useful place in the world, but some of it did not. And as the years continued to tick by (here I am, pushing fifty!), I was less and less willing to accept that whole years of my life’s efforts might be wasted in very creative but ultimately unproductive work.

What then, to do? To cut right to the chase, I dropped everything and in the summer of 2008 began the pursuit of teaching certification, with the intent of joining my wife as a teacher in the international school network. This would be work that would demand much of me, but that would provide me a much closer-to-immediate feedback regarding the usefulness of my actions.

This new direction has its own frustrations. The biggest is that I will not have my teaching certification until the summer of 2010 at the earliest. To partially offset my impatience, I’m doing my certification field-work, along with volunteer and substitute teaching work, at the international school at which my wife teaches.

But the stew still wasn’t spicy enough, so I added something new to the mix this year. The landscape of education is shifting, with an increasing incorporation of technology into the learning space. Well, the world of computing technology is where I’m coming from, and a couple of international school administrators that I talked with at a Seattle job fair early last year encouraged me to consider aiming myself at technology-oriented administrative roles as well as pure teaching roles. Ultimately taking up their advice, last month I began a new endeavor in parallel to my teaching certification work, enrolling in a program that will ultimately lead to a Masters degree in educational technology.

So, that’s what I’m doing on my two-year “sabbatical”. My wife and I look forward to a 2010 in which we can offer ourselves as a teaching couple within the international school network, her with over twenty years of elementary teaching experience (over four years of that at IB-accredited international schools), and me with my twenty years of computer industry experience, an MBA, teaching certification (in both elementary teaching and at least one secondary subject), and a significant part of a new Masters degree in educational technology under my belt. (Maybe I should also mention that my wife and I both have undergraduate music degrees, but that we don’t have current plans to professionally put those to use.)

We aren’t sure where will end up, but we are on our way.

1 comment:

  1. The combination of courage and cleverness will serve you well in your transition to a new career! Sometimes it is a matter of reshuffling the ingredients we already have in the cupboard to create a new and satisfying dish. Good luck!