I do things a little differently most of the time. For example, when I was in college I decided to major in history and become a history teacher.
I’m sure that sounds perfectly reasonable to the average person, but the thing about the field of education is that it’s not always reasonable. You see, if you want to become a teacher, you’re supposed to go to college to learn how to teach and maybe also learn a little about your subject area. So, I did it backwards.
I was technically in a prelaw program because that’s what was interesting to me and I had a minor in social sciences because philosophy and ethics are fun.
Happily, all of these subject areas are also ideal if you want to have a solid foundation in historical concepts and methodology - things I’d have missed in a traditional education program.
The whole time I was working on my degree I was told by pretty much everyone that it wasn’t the way to get a job in education. Schools wanted teachers who were certified and you got certified in this one particular way - teacher education.
I decided that was dumb and it made way more sense for a teacher of civics and history to have expertise in the subject area rather than in how to grade and control a classroom.
As it happens, I was able to start teaching immediately upon graduation. But without any teaching experience, I was placed in a high-risk school full of students who weren’t welcome in public schools anymore. No benefits and a lower salary. It was for sure the most challenging teaching position I held and it was also one of the best learning experiences.
I realized I couldn’t circumvent the system and went back to work on a graduate degree in curriculum and instruction in order to earn the credits I needed to receive a permanent teaching certification and a more mainstream teaching job - by which I mean better hours, facilities, pay, and benefits.
The moral of this particular story is that you can do it your own way but it may not work out exactly as you planned, and that’s ok. You just keep going and trying again.
My undergraduate degree worked out for me in that I began teaching upon graduation and continued teaching until I decided to leave the field.
It didn’t work out so well in that I had to go back for a graduate degree to become fully certified. Well, that’s not entirely true. I only needed a handful of credits but I didn’t see any reason to go back to school and not get something more permanent from the experience.
To top it all off, I was in a classroom for only seven years and mainstream education for ten. That’s right. Two degrees to do a job that I’ve been not doing it for longer than I did it. Kind of.
The bigger lesson was that I didn’t really want to be a lawyer - although I love the law - or a teacher - even though I love teaching.
What I discovered I really loved doing was immersing myself in history and philosophy and helping others learn to think critically.
Honestly, my favorite part of every school year was when we’d get to the section on economics and I’d get to explain that money had no intrinsic value. Super fun for me to watch the little minds explode with the implications of what that meant. That might need to be its own podcast.
Or helping co-workers see how it was their thoughts that were driving the problematic student behavior and how easy it was to fix it once they could see the problem.
But in what world can you find a job where you get to teach critical thinking, personal responsibility, and also nerd out on philosophy and history - oh wait. That would be life coaching.
The thing is, life isn’t just about flying. There is value in the falling and in the failing. You have to be willing to fail over and over again to get to what you truly want without making it mean anything other than you haven’t reached your goal - yet.
If you’re willing to try everything, you’ll have so many more opportunities to fly, fall, fail, and fly some more.
This week’s episode is inspired by Try Everything by Shakira.
From the song:
Birds don't just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it wrong
I won't give up
I won't give in till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
No, I won't leave
I want to try everything
I want to try even though I could fail
Do you think success is better than failure? Why? What seemed like a total fail at first only to later be one of your best flying lessons? What seemed like you were flying right up until you crashed? How do you feel about the prospect of failing?
Spend time with these questions and see what comes up. If you’re feeling frisky, hit me up on Instagram and share your answers with me.
Until next time, my wish for you is that you try everything, not despite the possibility of failure but because of what the opportunity of failing offers you.