Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Glimpse Of The "Old" Me...

I went to a professional conference this weekend and it was a very strange experience for me. Truth be told, I was going for two reasons: a cheap, easy way to get credits/continuing education, and to see my friends.

It was two full days of wearing a name badge, sitting in mostly uncomfortable chairs, eating hotel food, taking notes, listening to speakers talk and talk and talk, and more sitting. Wanna know something strange? I really, REALLY enjoyed myself all weekend. Yes, even the sitting.

I realized something pretty major at the end of those two days...I miss that part of myself and my life a whole lot more than I thought I did.

I used to work in an elementary school full-time and was part of a district-wide group of colleagues that was at least 50 in number. I used to complain daily about the number of meetings and staffings I had to attend...they are usually how I would both begin and end my day. Now, I seriously wouldn't mind just hanging out in the conference room during a staffing -- and if you are reading this and have been a special educator at any point in your life, you will know just how sad that is. Pitiful.

The thing is, now that I'm contracting on my own, my professional contact with other providers is EXTREMELY limited, and it's all done via phone, fax or email. I had no idea how much I missed the face to face conferring, and all of the fun chit chat that goes with it. I guess saying that I'm professionally lonely is the best way to describe it, as ridiculous as that sounds. I miss my team...a lot. I mean, I know I missed them before, but man...I REALLY miss them now. I think that they made me better at my job, and they certainly added to my enjoyment of it.

I called a friend of mine (a teammate) last week...I dialed her cell phone. Someone else picked it up and I recognized the voice as another teammate but thought I must be losing my mind because I know I dialed the first person's cell phone. Turns out that she was just goofing with me and that they were at a class together. As much of a pain in the butt as those were, I remember how much fun we would have, eating salads from Wendy's as we all watched the clock. We did some learning but we also did a LOT of laughing. I know that they would all have rather traded places with me, sitting at home in my sweats, cleaning my kitchen...but for a brief moment, I wished I was at class with them.


Anyway, I'll get back there eventually and I know that when I do, I'll be aching for the gift of freedom that I have now. The freedom to work three hours a week and not have to attend one single, solitary meeting or staffing. The freedom to compose my notes and reports in my pajamas. The freedom to not have to submit grades or do progress reports for 60 kids 3-4 times a year. I know I'll miss it.

Right now, as crazy as it is, I can't help but think that the grass is just a little bit greener on the other side of the professional fence. Good thing I have two sweet little sleeping peanuts upstairs to remind me why my feet are firmly planted where they should be. These moments are theirs...they are ours. I'll jump the fence again someday, and I know that the pangs of regret and "I would love to's" are much easier to digest from this side.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I sat in a conference all day today. Small world.

You'll get it all back sooner than you probably want to. Save this post so you can remember what you wanted!