- First published on June 12, 2019
Final exams are graded. Seniors have walked the stage. Faculty meetings are done.
It’s the first day of summer break for us teachers. Woo! For me, though, today is different.
I told my boss I wasn’t coming back.
And, purposely, I didn’t line up a job for next year.
A sabbatical? Yes and no.
Twelve years of teaching was a great adventure, transformative in so many ways. And teaching is in my blood…it’s difficult to imagine doing anything else.
So what exactly am I doing here?
Really, it’s a sabbatical. Unpaid, of course, and my job won’t be waiting for me when the year is up. But by definition, what I’m doing is taking a sabbatical: a planned absence from teaching to learn and grow, to develop personally and professionally.
What it feels more like, though, is a gap year.
You know, the increasingly-popular year (or so) taken by a student as a break between high school and university: a year in which said student may explore varied interests and gain increased life experience, to better decide how they will spend the next years of their life.
Yup! That’s more like what I’m doing.
Guiding others…guided me back to my own dreams.
In the process of helping young people to discover their own passions, I got caught up in the activity and found myself writing out all kinds of once-dormant goals.
“What do you like to do for fun?”
“If you could do anything and get paid for it, what would it be?”
“What did you do for play as a child?”
I played with my toy horses.
I read constantly.
I wrote short stories.
In the end, I decided to leap outside my risk-averse, comfort-zone self and take a year off to write.
It sounded so luxurious, impractical, and entitled when I first considered it. Those were my initial adjectives. But I prefer those of my colleagues, my family, my friends:
Daring. Inspiring. Brave. Exciting. Chingona. (literally, a feminine version of “bad-a**.”)
So…I will be daring and revive my dreams this year. I will be inspired, and brave, and I am definitely excited.
And I agree it is pretty chingona.