Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 288 of 365

There are those pivotal moments in people's lives that change things forever. As I was sitting in a meeting this week, it became clear the leave of absence I took from work was one of those pivotal moments.

The past few years before the leave, my job required me to know the reading program we used at the elementary inside and out. I lived and breathed reading. Phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing. I taught lessons to teachers and kids. I trained teachers in other districts. I could walk into a room, pick up the teacher's manual and teach the lesson without any preparation. Any question about teaching reading I could answer right then and there, on the spot. For six years I was an expert at it.

But as I was sitting at a meeting this week I noticed a shift has happened. Taking a year off from work really has changed me. While the conversation at the meeting was around teaching reading, it seemed like so long ago since I was a part of it. Even though it was a little over a year ago since I was engaged in the teaching-kids-to-read process it seemed like a lifetime ago. I know my knowledge must be buried somewhere in my brain but it wasn't bursting to come out. Even the excitement has waned. I imagine it could be interpreted as a good thing or bad thing.

I think it's a good thing. My passion for teaching reading has been replaced with a passion for doing other things for kids. I did my thing as a teacher (and loved it at the time but not anymore), as a reading "coach" (loved it at the time but not anymore), as a trainer (and loved it too but not anymore). If it weren't for being off of work for a year, I would never have found the next thing I love - sewing things for others, particularly kids.

And I would never have yet another couple quilt tops ready to quilt for Operation Kid Comfort.