On the train ride home from the Bammy Awards in October 2014, I had time to reflect on my amazing weekend and how honored I was to be recognized for my work as a school librarian. Since I took the job as a Supervisor of Technology & Librarians in June 2014, I kept having this nagging feeling of longing and sadness. I could not seems to put my finger on what was not bring me joy. On that train ride home it hit me, I missed being with the students every day. They are what brought me joy. Teaching children is what I loved doing, what I was good at, what the world needed and what I could get paid for... so why was I do doing it? Being a School Librarian is truly my passion and my purpose. But wouldn't I be seen as a failure if I went back to it?
Everyone knows the "success" ladder in education. You start as a teacher, than become a supervisor, than a VP, than a Principal, than a Assistant Superintendent and than a Superintendent. You don't go down the ladder once you start the climb, that is not how is works. I soon realized that I did not really want to climb up the ladder anymore. While it would have been nice to be back with the students as a VP or Principal; the thought of all the other stuff like paperwork, SGOs, PDPs, etc... that went with the job did not excite me.
I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that it was just my first year, change is hard, things will get better but by June, I knew it was not the case. With age, experience, and some heartache, I have come to realize that you should never have to convince yourself to stay in something you don't love. It will never make you happy no matter how much you try to convince yourself it will.
I loved the educators and supervisors that I worked with in Parsippany, but my heart was not into it. I do not regret being a supervisor for a minute. When I asked a friend if I should become a supervisor he said "you would be crazy to not at least try it." I am happy I took his advice and did. I learned so much from my year as one. I got a totally different view on education and now have a much better understanding of how a district runs and why the administration makes the decisions that they do. It is not an easy job and I admire everyone who chooses to do it.
I am so thankful to Dr. Tim Purnell for welcoming me to the Somerville school district and allowing me to follow my passion. I can't wait to go back to spending every day doing what I truly love which is helping students learn, grow and find their purpose in life.
I also can not thank my a number dear friends enough (you all know who you are). The long Twitter DMs, Texts, Voxes and Talks I had with you, really help to reinforce my decision to go back to what I loved. I am so lucky to have such an amazing group of educators in my PLN.
On my last day in Parsippany, my dear friend Kim Field posted the picture above on my Facebook wall. It summed up everything I was feeling perfectly! In the end, I realized that the few extra dollars I made as an administrator were not worth the lost of passion & purpose in my life. My wallet might not like it but my heart is happy and that is all that matters.... right?
Only time will tell if I made the correct decision, for now I am happy, and that is all that matters.
Elissa Malespina is the High School Librarian at Verona High School and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.