I like to make a lot of life decisions by flipping a coin.
Before you dismiss me as a crackpot, hear me out.
There is a moment when the reveal happens, when you uncover the coin to see heads or tails, during which you must access the deepest part of yourself. Because, no matter how ambivalent you were about your decision before you tossed that coin in the air, that inner part of you knows what you really want. There will be a tenth of a second that you will feel either relief or disappointment at the outcome, and that’s important information for your ultimate decision.
Of course, not everything we want is good for us. I don’t use the coin technique for deciding whether or not to eat a tub full of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream. It’s reserved for those important times where the pros seem to equal the cons, like my recent job dilemma.
Except it didn’t work this time. “Heads” told me I should apply for the new job. But relief and disappointment both exploded in my soul. I didn’t want to leave my students, my colleagues, my district I had worked in for 27 years. I had a great job that I knew how to do.
I was intrigued by the idea of a new adventure, taking a job that practically described word for word, my dream career (which I had pitched to several people over the years) that seemed impossible to do in a public school.
And, I had a child’s voice in my head that urged me on. “Mrs. Eichholz always encourages us to take risks,” she answered, when someone asked her what she had learned in GT. “Responsible ones!” another student shouted – just to clarify.
This is true. I tell them to go outside their comfort zone, do things they have never done so they can learn what they’ve never learned. “Don’t stick to what’s easy for you or your brain won’t get enough exercise!” We try things together that I’ve never even done, and they watch me make mistakes on a daily basis – and learn from them.
I never say, “Okay, everyone, when you are middle-aged and two years from being eligible from retirement and you live 5 minutes away from work and you know everyone in the community and you have good friends who support you and make you laugh every day, and you’ve taught K-5 for nearly three decades, throw it all away for a job that might require you to 3d print a parachute while you’re jumping out of the plane.”
But here I am. And it feels exhilarating and completely intimidating at the same time.
I guess the coin toss kind of did work. I think my soul was telling me that either decision would be fine. I had a choice between two different journeys, and I picked the really scary one – mostly so I can tell my students, “Don’t tell me you can’t do that just because you’ve never done it before! Challenges make your brain even stronger!” And mean it.
I have accepted a position in SAISD as a S.T.E.A.M. Master Teacher at their Advanced Learning Academy, which serves grades 4-12. They have a Maker Space (with power tools!), and I will be teaching some classes, helping other teachers to integrate S.T.E.A.M. projects, and working with Trinity University students studying Education.