July 25, 2020 by Dr. Robbie Barber
This post is week 6 of 8 in the #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge for educators. The prompt is: “Share your professional goals.”
My children, now grown, heard me ask that question many times during their years at home. I have four college degrees from prominent universities. I have been a student (many times over), an electrical engineer, a wife, a computer engineer, a trainer, a mother, a network engineer, a project manager, a team manager, an office manager, a volunteer, a volunteer board member, a teacher-librarian, an educational technology teacher, a grant writer, and an advisor to teachers doing graduate programs. Maybe the right question is “what will I be next?”
At one point in my early career, I had a very specific goal of managing a group of engineers. The goal came about from watching managers and believing that as an engineer, I could do better with other engineers because I understood the men and women in the job. Essentially, I could communicate with them better. While I had that position for a brief part of my life, other parts took precedent and moved me away. I decided to try my second love of teaching, but put a twist on it. Instead of teaching math, always my strongest subject, I found myself gravitating to the school library. After all, though I knew math well, I never trusted myself to explain math well. But books…
For ten years, I have been a teacher-librarian and edtech instructor. For the last five years, I’ve worked on my doctorate and graduated (via Zoom) in May. I have passed on opportunities to move out of the school. While I’m not opposed to moving into an administrative role, I found myself thinking of the good I can do where I am. Sharing information with administrators from the basis of a school position creates a team that helps everyone. Plus, I love working with students. I do want to use my degree to do research. I do want to teach at a higher level. But I no longer think of it in terms of a career. Instead these are goals to try. I do best with a focus.