Tuesday is my last day with Patch. I have known for two
months or so that Oct. 15 would be my last day. I was part of a transition team
who would stay on with Patch until Tuesday and then be laid off. This is not,
by any stretch of the imagination, a new concept for me. I have been laid off
three times in the last four years. In 2009, when I was laid off from the
Herald News, I decided that there was probably little chance I would work in
the news business again. So, if I could no longer do what I loved, I would encourage others to follow their dreams. So I decided to go back to school to be a teacher. And
here is where the wine comes in. If given a choice, I would pick a sparkling
Moscato. It would be chilled and in a glass where I could watch the bubbles
float to the top and escape. I like sweet wine. But on Sunday, I did not need
to be anywhere and I was going to be making dinner and wanted a glass of wine.
But all I had in the house was red. Not even a sweet red, but a red. But it was
a bottle I had been wanting to try. It had been a gift. So I opened it.
the parallels in my current situation.
In 2009, I began the journey to my Masters of Art in teaching. I also got a substitute teacher certificate and worked as a substitute teacher for a time. It wasn’t my first choice. At the time, I wanted to stay in the newsroom. But I liked it. I enjoyed it. And I embraced it as my future.
Then along came Patch. I was thrilled. Here was what I loved to do. I took the job. Which meant, when it came down to it, not finishing that degree I started. I finished the classes. I never did my student teaching. That was in 2010. Fast forward to that phone call two months ago that told me I was going to be part of a transition team. The first thing that popped into my head was that I needed to finish what I started. I did not really need to mourn the loss of my job at Patch. I needed to embrace the opportunity to finish my degree. I needed to try something new.
So I called my school. And I filled out all the paperwork so that I could student teach in January. Which means I will graduate in May with my Masters of Art in teaching.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me. In the time between leaving the newsroom and now, teaching has become another passion. It was foreign to me in the beginning, but I have spent time substitute teaching, I directed a high school play, I taught adults in the community at Joliet Junior College and I even took the opportunity to combine my role at Patch with teaching by offering a course each semester at JJC. I am a teacher. I just didn’t know it until I tried it out.
As it turns out, as I walk away from my current role at
Patch, I am walking towards a lot more. I am walking towards a role as an
author. I wrote a book about Channahon and Minooka that came out on September
30. I walk towards multiple book signings – one from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 23
at The Shrimp Barn and one from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Walgreens on
Route 6 in Channahon.
I walk towards more substitute teaching. I walk towards student teaching and a second degree in teaching. I believe I have more to offer students today than if I were a teacher a decade ago. My favorite teachers in college worked in their fields for years before they taught us. They had real-life experience and could give us more than just the words on a page of a textbook. What they passed along to us was a little bit of their passion.
I am still passionate about the newsroom – about the business of news. And I am watching it change and transform, sometimes from the inside and sometimes from the outside. I believe that experience and that passion is a plus in any classroom. I can teach the kids that the passion is essential for whatever they chose to do in life. But sometimes it isn’t just the passion that keeps you there. You need talent and drive and a little bit of luck. And sometimes, that luck does not look anything like what you are expecting. Sometimes, you think luck looks like a glass of Moscato. When in reality, luck looks like the opportunity to try something different. Luck looks like the opportunity to pass your passion on to the next generation. Luck looks like the opportunity to finish what you started, to move forward without looking back, to bring the talents and gifts you have and share them with someone else.
What I hope for is this. I want to encourage the passion I see in students – not just for journalism, but for whatever field they want to enter. I want to encourage their zest for life. I hope they understand that fields will grow and change and sometimes that means their lives will be in flux. But that is not always a bad thing. Sometimes we all have to try something new and sometimes we will find that something new is exactly where we were meant to be.