Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Return to Teaching: Life Comes Full-Circle

A little under seven years ago, Shelly and I decided to quit our full-time teaching jobs in Michigan to travel the country in an RV with our three kids and niece Stephanie. Yeah, we're masochists. As I discussed in this post on my BRU blog, we left for a variety of reasons. First, we were simply burned out. Teaching is not easy, and we both got too caught up in negativity. The financial climate for education in Michigan at the time was decidedly bad and we had the opportunity to travel the country doing what we love. Second, we wanted to spend more time together with our kids and as a couple. Paid travel? Who wouldn't take that opportunity? 

After traveling 50,000 miles back and forth across our beautiful country, we eventually we settled outside San Diego. What started as a temporary stop to wait out winter turned into a five-plus year adventure... thanks mostly to Shelly and I falling in love with our coaches and training partners at our Brazilian jiu jitsu/ mixed martial arts gym.

I was busy trying to make a living as a writer while also exploring a variety of alternative career paths. I dabbled in package delivery and truck-loading for UPS, working as a materials receiver for a lumber yard, working in real estate lead-generation, and even drove for Uber for a spell. It all kinda sucked; none of the jobs captured my interest quite like teaching. I also worked as a substitute teacher for a local high school district. That experience kept my teaching skills sharp and allowed me to stay current with trends in education, but the intermittent nature of the work didn't inspire me to go back to teaching full-time.

All of that changed when we took a road trip back to Michigan this last summer. That trip rekindled a lot of our future plans we put on hold when we started traveling. All of us, the kids included, have been growing tired of the SoCal life (extremely high costs, ridiculous population density, heavy traffic, lack of real seasons, no parking, lack of a real yard, etc.) So we made a decision to move to Western Colorado, which was one of about seven locations for permanent settlement we scouted when traveling.

In preparation for the move, I got two jobs working school security. The jobs were to provide a regular source of income to pay off debt AND give me experience in school security for a business Shelly and I have been planning. The first job is working evenings at an adult education campus; the second job is working mornings at a middle school. Both jobs involve A LOT of interaction with all school personnel, especially the administrators. I also get to work work closely with the custodians, administrative assistants, counselors, food service, grounds and maintenance, IT, and, of course, teachers. Finally, I have the opportunity to work directly with students in a mentor-tutoring capacity, which is an extra-duty task I volunteered to do given my teaching background.

These experiences turned out to be the magical formula that rekindled my passion to get back into the classroom. It's taken quite some time to process exactly why that passion returned. Here's what I have so far:

  • I miss making a difference. This is the biggie. Teaching gives you the opportunity to get to know individual students pretty well, which also gives you the opportunity to make a significant, positive difference in their lives. My "specialty" has always been finding out what motivates kids, then teaching them how to apply that motivation to academia. 
  • I miss the dynamics of the classroom. Interacting with teens is endlessly amusing. They're intellectually-mature enough to have in-depth conversations and understand complex ideas, but haven't experienced enough real life to be overly cynical. That makes the teaching and learning process a ton of fun. 
  • I have a far different perspective on the nature of education. When I started teaching, I had a Michelle Pfeiffer/ Dangerous Minds perspective on teaching. I was filled with piss and vinegar and I was going to change the world, damn it! I was hyper-focused on the welfare of the students in my classroom without consideration for the bigger picture. I didn't understand a lot of the decisions that were made at the building or district level because I didn't really understand how all the parts of a district function as a unit. 
  • I've had a ton of great life experiences inside and outside the classroom. Since leaving full-time teaching, I've traveled to forty-seven states, four countries, run a bunch of ultramarathons in fascinating, beautiful locations, worked with a major outdoor company, wrote five books and about 1.2 million words worth of blog posts, experienced abject poverty, earned a purple belt in jiu jitsu and did a little teaching, had a pro mma fight (against an injured opponent, so it only kinda counts), have subbed in about fifteen different schools with wildly different school cultures, worked with varied ages and demographics, and totally different communities. Some were rural, some suburban, some urban. I've had the opportunity to work with students from decidedly different backgrounds, including a lot of first and second generation immigrants. I've had the opportunity to work with administrators with different leadership styles. All of these experiences have dramatically increased my relatability to students, which is really the key to being a successful teacher. 
  • I can be a much better teacher. Early in my career, I had a ton of enthusiasm but no experience. As I got more experience, the enthusiasm waned. Now, I have the collected experiences of twenty years in the education world, years of extended travel, AND the passion and enthusiasm of a new teacher. I am intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations of teaching, have accepted the negatives, and can still approach the career with enthusiasm. 
  • The pay, benefits, and schedule are nice. As much as I enjoy school security, the pay and benefits are pretty terrible compared to teacher pay and benefits. We're not materialistic, but buying land and a house is one of our reasons for moving. Teaching will allow us to achieve that goal sooner. The schedule will allow us ample time to do other things that interest us, like doing more travel during the summer. 

The Tentative Plan

Since making this decision, I've been busy preparing. First, I need to get certified in Colorado which involves digging up a slew of documents like transcripts, certificates, ID, etc. Thankfully their department of education seems far less chaotic than the California counterpart. 

Next, I've started setting up job alerts on all the websites that list Colorado teaching jobs, like k12jobspot, schoolspring, and teachaway, along with all the more well-known sites like LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, etc. If a job opens up, I'll know about it.

Finally, I've been preparing to reenter the profession by brushing up on theory, terminology, pedagogy, new, relevant laws and regulations, and of course, classroom management. Luckily the substitute teaching and school security experiences have given me ample opportunities to stay up to date and regularly practice the skills we use as teachers. I've been preparing my resume and gathering my letters of recommendation. I've been researching possible districts who may be hiring for the coming school year. When the spring hiring season begins later this year, I'll be ready. 


I haven't been a full-time teacher since June of 2011, but am excitedly preparing to reenter the career. When I started teaching way back in '99, I was convinced I was going to change the world. Schools were failing and I was the person who was going to make the difference!

Like most teachers, the reality of teaching effectively killed that optimism. 

However, my experiences since that day I left my classroom for the last time back in '11 have really given me a broader perspective. I'm going into this return to teaching with that same passion and enthusiasm I did back in '99, only this time I understand the realities of public education. 

I'll likely post more on this topic in the near future. Stay tuned!



  1. Existing without the answers to the difficulties you’ve sorted out through this guide is a critical case, as well as the kind which could have badly affected my entire career if I had not discovered your website.
    Digital Marketing Training in Chennai

    Digital Marketing Training in Bangalore

    digital marketing training in tambaram

    digital marketing training in annanagar

    digital marketing training in marathahalli

  2. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.Thanks for sharing this information,this is useful to me...
    python training in Bangalore
    python training in rajajinagar
    Python training in btm
    Python training in marathahalli

  3. All the points you described so beautiful. Every time i read your i blog and i am so surprised that how you can write so well.
    Blueprism training in marathahalli

    Blueprism training in btm

  4. This is a nice article here with some useful tips for those who are not used-to comment that frequently. Thanks for this helpful information I agree with all points you have given to us. I will follow all of them.
    python training in rajajinagar | Python training in bangalore | Python training in usa

  5. The knowledge of technology you have been sharing thorough this post is very much helpful to develop new idea. here by i also want to share this.
    Devops Training courses
    Devops Training in Bangalore
    Best Devops Training in pune
    Devops interview questions and answers

  6. Good Post! Thank you so much for sharing this pretty post, it was so good to read and useful to improve my knowledge as updated one, keep blogging.

    angularjs-Training in tambaram

    angularjs-Training in sholinganallur

    angularjs-Training in velachery

    angularjs Training in bangalore

    angularjs Training in bangalore

  7. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Website. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.Well written article Thank You Sharing with Us project management courses in chennai |pmp training class in chennai | pmp training fee | project management training certification | project management training in chennai | project management certification online

  8. From your discussion I have understood that which will be better for me and which is easy to use. Really, I have liked your brilliant discussion. I will comThis is great helping material for every one visitor. You have done a great responsible person. i want to say thanks owner of this blog.
    Data Science course in Indira nagar
    Data Science course in marathahalli
    Data Science Interview questions and answers
    Data science training in tambaram | Data Science Course in Chennai
    Data Science course in btm layout | Data Science training in Bangalore
    Data science course in kalyan nagar | Data Science Course in Bangalore

  9. Hmm, it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well as an aspiring blog writer, but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations for newbie blog writers? I’d appreciate it.
    AWS Interview Questions And Answers | Top 250+AWS Interviews Questions and Answers –Besant Technologies
    Best AWS Interview questions and answers | Top 110+AWS Interview Question and Answers
    Best and Advanced AWS Training in Bangalore | Best Amazon Web Services Training in Bangalore
    Advanced AWS Training in Pune | Best Amazon Web Services Training in Pune
    Advanced AWS Online Training | Best Online AWS Certification Course in india

  10. Inspiring writings and I greatly admired what you have to say , I hope you continue to provide new ideas for us all and greetings success always for you..Keep update more information..
    angularjs Training in bangalore

    angularjs Training in btm

    angularjs Training in electronic-city

    angularjs online Training

    angularjs Training in marathahalli

    angularjs interview questions and answers

  11. Tired of boring work? Play and win with BGAOC top online casino come in now and take your winnings.

  12. Wow it is really wonderful and awesome thus it is very much useful for me to understand many concepts and helped me a lot. it is really explainable very well and i got more information from your blog.
    microsoft azure training in bangalore
    rpa interview questions and answers
    automation anywhere interview questions and answers
    blueprism interview questions and answers
    uipath interview questions and answers
    rpa training in bangalore

  13. Needed to compose you a very little word to thank you yet again regarding the nice suggestions you’ve contributed here.
    Best Devops Training in pune
    Devops Training in Bangalore
    Power bi training in Chennai

  14. Inspiring writings and I greatly admired what you have to say , I hope you continue to provide new ideas for us all and greetings success always for you.
    Keep update more information..

    Selenium training in bangalore
    Selenium training in Chennai
    Selenium training in Bangalore
    Selenium training in Pune
    Selenium Online training
    Selenium interview questions and answers

  15. Whoa! I’m enjoying the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a very good job with this.
    Devops Training in Chennai | Devops Training Institute in Chennai

  16. Thanks, Learned a lot of new things from your post! Good creation and HATS OFF to the creativity of your mind.
    Devops Training in Chennai | Devops Training Institute in Chennai

  17. Thank you for allowing me to read it, welcome to the next in a recent article. And thanks for sharing the nice article, keep posting or updating news article.
    devops online training

    aws online training

    data science with python online training

    data science online training

    rpa online training

  18. Home Mart is a site about Home Improvement, Furniture, Home Appliances and many more.
    Check out the best
    furniture nz
    furniture sale
    Dog Cages
    bedroom furniture nz

  19. If you can make your titles, keywords, and back links relevant to a user's search, you will rank highly in Google's search engine and people will be able to find you when they are looking for a particular product or service that is related to your business. my blog Hardly any men and women are going to see everyone if your website has 100 testimonials, or perhaps just 25.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Wow it is really wonderful and awesome thus it is veWow, it is really wonderful and awesome thus it is very much useful for me to understand many concepts and helped me a lot.

    python training in bangalore

    python courses in bangalore

    python classes in bangalore

    python training institute in bangalore

    python course syllabus

    best python training

    python training centers

  23. keep up the good work. this is an Assam post. this to helpful, i have reading here all post. i am impressed. thank you. this is our digital marketing training center. This is an online certificate course
    digital marketing training in bangalore |

  24. Really very nice blog information for this one and more technical skills are improve,i like that kind of post.

    eTechno Soft Solutions is a leading training institute for all kind of the Oracle Training in Bangalore with real-time experienced trainers with 100% Placement Assistance.

  25. Attend The Bangalore Digital Marketing Course From ExcelR. Practical Bangalore Digital Marketing Course Sessions With Assured Placement Support From Experienced Faculty. ExcelR Offers The Bangalore Digital Marketing Course.
    Bangalore Digital Marketing Course

  26. Attend The Business Analytics Courses From ExcelR. Practical Business Analytics Courses Sessions With Assured Placement Support From Experienced Faculty. ExcelR Offers The Data Analytics Courses.
    Business Analytics Courses
    Data Science Interview Questions

  27. If you are looking for the Marketing Assignments help then in this case you can opt for our Market Analysis Assignment.we provide the best Online Assignment Experts.We also provide Market Analysis Assignment for students across the globe. for more information contact us +16692714848.


  28. We is among the best companies on the Programming Database and IT Assignments Help writing market. We offer top-notch essays, Programming Assignment Help research papers, thesis and other types of works that can be assigned to you at a high school or college. We also provide AJAX Programming Assignment Help from our experts. for more information contact us +16692714848.

  29. Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.

    Digital marketing courses in Bangalore

  30. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. This article inspired me to read more. keep it up.
    Correlation vs Covariance
    Simple linear regression

  31. All the points you described so beautiful. Every time i read your i blog and i am so surprised that how you can write so well.

    Water Flosser

  32. Really awesome blog!!! I finally found a great post here.I really enjoyed reading this article. Nice article on data science . Thanks for sharing your innovative ideas to our vision. Your writing style is simply awesome with useful information. Very informative, Excellent work! I will get back here.Data Science Training In Chennai

    Data Science Online Training In Chennai

    Data Science Training In Bangalore

    Data Science Training In Hyderabad

    Data Science Training In Coimbatore

    Data Science Training

    Data Science Online Training

  33. Hi! Thank you for the share this information. This is very useful information for online blog review readers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this.

    Data Science Training in Chennai

    Data Science Course in Chennai

  34. Thanks for posting the best information and the blog is very informative.Data science course in Faridabad

  35. Highly appreciable regarding the uniqueness of the content. This perhaps makes the readers feels excited to get stick to the subject. Certainly, the learners would thank the blogger to come up with the innovative content which keeps the readers to be up to date to stand by the competition. Once again nice blog keep it up and keep sharing the content as always.

    Data Science training in Bhilai

  36. Wonderful blog found to be very impressive to come across such an awesome blog. I should really appreciate the blogger for the efforts they have put in to develop such an amazing content for all the curious readers who are very keen of being updated across every corner. Ultimately, this is an awesome experience for the readers. Anyways, thanks a lot and keep sharing the content in future too.

    Data Science Course in Bhilai

  37. Your style is very unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site


  38. I really enjoyed reading this post, big fan. Keep up the good work and please tell me when can you publish more articles or where can I read more on the subject?
    data scientist training and placement in hyderabad

  39. I recently found a lot of useful information on your website, especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.
    cloud computing course in hyderabad


  40. Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post with people..
    ethical hacking training in hyderabad

  41. Great Blog! I might want to thank for the endeavors you have made recorded as a hard copy this post. I'm trusting a similar best work from you in the future also. I needed to thank you for this sites! Much obliged for sharing. Incredible sites!.data analytics course in bhubaneswar

  42. I needed to leave a little remark to help you and wish you a decent continuation. Wishing you the good luck for all your blogging endeavors. data science training in kanpur

  43. Amazingly by and large very interesting post. I was looking for such an information and thoroughly enjoyed examining this one. Keep posting. An obligation of appreciation is all together for science course in gwalior

  44. This post is good enough to make somebody understand this amazing thing, and I’m sure everyone will appreciate this interesting things. data science training in surat

  45. A debt of gratitude is in order for giving late reports with respect to the worry, I anticipate read more. data scientist course in kanpur

  46. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks a lot|data science course in Jodhpur

  47. I surely acquiring more difficulties from each surprisingly more little bit of it data science course in mysore

  48. I'm really getting a charge out of scrutinizing your exquisitely made articles. Apparently you consume a huge load of energy and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am expecting to scrutinize new articles. Continue to do analytics courses in bhopal

  49. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti Board (JNVST Result 2022) Selection Test After Successful Conduct Of Exam the Month Of January to March 2022, After The Student Had Given the Exam, The Most Anticipated Thing is Result and Scorecard. Navodaya Result 2022 Rajasthan Each Year Lakhs Of Student Sit for JNVST Exam and Wait for JNVST Result 2022, So More Info Check More Detailed Information of JNVST Selection List 2022 & Waiting List Below Pages. So Follow the Exact Systematic Guide in Order to Download the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya JNVST State Wise Section List 2022 Visit the Official Website, A Student can Visit the Official Website or click on the above link provided.

  50. You really make it look so natural with your exhibition however I see this issue as really something which I figure I could never understand. It appears to be excessively entangled and incredibly expansive for me.

  51. 360DigiTMG, the top-rated organisation among the most prestigious industries around the world, is an educational destination for those looking to pursue their dreams around the globe. The company is changing careers of many people through constant improvement, 360DigiTMG provides an outstanding learning experience and distinguishes itself from the pack. 360DigiTMG is a prominent global presence by offering world-class training. Its main office is in India and subsidiaries across Malaysia, USA, East Asia, Australia, Uk, Netherlands, and the Middle East.

  52. Thanks for the best blog. it was very useful for me.keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. data science course in kanpur

  53. Excellent post.I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post.Keep up your work business analytics course in kanpur

  54. I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. . . . . business analytics course in mysore

  55. NCERT 3rd Class Textbooks 2022 Available in Mathematics, Science, Social Science, English and Hindi Subjects We have Provided Latest Editions of Hindi, English, Urdu Medium All the Textbooks that are Published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for the Current Academic Session 2022, SCERT and CBSE Students are Advised to Follow NCERT 3rd Class Books can be Downloaded here in PDF format. NCERT 3rd Class Book NCERT Class 3 Textbooks 2022 for Providing the best learning Platform with Various Resources to Support and enhance Educational Delivery and Management. Students Download NCERT Books 2022 for Class 3 Subject Wise and Hindi, Urdu, English Medium Wise our Website Provide Pdf Format.

  56. It become an attractive part of a blog when author uses indirect speech while writing a blog. It shows your creative mind as well as make your written essay different from others.
    devops training in bangalore
    devops course in bangalore
    aws training in bangalore

  57. The most well-known website in India, BSEH 10th Blueprint 2023, is where the Haryana Board announces its Haryana Board 10th Blueprint 2023 for class 10. Only the Haryana Board 10th Blueprint 2023 of Secondary School Examination and Senior Secondary Examination is displayed on this site, which is the official portal of the Haryana Board of Secondary Education. BSEH 10th Exam Pattern 2023 The Haryana Board 10th Blueprint 2023 date has not yet been made public. However, you can get it shortly. Visitors must go to the Haryana Board of Secondary Education's official website to view the BSEH 10th Blueprint 2023.

  58. you can surely peruse and modify anything you compose with Grammarly's free composing application. Grammarly for windows customers may be completely tested by using Grammarly for gifted clients by using coordinating it. Grammarly Cracked

  59. The wi-fi safety consultant component, protect the consumer from intimidation that happen from wireless relations specially, the application check such wireless network linked to your computer and give alerts of their safety rank. Bitdefender Total Security 2019 License Key

  60. May the bond of love that we share is always blessed by the Almighty. Wishing a blessed Christmas to you. Christmas Birthday Wishes

  61. Your blog is fantastic! I frequently visit your blog, and your writings have given me additional ideas. I appreciate you giving us this concept.
    Data Analytics Courses in Agra

  62. What an inspiring journey! Your return to teaching with renewed passion and a wealth of experiences will undoubtedly make a significant impact. Best wishes for this exciting new chapter!
    Is iim skills fake?

  63. This blog post sounds like a heartfelt reflection on a return to teaching, highlighting the cyclical nature of life's journey. It's a wonderful reminder of how experiences and passions can lead us back to our roots and original inspirations. Teaching is a noble profession, and this post likely shares personal insights and experiences that resonate with both educators and anyone on a journey of rediscovery and personal growth. A touching and relatable read.
    Data Analytics Courses in Delhi

  64. Good post. I feel encouraged after reading your blog, and it offers some helpful information. I appreciate you sharing this unique message regarding our vision.
    Data Analytics Courses in Agra


Adventures in Teaching: Act Two

The decision to get back into teaching has been a very long, convoluted process. When I left back in 2011, I was essentially burned out....