The following communities of practice appealed to me:
http://www.MenTeach.org . I am a member of MenTeach currently. I’ve only been a member for one year, but have gained an increased respect for this organization when I began researching my project – Men in ECE. I found that I returned repeatedly to MenTeach for information about research either directly or when directed to MenTeach by my online searches for information. Bryan Nelson, the guru of MenTeach is someone that I have a great deal of respect for, and he has also agreed to read over my project. MenTeach is actually a global organization – at least the English-speaking world. Bryan has been able to suggest resources for my Walden studies in past courses as well as the current course.
NAEYC Men in Education Network Interest Forum: I was a member of this group when I was a member of NAEYC. I was reminded of its importance when researching men in ECE. When I learned of the original Listserv for men in ECE from an article posted by Bruce Sheppard on MenTeach, I began reconsidering joining NAEYC. I am currently “boycotting” NAEYC because of its recently revised technology position statement, as well as some issues I have with its direction.
(Dream world) Head Start: I would welcome the opportunity to join the Head Start universe in a role that would permit me to correct its current misguided course. Head Start, on paper, is everything that I believe in. In execution, it is an absolute mess. Hundreds of pages of Performance Standards, teachers that exist in a silo apart from AEYC, data collection that is contaminated by the chaos of the everyday reality of Head Start employees… One year, I was responsible for the annual Program Information Report. I had to do my best to make sense of the faulty information that was given to me through the bureaucratic nightmare that is Head Start. I was an assistant director in a delegate agency under fire from one of the largest grantees in the US. It was the most absurd experience in my 30 years in education. Yeah, I mean it.
My “bucket list” of jobs remains the mostly the same. But I went for it and added something:
• Community College Professor: I would love to have the opportunity to influence the next generation of ECE teachers and leaders. I have very much enjoyed the opportunities that I have had to teach university extension and to guest lecture at Community College and State College classrooms.
• Crossing Guard: Don’t laugh. My greatest wish is that the last job I have is as a crossing guard. I actually pay attention to crossing guards. I notice their passion, their “technique”. I have seen truly horrible crossing guards. They are disinterested – almost as if they are fulfilling a community service requirement for some court order. And I have seen magnificent crossing guards. They greet the children and parents every day with a wonderful attitude and energy. They actually are the faces that begin and end the school day for the children and parents.
• Assistant Director is the best job in ECE. Divide your time between classroom and the administrative duties. Inform the direction of staff development, curriculum, classroom practices, and community engagement. The ideal job.
• Director of the Office of Head Start. I would use what I learned in my Master’s courses (and life) to address the problems that are rampant in Head Start. Head Start is a beautiful vision fatally blurred by viewing childhood through an electron microscope.
What I will need:
Once I complete my Master’s Degree, I will have all I need to seek my bucket list jobs – so long as I stay out of mischief. I must at this point admit that I have been arrested for participating in an anti-war demonstration (charges dropped), and have a propensity for speaking my mind vigorously even when it is not in my best interest to do so. As a result, I have encountered some obstacles to employment.
Upon completing my Masters, I will apply for my director permit in California (Child Development Training Consortium, 2009) and also be eligible for consideration as a community college professor.
As far as the Office of Head Start position, I would need some political “juice”. I would need to have the support of some major political players who wield power at the federal level. That would mean having the support of a Senator perhaps, or someone in President Obama’s administration. At that level of power, it truly is not what you know but who you know. I’ve already launched verbal grenades at the second largest grantee in the country (Los Angeles County Office of Education) so I am not on their happy face list.
And yes, I may need to fine tune my people skills. However, I have never put my people skills above my child-skills.