When I first moved home and began looking for a job, I had a list of various job titles and companies I was interested in pursuing. Amongst that list, I classified a handful of the positions as "cool" jobs. You know, the career or position that makes others stop and think "wow, that sounds fun" or "I wish I had a job like that." I was blessed to receive said "cool" job on the three-month mark of my return stateside. Throughout these past 3.5 months, I made friends, learned more about the corporate world, and became a published writer. It's been a good experience, one I'm thankful for for many reasons, but one in particular.
I decided when coming home that I was not going to pursue a career in education just yet. For starters, I'm not certified to teach in Texas or America, so my TEFL certification would not go very far. I did see myself taking this path some time in the distant future, potentially after an established career, but I believed at the time, it was best for me to use my degree. To be completely honest, my pride and arrogance got the best of me, and I didn't feel being a teacher would make my life interesting anymore.
Throughout my days at said "cool" job, I felt a happiness disappear from within that I can best describe as a light turning off. Something was missing, I was not fulfilled, I felt like somewhere I made a mistake, and I was confused. Wasn't my "cool" job supposed to make me feel alive?
For the first time in my life, I was not around the education system. Through college, I mentored/tutored, then I went to teach preschool, and afterwards, I set off to Namibia. When 2014 started, there was no more school in my life; no students; no classrooms; and no back-to-school supplies. I never realized how driven I was by education or the beauty of having the opportunity to attend some life altering schools, but Namibia really opened my eyes to that.
At the end of June, I said goodbye to my "cool" job, or I at least put in my notice. The company I work for has been so great about letting me continue to work part-time until the end of July and potentially freelance for them in the future. I did say goodbye to my "cool" job though and decided it was time to follow the path that felt right.
I am currently enrolled in an alternative certification program for teachers, I have been hired as a paraprofessional at a local elementary school for the fall, and sooner than later, I will have a classroom of my own. Although this path has been overwhelming, scary, and a little breaking, I truly believe it led me to a new path that will open doors for me, keep me fulfilled, and provide me the time to pursue various mission opportunities both locally and back in Africa.
Moving to the middle of nowhere Namibia, Africa was the easiest decision I ever made, and this current one has been one of the hardest, but regardless, I'm excited for fall, for the future, for pencils, and tiny backpacks roaming the halls around me.
-Taylor McLaughlin, WorldTeach Namibia 2013-2014