Jobless in Jersey
I joined 9.8% of
It’s important to understand that I loved my job. There was a time, before I was a mother, that my work WAS my identity. I commuted up to five hours a day, up and down the Turnpike, trying to help transform failing urban schools. I implemented programs to help ensure that every child was connected to a caring adult. I trained faculty to collaborate with one another, pooling their expertise, creating more engaging, more rigorous curriculum. I empowered parents, educators, and students to work together to build learning communities that provided every child with the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education and high-quality employment.
It was stressful work—not at all conducive to getting pregnant. After several miscarriages, I decided that if I really wanted to be a mother, I needed to slow down. Fortunately, I worked for women who were very supportive of this decision. They allowed me to work from home, designing curriculum. I got pregnant. I stayed pregnant.
It was during my pregnancy that I felt a tectonic shift in my values. Suddenly, the most important thing was not what I could nurture outside of myself, but within. I treated myself better than I ever had. I ate right. I swam every day. I relaxed.
By the time I was ready to go back to work, four months after Sophia was born, my values weren’t the only thing that had shifted. The political climate in NJ education had changed as well. “Personalization” of schools was no longer the flavor of the month. Standards was where it was at. Nevermind that teachers still did not have the skills and supports to teach to these standards. Nevermind that illiterate teens still managed to be socially promoted to high school.
A brief pause to hop onto my soapbox:
One of the reasons educational reforms have never been successful in