Over the past month (Yes, since seeing Waiting for Superman) I have become re-obsessed with the topic of education reform. I say re-obsessed since this happened to me once before in 1992. I read Savage Inequalities by Jonathon Kozol and quit my consulting job 6 months later to become a teacher. I ended up returning to the corporate world (for many reasons), but hoped to get back into education some day, in some capacity.
I have been reading a lot more about this issue of education reform and have broadened my perspective since my original post on the topic. (I Wish I Was Superman). I understand that this is a complex issue that goes far beyond good teachers (which are very important and very hard to cultivate, not matter how much money you throw at them.) I understand that having good management in schools is equally as important as having good teachers and the horrible management is one of the reasons we have teacher’s unions. There are lots of other things I have learned but lets save that for future posts.
I was mentioning my obsession to a friend last week, who is a NYC public school principal, and she got very excited about connecting me with someone who is looking for an Executive Director for his Nonprofit focused on school reform. I was of course, was terrified by the prospect, but I am trying not to let fear get in my way these days so I agreed to speak with him. By the time he contacted me to set up a call, my job had been eliminated which put a whole new spin on this exploration activity.
I read the job description which said the ideal candidate would have X, Y, and Z. I have many fabulous skills but not X, Y, and Z. The day before the call, I knew I should be preparing to spin the skills I do have but instead I took a nap and watched three (awesome) back to back episodes of Glee.
The morning of the conversation I did spend a couple of hours taking notes on what might be good to say about my background, made a list of intelligent questions, and mostly told myself over and over not to start the conversation with “I know I am completely unqualified for this job but thank you for taking the time to speak with me.”
When the call kicked off, he jumped right in and talked for almost a full hour before I had to say anything. I completely forgot that his perspective could be to sell ME on the job. I talked about my background a little bit, but he kept getting inspired to interject (he loves Jonathan Kozol..score!) which meant less time for me to stick my foot in my mouth (yay!) I also tool a lot of notes while he was talking (and he knows a lot about education and the NYC public school system) so that when we meet again, I have a much better idea of how to tailor my sales pitch to what he is looking for, and lots of time to read up more on X, Y, and Z.
I went in to the conversation thinking that even if I could convince him to hire me, this job would be so far out of my comfort zone and so stressful that I am not sure I would enjoy it (and there is no way it would pay enough.) But after talking with him, I am definitely more excited about the prospect (and it pays more than I thought it would). He is also looking for people to sit on his board which could be a great opportunity to ease my way in to it all and stay in the comfy corporate world a bit longer.
I have a lot of thinking to do, but I am starting to think that I CAN be Wonder Woman!!! (because clearly that Superman suit would look ridiculous on me.) Well, I always knew I had it in me, I just wasn’t sure when I would strap on my lasso and get in my invisible plane to make it happen. Looks like I might be getting closer to putting on that suit. Which means I should definitely hit the gym after the holidays.