I’ve been thinking a lot about my professional path lately, for no particular reason other than the fact that I am surrounded by people (mostly students, but also several friends and colleagues) who are doing the same. As I consider the jobs I’ve held since I began working in higher education 15+ years ago, there are several threads that are apparent to me.
JOBS – MORE OR LESS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
- Tutoring in a writing center
- Working in writing, study, and technology center for students with disabilities
- Teaching college English / writing
- Coordinating faculty development and mentoring programs
- Developing English curriculum and assessment programs
- Creating and delivering professional development programs for educators
- Creating and managing writing and learning resources for adult learners
- And what I do now
- Facilitating faculty development
- Assessing student learning
- Providing learning / learner support
- Facilitating access to learning (in my mind, included in this thread is educational technology)
WHAT WILL I WEAVE NEXT?
Looking back over the last 15+ years, these threads seem significant in that they have not all been fully present in each position, but they have reappeared in different forms. Maybe it’s the kind of work I am attracted to within higher education, what I am “trained” to do, or what I am good at, or maybe these threads represent my true passions (I think that is probably true). Or, more likely, a combination of all of that.
Now I wonder — will these threads remain constant, even though my positions and job titles and passions may change over time? Will they evolve? Would I have been able to identify these as being significant to me 15+ years ago? (Probably not – so I have no way of knowing if they will be 15+ years from now, but it’s an interesting question.)
I also think that the tapestry I am weaving with them is really starting to take a more defined shape. There is a clearer “picture” forming from the tangle of multi- colored strands littering my floor. The outline is well-defined, and though the details are still a bit blurry, so far I like what I am weaving. It fits me as comfortably as my favorite sweater does — like a second skin.
WHAT TAPESTRY ARE YOU WEAVING?
What are your threads? Are you adding new colors, new strands, new textures? Are you carefully considering the threads that you already have on hand and how you can use them in your tapestry? Is the outline or picture in your tapestry clear yet? What will your tapestry become?