Monday, June 18, 2012

Professional Bucket List

I never thought about having a bucket list for my career; now I do, and it consists of just one thing I would like to do before I retire.  I'm sure other things will come up, but this one is pretty huge.

1.  Become a participant in the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program.

I have been thinking about next summer (2013) because my best friend D and I are going to take a trip.  2008 was an adventure in NYC and Boston.  It's time for another adventure.  It's expensive.  We're not out of debt, and she's paying off loans and saving up for a doctoral program.  We need a solution.  At some point today as I was researching amazing summer teacher development opportunities that are free, I got this harebrained scheme that we should find teacher travel grants so that our travel could be paid for.  So, that's where my tangent took me.  Eventually, I arrived at the Fulbright website, and started thinking beyond 2013 to about 2022.

So, the gist of it is that I would go for one academic year overseas to teach in another country (right now, participating countries are Czech Republic, Hungary, India and United Kingdom--also Mexico and France, but you have to be fluent in the native tongue for those placements) and a teacher from that country would come to the United States and teach in my place. Amazingly, teachers are encouraged to bring their families with them when they do these exchanges, and I think that this is the most appealing part of this program. I'm not sure how this would work at the local level, but it seems that the prestige of such a program is something that school districts are supposed to be all about, so we'll see.  That's why the prospective date is 2022--plenty of time to establish myself here and feel things out at my school district.

There are other reasons why I'm thinking a decade from now will be perfect:

  • We'll be out of debt.  This means that we will also have lead time to save up to travel to nearby countries while we are abroad.
  • The house will most likely be paid off.  That's my goal, anyway.  Typically, teachers do a housing exchange.  So, the teacher coming this way will stay at our house and we can stay at his/hers (maybe).
  • All current and future Beaver children (God willing) will be of school age, so there will be no need for daycare.  This will also be great for family travel.  And though they won't be able to spend six years of their lives overseas, as I did as a military brat, they will get to experience living in a different culture for a short time (August to July, typically).
There are, of course, some loose ends:
  • What to do with Coco?  Well, ten years from now, he will *probably* be deceased, but I know that some cats live well past 20, and he'll be only 19 years old.
  • What about the National Guard?  I don't know.  We may not be doing the National Guard anymore.  Just depends on promotion opportunities for Eli at the six year mark, and that's four years from now.  And if we are, then we'll have to figure that out...
  • What if my school district does not want to participate in this program?  I don't know.  It's a year-long application process, so anything can happen.  I would probably talk with the Superintendent before applying, just to get an idea of their level of support.  
  • Who would want to come all the way to the US and live in Opelika, Alabama?  I don't know that either, but I'm hoping there's someone.
  • What if there is no funding and the program is cut?  Well, crap.  Hopefully there will be something similar.
So, it's a big dream.  And it's a bit crazy.  But count my professional bucket list as officially begun.

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