I have often found myself so immersed in a book that I am reading that it permeates the rest of my life. The series that tends to cause this effect most is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Despite the fact that I’ve read them and seen the movies multiple times, I am still so engaged in the books that I find it hard to put them down. And like many other books I’ve read, even when I’m not reading them, I’m thinking about them. With this series, it’s gone even further, however. I find myself thinking about real-life circumstances in terms of characters and situations in the Harry Potter books. I am halfway through my reread of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince now (the sixth of seven books, for those not familiar with the series), but I can’t believe how much some things in Order of the Phoenix (the fifth book) paralleled things in the real world. Government officials who have no background in teaching taking over education, changes being made which are completely illogical and unfair, and people being bullied by peers and superiors are just a few of the things I noticed that reminded me of the real world today. J.K. Rowling’s books really are amazingly well-written, especially when one thinks that they were originally targeted towards tweens and teens. They are so much more thought-out than many young adult series, and the Harry Potter world is incredibly rich with detail and background.
Although I have had a relaxing and fun summer, I can’t help feel regret that I didn’t work on certain things I should have done, like de-hoardering our back room or trying to work through the mounds of laundry forever stacked in our bedroom. I have no idea how I have so many clothes that I still have things to wear despite this stack...couldn’t have anything to do with buying new clothes instead of washing old ones, could it? ;) Reading the Harry Potter series, however, has helped me escape into a world with different, bigger problems than the ones I face in the coming months. I don’t want to think about the fact that I am now preparing myself to begin a year in a job that I never expected nor wished to have. I knew that I was beyond lucky to be able to get a job teaching the fall after I graduated from college, but now I really realize how lucky I was to have that dream job for few short years. I was actually teaching the subject I had been trained to teach. I was able to share my love of music with my students. I am now, because I decided to “make myself marketable” and become certified in all subject K-5, having to begin teaching subjects for which I have no passion whatsoever. Some people will say, “Well, at least you have a job. Many certified teachers can’t find any teaching jobs.” I understand that, and I am very grateful that I am still employed. However, my dream in life was not to teach kids how to type or throw a ball (I don’t even know how to properly throw a ball myself, so that should be interesting). It was to help kids on their journey by adding music to their lives. For me, earning a broader certification meant that some day instead of teaching music I might have my own classroom where students learned math, social studies, science, and ELA from me, or that I might teach Spanish (which I ended up doing for several years). Never did it cross my mind that a district would want me to teach a specific subject other than music or Spanish.
I know I must push through this surprise and do the best I can with what I am assigned to teach, and I will. I am a good teacher, and I will find a way to teach students in these unfamiliar subjects. However, I can’t help but wondering again whether going into teaching was the right thing to do. I can’t imagine doing anything else, but when the passion is taken out of the career for which you were passionate, what does one do? I can blame the entire situation on the “problems with public education today,” but that really won’t help at all. I guess I just always thought that I had chosen a path which would make me happy and make a difference, and I am starting to see that I may have been wrong. It’s a sad day when you realize that no matter how hard you hope, things will turn out the way they turn out, and there’s not much you can do about it.
And meanwhile, I escape into a fantasy world. Ah, Harry...what can be done when the Ministry has all the power to decide our fates?