I finally started reading Ken Robinson's book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, and I totally get it. Robinson describes the element as the point where "natural talent meets personal passion".
So I started thinking about what I'm really, really good at AND that which I get really, really excited. And every time I come back to the same thing: teaching teachers.
When I spent two and a half years at our state's education department, I worked with teachers all across the state. I wasn't always excited about three hour drives and late nights, but I did get pretty enthusiastic about engaging with other teachers, seeing their passion about teaching and offering them new ideas on instructional strategies and thinking about their professional growth.
Before my stint as a teacher-on-loan, I had conducted school-based as well as district staff development workshops for colleagues. The most enjoyable for me were the sessions on reading. When the state required reading credits for teacher licensure renewal, there was a need for workshops and professional development opportunities to satisfy those renewal credits. I had the chance to satisfy my own passion for teaching teachers by creating and delivering some of those workshops.
Another media coordinator and I taught workshops for middle school content area folks. It was amazing to see those teachers have "aha moments" and realize that reading across the curriculum was not quite as daunting as it seemed. I also taught reading workshops for arts educators. It gave me a chance to explore the great picture books available to introduce all sorts of arts-specific content and middle school novel tie-ins.
So now that I'm feeling stronger about being in my element, what's the next step?