One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotations is "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." My best friend will be at a definite "fork in the road" a year from now when his time on faculty at BJU will have come to a close. He and his wife are currently in Europe where he is exploring one of the possibilities that lies before him. He is also considering another part of the world where he could use his talents as a German teacher.
The buzzword "reinventing yourself" is not a new one, but after hearing it several times this past week, I've been thinking about the whole concept. Companies reinvent themselves, as do politicians, celebrities, and average people as well. It can be anything from changing little things about yourself to an extreme makeover. In his book Reinventing Yourself, Steve Chandler talks about viewing yourself as an "owner" rather than a "victim." Some use the expression for what has long been referred to as "midlife crisis." A web search will lead you to thousands of articles about reinventing yourself after 40, after 50, after 60, or after retirement. Many people are forced to reinvent themselves because their job skill/experience is no longer marketable.
At a recent SCFLTA conference, we foreign language teachers were reminded that many universities all over the country, not just mine, are eliminating foreign language majors. Foreign language classes are still being offered, but just not leading to an undergraduate major. We find ourselves wondering where the future language teachers will come from if foreign language majors are no longer offered.
The elimination of the French major and of the German major and minor at BJU is why my friend will be leaving at the end of next school year. Working overseas is actually something he's been considering for about four years — this recent turn of events has just given him the exact timing to begin exploring. In the fall of 2012, with one fewer French course per semester, I will be teaching a German course each semester in its place. I have taught both high school and college German for 16 years of my life, but it's been a while. So, in a sense, I guess, I'm reinventing myself. I'll have to alter the header of my blog to read "one French and German teacher's humorous and serious perspectives on life…" and add some images from Germany.
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