It is a word originating from the Arabic "as-simt", which comes from the Indian "navigath", meaning, "to find direction".
Finding (and maintaining) direction is, in aviation, a critical skill. To set out and not know where you are headed, or to head out, and to lose direction, can spell catastrophe for the pilot and her passengers.
The path to destruction is somewhat less overt for those who lose their direction on the ground.
Having left the classroom and begun teaching at the University full time this year has left me wondering where I am headed, in the long term.
In some ways, the university teaching post started as a bit of a sight-seeing tour, an experiment of sorts. I left the unionized comfort of my school board position to go and teach teachers in training at the Dept of Ed at Tyndale full time in June 2010. Now the director of the program wants me to complete my PhD, and seek tenure. (As if three degrees and a host of excellent references aren't enough to prove my worthiness. Alas, research is a key ingredient of post-secondary job stability and professional respect, and my menial Master's thesis is no match for the peer-reviewed rigour a proper PhD demands!)
As it turns out, I quite...
As it turns out, I quite enjoy the lightbulbs that come on teaching adults. The feedback is more immediate, in that my teacher candidates tell me within hours, weeks or months of learning something how it has impacted them as a future teacher, and as a person. (Kids take longer to realise the benefits of a good teacher; I am only just beginning to hear -- on facebook and elsewhere -- from students I taught over a decade ago in elementary school, as they are now young adults launching their lives, finding their own direction, remembering and finally understanding the truths we taught them in grade 3 so long ago!)
But I miss the energy of my grade four ESL students, the argumentative ferver of my grade seven pre-adolescents, and the unbridled delight of my grade one explorers.
A job ad came out in western PEI this morning. It was for a straight grade three class in a small country school. All English speaking, in a community where parents are fairly well-to-do financially, and pretty involved in their kids' education.
I was tempted.
After more than a decade of broad educational journeying, which has included the roles of special ed teacher, music head, vice principal, program leader and many, many other titles, I am still attracted to the simplicity of the most basic incarnation of my chosen profession. I am surprised that after so many years of wandering, I continue to be in search of my Azimuth, my direction.
I can't check the CFS if I don't know where I am headed.
The direction of the circuit is meaningless if I don't know which airport I am landing at.
I have written several ALPs, dozens of IEPs, and hundreds of report cards.
Yet it seems, my flight plan has not even been written up, let alone filed.
I desparately need it!