Ok. It's been about 4 months. No, my search hasn't ended, just taken a hiatus.
This semester is very different for me. Long story short: I no longer teach journalism. I always loved the class. It offered me a break in my day. I got to work with students in a workshop atmosphere where they produced and I supervised. They got to lead the class. I liked to tease them and tell them that I was just a powerful figurehead who was choosing to remain silent. And then the class was gone...
And I LOVE it! I really thought I would miss them, the fast-paced production, the ever-present deadline, problem solving, etc. But the truth is I don't. I don't miss any of it. I finally feel like I can teach again. The constant mental chaos of that type of class is now quiet. I can think!
Now, I've spent some time analyzing exactly what this might say about me, and the only two options I can come up with are 1) I've grown too old for the fast-paced production class OR 2) I was tired of it. I like option 2 better, but I haven't abandoned option 1. :)
For the first time in about three years, I have found myself spending some quality prep time on my English lessons. I've done some things differently for the first time in a long time - and I'm enjoying processing and reflecting on my work. It seems that I can now focus on lesson planning instead of problem solving. For the past three weeks, I've been a much better teacher.
I wonder how many would-be-burn-out teachers could find some comfort if they could quiet their chaos. I didn't even know I HAD chaos. I'd gotten so used to the "noise" that I didn't realize it was there until it was gone. I see other teachers who complain about their job and students, and I wonder what's causing their chaos. I wonder if they even know it is there.
So, that's where I am right now - learning to enjoy the quiet. I don't know if this change of pace has solved my dilemma, but it has certainly given me a different attitude.