Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ilene is on Hiatus!!!

As some of you know, I will be starting a full-time, two year master's degree program in September, in social work. And, just to make things more exciting, I'm also moving (both home and office, because I work at home). Therefore I am going on hiatus. Actually I am already on hiatus, at least as far as teaching is concerned. I have already begun to refer new clients to other teachers. I'm not sure how long the hiatus will last. I'm going to see how things unfold. 

I will continue to be involved in Fertility Awareness, but mostly in ways that won't be obvious to the general public. In addition to teaching, I do a lot of behind the scenes stuff having to do with Fertility Awareness as a profession. Although there are a few paths to professional certification, there are no national or international standards in place regarding qualifications to teach. Anyone can call herself a teacher (or sell fertility-management software). And of course practitioners in the field find little or no support from the medical community, and are often isolated in their own communities because qualified, secular (non-religious) instructors are so few and far between. Thus it can be difficult for them to find peer support and to grow as professionals.

I have been involved in the issue of professionalism in this field since I began teaching 10 years ago. I will be focusing on this work in the coming year, by expanding and strengthening our professional network, and by creating what I hope will be a widely recognized set of standards. I will also continue to coordinate professional forums through which people involved in the field communicate with and learn from each other. So, in the coming months I will be primarily involved in those activities. I will leave the teaching, at least temporarily, to others. 

One of the things I've been focusing my energies on this past year, as I prepared to make this transition, has been the training of new teachers. I've had the privilege of working with several young women who are well on their way to becoming qualified instructors, with a wide range of interests and areas of concentration. They will continue their training with Oregon instructor Sarah Bly, and I look forward to introducing you to them in the future as they embark on their teaching careers.

I have also been working with Sarah on another project which I think at this point is still a secret :) I will tell you all about it once it's ready to go public.

And actually I've been working on another project having to do with Fertility Awareness that is also not quite ready for launch; that's something else I hope to share with you in the near future. 

Ok, so maybe "hiatus" isn't the right word. I guess it's more like "scaling back." 

So, if you are reading this, and you are in need of instruction, what should you do? Here are my suggestions:

--If you want to obtain instruction in a secular context, the Justisse website lists many qualified FA teachers, including graduates and current students of their own teacher training program. Make sure to pay attention to the various designations. I would suggest sticking to FAE's and full (graduated) HRHP's. A lot of teachers can work by phone or by Skype these days, so don't worry if there is no teacher in your area (and there probably isn't).
Justisse directory of instructors

--Not on the list, but worth considering, are:

Katie Singer (author of Garden of Fertility)
New Mexico
You will need to have read one of her books if you want to make an appointment with her.

Sarah Bly

--Please mention my name if you contact any of these instructors so they know where the referral came from.

--Of course if you're open to studying Natural Family Planning (NFP), as opposed to FAM, you'll have many more instructors available to you, including some from whom you might be able to learn in person (as opposed to long distance). NFP is in many ways the same as FAM, but is taught in a religious/moral context. Sexual activity outside of marriage (and certainly same sex activity) is considered unacceptable, as are all forms of "artificial" contraception and abortion. The main NFP organizations in the US are the Couple to Couple League and the Billings Ovulation Method Association. Their websites can direct you to local teachers. Be aware that NFP teachers often have fairly rudimentary training and may not be able to advise you with respect to complex or health-related issues.

I will miss teaching like crazy, but I am also very excited about all the new developments in my life. I plan to keep updating the blog and the Facebook page, though probably not as often as I do now. As always, I invite you to keep in touch with me. Having a baby? I would love to hear about it! Moving? Send me your new coordinates! My coordinates, by the way, will probably remain the same. The email address will definitely stay the same, and I think the phone number will, too. If not, I'll let you know. 

Enjoy the rest of the summer. 

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