Thursday, May 26, 2016

Onward to a New Adventure!

This year has been a difficult one - a year full of soul searching and deciding where I want to go in my career.  I've spent 22 years teaching in a junior high; 18 years teaching seventh grade language arts and (part of the time) social studies and 4 years as a literacy coach.  My work has been fulfilling, and I've always felt that seventh grade was the perfect grade for me.  I loved the kids.  I loved the books.  I loved my school.

The four years I spent as a coach were also fulfilling, but in a different way.  But more than that, I found coaching to be lonely and isolating.  As the only instructional coach in my building, I missed the collaborative work I did with my grade-level job-alikes.  I often felt like because I had a foot in teaching and a foot in the administrative side of the school, I wasn't part of either group.  I decided this year that I needed to return to the classroom.  I needed to be in the company of children.

So in the fall, I am moving schools within my school district.  I will be teaching third grade at the elementary school my daughters attended.  I am excited and a little bit terrified.

I'm excited to be part of a team again.
I'm excited to have my own classroom again.
I'm excited to only be responsible for my own teaching again.
I'm excited to be with children again.
I'm excited to plan units again.
I'm excited to be creative again.

I'm terrified of third graders.
I'm terrified of teaching math.
I'm terrified I won't know how to talk to third graders without making them cry.
I'm terrified of making new friends.
I'm terrified I won't remember how to teach.
I'm terrified I won't be a good teacher.

Those sibling feelings of terror and excitement are actually a good thing.  They mean I care about the work I will be doing and the community I'll be a part of.  I know I'll have teammates who will be there to help me and support me, and I'll be able to do the same for them.  As a former literacy coach, I'll have tools in my toolbox that I didn't have before, and I have the benefit of having additional training in some of our district initiatives.  I know I'll be fine.

Watch this space over the summer as I document my thinking about this big change.  You'll see some reviews of professional books and sneak peeks of some of the things I'll be working on.  I might just even float some ideas about classroom management and questions I have about the differences between third graders and middle schoolers.

It's going to be a wild ride, for sure.

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