You see when I was first out of university I was hired at my present school. I loved everything about it. It has an amazing community of students and parents and a super supportive staff. I felt like I was the luckiest person ever to be hired at this school. But at the end of that year I was laid off, and placed at a different school. I also liked this school but it never felt like my home. My home was where I had begun my teaching career. So two years later, with a little seniority under my belt, I was able to apply back into my first school and I have been there ever since. Did I mention I'm about to finish my 21st year of teaching?
My career at this school brought me many exciting opportunities. I saw staff come and go, and administrators do the same. And if you know me at all my teaching continued to change. I taught ESL K-7, K/ESL K, K/1, 1, and 1/2. For a long time I never taught the same grade more than two years in a row. It was good. It was a happy fulfilling place for me.
But then things started to change and I was seriously contemplating leaving about eight years ago, that is until a now very good friend of mine joined the staff. Having her there was the change I needed at the time. Others joined the staff too and my desire to leave became less and less. It once again felt like my home.
When I returned I realized that I had changed a lot. I went through so many incredible and not so incredible experiences while I was away (it felt to me that) so little had changed in my home school. Perhaps it was then that I realized that I needed to change but I wasn't quite ready to listen.
Fast forward to July 2011, and the wonderful push on to twitter by Tia Henriksen, and my world really did start to change. I was excited and inspired by what I was learning from others and I couldn't wait to share it with my staff. I work with a lot of great teachers doing great things just in different ways than how I run my classroom. I'd try to share the things that made me so excited about teaching with my colleagues and for the most part they'd give me their time. But after a while I realized I wanted more.
I was also very fortunate at the district level too. People were noticing what I was trying to do with my class, how I was trying to teach in the 21st century. They found ways to support me and so my growth continued to explode, despite feeling along in my change effort. I know my presence on social media helped people see what was going on in my classroom and that presence connected me with district people such as Elisa Carlson. She saw, supported, and believed in me. She is who has gotten me through some of my more challenging times at my school. I can't thank her enough. Our school district is VERY LUCKY to have her.
Last year I thought seriously about leaving my school. But I couldn't.
Things have changed this year but it's no longer enough for me. I'm tired of being the teacher at the end of the hall doing the "crazy things" with her classroom. I am tired of teaching, for the most part, on my own.
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending ConnectEd in Calgary on my own dime. It was there that I realized I needed more. It is there where I saw staff excited about embracing change and moving forward with their teaching and learning. The conversations were rich and exciting yet still filled with the realities that we all deal with on a day to day basis. It was real, alive and exciting and it was then that I realized that I want way more from a school. I needed more support and connections from a school. I need to be and feel part of a team growing together.
After a total break down during my session on Sunday morning, I realized I had to make a change. I was losing my spark for teaching, and if I wasn't careful I was going to lose a little piece of my soul in the process. Being a teacher is who I am. It is the driving force behind so much of what I do with my life.
And so the very next day I found the strength to change. I applied to teach at a new school.
Thankfully my interview went well and I was successful at obtaining a job at a new school. With in 24 hours of being hired I had two teachers from my new school looking forward to collaborating with me next year (which I am so excited about). A second early primary teacher was also hired in the past few days and we have already been in contact about next year too. We are both excited to be working with one another.
So now, after 18 years in my present school it is time that I pack up my classroom and move on. Will I miss the staff, the community, and most importantly the kids OF COURSE! But at this time I need to do what's best for me. I need to be brave and move on. I need to embrace my new home.