Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via Compfight cc
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.
What a brave post. I am a mover. For me staying is the brave thing to do, ironic since my job was cut this year. But I so appreciate where you are coming from. In my current school, I have spent so much time working on a blog that helps teachers find resources for anything they might ever need in a classroom from iPad use to finding a mentor, only to be told in my evaluation that I blogged too much. Huh? Why should that bother you? Anyway, I get it and I can't wait to read about what you do next year!ReplyDelete
First in Maine
This blog post had to be written for me because writing is one of the ways I process my thoughts. What has been a positive surprise is how others have reacted to it. I know I'm not alone with this struggle.
Blog too much? Wow. I'm sorry. I wish I had the time to blog more sometimes. There is far too much running around my head that I'd like to get out onto my blog.
I am really looking forward to what lies ahead of me. I've taken risks before and I have gained something from them. And I will continue to say to myself, "there is good all around you - you just have to see it". Karen
Follow your inner voice. I have done so several times in my career and each new journey has helped me become a better teacher. It is scary to move on and yet it is a rebirth of sorts.ReplyDelete
Yes. When I really listen I know exactly what i need to do. This time I listened.Delete
Karen, as usual an awesome post right from the heart. That's what you have to follow your heart and your passion! I've done the same and it has been revitalizing.ReplyDelete
We've never met, but we are connected in many ways including my daughter. You will enjoy your new home SO much and I can't wait for you to share of your new adventures! You new school is going to be inspired by your passion and your enthusiasm for learning!
Thanks John. I am feeling good about my decision to move schools and I look forward to my new beginning at a school with some familiar faces. Change is good, I know that. It makes us stronger and more sure of what matters most. I look forward to the challenge of rebuilding my reputation in a new school.Delete
Change sometimes is hard and difficult but sometimes just what we need. I hope your change is even more than you could imagine. Thanks for the encouragement and you've given me during my new adventure this year.ReplyDelete
Thanks Scott. You've inspired me this year by being so open with your journey into new territory. I look forward to seeing what adventures are in store for me at my new school too. So far the signs have all been good but even if there are bumps along the way (and really what's a school with out bumps)) I know it's what I need to do for me.Delete
A great post my friend, and a wonderful new beginning. I can't wait to see what the new school year brings. Your new school is so lucky to have you and all the passion and innovation you bring!ReplyDelete
Thanks Kristen. There are some pretty awesome people already at the school so I'm really excited to just be adding to their team. Now I need to learn how to sing O'Canada in French though because my new school is a dual track school. If I can learn the Australian anthem I should be able to learn the Canadian on in French right? At least the tunes the same. :-)Delete
I am a 25 year veteran in Nova Scotia. I had taught at the same school, same grade(s) for 15 years when change first came calling. I left my classroom to become a consultant for my school board. Last year, much to the dismay of many, I decided to return (I never say "go back") to the classroom.
This year has been so tough, but I don't have one single regret. I have determined that the school I am presently in is not a "good fit" for me, so I too have selected to make another change. I am ecstatic to be joining the staff of a school I have been hoping to work at for the past several years. I couldn't be happier.
Change is good. Doing what is best for you is even better. Thanks for putting into words how I have been feeling.
Cheers to a great new experience for you!
Thanks Jill. I am usually pretty good at exploring change. I think particularly about my classroom and how I rarely do the same thing each year and how things just continue to change there. This one was hard though with so many ties and emotions attached to it. I'm glad I finally saw that I really needed to change and went with it. I'm looking forward to my new school this September. Thanks for your comment and best of luck with your new school too.ReplyDelete
I wish you all the best in this new journey. I feel very lucky that you taught my daughter this year. You are a tremendous teacher, and losing you is a huge loss for our school. You will be greatly missed. On the other hand, I know that you needed this change, and I'm very happy for you that youre taking on a new challenge. We will miss you, sniff sniff....ReplyDelete
Thanks Angie. I have been very fortunate to have taught so many amazing children at this school. My class this year is truly an amazing group of learners who continue to inspire me each and every day. Just reading this comment has me in tears and this truly is one of the hardest things I've done in long time. Thank you for your support and understanding.Delete
Hi Karen. It has been so long since I have been in touch but read your Facebook page with interest all the time. I hope all goes well for you in your newest adventure and that you find many more like minded educators there. So often we miss the opportunities we are given, I am so glad you grabbed yours.ReplyDelete
Thank Yvonne. It's always great to hear from my Aussie friends.That was quite a year of adventure for me and I am thankful to still be in touch with so many students and their families. While I am quite sad about leaving my home I am looking forward to setting down roots in my new home.Delete
Thank you for sharing your struggles with the idea of change. You and I always seem to have many things in common, this being one. For the past couple of years I have thought about change as I have been at my school since it opened its door 13 years ago. I have been so lucky to work with a leader who continues to help inspire me each day. I also have an unbelievable collaborative team of teachers at the school who are willing to change and grow together.
Working with others who are willing to shake up their teaching practise helps to keep me going.this is why I have stayed put for the time being.
Packing your boxes will be very hard but this move will allow you to be a part of a team that will most definitely make a difference in our district and further afield. I cannot wait to hear about the learning that will take place come September at your new school.
Congrats to you!
Thank you Anne-Marie. I can't wait to share my new journey with you.Delete