A Look Back
Early October 2015—Three months ago, grant funds for my state position ended.
Adjusted to being home, I have a set daily routine that keeps me on pace with taking care of home, writing for the blog, and building my business.
During the busyness of building, the thought occurs to me: “How could I possible build an education-related blog and business if I am removed from the educational setting?” I am not sure how valid this question is or whether or not it reflects my true position of being “removed” from the activities of education. What that question tells me is that I miss the joys, hustle, and confusion of the school setting and that I need to get back quickly.
As I ponder my next move, I think about my journey as an educator. After nine years in the classroom, I was considered a master teacher who leveraged supportive and collaborative relationships with colleagues in order to help students to achieve. Honestly, I had plateaued as a classroom teacher and no longer felt the external challenge which fed my internal drive to teach. Advancement to school-based administration gave me a different view of accountability. Six years as an assistant principal allowed me to work and grow through the challenges of building and maintaining healthy professional relationships with parents, community members, and various colleagues. My work one year as a district-level administrator and another with the state gave me an even broader range with respect to state mandates, polices, and systemic support for educational organizations.
A look back makes me chuckle at how much I did not know as a novice teacher. It also reminds me of how much I had grown as an educator. Experience at different levels gave me a grander experience and a broader perspective. I now see things from a different viewpoint and have enough confidence to ask probing questions to stimulate courageous conversations.
Many of those courageous conversations would include a teacher or leader telling me, “Kids these days are different. Since you have been out of the classroom for some time, you may not be able to fully understand our situation.”
Serving in different capacities had given me an edge of versatility. Because of my experiences I could apply for positions at various levels with confidence that I had skills to help me accomplish any task at hand. However, those previously mentioned sentiments have remained with me. I now wonder if being an administrator for the past six years had desensitized me. Had I gotten so far removed from the classroom that I really did not understand?
There was only one way to find out. I had to return to the classroom as a teacher. Regardless of my leadership capabilities and options, I would return to the place where immediate impact on students is made every second of every school day. Not only would I go back into the classroom, but I would ensure that challenge is, in fact, one of the characteristics of the classroom I choose.
Choosing the challenge is my next step.