My Big Announcement

(This is a bit long, if I lose you, scroll to the bottom for the big announcement)

As I am sure you are well aware, I am wrapping up graduate school. Two weeks ago I defended my thesis. Last week I did the minor revisions and this Monday I officially submitted it (along with a $55 fee, jeez they get you at every corner) to the University. In between I began receiving call backs for interviews.

It was overwhelming. You see, not only was I preparing to defend, but I was at a crossroads with careers. I spent the 6.5 years before graduate school teaching high school. I went to graduate school full time because I was really burnt out teaching in a suburban school public school. I had always wanted to be a teacher in life and felt elated and filled with energy when I received my first job. I quickly became stretched thin, and cynical towards a system where I felt I was no longer an effective teacher in the classroom when I was teaching 5 preps (different classes I had to prepare for)  and my kids were testing every two weeks.

Picnicking in my classroom back in 2010 with my Aunt, Nana, Sister and niece. I don't have a shoe on because I had a broken foot.

Picnicking in my classroom back in 2010 with my Aunt, Nana, Sister and niece. I don’t have a shoe on because I had a broken foot.

Bureaucracy aside, I love school. Moreover, I love going to school. When it came time for a master’s, I decided to do it in an area that I found intriguing and exciting-and in something that would not be directly tied to education, like a master’s in education. I pursued a degree in environmental politics and policy. I loved studying this and I loved applying it, especially to my personal life.

However, when it came to getting a job in the environmental sector things were not what I thought they would be and I kept having this little niggling that I should be going back to the classroom. I sat in on some classes where students were struggling with poor teaching skills. I had a run in with a mentor who offered little support to me. It made me feel like my calling is still the classroom. I could and wanted to practice being an effective teacher. I wanted to once again mentor students in their formative years. I came across articles in education that convinced me that we need passionate teachers whose innovation will change the system.

life isnt about

So, I interviewed for teaching positions-4 to be exact (and I turned down 2 others after investigating the school and districts). But, my head still said, what about the environmental field? Well, for one, I only got one call back for an interview and it wasn’t a good fit for me, so I turned down a second interview. Even two days ago I had a professor ask about my new job in surprise saying “what about environmental policy?” Admittedly,  I felt a little bit like a failure by not getting a job in my new field.

w teacher quote black

Then yesterday I walked into the community college classroom where I have been substituting for a teacher on maternity leave. And I fell into a trance. Both classes flew by. The students asked questions, offered outside information while I told stories, and wrote diagrams on the board. When they said they still didn’t understand I thought (on the fly) of a way to break it down even further and allow it to make sense to them. That sparked even more discussion and thought. The second class ended at 8:15 and I was glowing. As I erased the whiteboard I thought to myself “this is my thing. I’m good at this.” I had my moment and knew right then that I had made the right decision.

I wouldn’t consider myself a great or the best  teacher, but that’s the beauty of it-there is room to grow and learn. I came home and stumbled across this video from a former teaching colleague. Again, I felt inspired. I started to think about how I could use this to start the new school year and inspire my own students.

So, my big announcement: I have accepted a teaching position at Helena High School in Helena, Montana and will be moving in 3-4 weeks to start this new/old adventure.

Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads with careers?

Any teachers out there had burnout moments? How did you deal with it?

 

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16 responses to “My Big Announcement

  1. Congratulations! Way to go on your defense, thesis, and new job. You should be so proud – especially about your decision to follow your bliss! I have doubt your students will be remembering how you educated and inspired them for years to come. Miss you!

  2. I have been struggling to stay in a failing district in Philadelphia, PA. I teach at an urban school and run four after school literacy programs. It was great to read your story and empathize with your situation. Sometimes it just takes a little motivation from the students to restore your faith in everything.

  3. Pingback: Why I am still working out despite everything | Mountain Kait·

  4. Congrats, girl! That’s wonderful news and I’m really happy for you; that you’ve followed your passion (plus it sounds like you’re really good at it) AND get to move to a sweet place! Does that mean you won’t be comin’ back for the 1/2 mary in August? If I don’t see you, best of luck!!

  5. As you know I taught for 4 years and those moments of “I’m supposed to be here” are so memorable. I quit teaching to take a break and see if that what I was supposed to do. However, this is my second break from teaching, and I’m still not sure it is for me.

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