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?



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.

Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I love hearing from you all!

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