- Why I’m Quitting After Only Two Weeks of a New School Year - August 31, 2016
- The Grieving Year: A Major Professional Error - July 20, 2016
- Travel for the Teacher: Better than Professional Development - July 5, 2016
- Dewey in 2016: Still Relevant? - June 20, 2016
- Should You Adjunct Teach? A Checklist for Potential Part-time Professors - June 14, 2016
- Transition Time: Finding the Right School Fit Over Summer - June 3, 2016
- Graduations, Endorphins, and Persistence - May 31, 2016
During the 2014-2015 school year, I landed a brand new job. This teaching gig seemed to be exquisitely designed for me. I had just received my Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, and I was excited by an opening at my county’s most prestigious arts school. The job ad for a creative writing teacher specifically asked for candidates with an MFA and a history of publication, among other qualifications. I knew this was going to be my niche.
What I didn’t consider was my past. I’d spent the previous six years at an international boarding and day school for students with mild to moderate learning differences. My record of success had accelerated my standing in the school; I had risen from English teacher to department chair to communications director. Students loved my class — we read books in trees, played learning games around the school fountain, made chalk art on sidewalks in response to literature, and had a genuinely good time while learning with one another. I was consistently named by the administration and by students as one of the school’s best educators.
But something itched in the back of my brain. I watched as my equally-qualified colleagues moved on to new and exciting educational ventures after about five years with our school, and I was convinced that my professional path should emulate theirs. Never mind that my situation was unique. Never mind that I was following a completely different track than those others. I felt entitled to change, even if it wasn’t yet time. After all, I had increased my education and experience, and in some ways, I felt like I’d moved “beyond” my employer. In conversations with fellow educators, I expressed the sentiment that I had “plateaued” in my career. I had risen as far as I could go there, and while my situation was still somewhat rewarding, it felt like it was time to try something else.
When I made the move to my new employer, I failed to remember my prior new-school experiences. There’s always a time of adjustment. Different schools mean different practices and different expectations, and for whatever reason, I simply forgot all that. I burst onto this new scene with an unhealthy amount of hubris, convinced that, because I was so respected at my last employer, I would be equally revered wherever I went. I was going to be the best thing that ever happened to this place. Wrong.