… getting ready to go on a big adventure.
Today was the first in-service day at my new job. It wasn’t at all anxiety-inducing; I’d worked at the school last year as an aide, so I already know everyone (minus a new teacher named Susan who was hired over the summer; she seems lovely and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to talk with her some more), though I did feel a little different – more ‘real,’ if that makes any sense. As an aide, I didn’t really fit in anywhere; I wasn’t part of a department, I had minimal interaction with any of the classroom teachers save one (who’s left the school to take a really fantastic gig with the state; I miss him already). Now, as a full-time classroom teacher, I feel more like part of the group (and it may be that the group can now be more accepting of me).
We started the day with a whole-staff meeting (there are 10 of us, total, so “whole staff” isn’t as ominous as it may sound to folks who work in big schools). We opened the meeting with one of those activities that everyone hates (so WHY do we do them?!); we all had to introduce ourselves (which seemed silly, given that only one of us didn’t know everyone), to say one thing we “appreciated about the summer” and one thing we’re looking forward to in the new school year.
For as much as I really do hate these kinds of things (how many people really LISTEN to what the people who come before them have to say? I mean, really; you’re not listening because you’re too busy wondering what YOU’RE going to say and hoping you don’t come off like an idiot… or you’re frantically trying to think up a new answer because the person two seats ahead of you just said what YOU were going to say, the bastid!!), I actually had good answers to the questions this morning.
My family and I just returned from two weeks in England (which I haven’t written about yet; I should do that while the memories are still fresh, but I’m still a little overwhelmed by the the whole experience that I’m not really sure where I’d start), so that was my contribution to what made my summer memorable.
It was my answer to what I’m looking forward to this year that felt more important, though. Since I left CHS three years ago, I’ve felt a little adrift. I’ve been teaching since then – I never left the profession – but the kind of teaching I’ve been doing – namely adjunct work in colleges and universities – is a very different kind of work than classroom teaching. I’ve been grateful for the experience of teaching at the collegiate level, but I found the work to be isolating. I am, by nature, a very collaborative person. I don’t LIKE working alone; I can do it, but I don’t like it. I feel much more engaged, much more effective, and much more energized when I’m part of a team. I love coming in in the morning and talking to my colleagues. I love listening to lunchtime talk about a lesson that clicked (or one that fell flat), or about this or that kid who’s either kicking ass and taking names or stumbling (and what we’re going to do as the respective kids’ support system to help). I like sharing materials and ideas, I like sharing successes and failures, and I like sharing the day-to-day that make up the best part of this kind of work.
So that’s what I said I was most looking forward to; being part of a team again. I don’t know if I’m going to click with everyone on staff, but I know I’ve connected well with the two with whom I’ll be interacting most (the other upper school English teacher and the social studies teacher; I also get on well with the two science teachers and, perhaps more importantly, the principal and the lead office goddess). In fact, as I was composing this, the English teacher – I’ll call her Rachel – texted me with a “nice work today!!” message.
I can’t wait to get started.