My transition – personal post

I haven’t blogged much lately. It’s not for lack of things to say or things to wonder about, but about the busyness of life itself. I am in transition, and if you like, I will tell about it.

In December, I completed a doctorate in Educational leadership. I was excited to search for jobs in higher education, but my lack of higher education experience hampered my search. I was unsuccessful in my search. My degree is unique in that I did not earn it to become a principal or superintendent, but to teach 21st century leadership at the higher ed level. This niche is pretty slim, and without a lot of experience, I wasn’t qualified for a lot of the openings. As we entered spring I had no viable leads or responses, yet I still felt that I should be doing something more connected to my goals. I began looking for positions in instructional technology. While I did try for a few director positions, most were long shots because, again, I lacked direct relevant experience. I became interested in several opportunities to work as a tech integration specialist. One of particular interest was in a city where I already knew someone in the district. He and I discussed the position, and I applied. I interviewed and was hired.

People have asked me why I didn’t just teach another year, since the new job is no significant monetary advantage (it’s comparable to what I would have made teaching English next year). I guess I felt that I was standing with one foot on each side of the river. One was firmly planted in the classroom, and the other was planted in the realm of educational technology and 21st century learning. That’s where I really wanted to be, and most of my learning and experiences have been in pursuit of an educationally innovative field. I just didn’t see much more room to grow in the English classroom, or at least not as much interest). I took the job because I want to put to practice all I have learned over the past five years. To some extent, I feel like I have been doing a lot of the things an integrationist does as a peer leader and trainer in my district, so I thought it would suit me to do that full time.  I am pretty excited…

…and nervous. Well, maybe nervous isn’t quite it. I know I will do fine in the job; in fact I suspect I will really excel once I get my feet under me. However, one part I am having a hard time with is that I will not have my own classes anymore. This has been my life’s joy, and as I pack up my things here at BPHS, I get sentimental about the fact that I may never teach anyone about iambic pentameter or Perseus again. I know my new job will have me in the classroom a lot, but none of them will be mine. I think I will miss the rapport I build with students over a year. Furthermore, even though I have transitioned through teaching jobs before, the setup is essentially the same. Moving from one school to another to teach the same types of classes isn’t a real stretch. Sure, there are new people and systems, but once the door is closed, it’s just a bunch of kids and me, and that has always been something as natural to me as walking.

In this case, everything is new. I need to learn an entire ecosystem BEFORE I can really do anything of real value. I started today with a bunch of survey data, and that gave me a lot of ideas, but without having even set foot in any of the school buildings and not having met really anyone, I have no clue where I will begin. My current principal and longtime friend passed along a bit of advice he had heard a few years earlier when he started as a principal: “let the position come to you.” He said the questions get answered, problems present themselves that you’ll know how to solve, and the relationships and trust form. I’m trying to remember that.

The other thing is the physical move. The new position is a good hundred miles from where I currently live, so we will be moving closer. Looking for rental properties while deciding what to do with our current place is draining. We would like to get settled by the first week of August, but that task and timeline are becoming challenging.  We’ve lived where we do for almost ten years. The thought of going through all of that, packing it up, and schlepping it up the highway makes my stomach turn. My wife is great at these sorts of operations, but between this and the kids, who alternate between excited and nervous, it is just quite an experience. Oh, and I forgot, I am leading 30 people on a tour of London and Paris at the end of July. Yeah, right before we move. Should be so much fun, but right now, it just seems like too much to do in four weeks.

So that’s what I have going on. I have no doubt that as I reflect on this summer around, say, Thanksgiving, it will seem like a cakewalk. I know the pieces will fall into place just fine. I am coping with all this uncertainty by reconnecting with some of the professional networks I have been absent from for the past few weeks, and by making lists. I have no idea why, but making a list of my questions or concerns just seems to align it in a way I can deal with, even if I have no control over it.

I have always loved change. I see myself as spontaneous by nature, but that isn’t exactly true as it once was. When you have children, a home, and a full-time job, you get used to the day-to-day rhythms of life, even if they aren’t that great. I am so excited to flip the page and do something new, but it is stressful just the same. We look forward to a new community and I for a new job and new responsibilities. It’s exciting. I just hope I survive the transition!

If you made it to the end of this rambling personal commentary, you have my condolences. I don’t usually blog about myself, but I had the feeling I should a post something since I hadn’t in almost a month. This is all I could really focus on right now. The next one will be back to business, I promise. Thanks for reading.

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