Bear with me on this one, it’s not starting out the way you’d expect, but I promise the happy ending! 🙂
I’ve written about this before, there’s been a lot of change going on. A. Lot.
Iowa has created a program where we are taking teachers who excel, and giving them the tools and opportunities to be leaders in the field. Our district wrote and received one of these “Teacher Leadership” grants, and with it, we are hiring a number of positions. The position that I applied for was technology integrationist. I’ve interviewed for a similar position and while I didn’t get the job, felt encouraged at the feedback that I received. Now, this was in-house, and I know there are amazing people in our district.
So last week, I got the letter saying I didn’t meet the minimum qualifications to interview for that position.
I allowed myself Saturday (and maybe a little longer) to mope around and feel sorry for myself. It was and still is a kick in the stomach for me. I know my application wasn’t good (my wife told me as much) and I didn’t sell myself the way that I should have. However, I didn’t feel as though the application lent itself to that. HOWEVER, all that aside, I didn’t get an interview.
As I’ve reflected on this, it’s been hard to look at myself as a teacher right now. There are many things I’d like to write here, but the hardest for me is feeling that all the time, the effort, and money spent in improving my skills hasn’t meant much.
And I could keep that line of thinking and go to a dark place pretty darn quick. Last Saturday was that time, and honestly, I didn’t like the way that felt. I love my job, I love the people that I work. These are people who’ve stayed here in the district for 10, 20, 30 years because they believe in the kids here and the education that goes on. If I spend the rest of my days as just a teacher, I could only hope to make the impact that some of these teachers have made. There are so many different things that “just a teacher” could be here.
I’ve joined a couple of Voxer groups, extending myself in the world of Iowa and Missouri educators, and wow, “just a teacher” is huge. So many awesome people who are doing great things. They do these great things and are willing to share what it is they are doing in a manner that is SO much more personal than Twitter. Hearing someone’s voice gives that experience so much more texture and richness.
We are moving towards standards based grading, and being “just a teacher” with that creates its own set of challenges, certainly as we struggle with assessments. That concept alone could take up all my time and energy if I allowed it.
Sixth grade as we know it right now will change soon. Being “just a teacher” could be daunting with the changes coming down the road both on where sixth grade will be housed AND what will go along with it.
So, my happy thought: Being Just a Teacher. People use that as a derogatory statement, but for me, I can’t imagine anything much more powerful than a person in a classroom with the opportunity to do good in the world. And do it with some of the hardest working, most caring people that I know.