Tomorrow I get to start again…and I’m psyched. Calling this a second chance isn’t appropriate, I chose to leave the classroom two years ago. Similarly, I chose to go back.
When I met the teachers I served at A+ College Ready two years ago, I told them, “I’m a teacher, I’m a teacher, I’m a teacher.” I took the Science Content Director job to help other teachers learn how to teach essential AP content, and I always told them to trust their gut and rely on their best practices. After a year on the job, my initial words rang true. I’m a teacher. I belong in the classroom. I am best when I am leading by example, not as an observer and adviser.
Simply put, life is short. I firmly believe you should do what you love, and be great at it. In my humble opinion, a well-lived life is a life of passion, and a life where you can make a good living serving the greater good. I find that life in teaching. I was put on this planet to teach science. Simply put. I made a decision to get back in the classroom early in 2012, and I’m going back.
I hope to inspire that passion, and that clarity of purpose in my students this year. I’ll be working with a wide range of young people. I’ll have the best and the brightest at JCIB as well as students struggling to pass the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. When I interviewed for the job, I was asked about this challenge. I used a running analogy to frame my thinking. Great runners aren’t just good at a 5K or a marathon. Great runners are good at all middle distances and long distances. Great runners have range. The same goes for great teachers. I think I’m a great teacher, and I think I’ve got range. My job is to meet my students where they are and push them further.
In closing (or is it opening?), remember the most important thing I learned as a Content Director: reflection without action is nothing more than mental masturbation. Great teachers are people of action. They constantly work to improve their practice, and improve the outcomes for their students.