Today a friend asked me how I’ve been. “Great,” I said. But then I thought about it:
I’ve been FANTASTIC.
I changed jobs this year. I moved to a school about a 25 minute drive from my other one. Love is not a strong enough word, but really, I love going to work every day.
The students are great, but that’s not it.
The building is new, but that’s not it either.
Another friend, a colleague from my other district, was on my campus on Friday. She roamed the halls and found my classroom. We hugged and talked for an hour.
She is not fantastic.
I listened. I remembered.
Meetings that never seem to accomplish much. Students who “own” the power in the school but don’t put their strengths toward learning. Lack of planning time. Mandated policies. All things that kill the joy of teaching for a perfectionist like me, and my friend. There is not enough time in the day to do it all. I believe most teachers would agree.
Maybe we care too much. I thought that a lot last year. The third in my growing unhappiness in a system growing out of control.
But now? I am at a place where the principal supports his students and his teachers. He manages with insight and thoughtfulness. He’s respected because he takes the time to show respect. He holds meetings when necessary — not out of routine. Is there any better sign of respect for his teachers than to respect their time?
So, today when my friend asked me how I was, it gave me pause. In this season of Thanksgiving, I am grateful. I am grateful to my former district for the opportunities I had to grow as an educator. They are many. I am grateful for the trust of some administrators who believed in my skills and my passions. (I know you know who you are.) I am grateful that I listened to God when He said, “It is time for a change.”
I would have left the profession. I almost left the profession.
But now, my heart swells with love for students who trust me to help them learn. And I feel humbled and grateful for the trust and welcome from new colleagues who believe in my skills set. They’ve made me feel at home.