Sunday, October 11, 2009

A change will do you good?

This is my 6th year teaching, so I have officially made it past the dreaded "5-year-mark" in which (according to statistics) 50% of all teachers quit their jobs and go into another field.
I began my journey in the field of education at a middle school on the "wealthier side of the district" subbing in for a woman who was on maternity leave. It was a great experience, I was convinced this was the type of school I would want to work at. The sub job came to an end and their were no openings at that school for the upcoming year.

Wanting to stay in the district, I applied and was hired that summer to teach at a school on the "other side of 99" or basically, the ghetto. Really. It is located in the highest crime area in Snohomish County. Never, did I think I would want to work in a school like this.

However, I totally grew attached to my new building. The other teachers were laid-back and easy to work with, the office staff was great, and the administration was very supportive. I realized that I truly enjoyed working with kids who needed my help, and appreciated it (well, as much as a middle-schooler can). Each day, I felt as though I might make a difference. There were challenges, for sure, but they all made my job more interesting and I grew as a teacher and a person during my time there.

This dream job came to an abrupt end two weeks into the 2009-10 school year, when it was announced that the projected number of students fell short of what was expected. In turn, the school I had begun teaching at in the district had an increase in students. They needed another 6th grade teacher. Being the lowest in seniority, I was involuntarily transferred.

Devestated, I packed up my belongings (which took two full days-who knew one could accumulate so many items over 5 years) and prepared myself for the changes to come.

So far, I am trying to remain positive. Maybe I will learn a little something about myself as a teacher? Maybe, but right now, I am not so sure. Most of the students are incredibly nice, work hard, and are all-around great kids. However, I no longer feel like I am making any sort of difference. The majority of these kids would pass the state tests if I just sat and starred at them all day. Seriously. Also, the parents are something left to be desired. Basically, they run the school and dictate behavioral procedures.

Still, two weeks into my new assignment, I am playing catch up; getting to know the students and attempting to understand the parent-driven procedures. Usually, I am a planner and this change has really thrown a wrench in my organization. This is the first time in my teaching career in which I have actually thought about what other job I might do if I changed professions? Sad, but true.

Hopefully, next year I will be able to switch back to the school and kids I have grown to love, but for now I am am attempting to make the best of the situation and trying to stay positive.

When June comes, will I reflect on the school year and realize "YES" I did learn something? Will I be a better teacher for embarking on a new experience and trying to make the most of it?

I am not counting my eggs before they hatch, but I sure hope so...
Oh, and that picture is a wolverine...the mascot of my former place of employment! Kind of creepy looking, aren't they!?