Monday, August 11, 2014

Goodbye and Hello

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." -Winnie the Pooh

As a child, I was always fond of Winnie the Pooh. As an adult, I have come to realize just how talented A.A. Milne was is articulating thoughts and emotions that transcend generations. The quote above does a great job summing up my emotions over the last few days. In the past few weeks, I made the difficult decision to leave my position in as an elementary EL teacher in a small town. The decision to leave had a great deal to do with the logistics of commuting for both my husband and I. A new job for me will mean significantly less commuting for both of us. And less time on the road means more time to devote to our passions and interests.

In the fall, I will begin teaching at an urban high school. The shifts I will be making from rural to urban, elementary to high school, pull-out to push-in programming will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. The anxiousness I feel, though, has less to do with what is ahead and more to do with what I am leaving behind. Over the last three years I have come to love the students and families I work with. I know that I will miss the excitement and energy of my little ones. I know that I will miss the friendship and encouragement of my colleagues. And I know I will miss the unwavering support of school leaders and administrators who actively sought out my voice and the voices of my students in the fight to close the achievement gap for language learners in our district.

It would be easy for me to let in more sadness than I should. It is tempting for me to focus on what I must say good-bye to, but A.A. Milne reminds me just how lucky I am to have had something so great that makes saying good-bye so hard. Not everyone has the privilege of being a teacher. Not everyone has the chance to be involved so greatly in the lives of future generations. I am one of the lucky ones. And my luck is only compounded when I realize I will have the opportunity to experience all of this again with new students, new colleagues and new administrators. So good-bye dear friends. And hello.

Monday, August 4, 2014

School's Out!

I know....I's already August. So why am I writing about the end of school? Well, in this case, I'm talking about graduate school. Two summers ago, I decided to start my Masters in ESL. I remember looking at the course list back then and wondering how I would ever make it through all those courses while teaching full time. And yet here I am, two years later and finishing up with my last course and wondering where all the time has gone.

Truth be told, I'm not completely done yet. I still have to write my final capstone paper...and that will probably take another year. But all of my classes are officially done and I'm left feeling a little bittersweet. I'm excited to have a bit more free time - time to spend with my husband and my family and time to finally make a bigger dent on the reading list that has been piling up over the last few months. 

But I'm also sad to be losing the constant connection with other EL teachers in the field. Having the chance to meet regularly to learn and share with colleagues has been an invaluable experience. For EL teachers in low-incidence schools, coursework and conferences are some of the few places to really connect with other EL teachers. This is one reason I am excited to become more involved with social media.

I am hopeful that the connections I am building through Twitter and blogging will be a big step towards building a network of colleagues so that school never has to be out for good.