Monday, March 4, 2013

Slice of Life #1: Realizations

This month the ladies over at Two Writing Teachers put out the Slice of Life Challenge. A challenge to write and post something every day for the month of March. (Those who start today and link up every day will be eligible for a prize too!) I am desperately in need of some writing inspiration, so I decided to give the challenge a try.  

This weekend I went to the first meeting of a monthly professional writing group. The group ended up being small, just me and one other teacher who I work closely with. When we realized that nobody else was coming (it was a cold and nasty early morning) it would have been really easy for us to pack up early and go catch lunch, but instead we sat and committed ourselves to writing. Not so amazingly, it worked!  

I've been struggling this year with finding some balance in my professional life. Early in the year I took on a new leadership position at my school. My work with the writing project, and the success of my sabbatical last spring had left me feeling like it was time to move up in my school and take on more of a role as a teacher leader. A retirement in my department left a position open, and I was honored by my peers when I was elected to the position over someone with more seniority. I had toyed with the idea of changing paths and making moves to transition out of the classroom into a professional development  position, and this seemed like a good first step.

When this position started I was excited, but I have quickly started to see the hidden demands of the position. I went into the position hoping to be an active agent of positive change, but instead I am finding myself pulled into every meeting under the sun and filling my time with tedious administrative tasks. I don't mind doing some of these things, but more and more often I am being pulled away from my teaching to do these things. The number of days I am being asked to leave my classroom is piling up, and I am starting to feel resentful.

So this weekend I wrote about what I really want, to try to figure out if this is a midwinter blip or a real problem, and I discovered a few things. The most important one is that I LOVE being a classroom teacher and that I do not want to change that. For years I had been thinking that I needed to "move up", and seeing being a full time teacher as a stepping stone to something else. Now I know that I don't want to move into a role that would keep me out of the classroom. I did not get into teaching to become an administrator, I came into it to be a teacher.

That is what I want to do! That is enough for me!

Amazingly enough, as soon as I made that realization, a whole creative outlet opened up for me. I was finally able to make some headway on a chapter I have been struggling to write in the book about my teaching. I was excited to tackle the pile of papers I had to grade this weekend. I was excited about teaching, writing, and spending as much time with my students in my classroom as I can. Now I just need to figure out how to reclaim some of that time when others want to pull me away. I need to work on saying no more often.


  1. How wonderful to have come to a realization like that! I love being a classroom teacher, too - I'd miss the daily teaching and being with the kids of classroom teaching were I to take on more of a leadership role. I guess we need to find what gives our lives meaning - and then, as you have done, be at peace with the decision. PS: Welcome to our SOL community!

  2. Good for you! When you know what you want, it makes it so much easier to follow that path. Did you read Stacey's post on Just Say No? It was inspiring and we have to take care of ourselves. Glad you jumped into this month of slices!

  3. Isn't is amazing when we put something down on paper/computer that we become more aware of our feelings. Glad that you figured out exactly what you want to do. Good classroom teachers are needed. Learning to say no is hard, but so worth the effort it take. Keep writing and sharing.