The decision was definitely a good one, but I did not anticipate some of the issues I would encounter, issues related to my own thinking. Once I made the decision, I never looked back. I spent the summer getting to know new colleagues and learning about my new campus and kids. I was grateful to have an entire summer to cope with the excitement because by the first day of school, I felt ready and part of my new school family.
I forgot something, though. The kids! The kids didn't know me. Prior to this school, I only ever taught at one campus. For sixteen years. Longer than my current students have been alive. I taught siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles...and even a child of a first year student passed through. I have mentored student teaching interns who once sat in my classroom. I have been invited to weddings and baby showers. I have provided job and college references. I have supported and nutured a few thousand students. Aside from two years (we all have a couple, right?), I have maintained a relatively positive reputation.
It never crossed my mind that my new students would see me any differently. I expected them to see me as their social justice and equity champion from day one. Their nuturer. Their supporter. Their educator. Their teaching superhero! It never crossed my mind that in their eyes, I am new.
But then something happened that I am not sure I have ever experienced at the level with which it was provided: support. My administration nearly had me in tears with the understanding shown toward me and the discplinary measures taken to back me up. I swear my body was shaking for at least an hour, and I really expected to start bawling before my students came in. I went from feeling completely alone to feeling part of a community from one night to the next morning.
Things aren't perfect. I'm struggling with seeing students twice a day, with implementing new routines and procedures, including implementation of the workshop model. I'm battling lower motivation than I have seen in quite some time. I'm challenged by a new lesson plan format - one that is actually checked on a weekly basis. I'm facing lower success rates than I am used to working with.
Things aren't perfect. I no longer get to set the cruise control to 79 MPH in a 70 MPH speed zone. I am once again a student in my own classroom, learning about and from my students, learning new ways of teaching and meeting student needs. I am grateful for this change and this opportunity, for a chance to try new things and be more creative, and I am prepared to come home battling my own brain somedays. Maybe one day, when most of the days are all good, and I talk about the early days, the kids will say, "I don't even remember that, Miss."