Five Years Later

I started this blog five years ago when I first started my professional educational career at a summer boarding school in Indiana. Five years later, I’m starting my sixth year in Cambridge Public Schools, my second year as an official licensed-to-be Instructional Technology Specialist. I came into education thinking I would be a high school history teacher, engaging in critical dialogue about our world and the world that has been and could be. These days, I teach students in an elementary school about digital literacy and programming. How my career has changed. This year, like last year, and the year before, I am starting in a new school. My fifth school since I began student teaching in the Fall of 2017. I joke and I mumble about how I’m used to transitions, and excited to get to know more of this district that I have come to love, but there’s a part of me that has become nervous and sad. Teaching in 2022 is not all nightmares and scaries! I’m definitely excited and curious.

I’m nervous because the state of public education scares me. I’m nervous about the teacher vacancies and what that means for teachers (in terms of increasing responsibilities and workload). I’m nervous about the safety of myself and my students, and how as a new teacher in another new school, I have to learn a new way to escape, fight, or hide. I’m nervous that as the “new teacher” I have to prove myself and to work fast to build relationships and make an impact in an ever changing landscape where teachers continue to be vilified and demonized.

I’m sad that I’ve changed schools yet again and any inroads I had with students and faculty go out the window. I’m sad that it’s my last year in Cambridge, a place that has shaped me and given me so much. I’m sad that I’ve had colleagues, dear friends, who have left the district (by choice or not), and that I can’t find them as easily. I’m sad that the job doesn’t seem to get easier.

I’m excited to teach as an Instructional Tech again and get to try out new curriculum that I have run through once before (things I want to adjust and make better). I’m excited to meet new people, new staff, new culture. I’m excited to be teaching in a Chinese-immersion school, and maybe getting to practice my Mandarin. I’m excited to see the Model UN team that I coach go to new lengths and hit new highs. I’m excited to build better relationships with teachers at the school that I’m still at! I’m excited to see incoming sixth graders from my previous school and freak them out.

I’m curious to see where the future holds. I’m curious about my transition to Salt Lake City and Utah! I’m curious as to how my teaching continues to evolve and grow as I finish my licensure program. I’m curious to explore new ways to teach my curriculum. I’m curious about my new students and how I can be a great teacher to them.

I write this not to scare my (limited and almost non-existent) audience, but to paint a realistic and honest picture of the state of teaching. I love my job, and I love the challenges that comes attached with it. I think that contrary to popular belief, most people are able to hold two opposing and complicated perspectives at the same time. I am terrified of this new school year, AND I’m excited to witness and be a part of joy and wonder in the classroom. Teachers do this all the time, holding these opposing and complicated views and also finding ways to persist, resist, thrive, celebrate, and succeed. I can’t wait to reflect on my last year at Cambridge and share about the hurt and pain and the celebration and joy. Thanks for reading.

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