Since I last published here, my positions have radically changed. I taught another year of grade 7 to an amazing group of students with whom I am still in touch. It is SO gratifying, and a teacher knows she has made an impact when students choose to come visit.
A position opened in my middle school in the spring of 2015: Literacy Coach. I had coached teachers a couple of years before for 30% of my time while teaching a push-in literacy class with struggling 7th and 8th grade readers. The position had been a collaboration with another teacher who also cared deeply about helping students learn to read. That had been a great program, but this time, I wanted something deeper and different. I was ready for more in my career. There were more pieces to add to my personal puzzle.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved teaching in the classroom; it was the best part of my 44 years of working in a wide variety of jobs and careers. But I was ready for change. No matter how many committees I am involved with and how many new strategies I try, at some point, a person needs a change to stay at the top of their game and to feel fulfilled. It is my strong belief that this is an issue in the teaching profession: Once people lose interest for their day-to-day job, they need to leave.
I had not lost my passion, but I needed renewal and revival. Perusing the literacy coach job description, I realized that the position was different in this posting than in the past: No push in, there would be teaching classes, and more coaching. After talking with the assistant principal, I found she was looking to redefine the position; it didn’t take me long to submit my letter of intent.
The position was not mine immediately: I was up against a strong contender whom I respect. We discussed the job, and I encouraged him to apply. I knew I could work well with him if he became the coach. We look at many educational issues in similar ways. His classroom energy, ability to engage kids, and co-teaching collaboration are some of what I admire. It’s a story for another time, but I now call on him to coach new teachers.
Ultimately, I did get the literacy coach position and immediately the questions flowed about my new endeavor: How to engage struggling readers so they don’t feel bad about themselves and are willing to improve their skills? How to encourage non-readers to open themselves up to becoming readers even in some small way? How to get buy in from my colleagues that I can help them in their classrooms? How do I know what they need help with?
The puzzle pieces were scattering around me, but I didn’t have enough of them yet to put it all together in my new classroom.