In My (Summer Vacation) Feelings

Concluding this year has brought a multitude of emotions ranging from pride to anxiety and just about everything between the two.

The myriad of headaches that come from being a public school classroom teacher were really digging deep in my nerves this year. The struggles of my school and district combined with the pressure to pay student loans drove me to question staying at my current position. This led me to doubt and despair as I exclaimed to family members (and some colleagues) that I was ready to leave the field of education. I saw no reason to stay. My mind was focused on the emerald shining grass on the other side.

In past jobs I have reached the point of no return. That moment when you realize that you will no longer be working with that company much longer. This felt different. I was exhausted and deterred; regardless, I turned my attitude towards empowerment and engagement. I was determined to do all that I could to prove my skills with or without assistance. For those of you that have been following, my assistance came in the form of a pilot program. I took on this pilot and integrated it into my classroom immediately.

My reward for taking on the pilot was a leadership conference and a live filming of one of my classes. The consequences of my decision reaffirmed the valuation of my skills and refocused my sight on my goals within the field of education. This led to the realization that the majority of problems I faced were self-created. Accepting this enlightened my mind to creating positive solutions for the problems I would encounter in the next school year.

Over the summer I have the chance to reflect on the past years struggles and victories, and I realize that there is an incredible amount of work still to be done. I became determined to get right into busting the myth that teachers have the summers off; I began developing a year long curriculum of professional development. The curriculum is aimed at assisting educators in my school earn their Google Educator certifications. This professional development will provide teachers with ideas for implementing digital tools in the classroom and will transform the way teachers address collaborating with colleagues and students. The next project was to build an Applied Digital Skills curriculum for my English 2 and English 3 courses to take in the following year. I do not want to reveal any more about that being that there will be surprises hopefully coming for the classroom in the form of a co-teacher. This brings me to the end of June and a project with the district.

One of the struggles of this year was working while being unsure if we would be compensated for the raises earned the following year. The union and the school board had been struck at impasse for the entire year, and salaries were froze where they were concluding the end of the 2017-2018 year. I watched the school board meeting regarding solving the impasse while working on this project for the district. I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. I was supporting and working for the district that, at the same time, was vastly underpaying me (I have a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education and make almost 10 thousand dollars less than the average salary in the district). My thoughts on the matter will be further explored as I continue through the summer building curriculum and collaborating with colleagues to prepare for the next school year.

I am most certainly Buzz in this meme. I cannot help but be excited for the opportunity to build new relationships, teach skill and develop my craft. If you haven’t seen Toy Story 4 yet, I highly recommend it. I do not want to spoil anything; however, for those that have, I will most certainly be listening to my inner voice the rest of the summer in preparation for 2019-2020 school year.

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