“So, what are you doing next year?”
I have had that question come at me about once a week since I announced that this would be my last year as principal at the elementary campus. Up until about three weeks ago, the only answer I could give was, “We are still figuring that out.”
It has been an interesting journey. It was very clear to me that this year was the right time to step down as principal. I have not had a second thought about that decision since. But I also had no idea what I was going to be doing. I knew it was not time for me to retire and I was hopeful that I could stay at ACS.
Early in the new year, I became aware of a full-time position for another organization with which I already had some connections. Leaving ACS became a very real possibility for me. This position seemed to be what God had been preparing me for over the last five years. It seemed the perfect fit, not only from my perspective, but from the perspective of everyone who knew me and this organization. Finding out that I was not even selected for an interview was confusing and difficult.
Letting God Lead
While I was waiting for a response, Tym Berger asked me if I would consider being vice principal at the middle school. I told him about this other opportunity and needed to wait and see. The fact that Tym asked me to consider this position is significant to this story.
In my entire career as an educator, I have had several positions. In almost every case, I was specifically asked or encouraged to apply for the position. I don’t say that by way of boasting. I simply have come to see it as God’s direction.
When I was turned down for the other position, it was clear to me that I needed to follow up with Tym. The possibility of being a vice principal and moving with the current grade 4 and 5 students to the middle school was quite exciting.
Of course, teaching was also a possibility. For the most part, when people asked, I would say I would likely not return to teaching, simply because it has been 17 years since I was a classroom teacher.
Could I still be effective as a teacher?
Intrigued and Excited
Then Tym raised the idea of teaching part time with Mrs. Janice van der Leek in grade 5. I was almost immediately intrigued and excited about this opportunity for the following reasons:
- I have a huge amount of respect for Mrs. van der Leek and know she will be an excellent teaching partner.
- Grade 5 was probably the grade I most enjoyed teaching, though I found joy in all the grades I have taught – 1, 4, 5, and 7.
- There have been significant changes in education since I have been in the classroom. However, with the amazing staff and admin team I have been working with for the past 17 years, I have observed what good teaching looks like.
- Looking back at my time in the classroom, many things that are more prominent now—student voice and choice, authentic (real life) learning experiences, developing competencies (curricular and social/emotional), etc.—were important to me and that I (along with many of my colleagues) was trying to develop. We just didn’t have the language to name it.
So there you have it. That was a long answer to the question: “What are you doing next year?” Middle school vice principal and grade five teacher.
I continue to trust that God has placed me in this role for a purpose. I am excited to take on new challenges and adventures.
And, as I told Tym, I am going to have as much fun with this as I can.