Driving home today, I felt myself beginning to fade into a zone of deep thought. I wasn’t really listening to the radio, though it was on and for a brief moment I was aware that an old Adele song was playing. I had just come from a faculty meeting at school, the last of the school year. We were given our packets of wishlists and textbook inventories and various other forms that all required a signature before the last item on the list could be completed…turning our keys in until August. I knew we would receive this end-of-the-year stack of papers at this meeting, we all did. I’m o.k. with that. Bring on May 27th! I’m ready to hand over those keys!
But what I wasn’t ready for, was the conversation at the end of the meeting about our schedule for the first few days when we return in August. That’s what gave me pause. I wasn’t prepared for talk of the upcoming school year. I’ve been putting it off for weeks now. I’ve told myself that there is no need to worry about it now, I just need to get through the end of this year first. I was reminded this afternoon that it is indeed a reality now. August will come, and with it, my new position as the middle school English/Language Arts teacher.
Since making my decision to leave the elementary level behind back in March, I have been mentally preparing myself for the transition. This summer I plan on doing some actual planning and preparation. My college degree and professional certification is for elementary education; however, my principal really wanted me for the soon-to-be vacant middle grades position. I’m ready for the challenge. I’m eager to devote my career to teaching the subject I love the most. But I’m also terrified. I am leaving behind my comfort zone of 10 years. All I have ever known as an educator are the elementary grades. There are pros and cons I could discuss at great length about this transition, but ultimately, I know that there is no turning back. I have given my principal my word. It’s in writing, plans have been made, my position as the 5th grade teacher has been filled already! Yet, I want to go back. I want to throw in the towel before I even try. That’s not what a teacher does. That’s not what I tell my students to do. This feeling of the inevitable may be the source of my anxiety each night this week. I hope it’s not an indicator of an anxious summer break.
Change is never easy. Change doesn’t happen in a comfort zone. I’ve learned, with my health especially, that you can’t change or grow by staying in your closed off box of comfort. This summer, before the official start of my elementary exodus in August, I think I will have to listen to “I Have Confidence” from the Sound of Music several times. I listened to it on repeat in the days leading up to my first year as a fifth grade teacher after several years of teaching third grade. Whatever works, I suppose.
I don’t have a solid way to end my thought here…I could go on and on about this upcoming change in my life as a teacher, so I’ll simply say, until later…