I decided to expand the story and tell you how I got to where I am now.
Lesson 5: Stick to It and You Will Find Your Calling
So, I moved off to third grade. At that time, all 4 fourth grade and 4 third grade teachers looped back and forth. We had a group of aids, a reading teacher, and a special ed. teacher who worked exclusively with us. I LOVED my team and the model was great. I looped from third to fourth and then went back to third. I was hit with all the state testing and somehow whatever I was doing was working. And I loved it. We lost and gained a member of our group every year, but it only made the group better and closer. I got married the first year I taught third grade and finished up my grad work that summer.
At the end of my 3rd full year, I was again presented with an opportunity for change. Now looking back, I think “Why didn’t I just leave it alone?!?” because I would probably still be teaching 3/4 at that school if I did. But, a reading position opened up and I had just finished my masters in reading. It was a Coaching/Remedial/Consultant and all around quasi-administration position. I went into it feeling like it was not the best choice.
I left my loop and chose a new teacher for my class – that hardest thing I had to do up until that point. I had to call all the parents with the principal and tell them I was leaving. It was awful. Like crying awful. Nothing like being put on the spot and answering tough questions while sitting next to your boss on speaker phone! I was also told by the super that I could not go back to the classroom. They were 2 separate tenure areas and I was causing a stir by leaving the loop. Did I mention that my principal was really interested in having me moving to this position? I am a pleaser and, even though I was not going with my gut, I made the move.
Lesson 6: Go With You Gut
I loved many things about the reading position. I loved teaching reading and kindergarten through 4th grade. I loved some parts of the quasi-admin things and we were restructuring the remedial program from the ground up with RtI as the focus. However, it caused enormous anxiety. I struggled seeing my old team and really feeling like I wasn’t part of it anymore. I struggled to guide teachers who had been teaching longer than I had been alive, I struggled convincing them that assessments and RtI were important. I struggled with having much of the instruction and training for grading state assessments on my shoulders. I struggled with writing 82 quarterly reports, some for students that I never even worked with but only consulted on. I worked with 21 teachers in 5 different grade levels and I was stretched really thin.
I worked with a wonderful teacher in the reading room and she was a great friend, but was also very relaxed. This was hard for me because I am very type A and by the book. I ended up doing all the reports for the students we co-taught because I wanted them to be done on time. The coaching model was wonderful, but doing that on top of being a main part of the RtI team and training teachers and consultant work, and still teaching, made me crazy. Can I tell you that I literally sat through the Lion King at the theatre and do not remember half of the show because I was agonizing over quarterly reports. I really think that I had an ulcer that year. My godsend that year was a lovely aid for the library. She literally brewed coffee every morning and would walk in the room to plunk it on my table as I taught. She then kept the coffee brewing all day. Some days, that it what got me to work and through the day with some piece of sanity.