When I joined the staff of SLA, 4 years ago, I made a bargain with myself… I would live in Philadelphia because I wanted so badly to teach in a place that was getting it right, work with people who were pulling in the same direction and where I was amongst teachers teaching like I teach. The reality is that I never saw myself living on the East Coast, so I assured Chris that I would make it at least 2 years, but 4 years was the expiration date. This June will mark 4 years and last week I processed the paperwork to resign my job.
Leaving SLA is sad. This is a job I love. I work with the most talented, committed group of students, staff and parents. Working with them has allowed me to become a better teacher. It has been a gift. Meenoo will be taking over Debate. Caitlin Thompson and Matt Kay will keep the GCY river trip going. I will still be helping with EduCon. And they are currently interviewing for a new person to add to the history department. To be clear… I am not burned out. I do not want to stop teaching forever. I am fully committed to the mission of SLA and its future progress. But, for me personally, leaving is the right move for right now.
And so… you ask… what will I do? I joke with our seniors that I started SLA with them, and I will graduate with them… and then I’m taking a gap year. ;-) Maybe the better term is self-funded sabbatical. I need to figure out a place to live, this nomadic thing is awesome and exhausting. I hope over the next year that I figure out a home base that I can be in for awhile (my page in my mom’s address book has worn through with erasing) Since college its been 4 years, 1 year, 3 years, 8 years, 4 years… in new places. It is a ton of fun but am feeling like I might like to plant myself (and from there still adventure and travel like mad) in a place that is more ‘me’.
During the next year I have a few goals. First on the list is to spend time with the people (outside of SLA) that are closest to me… I’ve felt myself struggling to find the time to spend with my family and AZ friends. Coincidentally, they also run programs that I would like to be helpful with along the way… my brother-in-law is the Principal of my home elementary school and my best friend runs an experiential education magnet program in Flagstaff. There is also work that I want to do with the SLA community: publishing units/curriculum, building/improving SLATE, and drafting a list of school creation/reform conversation protocols. And then… its wide open.
I am excited to see what rolls out next. I am working with a few schools this summer on PBL/1:1/Inquiry Driven workshops and am very much looking forward to that work. Basically, I would like to continue to use my energy to help schools, teachers and students realize their full potential. It is a broad statement, but really is what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, next year will just look a little different. (I joke that the mid-westerner may kick in mid-summer and I will find myself ‘needing’ to find a job, because it isn’t very midwestern to take a year away from full-time work)
So. There it is. As of June 19th, I will be without ‘a job’ for the first time since I was hired at Subway to be a sandwich artist in 1990. On to new adventures.