In June of 2000, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ on a bit of a whim. I was 26 and had three years of teaching experience behind me and dating a young man that wanted to live somewhere that was not Wisconsin or Kansas (where we had been previously living). Choosing Flagstaff was more than a little bit of a risk, the job market was ridiculous and the market specifically for Social Studies teachers was flooded. But we moved, anyway. It might be the riskiest thing I’ve ever done with regard to my career and it scared the daylights out of me.
Luckily, this wonderful principal, Russ Furstnow, chose to hire me into the only position that I was qualified for… in the entire district … that year. Phew. I taught middle schoolers at Mount Elden Middle School for eight glorious years. It was where I learned all kinds of amazing things about the job, myself and schools in general. And it didn’t hurt that I was living in one of the most perfect (for me) places in the US.
During my tenure there, my interdisciplinary team had a ‘go to’ substitute, Justin Kendhammer. He subbed so much for the building one year, I think the kids thought he was part of the full time staff. Shortly after that he landed his own classroom as a full time teacher. Fast forward to now… Justin will be heading off to Antarctica this week and as of Friday, I will be subbing for him. Just down the hall from my former classroom… I will be teaching 7th graders Geography! Justin will be doing research in Antarctica and I could not be more honored to be able to help out while he is off on such a grand adventure.
For anyone that has talked to me about my life since leaving SLA will tell you… I miss the classroom. I could not be more excited to be working with kids… as their teacher… again.