A year ago I decided to apply for a position of vice principal at a high school. I had prepared for the interview knowing that if I was hired I would be a member of a three person administrative team in a school where I knew all the staff, and was very familiar with how things were run. I was offered the job but it was not going to be the job I had thought. I would be the vice principal at a nearby Alternate School, the only administrator on site. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, that’s for sure! Well, I accepted and was excited to start a new challenge but, to be honest, I was more than a little scared at the same time.
I would be leaving the high school which had been my home for 23 years. The classroom that held such fond memories, just down the hall from my husband’s classroom. I would be leaving the lunch time staffroom chats that I had with the staff who were my friends, the students whom I was looking forward to teaching the following year. Once the word got out that I would be leaving, I had students come up to me and ask me why, why I wanted to leave their school, asking me to change my mind and stay to teach them Chemistry and Physics next year. It was as though they felt a sense of abandonment, that I was rejecting them and their school. Students told me that I would miss teaching, would miss my classroom, I told them that they were right. I would miss all of these things but I wanted to explore something new and take on a new challenge. Many of my colleagues were very supportive, though I did receive the occasional cryptic message, purporting my venturing to “the dark side”.
I had one teacher ask me “What are you thinking? You are a teacher, a teacher’s teacher!” This teacher was so disappointed in me, that I would become an administrator and “…eventually forget what it was like to be a teacher, they all do!” He was right about one thing though, I am a teacher and I will always be a teacher. Just as I am a student and will always be a student. Becoming an administrator did not change that. I have spent considerable time reflecting about what I am in my professional life and I have come up with a working list, in no particular order, I am
- a teacher
- a student
- a vice principal
- a collaborator
- a risk-taker
- an introvert
- an advocate for students
- an aspiring techie
- a nerd (my children tell me this all the time!)
After compiling a list of what I believe I am, I wonder about what I want to be.