2016 – The Year I Switched Schools

I haven’t blogged in a year. A lot has changed since then.

In June, I finished my fourth and final year at Chelsea High School and in September, I started at Dearborn STEM Academy. As I reflect on my year as a teacher, the decision to leave the only teaching job I’ve ever had was the hardest and most consequential moment of my year.

I remain confident that leaving Chelsea was the right decision. As the lead math teacher, I had many responsibilities (budget, coaching, teaching), and I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed in all of them. I was exhausted all the time, and I wasn’t having as much fun as I ought to be. We were a school that was working hard to improve, but flawed school initiatives and a revolving door of math teachers sapped my hope for actual improvement.

My new school – Boston Public School’s Dearborn STEM Academy – has restored some energy and optimism. I have more prep time, fewer students, and I get paid more. My role is far more focused; instead of trying to coach 20 math teachers, I am supporting one student teacher (who is doing great). I am sleeping more, and I’m not exercising less. My school is far from perfect, but I am kinda hopeful that we’re moving in a good direction. It is a good fit for me.

While I feel good about my decision, there is a major downside. I miss my old colleagues and I feel disconnected from my old students. It’s weird not to be there when the class of 2016 makes their first visit to their old school. I spent a ton of time with the CHS class of 2016, many of whom I taught for two or even three years, and I want to hear about their college experiences. I wish that I could process the election aftermath in the reflective guise of our Philosophy Club. I sincerely hope that I can still find ways to catch up with these former students soon.

In a lot of ways, switching schools means starting fresh, but I’m not a first year teacher. My time in Chelsea toughened me up, heightened my skepticism, let me find myself as a teacher, and showed me why the work is worth it.

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The back of our AP Calculus shirts.

 

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4 thoughts on “2016 – The Year I Switched Schools

  1. Great to hear from Mister. Sounds like a tough but “for the best” decision. Wouldn’t mind a Philosophy Club to talk about the election as well… Best of Luck on the new beginning dude!

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  2. Mr.Kelly I’m so happy that you feel like you’ve made the correct decision! A little bit of perspective coming from the other side of the window is, we also feel the same way. I believe I made it clear when I found out last year, that you have made such an impact on, not only my life, but that of all your previous students. Because of that, we were excited to see you move onto bigger and better things, just like us!

    I believe I also made the comment several times to the (still existent) philosophy club chat that we should arrange something when we are all back, in May/June. I’m sure we would all like to have a good old ethical dilemma to discuss! If that’s something you’re interested in, let’s do it!

    Don’t feel bad for making a good choice. These consequences you talked about seem like fixable issues, and I already implemented one possible solution. But I’m sure, from one philosopher to the next, you already know how to move forward and fix all the issues. (Do I sound like a philosophy major yet?)

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