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.