Monday, November 14, 2011

Back to Work

A lot* of people have asked how my new job is going. *By “a lot” read: an elder's wife, a neighbor, and my boss. After 3 months, I wanted to document where I am at with the whole "back to work" thing.

I’m a teacher with no “classroom”…but my life is still run by bells. Nothing hearkens one back to the sounds of industrialism's golden age like a bell set to ring at 2:03 pm every day. That’s the start of 7th period.

Gone are my 75 to 160 students; here are my 40 teachers. I’m not an administrator or evaluator; I am a support teacher. I am to Tim Gunn as the principals for whom I work are to Nina, Michael, and Heidi. I’ll leave it to them to figure out which one of them is Heidi. As for the teachers (contestants)? Well, it is one wild season. Does my Project Runway analogy reveal too much into my Thursday evenings for you? :P I have to cope with the stress somehow.

My unofficial job description is to support teacher growth in classroom management, lesson planning, instruction, and assessment. No day is the same, but in the course of a week, you could find me:

Co-writing lesson plans
Cutting out and laminating manipulatives
Compiling assessment data
Modeling a lesson
Emailing documents between two campuses (I split my time between 2 high schools)
Facilitating a team meeting
Daydreaming about the next weekend or vacation day with my family
Collaborating with the support teachers from other subjects
Researching end-of-course exams from other states
Doing any random task a teacher or administrator asks...and there have been some doozies
Listening…a lot of listening.

I’m still working on that part: the listening. If you marry your opposite, consider that my husband is a therapist. He listens all day long. I talk all day long. The discipline of listening to a teacher or team of teachers flesh out a problem, discuss a grievance, share a hardship, or elaborate on a plan has been good for me. I am so blessed to hear what our AMAZING teachers need to say and want to share. I’m working on being someone who knows more of what she says than saying what she knows. Toughest part of the job, by far.

Make no mistake, this job is a gift, but I would be remiss not to tell you that it is a gift that comes in a big box with 1,000 pieces and no instructions. And on most days, I am happily working with my eyebrows furrowed and chewing the inside of my lip as I tackle today’s unexpected opportunity.

Now, back to work.

PS: a post with no pictures and little mention of my children is a rarity. Don't worry, Grandmom, I'll return to our regularly scheduled programming soon with Halloween photos. :)

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