- The decision to apply for a secondary Instructional Coach position and take a 3-year leave from the classroom...where I taught English, which is my passion!
- The decision to use the experience and resources I've gained from over 20 years in the classroom, and to draw upon my incredible PLN (professional learning network) to support and inspire fellow educators.
- The decision to no longer have students of my own, and to no longer have that direct impact on their excitement for reading, writing and speaking.
- The decision to pack up my entire classroom in 2 days, and move as much as I could to my new room...an office in a different middle school.
- The decision to build relationships with educators who cover all subject areas, getting to know their strengths and finding ways I could add value.
- The decision to move from sharing the engaging things my students and I are doing, to sharing the amazing things the teachers in my buildings are doing.
- The decision to move from teacher to coach.
It's been a wonderful four months so far, and I've enjoyed getting to know the amazing staff at both of my buildings (a middle school and a small high school). The opportunity to visit classrooms and witness the variety of teaching styles, strategies and student learning experiences has been valuable. I have grown and learned in many ways through the coaching and leadership training provided by my district, and have developed a camaraderie with my talented fellow coaches.
However, the further I'm removed from my time in the classroom, I wonder if I'll have enough value to give back to my PLN.
Will I continue to be relevant?
And that's why my #oneword for 2017 is RELEVANCE.
My hope is to maintain relevance as an English teacher, as a Nerdy Book Club member, as a #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate) teacher, and as a #ditchbook (Ditch That Textbook) teacher.
As much as I am inspired by the incredible experiences that members of my PLN create for their students, I want to always be resourceful in return.
I want to continue blogging about my educational philosophy.
About the teaching ideas I'm fortunate to witness in my building.
About the amazing ideas shared in Twitter chats and Facebook groups, on educational blogs, during edcamps and teacher conferences, and by word of mouth.
I want to read as many new books as I can, and connect with the plethora of phenomenal authors who continue to write amazing stories. I want to find ways to share that book love with students in my schools, throughout my district, and among the many teachers I've met because I chose to be a connected educator.
No, for the next three years, I won't have a classroom of students that call me their English teacher. However, I'm determined to remain relevant to my teaching profession, to my beliefs about teaching Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, to my rebel/renegade/innovator mindset, and to the community (my PLN) that I'm proud to be part of.