#18 I Am Not Going Backward

May 24, 2015

As the school year begins to wrap up, I anxiously await approval for my request to move from my current position as the Library Media Specialist which I’ve held for the past nine years, to a fifth-grade classroom teaching position, which I’ve dreamed about for the last five.  I have only two more nights to wait for the final word so please keep me in your thoughts and wish me luck.

I’m doing my absolute best to remain grounded and to carry out my responsibilities until the very last day of school, at which point, like a nut, I’m going to dive right into all things fifth grade: new curriculum, Language Arts, Social Studies, Spanish, absent buddies, birthdays, recess, new colleagues, new administration, new challenges and so much more.  The very thought of it makes every cell in my body sing with excitement.  And this, was my response to a friend when asked if I was going backward.

Backward? By backward, do you mean honoring my truth? Following my heart?  Do you mean challenging myself to run a semi-self-contained classroom which I’ve never experienced?  Do you mean going beyond what common sense will allow? Denying the truth that runs through my veins?

What exactly do you mean by backward?  I always thought going backward was not learning the lessons life was teaching you.  Not heeding warnings. Not paying attention and getting slapped in the face for doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting different results. I thought backward was living unconsciously and mindlessly.

No, my friend, I am not going backward.  I am moving forward; graciously and gratefully, to a position that epitomizes teaching.  To a position that will challenge me pedagogically; one that will allow me to work with a grade level I have never before experienced. A position that will allow me to grow into an area of myself that was never before challenged.  A position that allows me to work with tween-agers who, in preadolescence, are preparing to enter middle school (a place that’s very scary for 5th graders- until they get there of course) and having taught that age group for 17 years, I can help to make that transition be a smooth one.

I do thank you very much for your concern, for I know it comes from a place of respect for all that I’ve done in education and will continue to do. Regardless of our abilities and strengths, we should never hold ourselves back from honoring what we know for sure is our truth.  Allowing ourselves to “settle” is not living our best lives. It’s boring.  It’s cheating ourselves out of what life has waiting for us.  Every October for the last few years, when I’d email my librarian bestie asking her to convince me to stay, I knew a change was on the horizon. I honored my position and worked it to the best of my ability.  I am grateful for the opportunities it afforded me like working with all of the teachers and students in the school, rather than just a select team.  I am grateful for all the professional development I was able to share with my colleagues.  I am grateful for the teachers who continue to come to me for advice in lesson design because it allows me to be my best creative self and to share what I know is the best practices for our students. I am forever grateful to all the teachers and staff members whom I’ve worked with over the past sixteen years who have taught me how to be a better person, as well as a better educator. I am grateful for the librarian community, unique as they are, who are an amazing group of educators with an abundance of excitement and knowledge to offer their colleagues and it is my hope that their colleagues will open up, let them in, and allow them to share.

All of these things have allowed me to be my best self,  a better educator who honors her truth and knows when it’s time to move on and move forward and follow her heart. So again I say to you, my friend, I am not going backward.