That sounds pretty arrogant to say, I am sure.
However, it is true- I feel it in my heart. I slipped up and you slipped in.
That does not mean that you are not a talented educator. I know that you are. I do not mean to belittle your efforts in any way, but you have never been a teacher at NW before, and I have. NW was my home for over five years. During that time I created a curriculum, projects that inspired students to do incredible things, and co-founded a committee that spread messages of hope and understanding of those around us. I challenged and inspired students to evaluate themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and to strive for improvements in their own performance. I taught literature, writing, grammar and lessons on life, what it means to be human and the world around us. I laughed, I made mistakes, I learned from my students as much as they learned from me. I loved it.
And I left…
I left because only one thing could have taken precedence over my career- my children. They had a need greater than that which pulled me to NW, and while walking away I lost a piece of myself. While this is true, my time away has led me to discover new talents, expand my skill set by working for test prep companies and becoming a published author. And now suddenly, three years later, when those babes need me a bit less, an opportunity came up that I never expected.
Earlier this spring, a position was posted for which I scrambled to apply and get all my eggs in a row in hopes to one day be a Wildcat again. I enrolled my youngest in the pre-school, acquiring the very last spot available, and then the position was filled by a sub without even an interview taking place. I kept my daughter’s spot… just in case… with no possible site of a position opening up in the near future.
But it did… and it was back right where I came from, my home on Respect Ave.
I’ve been away for three years, but the open position is for a test prep. grade. I have been immersed in test prep on a different level during my entire absence working for three different companies and various state’s exams. I had glowing reviews from former co-workers and administrators. I had new writing and working experiences to help mold my classroom. I had a place secured for my children. It was all lining up to work out…
And then it didn’t.
I was a nervous wreck for the first interview. At first. But as the interview progressed, I grew more comfortable, and I felt that I displayed the love and passion I have for teaching and the district. When round two with demo teaching, writing, and a final interview came- I felt confident. I had a lesson planned similar to what I have done in my classroom many times. I created a plan to work on student weaknesses using diagnostic testing results and showed a path for how I planned to take the students towards testing success. It’s a testing year, and so I felt like this would be important to show. It was part of what I was known for when previously employed by the district. I answered the questions honestly, allowing for more of my personality to shine through. I constructed essay responses which I thought were inventive, creative and again would allow for the me who has found such success in the educational world to shine. I left there feeling like I had done my best. I knew I was a little rusty, but I had proven myself to the district for five years; I had created so much there that was beyond the typical teaching experience. I felt like it was my chance to return home, and in the process, I felt a piece of me return that had been missing since I walked away.
Ya know, I didn’t feel this way when I left other districts. And that is what I want you to realize as you step into this position. This is not your typical school, and these are not your typical students. There is something special at NW that I have never experienced anywhere else I have taught, and of which you are perhaps completely unaware. That is why I feel the position was mine- because I know that a piece of me will forever reside in those hallways and classroom. You may not see it or feel it, but I do.
Was there more I could have said or done in the interview process? I will never know if anything could have made a difference. If I had told the committee that I knew I was a little rusty, but that I would do everything in my power to reach my students and ensure their success… that I am sure things have changed and new ideas and strategies may be available of which I am not familiar- but that I would continue to learn and find new ways to reach the kids as I had done before. I hoped that my prior dedication to the job would shine through and speak for itself, and that’s not what ended up happening.
It feels like my prior additions to the district and all that I accomplished there meant close to nothing. A new administration and a committee that, while they know me, are probably instructed to gauge their decision only off of what they see in front of them, came to a decision that was not me.
And so you win…
And while perhaps there are new things waiting just around the corner for me of which I do not yet know, though NW does not have a place for me at this time, I can’t deny its placement in my heart and as a part of who I am.