Today my district announced staff moves and assignments for the next school year in response to the opening of a new school and redistricting. You can read more about this in a previous post here.
Before the announcement:
- Our parent group generously provided breakfast for us as the kindest of gestures after a long week of conferences, counting down to Spring Break, and waiting. We nervously shuffled in and tried to make small talk. Some people hid their nerves, while others could talk of nothing else.
- We all tried to keep our mornings fun and busy with our kids as we counted down the moments to Spring Break. We did Breakout Edu, novel engineering, and a variety of other hands-on STEM activities to keep the kids engaged and teachers busy. I worked with my kindergarten mentee and several other people from the district to implement our first trial of Breakout Edu with kindergarteners–a fabulous way to lose track of an hour and a half having fun (I’ll have to share that experience in a future post).
- We honored St. Patrick’s Day. My principal popped in and out of classrooms dressed as a leprechaun from head to toe. Each of us wore something green and kept the spirit of the day fun and lighthearted with leprechaun read alouds, gold coins, and festive outfits.
- Our cell phones buzzed all morning with messages from friends and colleagues in other buildings who had already been told of their movement and placements (my building was the most impacted, so we had to be told as a whole staff at once because our administrators didn’t have time to reach all of us in a half day of school). News spread like wildfire. Anxiety began to increase.
- A few brave souls asked my principal for the time of the announcement. He told them 12:20. It didn’t really matter what time he said–any more time spent waiting seemed like too much at that point.
- We packed the kids up, wished them well on the break, and dismissed them to buses and parents as quickly as possible.
- I ate all of the chocolate that was left in my office. It wasn’t enough.
- We began gathering in small groups around the building. Some people wanted to be alone. Some wanted anything but solitude. Everyone began refreshing their email obsessively.
At 12:17, each of us received an email welcoming us to to our 2017-18 teaching assignment.
After the announcement:
- I teared up before I even opened the email and read the words I’d been hoping to see.
- It slowly sank in that I will be going to open the new school with my principal (who I absolutely love working for) and several of my colleagues. I will be teaching fifth grade along with another mentor who will be returning to the classroom, too.
- I realized the names that were missing on the roster for the new school, friends who have been chosen to stay behind to continue making my current school as amazing as it always has been. My heart ached over the fact that we can’t all stay together.
- People around me began to react. Silence. Some in tears. Some in shock. Much disbelief. A few wondering who would fill out their new team, as we only saw a roster with names of our current staff and blanks where transfers from other buildings fit.
- We slowly dispersed, Spring Break beginning. Some people left right away, needing some time alone. Some people stayed and processed together.
- I reached out to my new teammates, telling them each how excited I am to work with them. They responded to share their excitement, too.
- Eventually, I left school, torn between hope and excitement for the changes to come and sadness for those who didn’t receive the placement they hoped they would get.
I don’t know what will happen next. Spring Break will give all of us a week to process, to think, to prepare ourselves for change. We have several months of transitions ahead of us. Though they will be difficult months, my only hope is that they will also be months filled with hope, optimism, and peace as we build our new reality together. Above all, my One Little Word for 2017 will continue guiding me though the changes ahead: Embrace.
I’m excited to join other writers every Tuesday (and daily during the month of March) in 2017 to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge through Two Writing Teachers. Read all about how you can Write. Share. Give. on their website here.