At the end of this school year, I will say goodbye to my school district. I have spent four of my first five years teaching here and it was definitely a bittersweet decision to leave.
I am so grateful for all my mentor has taught me, but I also feel guilty for leaving and not taking over his programs as he retires this year. In addition to showing his love for teaching students, he made me into a Speech Coach and encouraged me to get involved in the Iowa World Language Association. Many expected me to take over his many endeavors like Spanish Club that does Race for a Cure, Adopt a Family, Make a Difference Day, Senior Citizens Prom, and more.
I am SO proud of my Spanish 3 babies and all they have accomplished with me in our 3 short years together, and I feel awful about leaving my Spanish 1 + 2s with someone else. My Spanish 3 students were my first group to learn through TPRS/CI exclusively who has enjoyed learning alongside me. Most of my creative units like lucha libre, los Inca, and more were created for this group. After three years together, they feel like family and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for these 17 kids. Several Spanish 1 + 2 students’ faces came to my mind as the guilt of leaving my students set in. They’re already guilt tripping me, stating they would quit if the teacher uses a textbook or that they’d prefer a current student in the level they will be taking to teach them with pointers from me. I’ve even had students who’ve never had me tell me that they are sad and mad that they will never get to have me as a teacher. I’ve shed more than a couple tears when I think about leaving my kids behind.
I enjoyed participating in and creating new opportunities for my students outside of the class – travel abroad, Justo Lamas concerts, Spanish Quizbowl, etc., but I’m sad that these might disappear in the future for my current students who expect these things.
I have appreciated the opportunity to experiment with my teaching and the time to help me identify my core beliefs about language teaching, but I also recognize that I have exhausted all that my current school has to offer me as a professional.
Despite all of the sadness and fear I am feeling, I am even more excited for the opportunities that my new school and position will provide me. I am very excited to work with a like-minded colleague, Kim Huegerich (Twitter: @donakimberly; Blog: TheActiveLearner), who I have gotten to know somewhat well through planning the CI: Comprehensible Iowa conference for this June. I am excited to work in a rather progressive 1:1 school that is embracing Standards-Based Grading and will experiment with cross-curricular project-based learning next year. As much as I support these initiatives, I think my new school will push me to become better in these areas and it seems to have the support built in to help me. I will also be able to pursue other endless personal and professional interests because this job will part time (at least for next year).
Here’s to new adventures! 🙂