I started out to tell you that I am not a teacher this year, but that felt all kinds of wrong. A teacher is something you ARE, not something you do.
So, I’m still a teacher.
But I’m not in a classroom this year. I’ve moved up, joined the dark side (I heard there were cookies… I love cookies).
I’m an administrator. I have an office and a title: Director of Early Childhood Education. The closest parallel in a public school setting is a Vice-Principal or Assistant Principal. I oversee our Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten programs. Camryn, my amazing boss, is still my boss (and still amazing, by the way), but a lot closer to being my sidekick. Or maybe I am her sidekick? Anyway, she is The Principal, and I am the AP. Sort of. Some days I am sure that the ENTIRE point of the rocky path that led me to This School was so that I would get to meet and work with Camryn. She’s THAT awesome. But I digress.
I’ve been quiet about this change here, cautious about sharing it. I’m worried that it will somehow discredit me. It’s weird to think of “how I do things in my classroom” as “how I used to do things in my classroom, when I had one.”
God bless my teaching partner from last year, who has said to me, more than once: “You taught me SO MUCH. My classroom will ALWAYS be your classroom.” She is teaching kindergarten on her own, now, in the room that we shared. She is amazing, and when I hear my words coming out of her mouth, I smile and cry at the same time.
In the 3.5 months since I was offered, and accepted, this position (it is newly-created, but I still had to apply, and interview against other candidates), I cannot begin to count the number of people who have questioned my decision to NOT be in a classroom. I know that these questions come from a well-intentioned place – a place of “you are such an amazing teacher, how can you leave that?” but they always feel vaguely judgmental, like I’m selling out of the REAL work.
This isn’t about “quitting” the classroom. This is about choosing to step out so I can lead.
So, if your REAL question is “Why do you want to lead?” there are a million answers:
Because I am a textbook firstborn.
Because I’m bossy.
Because I have a voice and I want it to be heard.
Because I have worked HARD to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes, of a leader.
Because throughout my life, I have ended up in leadership positions without seeking them out.
Because when I notice a problem, my immediate response is to start figuring out a solution.
Because I am a great teacher.
Because I care about people, think they are interesting, want to hear their stories.
Because it has been ingrained in me that if I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem.
Because I am an expert at what I do.
Because I can be relied upon to produce an opinion any time one is called for, and that opinion is usually informed, thoughtful, well-researched.
Because the other option – of staying within the four walls of my classroom, quietly doing my thing, is not who I am, has never been who I am.
Because when you are offered an opportunity that allows you to be MORE of who you are, YOU TAKE IT.
I promise to share the cookies.