I’m excited to announce I’ve accepted a position at Eastwood High School in El Paso for the coming school year. Though my actual job title is a little ambiguous, I’ll be their campus testing coordinator. (The district reserves the word “coordinator” for district-level personnel.) Eastwood HS is only a few miles from our new home in EP. The school is part of Ysleta ISD and has 2300 enrollment.
I’ve gotten a few questions I thought I’d reflect on in this space:
Aren’t you sad you won’t be in the classroom next year?
Of course I am. It’s the first time in a decade I haven’t had my own classroom and the first time in over 11 years that I haven’t been in one. But, I’m also excited for this new adventure. It’s ok to feel both things at once. I know I’ll be mourning the loss of a classroom for a long time and in many ways; however, I’ve learned something along the way: in every job I’ve ever done from McDonald’s to the peach orchard to the classroom, I’ve always been a teacher. Not having a classroom or a roster of students doesn’t change that.
But, are you sure? I mean. You love teaching. Are you sure?
Yes. For one, I believe people who love teaching and want to do what’s best for kids should be in positions like this one!
Also, I think I need to take a position like this for a number of reasons. In fact, precisely because I love teaching so much, I need to do this job. I fight for what’s best for kids, sometimes to a fault. This year a colleague and friend paid me one of the highest compliments and simultaneously most accurate statements of my fatal flaw. She said, “You’d choke on your own integrity before you’d do something that wasn’t right or wasn’t best for kids.” She’s right. That sense of integrity will be valuable and even more important in this new role. At the same time, my singular focus on the classroom has sometimes limited my view. Schools and districts are complex organizations with a number of moving parts. I am looking forward to a new perspective on operations and the constantly moving pieces.
Aren’t you afraid all of that focus on testing and data will change you? or not be your cup of tea?
Well, I’m a huge nerd. So, no.
But also, I firmly believe that I can bring a new perspective to the table. If you’re reading this, you know they’ve never had someone like me at their table. In response to a reference to the data during my interview, I said something to the effect of this:
Testing and data are the big-bad monsters that hang over us, all of us. The students, the teachers, the admin, the district. They use the numbers to tell us who we are, but it’s my job to help you use those numbers to tell our story, the story we are writing together.
Last one: Wait. I thought you were going to teach in New Mexico.
Yes, you are correct that I had an offer in NM. When I recieved this offer, I turned the other one down. They understand and are happy for me.