Blog Archive

Sunday, September 17, 2017

An Open Letter to My (Former/Future) Students

Below is a letter (well, a published draft anyway) I wrote to leave behind for students this year. It was first published on where I also write. I wanted to share it here as well.
Dear Students,
I didn’t leave because of you. I don’t love you any less. I won’t stop thinking about you or missing you or hoping you are well. You know how much I love you. I won’t stop wondering about how you are doing or forget your sweet faces or devious antics. I can’t imagine life without you.
But it was time. Those of you who know me, you know how much I love a challenge. You know I crave chaos and creativity, newness and imagination. And it wasn’t that you won’t challenge me anymore. It’s that the challenge had become too predictable, too ordinary, too comfortable.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


The other day I went to one of the high schools.

It was the first day of student attendance.

I didn't go to "observe" teachers.

I wasn't doing "walk throughs."

It was the first day of student attendance.

But, there are a lot of people to get to know.

Hundreds, literally.

And there are a lot of buildings to get to know.

30, to be exact.

Part of my job is to visit schools and classrooms.

Plus, this school has a brand new, just hired, ELL teacher with four preps.

Maybe a little extra support is in order.

I walked into her classroom and got a very pleasant surprise.

A former student of mine was sitting there.

I had him two or three years ago as a freshman.

He was always so quiet.

Quiet, but smart, observant, and with a wicked sense of humor.

When nonsense abounded, he was almost always the instigator.

And I could barely get him to talk to me.

I mean, he is a soft spoken dude.

But, he wouldn't say three words to me.

When I finally started getting a solid head nod when I said hello, I felt awesome.

He was sitting, not surprisingly, off to one side of the room.

With that slightly smug, mischievous look I know so well.

I totally put him on blast.

I said hello like it was the most natural thing in the world for us both to be there.

While wearing my central office name tag.

He squirmed and refused to make eye contact...

and was secretly pleased to be seen.

I doubt he cared about seeing me.

But I bet he cared that I saw and remembered him.

I don't know, it was nice.

Unexpected and silly, but nice.

Knowing a few kids here and there is still a good thing.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Doing me a favor...

There was district PD last Friday.

And the day had a lot of moving parts.

Like a lot a lot.

It was only elementary schools...

Only 20 schools.

The teachers were split in two for math PD.

Half in the morning, half in the afternoon.

Grades 3-5, they went to technology for the other half of the day.

K-2 were divided by grade level.

Their other half of the day was split again.

Half Novel Engineering and half ELA PD.

Except new teachers, librarians, reading specialists, elective teachers, instructional specialists, and building aides.

They all had other stuff going on at least part of the day.

Anyway, that meant, I had to staff four sessions for each grade level k-2, plus 6 sessions for new teachers.

As I am brand new and know no one, this has been a challenge.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Once in a while, I know the answer

When you start a new job, doing something completely different, you feel stupid.

At least, I do.

Like everyone knows more than you about pretty much everything.

Like your peers have got to be sick of your questions.

Like you are kind of slow and very forgetful.

When you start a new job, all your quirks show.

Or at least, I think they do.

There is just sooooo much to learn.

And so little time to think.

And so many questions to ask.

And so many questions to answer.

Most of which you answer with let me ask someone and find an answer.

I have lists of lists I need to make lists about.

Most of which I don't have time to make.

But this weird thing is starting to happen.

Once in a while, I know the answer.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Proud of me?

I wrote a letter.

An open letter to my former students.

Eventually, I will post it here.

But not yet.

My students; however, already have it.

Since I left after the school year ended, no one knew I wouldn't be back.

I didn't really know I wouldn't be back.

So in an effort to be fair to my babies...

and my colleagues who otherwise have to field a ton of awkward questions,

I wrote a letter.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Unpredictable challenge

I stopped at the QT for lunch the other day.

Gas station food isn't exactly healthy, but it was what I had time for.

And I ran into a former student.

Honestly, I don't remember his name.

He didn't even recognize me.

I definitely remembered his face.

I stopped and asked him if he went to R*****.

He kind of shrugged yes.

"Did you have me for English?"

"Um, probably..." followed by an uncomfortable and sheepish grin.

I don't know why that moment made me smile.

This is not a kid whose life I changed...

Or even made an impression on.

Maybe it was just a nice reminder of what used to be.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Seeing my stuff

Seeing my stuff spread all over some one else's room...

is weird.

It feels both wrong and gratifying.

Definitely, I am glad it is getting put to good use.

But what if I need it again?

What if I want it?

Oh boy.

I don't even get to go supply shopping this year!

The gratifying part, though, is pretty cool.

 I mean, there have been a lot of very heartfelt thank yous.

Those are nice.

Seeing teachers with what they need for a strong start.

That is priceless.

When I went there last week, everything was everywhere.