Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BE content - Slice of Life 2013

A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted by Two Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz. Click on Two Writing Teachers to be taken to their website to learn more about this week's Slice of Life.
*****     *****     *****     *****     *****
Three and a half years ago, the direction in my life seemed clear. I was half way through my third year as an elementary principal (work that I LOVED) and I had given birth do my daughter, Madeline. When I left for my maternity leave (I worked up to the day before Madeline was born), I was confident that I would be back at the helm of my school. Boy, was I wrong.

It is true that there was a lot going on around the time that Madeline was born-I was recovering from a c-section (Maddie was breach), I suffered from postpartum depression, and my dad was dying from a terminal lung cancer. All of that aside, I looked at the little gift from heaven that I had been given and knew in my heart that I could not go back to the educator life I had had before she was born. So, the short version of the longer story is that I resigned from my administrator position and went back to the classroom. I have shared in a previous blog post about my struggle with my return to the classroom; however, it was and still is the best decision that I made for myself personally and professionally. 

Even though I know my return to the classroom was as it was intended to be, there are administrator positions that open up in my school district and I still have that pang of "should I apply?" And, it always happens at a time when I think I have that administrator feeling out of my system. Recently, an assistant principal position opened up at one of the high schools in my district. I had toyed with the idea of applying just to work for the principal that had just been assigned to that school. She is amazing and someone I admire and respect. After discussion with my husband and some serious prayer, NO was the clear answer.

I started thinking deeper about why this keeps happening to me. Why do I continue to question if I made the right move professionally? I am beginning my second year as a beginning teacher mentor. Being a mentor is an wonderful job: it's the happy side of school leadership. I coach. I support. I model. I interact with kids. I focus on professional development specifically designed for beginning teachers. Everything about my work is focused. So, what's the problem?

I need to be content. Not look at what else is out there...that someone else has, but instead looking at myself and appreciating ALL that I have. Precious time with my daughter. An opportunity to impact kids and learning beyond my classroom but all the while growing professionally so that when I return to the classroom I am reinvigorated. And, I need to be content with the fact that I am a much better leader as a teacher than I ever was as an administrator. I have a new lease on educator life thanks in large part to my PLN (Professional Learning Network). I am excited about my ever growing book stack that no matter how hard I try the stack grows bigger not smaller-the "price" of being on Twitter & Goodreads. I am excited about my life as a writer (Thank you, Teachers Write!) even though I keep going in different directions with that, too. No matter. I have so much more to offer as a professional right now. More to offer than any other year in the recent past. I am truly blessed.

I am content.


  1. Like you, I struggled with the desire (at times) to be an administrator and to be an agent of change in schools. Like you, I chose to stay in the classroom both for the sake of my family (fewer evening obligations like board meetings) and due to the fact that what we do in classrooms with kids every moment really matters! I questioned my decision many, many times yet, like you, I am still growing and changing (for the better) as a teacher!

    1. Thank you so much, Anita! Sometimes I look around me and feel like it's only me...silly, I know. It gives me comfort to know that you've grappled with the same tug of war. I agree that "what we do in classrooms with kids every moment really matters". For me, I'm realizing that the closer to the classroom I remain the greater impact I have.

  2. I hear you completely. My career has taken many twists over twenty years so that I find myself in yet another new situation. I have taken time off to be with my girls, to explore alternative career paths, and to help my Mom through the final year of her life. And because of that time off I am not where I thought I would be in my professional life at age 44. Still, I am exactly where I should be right now and love it.
    I still have occasional moments of "what if" and am often tempted by interesting opportunities, but overall I am fortunate to have the flexibility of choice and I choose balance. It's a chaotic journey, and i'm having the time of my life. (and my "want to read" list on GoodReads is over 100 titles!).
    Thanks for sharing your journey, because knowing we're not alone always makes it a little easier.