Northerner In Nashville

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 28 2013

Change: By the Numbers

Teachers are obsessed with data. Ask any teacher about their class and they can regale you with hilarious stories, sad stories, bizarre and strange stories. Qualitative data. In recent years, education has emphasized quantitative data. Well, here goes.

5 different principals
4 years of teaching
3 different schools
2 different grade levels
1 very tired teacher

This past week, I was out on Wednesday for a training. I got a call from one of my teammates. After three weeks of school, the numbers were in: We didn’t have enough students enrolled to keep all the teachers. 1st and 2nd grade had the lowest enrollment. The principal was asking for volunteers to transfer to one of the schools with high enrollment in need of additional teachers.

I had a sinking feeling after I hung up the phone. Could it be me? I teach first and was one of the newest teachers in the building. On Thursday, my principal called and asked to see me. Even as an adult, I still get that sinking feeling when I get the call to the principals office. Although I had to wait another 30 minutes, I knew it could only mean one thing. No one had volunteered to transfer and so it was going to be me.

Within the hour, the transfer was complete. I’d gotten my first choice school from the list of places in the district that needed additional teachers. I’m incredibly fortunate — it’s still first grade and it’s not all that far from my house.

On Thursday after school, I went over to meet the principal and get a tour. On Friday, I started packing up my classroom (managed to get all boxes packed and moved to the new school by Saturday). I had to let my students know that I wouldn’t be coming back Friday afternoon. Last year, I had an offer to switch to a charter school at this point in the year. I turned it down because I couldn’t imagine leaving my students, even after a few weeks. One year later, and I had to do the same thing.

People keep asking me how I feel. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s all happened so quickly that it’s been hard to grasp that I left one class of students on Friday and will have a completely different class at a completely different school…on Wednesday.

In looking to leave the school where I started at, I wanted to find a place where I could work with the same student population but a different staff culture. I wanted a place with staff stability and a place where people could balance working and having a life. Having a family. Keeping that in my head has been what’s made this process all that much easier. Instead of just one school where I saw that, I get to now see that in action at 2 schools.

It took me a week to set up my first classroom. I have 2 days next week. I’m oddly calm about the whole thing. Perhaps its because so many people have been supportive. My new-old co-workers, who helped me pack up my things and shared their experiences of being in the same situation. My new-new coworkers, who have been so welcoming. My amazing boyfriend and friends who helped me move things into the new building over the weekend. My parents, who have listened from a thousand miles away and helped to keep me sane as I figure out how I am going to make it through this transition emotionally, professionally and financially (moving is expensive!). I have a feeling I’ll be trying to work Donors Choose a lot more this year to make sure I have everything I need for my new kiddos!

Here’s to yet another new adventure, whatever it may bring!

One Response

  1. Good Luck! You can do it!

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a 2010 CM’s experiences


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