Well I have some news. While I have enjoyed my first year as an administrator immensely and learned so many great things, I will be leaving my position at the end of the year and returning to the classroom. The reason for this change is due to a wonderful opportunity I have to pursue a coaching position with a small university in Edmonton. It will require a significant time commitment which means I won’t be able to continue as an administrator at this time. My division, my principal and my colleagues have been immensely supportive of my decision and I am extremely excited to take on this coaching role.
Looking towards the future and preparing myself for the changes in my jobs as coach and as an educator, I am reminded of the times in my career where I took a new opportunity and started a new chapter. The excitement, the nervous anticipation, the energy, it always ends up bringing the best out of me. I have always said that I am far more effective at whatever I do when I am challenged, and change always brings with it a challenge. Times in my career where I grew complacent or disillusioned always centered around a lack of engagement or a job that rarely included any type of struggle or adversity. A change in position or teaching assignment always remedied that, and I quickly found myself running on all cylinders and invigorated by my new direction.
It makes wonder about those people who end up spending a long time or even their entire career in the same building. I am sure people can find ways to challenge themselves without changing their assignment or building but there are also some who fear the change. It is these people I worry about and wonder if someone needs to provide a supportive “push”. Change to some people presents a daunting and intimidating unknown. To these people, it is safer to stay in the job or keep teaching the same classes they always have because the unknown is too scary to take that chance. I think there are a few benefits that this type of thinking will miss out on.
1) We better ourselves through new experiences and new connections: Every time we change classes, grade level, building, community or school division we have the opportunity to experience new things. New colleagues, new families, new buildings, new ways of thinking, new strategies, new resources, there are so many opportunities to learn and to grow as a professional.We gain perspective with each new connection or with each building or division we work in as we see how things work in other successful classrooms.
2) We learn and grow, everything we want from our students: We need to continually challenge ourselves as professional and what better way than to take on a new experience. By going through the adversity of a new position or assignment we will be familiar with the frustrations that our students go through when they encounter a new learning experience. As educators we are always trying to confront our students with an opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and develop new skills, how can we not live this way ourselves?
3) We have the opportunity to find a new (or renewed) passion for our craft: So many friends and colleagues have shared with me the same story; they had to teach something new and in the end it became their favorite subject or class to teach. People take on a role in an alternate school and they end up loving it. PE teachers become administrators, Science teachers become music teachers, a Junior High teacher becomes a Gr. 1 teacher. We teach kids, not subjects, and there are kids EVERYWHERE, and connecting with a student has less to do with WHAT you teach and far more to do with HOW you teach them. That being said, we are at our best when we are engaged and excited to be there, and trying new things means we have more opportunities to find our most rewarding experience.
I have had a great year as an assistant principal and it will be hard to leave a job that was such a rewarding yet demanding assignment. I have the opportunity to live a dream I have had since I was a kid, and it will make me a better coach, a better educator, a better leader and a better person. Change means giving up something, that is a certainty, but change also means gaining something too. Change is a gift, a new opportunity waiting wrapped in the unknown, and something you shouldn’t be afraid to open. If we can look at change this way we can open ourselves up to the opportunities to become better at what we do.