Much more than a new perspective.

I became a teacher in 2003. I taught science for 10 years before, give or take a mat leave or two, before taking on my current central role. I had (and still have) excellent mentors who taught (teach) me the value of routines, relationships, organization and balance. I could have taught very happily for 10 or 20 more years without changing anything.

In April I saw the job postings for IRT positions in an email attachment. I read the attachment more than once, but thought up many excuses for not taking action. There were commitments I had made to the school that I didn't want to back out on: student government, academic awards assembly, etc. There was my family to consider; a new job might mean irregular hours and would certainly take me farther away from home. The third major excuse I made was that I was probably not cut out for this type of role. I am an introvert and have always carefully navigated my workplace spaces and relationships in a way that allows me to feel calm and in control.  Subject closed. Stay put and continue to blow students' minds with the wonders of science.

Just as I was beginning to forget the job postings, my principal re-emailed them to me. In a cleverly-worded and encouraging email she pointed out that I might not see another posting for a science IRT any time in the near future. My excuses started to look pretty lame and I had to re-examine my decision to ignore this opportunity. A few weeks later I was excited and speechless as I accepted my new position. A mild feeling of doom crept over me as it often does when I leap into the unknown.

I suppose I'm similar to Scaredy Squirrel in some ways; I like to be in familiar places with an emergency kit at hand. I like the familiarity of regular work hours and workspaces. I like having a departmental team who know my strengths, support my needs, and put up with my quirks. I like eating my leftovers at 10:40 and setting up tomorrow's labs at 2:45.

Now that I am here in 'the unknown' I have been forced to acknowledge that I should have done more to make connections outside of my school sooner. The new learning and new relationships of the last few weeks have been transformative. I have been surprised how content I am to be a part of the whirlwind of activity generated by my team. I think it is wonderful that a job change has allowed me to redefine or reimagine my place in the education machine.

A few things I have discovered about myself so far:

  • I really like being a mentor.
  • I'm an effective tech teacher (and tech cheerleader, when needed).
  • I miss having contact with students.
  • I quickly overcame my trepidation about walking in to a new school.
  • I am better at remembering names and conversations than I thought I would be.

The next two weeks will bring two conferences (ECOO and STAO) and two major project launches. Lots to think about. Lots of action. As long as I get some quiet time in the evenings I know I'll get through the over-stimulating days and be able to process everything new that comes my way. The personal growth and potential to make positive change are worth the discomforts that come with my new roll.

I think that blogging has become part of my emergency kit, and I am forced to wonder whether Scaredy Squirrel ever thought about blogging. :)


  1. I LOVE SCAREDY SQUIRREL! I was introduced to the little mammal last year and he's my favourite. Seriously though, I'm so glad you're loving your new position. After seeing the amazing stuff you get to do, I'm (not so) secretly hoping my board moves in the same direction and I might have the chance to do something similar.

    I think it's good to get a kick in a different direction every so often - the father of a friend of mine who taught in DSBN changed schools by choice every seven years, just to keep things fresh and interesting. Not only will change help you grow, it will help you appreciate some of the things you may have been taking for granted beforehand. I'm looking forward to hearing more of your adventures (and seeing you at STAO!) :)

  2. I truly enjoy your thoughtful reflective posts. You are mentoring me in how I should blog. I love your observations about yourself. SS doesn't blog-yet growth mindset issues? He is however, on twitter:)


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