The last week of school was CRAZY. I know it was over three weeks ago but I still feel a little dazed. I had AP college portfolios to grade. I had my classroom to clear out. I had a house to pack, friends to say goodbye to, and a husband whose paperwork still hadn’t come through. It feels like I blinked and my little life in Texas was packed in a storage unit in Fort Wayne, and I’m left feeling dizzy and marveling at how quickly life can change. I feel like I didn’t get enough of a chance to reflect on my last three years before I launch into a new chapter of my life.
After an 18-hour trip home to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to interview at the end of May, I am pleased to say I will be teaching at my alma mater this fall. I signed my offer letter last week, and met with the teacher this week for whom I’m taking over. Ironically, she is taking a call to Texas, so we are “switching,” so to speak.
I will be teaching 3 periods of junior AP English Language and Composition, 2 periods of English 9 (grade-level freshmen), and taking over the yearbook. I’m excited to tweak my junior AP class after two years of teaching it in Texas. They use the same textbook so I’m familiar with it, and the summer reading assignment looks a lot like the one I gave last year.
There is another English teacher who has taught English 9 for years and on whom I can rely to help plan for that course. I am most nervous about yearbook. There have been three different advisers in the last three years, and a staff of predominantly seniors, so there hasn’t been a lot of continuity within the program. The former teacher said the hardest part of about yearbook is overcoming the stigma that it’s a “blowoff” class. In reality, it’s a publishing class, and anyone who is interested in journalism, English, or business should take it. It’s harder than it looks, and should be, and helping students to remember that will go a long way to having a successful product. As the teacher, the job seems to be about 50% logistics and 50% delegation; if the class does its work well, I don’t have to do any of the designing parts. Not that I mind design (I was the publicity manager for several of my college organizations), but I’m excited to develop a different skill set. We’ll sell ads to senior parents and local businesses, manage deadlines with vendors, and work with people within the school that I’ve never met, and probably didn’t know existed.
Since I attended high school (I graduated from there in 2007), we always got our yearbook the last week of school so everyone could sign it, and then spring supplements were passed out in the fall with the spring sports, prom pictures, etc. For this upcoming year they decided to release the yearbook during the summer and ditch the supplement, for logistical reasons with the class. I don‘t know how it will go; obviously the lure of yearbooks is getting to read all the LYLAS and HAKAS signatures years later, but since the decision is already made, I’m relieved to have the little extra time that allows.
The two student editors are already chosen, and there is a yearbook workshop at Valparaiso University at the end of July that the teacher encouraged me to go to with the editor. Of course the deadline to sign up is next week, so before I even have keys to my classroom or a school email account or a paycheck I’m coordinating with the budget staff and the senior editor and getting permission forms. It’s a friendly reminder that being in Lutheran education tends to involve more…more.
I am thrilled for this job. I loved attending school here, and I’m excited to see all the changes that have happened since I graduated. Major changes include an increased enrollment; like many local private and parochial schools, enrollment has benefited from Indiana’s school choice voucher initiatives. All the students have ipads; there was a push this past year to create E-learning days for the numerous weather delays and cancellations to keep learning happening when kids can’t be in school. I’m sure I’ll have lots of instances where I think things like, “Wow, classes were harder when I went here,” or, “These kids are meaner since I was in high school,” but I’m pretty sure that’s par for the course of being a teacher. Still, I get to work with several teachers who I adored and can continue to learn from; one of my bridesmaids from my wedding teacher science there now. Lots of opportunities await. I’ve taken the last few weeks off to breathe, but hope to jump in with both feet in July and start putting my new classroom and year together.