It is so strange to be back at school for inservice week. On the surface, it would seem as though not much has changed. With little exception, the same faces are sitting in roughly the same places in the auditorium. We go through the same, "Welcome back, don't stand on desks, success is our only option, no personal e-mails, open door policy, blah blah" speeches. We sign in on the same sheets, have our pictures taken by the same photography studio, and spend what precious spare time we have setting up our rooms in the same hallways. This is my sixth inservice week at the same school. It shouldn't feel so awkward. It's just that this year is so… not the same.
This year, one of those blah-blah speeches was given by me and my name wasn't on the high school list with the other math teachers, it was in its own section on the special programs page. After they took my picture, the same old photographers gave me a new ID with a new job title. I watched as those same faces walked down those same halls to meetings with the same teams to which I no longer belong. A new face was setting up in my old classroom and my old stuff is going into a new office. It's just so disorienting!
Frustratingly, I spent most of the first two days attempting to find the perfect offices – one for the K-8 building and one for the high school building. I got kicked out of five different spaces!! I felt like Goldilocks on the quest for a space that was just right; one where kids could work without compromising test security, disturbing late test takers, disrupting the social worker's schedule, requiring a separate records room, or being drowned out by basketball games.
After finally finding offices, the next three days were spent begging anyone who would listen to fill them with furniture. By Friday, I was missing many of my boxes, most of my furniture, and both of my phones. Without the rush of team meetings to keep me busy as I waited to unpack, some of my patience went missing too.
On the one hand, I'm extraordinarily excited for the new challenges. My overview of the academically gifted program at inservice day went really well. I outlined a plan I believe will really give our school a solid program that supports students, teachers, and parents. I felt good about the talk, and two of our three principals complimented me afterwards. Even better, the special education coordinator offered to share her high school classroom with me. This will be a great fit, since we are not only great friends, but our programs (and personalities) are very similar. All of this encourages me that this will be a great year.
On the other hand, I'm having trouble letting go of the old. I find myself wanting to be a part of math team discussions and feeling left out when I hear a group of high school teachers talking about spirit week activities. I still want to buy math resources and attend math conferences. It's hard letting go.
How do you step back from what you love?