Finding my bearings

I’ve been at my new job in Central Office for about two months now, and I have learned so much!  In the beginning, things were pretty slow–it was still summer, people were on vacation.  Also, I didn’t really know what my job entailed; I would do the few things I knew to do, and then find myself in a lull.  But then a project came along, and I worked busily on that; after the project, the school year started and a more steady stream of responsibilities came my way.  These last two weeks, though, have really shown me the new pace of things!  I have been engaged and challenged in so many different arenas–bouncing from my first school committee meeting, to a professional learning class with 60 administrators from the district, to a brief planning meeting with the superintendent, to a collaboration session with administrators from nearby districts.  Finding time to get the “work” done has been difficult, but I find that this new reality often mirrors the teaching schedule that I was missing.

One of the hardest parts of settling into this position was realizing how much time I would spend sitting at my desk, staring at the computer.  This was especially salient for maybe weeks 2-5–week one was spent in awe, and in setting up my office and new systems for work.  And then week two, I settled in at my desk to start the work.  It felt like I didn’t leave that desk the whole week.  That continued for the next few weeks, and I started to panic.  When you’re a teacher, you really don’t sit down.  The entire day is what I imagine an improv comedian’s Friday night to be: you’re on the stage, you’ve got to be flexible and creative and when things get funny, you just have to go with it.  Add to that a classroom on the third floor, and you’re doing at least 5 serious stair climbs a day (arrival, dismissal, lunch, recess, specials, etc.).  My colleagues told me it would get better, that soon I’d be having meetings that got me out of the office, I’d be visiting other schools, I wouldn’t feel so sedentary, and isolated.  And they were right!  But for those few weeks, I was really nervous about what I had gotten myself into.

So, PHEW!  I’m past that now.  And the structure of my days feels a lot more familiar and comfortable to me.  While I’m not teaching a class of students, I am constantly on-the-go, having to adjust to different groups of people and situations.  I have to be “on” all the time, ready to engage in conversations around a huge variety of topics, with incredibly intelligent people (and bonus! In the beginning, imposter syndrome was coming on strong, but this week, I realized that the person sitting in those meetings saying intelligent things was ME!  And that I belonged there!).  I am learning a ton about adult learning, which actually isn’t a whole lot different from kid learning, so that informs my work.  Finally, I’m accumulating “firsts” in this position so quickly, I hardly have time to be nervous about them!  And of course, they are no longer firsts, and I’ve now gained some perspective on that experience.

Looking back, I’m not sure this blog post has a coherent thread.  I started writing, not really knowing what my end game was, and here we are.  I guess this writing is really a celebration.  Changing jobs is HARD, and adjusting takes time, and there are a whole lot of feelings and identity conversations wrapped up in that.  So here I am, celebrating having gotten to this point, feeling more in love with this work than ever and excited and inspired to continue moving forward.  Hooray!

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About Teacher Cait

Massachusetts educator, learner, committed to finding joy every day. @CaitAhern
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