By the time I was in 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I admired my teachers – their preparedness, their creativity, and the manner in which they related to students. More importantly, though, it was the way they showed how much they loved coming to school each day that made me want to be like them.
I have been a principal for 20 years and although I love what I do, I always have the deep yearning to get back into the classroom. Being a principal allows me to focus on the big picture, work with amazing teachers, assist families, and introduce programs and ideas that will effect student learning. These are all good and necessary parts of the education world, but nothing is as impactful as being in the classroom working with students.
This year I have the wonderful opportunity to be teaching 2 classes – 5th grade Religion and 7th grade Social Studies. These 2 hours each day are definitely the best part of my day – teaching these classes leaves me energized and makes me smile. They also leave me with papers to mark, lessons to plan, websites to search, and grades to enter into our online grading system, but most days this seems like a small price to pay for engaging with young learners.
During the 10 years I was teaching, I taught 6-8 graders math, religion, and ELA. The longer I have been a principal, the more I realized that I took those 10 years for granted. Getting back into the classroom has allowed me to get back what I loved – connecting with kids, seeing the light bulb go off in their heads when they understand a concept, listening to their perspectives, and loving their inquisitiveness and deeper thinking.
I may be spending more hours preparing for my classes, researching, planning, and taking my “real job” work home with me, but the pay off is the 2 wonderful hours out of each day that I am able to be with my students – to laugh and think, to listen and inquire – to be a teacher and learner! Go Warriors!