Teaching Opinion

On the Precipice of a New Adventure

By Starr Sackstein — August 22, 2017 2 min read
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Paperwork needed to be done, as it always does when you start a new job.

My summer has begun to wrap up and suddenly the very real nature of my not-so-distant choices have become concrete.

No longer the abstract possibilities of change, but the reality of a future that seems both exciting and daunting.

The new school district is less than four miles from my house, so the commute will be far more hospitable and coming and going a real possibility as I learn my new role.

16 years as a classroom teacher in New York City public schools—and as quickly as that train started moving, it came to end.

I’m not certain if I had time to really mourn that end yet or even if I’ll need to in some formal way.

I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t feel weird. No letters from the NYC DOE preparing me for the upcoming year or reminders of where and when to report. No friends waiting for me to come back to share summer stories with and no kids who are “mine” alone.

Instead this year, I will be a school district leader; the director of humanities, K-12 responsible for English, social studies, business and world language departments, and a host of administrative duties that are still a little fuzzy.

Fortunately, I have a starting partner as I learn my new responsibilities and a lot of folks who really believe in my ability to inspire others.

This whole journey has been a little backward, but it’s okay. It’s not unlike how I started teaching. I decided to do it, I got a job and was getting my license and certification concurrently, working through an “alternative path” with a mentor. Wholly unprepared for what was coming, I threw myself into it, truly believing it was where I was meant to be. (A ready, fire, aim approach as some wise friends have called it.)

Boy, was it hard.

But so worth it.

And so this journey starts that way too. Applying for a job I knew I’d be good at even though I didn’t have my admin license yet. A while back I had written a post about the value of credentials versus experience and I strongly believe that experience is a better indicator. Although, now that I’ve begun my admin program and have learned many new things that will no doubt help in my new position, I can better see the value in both.

So as I run into this new position, I do it with the same vigor and excitement I did for teaching. Eager to make a good impression and do right by the teachers and students I will be working with and really help to participate in the change in my new school community.

I have lots of questions but I know they will all sort themselves out in good time. So far everyone has been really nice and welcoming. I feel lucky and more capable than I did when I started teaching. Now I’ve developed many areas of expertise and a professional network of colleagues who will undoubtedly be a wealth of support and wisdom.

Off I go. Time to act as if.

How do you get yourself “ready” for new adventures? Please share.

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.