After receiving my layoff notice from MPS in the middle of June, my biggest career priority quickly became finding a new teaching position. I was Back to School Shopping, but not for clothes… for schools. I applied to every open 6-12 English teaching position I could find, went to many interviews, and zipped off dozens of cover letters. Meanwhile, I watched and waited for news of MPS calling back its missing educators. Unfortunately, that news never came, and while several interviews elsewhere seemed very promising, a secure offer evaded me. I relied heavily on the support of my friends and family as I sent applications off into what seemed like a black hole. I traveled to nearly every city in the greater Milwaukee area for interview meetings. But I wasn’t going to “shop” anywhere that would include a commute that was over an hour long. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
Famous last words. A good friend of mine from my undergraduate program teaches at Sheboygan Falls High School, which is a one hour, ten minute commute from my Milwaukee home. (By the way, she is an excellent fellow blogging teacher—blog currently in transition, link to come.) She encouraged me to interview early in the summer, but I politely declined. “It would be great, but it’s just too far,” I said.
Fast forward one month. I am still unemployed. My friend calls again, wheedling her way into my consideration. “Just come interview,” she says. So I go.
The interview was fantastic for several reasons. It was actually a registration day as I walked into the school, so I got to see the building alive with kids, and I was extremely impressed. There was so much energy and positivity, and an observable sense of school pride. I entered the office, and met the principal, some teachers, and administrators. All of them were extremely welcoming, open, and progressive when it comes to their views about what education should be. Sheboygan Falls High School is a school that aspires to become a model site for 21st Century learning and teaching in every facet of its operation. With high achievement, high involvement, and a respect for teachers as scholars and innovators, it is a paradise for any inventive, tech-savvy educator. I saw very good things when I interviewed at the school and, to my great happiness, they saw good things in me, too. Within a week, I was hired. I’ll be teaching tenth and twelfth grade English this year.
As luck would have it, my husband’s workplace is right on the way to Sheboygan Falls, making carpooling feasible and breaking up the drive. Even more fortunate, my aforementioned teacher friend lives in the same town where Jacob works, so I’ll have her for company as we travel up to SFHS and save gas at the same time. It’s funny how things work out.
I am excited about this new beginning, and the chances it offers: creating a classroom blog with a network of student-authored blogs, operating a wiki workspace where students can upload and organize files, designing student research and presentation projects that utilize audio-visual components, and anything else I can dream up. I am lucky to be teaching in an environment that expects me to invent, and wants classrooms where students are questioning, working, and creating. Cheers to a great year at a great placement! I can’t wait to see where it leads.