Nearly a month ago I started my newest chapter as an educator, High School Social Science Teacher at Indianola High School. The change of scenery has been a good one for me, but one that has had its own set of stressors. Entering a 4A school (largest classification in the state of Iowa - Indy has approximately 1000 9-12 graders) was a change for me, having worked in two smaller districts (Van Meter & Baxter), and one that was intimidating. But, as I've quickly surmised Kids are Kids and the students at Indianola have done nothing but reaffirm my belief that young people thirst to learn.
In addition to adapting to the students at Indianola, perhaps the bigger challenge has been adapting to the bureaucracy of a larger district. Don't get me wrong, I have come to appreciate the processes and protocols that IHS has in place, but I can already see road blocks to the change process. I found this quite evident at the District Leadership Team meeting I attended on Tuesday in which there were nearly 25 administrators and teachers present; a far cry from the same such meetings at VM and Baxter. Yet I take comfort in the depth of discussions held at the DLT meeting, and I am excited about the number of quality colleagues who are members of this team. I now appreciate Dr. Bill Wright's (Drake University) quote: "The strength of any organization is in its people, and the strength of any team is in the diversity of its members." I look forward to working with this team as we endeavor to "lead" Indianola Community Schools towards the "Unlimited Possibilities" available to students, teachers, and community members apart of our learning community.
Yet, more than anything else, I've felt that pep in my step again - indeed, a renewed passion for teaching and learning. Maybe it's the challenge of teaching that one section of AP Psych, or the opportunity to get to know new students and teachers, but one thing is for sure, 5:00 AM isn't as hard to face as it once was.
Please share your thoughts about the beginning of your school year and the challenges and renewed passions that you have noticed as the year has kicked-off.