New Job and First Day of School Jitters

Posted on 09.08.2013


The first day of school always brings on the jitters, it doesn’t fail; year after year after year.  I love that feeling of a new school year: I loved it as a  student and as a teacher (although truth be told, there was certainly a lot of anxiety as a teacher).  I don’t think I’ve ever truly figured out how to rid myself of them; but over time, I’ve certainly learned to cope with them better.

And now, I get to experience it again, not as a teacher, not as a student enrolled in school, not as an administrator, but something in between them all.

Last June, when I received my layoff notice I was inundated with love and support.  While I weighed my options, I was presented with a fantastic opportunity to be a founding faculty member of the new Science Leadership Academy Campus at the Dimner Beeber building.  I took the position of the Community Partnership Coordinator.  SLA @ Beeber is a public magnet school that is a Project Based Learning, inquiry driven school that is in a 1:1 laptop environment.  This year we will start with 125 freshmen and each year add a grade.

I won’t be a classroom teacher this year.  The job of the Community Partnership Coordinator is to bring outside programing into the building and to set up additional learning opportunities to support the community of learners in the building.  This summer, I have been setting up mini-courses on Wednesday’s for students to participate in while the teaching staff meet; these are project based, 8 week courses for our Freshmen.  Eventually, I will also look for partnerships for next years sophomores to intern with companies to gain experience in different professions.

I miss the classroom dearly, I don’t feel like I am ready to leave it; I was just starting to get a rhythm and understand my practice; let alone master it.  For a long time, it was hard to articulate publicly that I would not be a classroom teacher.  This new job provides me with a great opportunity though: here, I get to participate in all the content areas; tying these mini-courses to all the PBL environments and fields in the school.  In this new position, I get to work with excellent teachers and get a unique perspective on growing a community of learners.

I love to learn, and I have a feeling I will be doing a ton of it this year as we all start this new school.

And as the school year starts tomorrow, I am getting those familiar jitters: the excitement and anxiety of what a new school year is bringing.  Every year is a fresh start… but this year it truly is fresh: in essence, we are starting a new school!  With this start, it brings a new year to do better and trying to get things right.  There is the familiar anxiety and excitement about seeing  students and teachers; about navigating all the wonderfully complicated relationships we have and will have together.  I know that some of the anxiety and excitement comes from the work that has already been done and the work I know we all have ahead of us.  I know this all and I still have them.

Every year, the jitters come from the same deep spot: it’s about the unknown and all the wonderful and scary possibilities it brings.  It was there when I was a student, as a teacher and also in this new job.

I would be remise to assume that everyone is like me, but a pattern certainly seems to emerge here: it doesn’t matter how old I am, how much experience I may or may not have: I get the jitters.  It always comes from the same place and I’m betting others get it too.  So as the new year starts and I prepare myself I am also reminded that I am not alone.  There is a whole community of learners who probably feel the same way, no matter what role they have in the field of education.

Everyone has their own process of coping with these jitters; I’ll tell you my secret: I embrace them.  I embrace the unknown and am comforted by the single hope that I don’t have to face the unknown alone.  I believe that the community of learners around me will support me in the times of triumph and sadness because I know that’s what I hope to do in turn.

As the new year starts I can not wait to face it in this new job and I look forward to continuing to share what I am learning with the rest of you.