It occurred to me that it's quite interesting that I've had the same conversation with three principals now, three years in a row, in the spring. The first one was terrifying and bittersweet as I had made lifelong teacher friends and had taught for two years in my first position. The second was easy and exciting as it meant the start of an amazing transition from Ohio to California. And this one was hard in a different way as I am officially hanging up my "Ms. Ronau" title in pursuit of something else. I say it's just for a year but that doesn't make it any less terrifying, because I know there's a possibility that I won't return. And that makes me feel all the feels. At the same time.
My job is great. I work in an amazing district with just slightly difficult students sometimes. The majority of my three class periods are spent laughing and enjoying my time there. I have an amazing supportive former sped teacher as a principal and the back of my school boasts the most scenic backdrop of those mountains.
But after four years, there is something missing in me. Although I really like to teach, the time off is great, it doesn't feel like it's enough. It's okay but it's not what makes me feel alive, inspired and changed.
And I'm sick of waiting until the summer to do what I really want to do.
I want to feel alive, inspired and changed as much as possible. I think I might be addicted to that feeling. My afternoon job will welcome me in June with a ticker tape parade (legitimately discussed but the VP is in charge of clean up and he said no) as I go full time as Aston Kinetic's creative director/office manager/I do everything. Also I get to write my own job title, so suggestions are welcome. Since I've made the decision, each morning as I teach, I try to soak up everything: the difficult times, the hilarious middle-school times, and the really great moments that make me feel so torn on my journey into the unknown. But it also makes me reflect on how this job is so incredibly hard, how if you're not a teacher you probably sincerely don't get it and how my fellow teachers deserve the world because they make up some of the most talented, intelligent, creative people I have the pleasure of knowing. They spend more time with their students than their own families and teach them so much more than the Common Core. They teach their students how to be people, how to navigate the world socially and emotionally. All of them would thrive in the private sector and they choose to educate for peanuts. Legitimately incredible.
Tomorrow, I begin the fourth round of standardized tests, this school year alone. For five days, I will pick up a bag of secured testing materials, with mints, carefully bubbled in demographic data and a script I "have to recite by law" or you know, they'll take my teaching license away. Basically, and just as the training material so succinctly said, "This is not the time for thinking outside the box." Just, woof.
It's no surprise that testing season triggers a history of negative emotions and one that
forever made different. Fellow teachers and parents, I am with you. And I have hope that the creative, "out of the box" teaching will win, eventually. For now, here are my Ms. Ronau highlights:
Being the Spelling Bee Coordinator had its perks, like wearing this to work.
Kid art is just the best.
So I was famous once.
His name was Marshmallow.
Ms. Ronau as seen through a very special 4th grader.
My McTigue classroom.
This little turtle bear was my classroom pet.
See? Kid art. Yes.
My Tahoe classroom.
My hilarious, brilliant students.
Oh, middle school.