Year One. Growing.

Year One.

As I started this blog, I tried to think of one word to describe my year, it all came down to the word: growing. This last year has been a whirlwind to say the least. The eagerness of starting the job and all that it entailed, was so exciting during the first month. I do not think I actually remember my first month, except for sitting in the AP or Principal’s office asking a zillion questions. Through their graciousness and help from my wonderful secretaries, the first month was complete.

Then reality struck….literally.

October 1st, changed everything. That weekend I was out with one of my best friends and her family enjoying the Route 91 concert. We were singing to Jason Aldean…then bullets came flying overhead. As my best friend and I were seeking shelter, I was hit by ricochet from a bullet. At that point, I checked my emotions and new it was time to either stay and die from the bullets that were flying around me or time to find shelter. As my best friend and I hid in a storage container I could hear the devastation that was happening outside. We then began to find a place to lay while we waited for our fate. I was stunned and couldn’t function much, as I was standing there a girl begged for me to lay down because gunfire was piercing through the storage container. Seconds after I laid down, a bullet flew overhead in the direct location where I was standing bursting through cans of beer. There I was, laying soaked full of beer. I made the conscious decision to call my mom, no answer. I then decided it would be in my best interest to call the cops and let them know of the situation. After that, I tried my mom again. She answered. I told her I loved her. Making that contact with her was everything to me. After that, I was at peace. Whatever God had in mind, I was ready.  

God had different plans for me in that storage container. He allowed me to trust Him 100% with my life. (Don’t get me wrong I still struggle) The gunfire ceased. My best friend and I didn’t know if it was over or if it was a trick. Either way, we knew we needed to leave. After running by wounded victims, we ran for safety. As we ran, we ran into her dad and a random guy who came to look for us. The rest of the night was a blur as well as the next three months.

I don’t really remember the first semester and my job. I tried so desperately to get back to my life in blogging and technology. It was a struggle. I had to call and cancel speaking engagements (sorry CUE!). I completed my daily tasks, went through the motions, but part of me was missing.

It wasn’t until Christmas break, that I snapped out of it.

The way I looked at life, was completely different. I am so thankful for the job that I have. I am blessed to work with students on a daily basis and hopefully instill love, care, concern and build a positive rapport. Dealing with middle school students can be challenging, but I sincerely love this age because they are being molded into who they are going to be in the future. They are generally curious and fascinated with learning and experiencing a new world outside of elementary school. I hope that as I continue in my position, I will get to encourage and motivate future students to find their inner worth and see how they can impact the world.

I don’t know why the gunman did what he did. All I know, is that I am put in a position to help cultivate young leaders and allow them to see that they matter. What they do with their life and how they treat people is going to be how people remember them. I want them to know that they matter and their actions greatly influence others around them.

As I reflect on second semester, I find that I built great relationships with staff, got my feet wet in various avenues, but most importantly I grew leaps and bounds in regards to my emotions. I tend to be the person who wears their emotions on their sleeve. Now this can be a good thing, but can also be bad given the location and audience. This job has stretched me in keeping my “poker face” if you will. I can only count on 1 hand where I had an emotional breakdown this year (yay!). This is huge! With this new job comes so much responsibility, but also the ability to be a strong leader. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think expressing your emotions (crying etc.) is bad, but for me not breaking down is the best way I can do my job. I owe a lot of my growth to my parents and family, but significantly to my Principal and Assistant Principal. Their support, encouragement and advice throughout the year allowed me to grow the way I have.

As I look forward to next year, I have set forth 5 goals for myself:

  1. Go back to my passion: Educating staff and students in technology.

This is high on priority list. Teaching staff and students tech has been my life for the past five years. When it abruptly stopped, I lost a sense of who I am as and Educator. Bringing this back into my wheelhouse will help me stay grounded as an Educator and to never lose sight as an administrator.

  1. Develop a program to help support up and coming Educators

I want to build up future teachers. I hate hearing about teachers leaving the field of Education because they “didn’t know what to expect” or the fact that they didn’t have a solid foundation before entering. I want cultivate their passion for teaching at a young age and help pave a way for their future.

  1. Sign up to present at least 1 conference

I have presented at CADA, CUE Rockstar and EdTech in years past. Due to my life changing experience as I previously mentioned this has gone on hiatus. I want to get back out there and continue to share my passion and excitement for education.

  1. Support 5 “discipline” students by doing weekly, monthly check-ins.

Building rapport with students is one of the most important aspects any Educator can do to help support a positive environment. This by far is one of the greatest joys I have in engaging with students. I want to help support them to gain a healthy perspective of who they are and how they can be world changers.

  1. Classroom visits….

Prying myself away from endless paperwork is tough. I want teachers to know I care about what they are doing in the classroom, because I do! I want to make it a strong point that I increase the amount of classroom visits I do daily/weekly/monthly! I care and genuinely want to see the crafted and unique lesson plans that teachers spend hours working on.

A New Chapter: Transitioning from Teacher to Administrator

It has been about two weeks since I was named Vice Principal. I really have not been able to fully wrap my head around the news.

The realization has not felt real yet due to the fact that I was in limbo of starting my administrative job. I started this school year as a teacher. Being able to welcome over 150 bright shiny faces was such a unique experience. Starting a new school year with students, and knowing I wouldn’t stay the full year, was very hard for me. I enjoy building relationships with my students every year. However, due to the circumstances of this year, I knew I had to view these connections differently. Luckily, my replacement came within the beginning of the second week. It was hard for me to say goodbye to my students, but I knew I was leaving them in great hands.

Leaving my job on the last day was extremely hard. I was fortunate enough to open up the school as well as work to help create a powerful culture on campus. My role at this site consisted of various duties. To no longer have those roles, was hard to wrap my head around. (I’m not going to lie, having more time to think and enjoy life has been nice, but I felt like I lost a part of who I am.) After getting over that realization, I had to say goodbye to the wonderful office staff I had worked with over the past 8 years (some even longer). Driving to the gym that day, was full of tears, hope and excitement.

Walking into my job on day one, felt like an out of body experience. My new secretary and another secretary that works within my area, surprised me and decorated my office. They made me a huge welcome sign, blew up tons of balloons, as well as made me a super yummy pie. I was so shocked. Their thoughtfulness and sincerity was extremely touching. Day 1 was full of planning, understanding my role, meeting new staff and students, and job shadowing. Needless to say, it was overwhelming.

My first week was a lot of getting my feet wet and understanding that my role as an educator is vastly different. Although I am a teacher at my core, my day to day schedule no longer set by class period bells. Often, I am working on two things at once, juggling new issues,  and never fully knowing what time it is. I know that this new role is going to stretch me more than I have ever been before. With that being said, I am thankful that God has placed me where I am at, doing what I am doing.

The vision/purpose of the school site and leadership team, is uniquely refreshing. Being able to enter into a schools’ whose vision aligns with mine, is truly remarkable. I cannot wait to add to it in any way I can, as well as learn as much as I can.

As I look forward to the future, I see a year full of new experiences, new relationships, new lessons about life, new roles, and pretty much anything else my new chapter has in store.