I hadn't actively set out to find another option for next year, though I wasn't completely surprised by my eager reaction to the news that a kindergarten position would be open in a private school I had learned about through my tutoring students. At the beginning of the school year, just days before school started, I had quickly turned down an opportunity at this school, as I had already committed to having a teaching intern this year. I also suffered from other fears: leaving and beginning anew so close to school starting, changing grade levels, and abandoning my teaching team.
So, here I am, after a wonderful first interview at this place that felt more like a peaceful retreat center than any school I had ever visited, gleeful thoughts racing, fears raging and guilt over leaving my school all intertwined in my mind. I know in my heart that I must push myself through the guilt, consider my own happiness first and foremost, and understand that I can help others best when I am peaceful and in a place congruent with my values of integrity, authenticity and a love for learning.
I know what some will say I am bailing out of public education, abandoning the kids who need me most, running to an "easy" territory where I don't have to work as hard. Here is what I conclude: I am considering working in a place where I can truly teach, address the needs of all learners, and work harder because I am renewed by an environment where the whole child is valued.
This school has 8 basic standards that drive their instruction: Think, Read, Write, Learn Languages, Reason Mathematically, Know the Past, Think Scientifically, and Know Yourself. The students go to Art, Music, P.E., Science, Spanish and Garden every week. They offer scholarships to families who can't afford the tuition and are committed to including a diverse population at their school.
As I walked around the campus this week, I saw kids engaged in active learning, using technology to connect with others around the world, researching topics of interest, and kids attending a variety of special classes as I mentioned above.
This week I will return to teach a lesson and talk more with the staff about how I can contribute to the learning community there. I am excited, apprehensive, and grateful for this opportunity. Wish me luck!