I remember as an 80’s baby wanting to dress, sing, and dance like Janet Jackson. “I Miss You Much” and “Rhythm Nation” were bomb ass videos but I was always stuck on Janet’s wardrobe. My mom actually bought me a pair of black patent leather police shoes, with a gold clip on the tip of the toes, and black ribbons as shoe strings. You couldn’t tell me a damn thing when I got those shoes and when I wore the soles almost out and outgrew them, I knew it was time to let them go and move on.
My love for Janet Jackson in the late 80’s and early 90’s is like my love for my career. New students and academic gains always excite me. I’m like a mom each school term ready to see her new babies, but after repeating the same routine year after year, I felt began to myself at a standstill.
I refer often to my past blogs, but the 7 Things You Should Do In 2017 is in the top five of my favorite post because I knew that coming into this new I was going to have to do some things differently. Therefore when I wrote 3 Step To Living A Better Life blog and did a vlog for it, step two brings me full circle in my understanding that it was time to grow past middle school.
In 2013 I transferred to a different middle school, same population of kids, but the family atmosphere and new leadership was what I was craving after being at my first middle school for five years. I had not mastered every single teaching strategy, but I had done enough to be considered an exemplary teacher in the English/Language Arts (ELA) content. In all honesty I just did not want to work under the same principal for a fourth year, and I was over him especially after my car was stolen from the school. I was finishing up my last two classes towards my doctorate but as I was finishing those classes, my attitude began to shift.
Since my first year of teaching in 2008, I always gave my students 110% of my energy in the classroom because I was eager and wanted them to achieve academically. Well I felt my fire burning out, and the quality of work from my students began to diminish. The last thing I wanted to do was give up on my students or my career. The wheels in my head began to turn and after two years in my new school then the merge, I found myself right back in my old school removed from ELA but teaching reading. In my heart I was unfulfilled.
There was a lot of miscommunication the year of the merger and even though I was able to get my proposal approved and move to the next step working on my Internal Review Board (IRB). I felt like a zombie going into year eight. Nothing felt the same and I had become complacent. Waking up each day, driving thirty minutes to my school, just feel more tired inside of the building than I did after a full day of teaching. Something was not right, and I could not put my finger on it until I made up in my mind it was time to move on.
I had been in place long enough finish my doctorate and decide what I wanted to do next. Much like when I bought my home, I had outgrown my duplex. It was time to move on and plant my feet firmly in something I would call mine. Even when I faced my separation then divorce, it was time I chose my happiness and not hold on to something that was keeping me sad and confused. I no longer wanted to dance through the halls and have fun with the kids. I barely wanted to be in the building because in maintaining the status quo, I was not teaching with the same zeal I once had before. So at year nine in middle school, post-doctoral graduation, I understand why it was time to move on.
I had grown too comfortable that even with the teaching I was doing, my heart was not there. I wanted to be somewhere else. Any place than my current setting. It was not about my timing. It was about a higher plan that I had no say-so in controlling. I will miss middle school but I am so happy to be moving on to high school. I will find my rhythm again and I will teach with the same tenacity I initially started with.
On the halls of my new school, I will dance like Janet Jackson again, in my patent leather police shoes. I will be as sharp in my movements and well organized for execution on the day school resumes. I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and I’m walking in my authority into the new. I’m so excited!
I’m pushing myself to do something different and enjoying each moment that I learn more about myself that makes me tick.