For almost 10 years, I’ve been a music teacher, first in the middle school but mostly at the K-5 level. I’ve loved my job – I mean, who else gets paid to sing and play with kids all day? But even though I loved what I did, my husband and I have joked for years that I would never retire from the classroom because I’d need to do something different. I had no idea that the something different would be coming so soon. The whole thing started last spring when we started talking about the school schedule in my building.
Though I’d always used technology and shared it with others, for the 2014-2015 school year, I started teaching a few technology classes in my building because my music position was reduced (the alternative was traveling to another building). Since I’ve always been a “tech nerd” (my Twitter tagline says I’m a tech nerd trapped in a music geek’s body), it was an easy choice. With a few standards in hand, no real curriculum to follow, and a brand new teacher to mentor, I took off. And I really enjoyed it! It was fun to see how excited the kids were about the projects we were doing (and we didn’t even get to half of what I’d imagined doing).
But in the state of Minnesota, you must be licensed to teach whatever classes you’re teaching and I wasn’t. Teachers in my state are allowed to teach on a variance for up to 3 years in their entire career. Knowing that my music job likely wasn’t going to increase any time soon and knowing that the clock was ticking on my variance, I enrolled in classes at Bethel University to get licensed in computers, keyboarding, and technology; it was a short 9 credit add-on license. I applied in January and started classes in February.
In the mean time, I’d gone to my first ed tech conference (TIES in Minneapolis – awesome conference!), rejoined Twitter to connect with other educators, and started wondering if maybe this technology thing was something I could do full time. In April, I started looking around for technology jobs out of curiosity. What was the job market like? What would they want in a candidate? Would I even be considered?
I applied for a few positions with the plan that this year would be a year of learning and preparing for a new job down the road. Well, apparently that road is really short. I am extremely excited to share that I have been offered a position as a technology integration specialist for ISD 477 Princeton Public Schools! The job is exactly what I was hoping for and I can’t wait to start working with teachers and students in this new way!
The down side? I am leaving my kids, my coworkers, my school, and my district behind. I’ve worked in the same building for 8 years and it really is my home. I’ve watched kids come in as tiny 5 year olds and then seen them take off as gigantic 5th graders headed for middle school. I’ve been to coworkers’ weddings, watched their kids grow up, and celebrated milestones and achievements with them. And they’ve been there for me through all of my ups and downs, too.
But I know myself. I need this challenge and I’m ready for it. I would regret it every day if I didn’t take this position. Here’s to the next chapter!