Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Job

Phillips has been an important part of my life for the past 27 years.  During my first year there, I taught second grade.  The next year, I moved to first grade, which I had also taught at Edmunds Academy of Fine Arts, and Granger Elementary.  Later I moved to third grade for a year, and then on to fourth grade, which I taught for 17 years.  My connection to Phillips actually goes back before those years.  At the very beginning of my teaching career, I often subbed at Phillips.  That was back in 1987.  Even before that, back when Phillips Traditional School had grades, kindergarten through eighth grade, I looked at enrolling my daughter there. It didn't work out, because at the time, I worked downtown and I couldn't work out transportation.  Later, my son was a student there.

Officially, I retired from Phillips two years ago.  I often joke that apparently I do not understand the concept of retirement, because I am usually at Phillips three or four days a week, either as a substitute teacher or a volunteer.

The past two years have provided me with a wonderful opportunity to try new things, and really reflect on who I am and what makes me happiest.  I am a planner, not a punter.  I love the creative aspects of education.  I like to take an educational objective, and create materials and projects to engage students.  I like to get up in the morning and have a plan for how I will be spending my day and the rest of the week.  I like to feel like I know what I'm doing.  I enjoy seeing how the lessons I am teaching today, fit the overall picture.  I like to have an ongoing relationship with students.

Pretty much all the things I just mentioned have nothing to do with substitute teaching.  I have been very blessed in that I only sub at Phillips, and many teachers have given me license to bring my own ideas into their classrooms.  I have very much appreciated that.  Most of my days have been successful, but I go through a great deal of anxiety prior to each substitute assignment.  What will I be teaching?  Will the kids listen to me?  How will I be doing things?  Will I be able to find what I need?  Will I understand the lesson plans and how to teach the skills?  Ah, yes!  I am a planner and a worrier.

On the other hand, I have really loved my hours spent volunteering.  I tutor kindergartners.  I work individually with them to improve reading and writing skills.  Teachers let me know about the student's needs, and I look for ways to address and support those needs.  I get to be creative.  I get to know the children, because I work with them on a regular basis.  I get to see them grow and learn, and that is wonderful.

Fortunately, I am at a point in my life that I get to make more choices.  If I'm not enjoying substitute teaching, I have the flexibility and opportunity to do something different.  I decided it was time to make a change.

It's official now!  I have a new job for the summer, and hopefully, into the next school year.  I will be an AmeriCorps tutor. . . .  at Phillips.  I am so excited and grateful!


  1. This is wonderful news! I loved reading all the different roles you've played in education and how creative and committed you are with lessons and to your students. I can relate that substituting was not my favorite either! You expressed what is so wonderful about retirement -- you get to make choices and have flexibility and opportunities.i Best wishes.

  2. This should be a great fit for you! Im happy for you Barb, you worked so hard for all those years, its time to enjoy doing what you want to do!! And the girls will like this better as well :)