Wednesday, May 3, 2017
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!