27 July 2011

new beginnings

This has been a week of transition. I have accepted the position of Science Curriculum Coordinator for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. I've said for a long time that teaching physics at Putnam City High School was the last job I would ever want, meaning it is literally the last job I ever wanted to have. However, sometimes opportunities present themselves and you feel like you cannot pass them by (lest they do not return!)

In my next to last Master's class, I was working with a group of people and one of them said, "You know that the Science Curriculum Director position is open? You would be awesome at that, you should apply!" I said, "No, I didn't know that. I'm not sure that's something I would want to do. I mean, I'd have to leave my classroom!" So I went down home that evening after class and talked to @mishelleyb and we decided that the only way I would know if I wanted to do that job was to apply and interview. So, in April I applied. Knowing how little experience teaching I have had, I did not think I had any chance at even interviewing for the job. Honestly, once I applied, I totally forgot about it.

I moved forward with the State Teacher of the Year application and focused on teaching to the best of my ability. I didn't give Science Director another thought. As we were on our way to Philadelphia for the International Society of Technology in Education Conference, I received a phone call from the Asst. Superintendent of Curriculum about presenting at a conference in Oklahoma City. In the course of that conversation she mentioned my application and assured me that I would be called for an interview. This was completely out of left field as I was so nervous about making the finals for State TOY. At that time, I was informed that there might come a time when I would have to choose between TOY and Science Director. Uh, can you say no-brainer? TOY is a big honor. In fact, for me, its been huge. However, to be able to influence teachers beyond my district and to be able to affect change in science education versus being a spokeperson for the vocation of teaching? Yeah, not really a difficult decision.

What was a difficult decision was leaving my classroom. It was incredibly hard to think about leaving my students to be taught physics by someone else. However, knowing I would have some influence on that teacher and others who teach science across the State of Oklahoma helped make this much less difficult. In the course of the interview I learned that a significant part of this job is focused on teaching teachers, e.g. conducting professional development. This is something about which I am passionate. In fact, I'm as passionate about that as I am about teaching physics and earth science, so how could I say if they offered?

To make a long story short, I interviewed for the job last week and they offered the position to me on Monday and I have accepted.

I start next Monday and I believe I am going to hit the ground running. We are conducting Master Teacher Academy 3 days of next week and then I am going to a workshop to begin assisting in the process of developing a STEM plan for the State of Oklahoma. I mean, really? That's the kind of responsibility I have now? Oh, my. What have I gotten myself into? I've certainly moving out of my comfort zone. It feels like starting over in teaching. I feel like I'm about to start my first year again.

I do know this, I am going into an office in which there are other Directors who are experienced and are excited about me coming to work with them. We are moving towards the Common Core and we have already re-done our science standards and I'll be helping to implement those. The team I am going to work with is awesome from what I hear.

I'll be continuing this blog in its current format. I'm continuing my education and this will simply be a place to share what I am doing in my teaching (I'm still adjuncting 3 classes for SNU) and my learning (I am beginning to understand just how much I don't know). If you enjoy reading, I hope you will continue to do so.

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