“I’m like a superhero,” I tell my students every June. “I go wherever I’m needed.”
It’s the most lighthearted way I can think of to describe the layoff and recall process that I face each year. The recall process is a complicated and boring thing to explain, but it comes down to two major points:
1. I never know if I’ll be back at the same school when I say farewell at the end of the year.
2. I have no real say in where I will end up the following year.
So, I like to pretend that I’m a superhero – that I’m called to whichever school needs my particular mix of skills. It’s easier than admitting how little say I have in my own career. This year, however, I had a student who called me on my claim that I go wherever I’m needed: “But we need you here,” she said.
And I had no good reply. I couldn’t refute her. But I couldn’t pretend that I had any say on whether I‘d be back, either. It was heartbreaking – wanting to be somewhere — and being wanted — but being helpless in deciding whether or not I stayed.
So, every July I actually turn on my ringer. I make sure I have my phone with me at all times. I stare at it and will the thing to ring, delivering the call that will tell me where I’m going and what I’ll be teaching in September.
Today, that call came.
And…I’m back for another year, guys! Students who have found my blog? Spread the word! You guys are stuck with me for another year. And I’m thrilled.
This will be my third year at the same school. I’m going to get to see kids I know graduate. I’ll be there to watch them walk across the stage at commencement, and I’ll get to see them in all their dinner dance finery.
I’ll have the benefit of having a bit of a reputation established when students walk through my door for their first class with me. Heck, I’ll be in the same room, and students will actually know where to find me.
By being back at the same school, there will be a sense of consistency that’s so important for both student achievement and teacher retention.
But beneath all the educational theory stuff I could cite about consistency, there’s a simple truth: I want to be there.
I want to be teaching these kids, at this school.
And I get to do it – for another year, at least.