Four years ago I chose awesome. On Red Nose Day 2007 I decided to decline a job offer from outside the teaching profession and stay at Richmond High School as an English teacher. I thank Bob Hawke, a wise Industrial Arts teacher, horrible punter and bearer of the best quotes known to teaching, for the conversation I had with him that day as he told me that teaching was the best job in the world and I was made for it. As the helicopter hovered over 800+ staff and students to take the annual Red Nose Day flyover photographs, I told ‘Hawkey’ that I’d stay and later made the phone call to decline that other job offer. In the four years since, I’ve been an English teacher, Drama teacher and Computing teacher, I’ve made many friends, learnt with hundreds of kids, written way too many reports and had a whole lot of fun along the way.
In 2008 I chose awesome again. I took over the E-Learning team from Julie Teggart, a Home Economics teacher who was moving onto a Head Teacher position at another school. It’s been my work with this team that has inspired me, motivated me and often exhausted me but I have loved every bit of it. Other than my friendships with staff and connections with kids, it will be my lasting memory of Richmond High School. Leading the E-Learning team has allowed me to collaborate with teachers and create workshops that helped them embed technology into their teaching practice. It allowed me to experience the Digital Education Revolution first-hand and revel in the excitement of 1:1 laptop learning in the classroom. At times, I thought I was getting nowhere but in the past few months I’ve had more and more teachers talk to me about a successful lesson that integrated technology or I’ve walked past classrooms where students are busily clicking away, creating and learning on their laptops. It’s working. It’s happening. But it wasn’t anything I did by myself. I’m reminded of the fabulous footage of “The Dancing Guy” and the leadership skills he displays (see below).
I’m not the Dancing Guy. Julie Teggart is. I’m not even the first or second follower as there were a team of teachers who volunteered their time to work with Julie. I’m one of the small mob that rushes in when the movement just starts to get going. I’ll forever be grateful to Julie Teggart and those first followers.
So I chose awesome at Richmond High School. Not every day but most days. I tried to find the spark in a kid, find the lightbulb moment in a lesson and find the funny side of Thursday afternoon staff meetings. I’m one of those random people who genuinely loves their job. And now I’m leaving it.
On Monday, I will choose awesome again when I start my new job as an IT Integrator at Abbotsleigh School for Girls at Wahroonga. My job will be to work as part of a team of Integrators who support teachers in embedding technology across the curriculum. I am so excited that I’ve been writing ideas down for weeks, from one on one teacher assistance through to a trial of 1:1 iPods in PDHPE. I smile every time I think about that list. I can’t wait to wake up at 5.00am on Monday, catch a train for 90 minutes an start my new job.
It’s now 1:28am and I can’t sleep. I know my body has to get used to waking up at 5:00am for the new dream job but tomorrow I teach my last class at Richmond High School and drive out of those gates for the last time. I’m a little bit…awake. I’m also sad, excited, apprehensive, relieved and plain old hyperactive. It’s like Christmas Eve without the expectations of a visit from Santa (that’s pretty funny if you know who my Head Teacher is).
How have you looked back on your time at a particular workplace? Does where you’re going next, affect your feelings about leaving?
Tomorrow I choose awesome. Right now, I choose sleep…I hope.