Last week, I revealed that I had made the decision to leave administration to return to the classroom. My new position in which I was assigned is physical education at a behavior school within my district. My first day in the new position was on Monday, September 18. While it has been drastically different than anything I have done in my 12+ years in education, I can say with 100% confidence that I made the right decision, for many reasons.
Prior to entering administration, I taught social studies for 11 years. During those 11 years, I taught United States History, United States History - Honors, AP United States History, American Government, and AP American Government. I have always held a license for physical education and health, but never taught either class. The nine years of coaching various sports were the closest I came to teaching physical education. However, when requesting to return to the classroom, my options were very limited, due to an extreme budget crisis and hiring freeze that is taking place in my district. Physical education was not my first choice, but as the old saying goes, beggars cannot be choosers when faced with limited choices and desperation to return. Needless to say, teaching a subject that I have never taught has made the transition interesting.
What also makes the transition interesting is teaching a new subject at a behavior school. My school is where students that have made severe mistakes are sent to correct their mistake prior to returning to a standard school. Students at my school have been assigned to it for infractions such as fighting, drugs, weapons, and other major offenses. Class sizes are very small, but many students can be very tough. However, in one week, I have determined that it is not much different than teaching in a standard school. Most of your students in a standard school are going to show up, do what they need to do, and do it with respect toward themselves, their peers, and their teachers. A few students will struggle in one of those areas. The biggest difference that I have seen is that my students are working to go back to a standard school. Most of them are going to make sure to do everything that they can do to make sure that when their release date approaches, nothing is going to stop them from returning to a standard school. So overall, my students have been relatively hard-working, respectful, and responsible.
My favorite part of my new position addresses the main reason behind why I wanted to return to the classroom in the first place: more time with my family! My administrative duties had me at school for 10-12 hours a day, and often times, bringing home several hours of work, which severely cut into the time I can spend with my wife and children. Very rarely was I ever able to pick up my son from daycare and spend some time with him before my wife and daughter got home. However, this past week, I was able to get my son from daycare every day, with the exception of Friday (and the only reason I didn't get him then was that my friend bought me a beer for my birthday, so I met up with him after school for an hour). I was able to eat dinner when it was cooked, not hours later, heated up in the microwave or toaster oven, or sometimes, just cold. My sleep schedule has become more stabilized and I feel better. And, the icing on the cake, because I am teaching PE, I am active all day, so if I don't make it to the gym, it's ok!
This week, I have so many great things to look forward to. I am starting a unit on hockey with my students, most of which know nothing about the sport. I get to continue to have positive interactions with students, helping them to achieve their goal of returning to a standard school, many of whom are set to be released on October 13. And, unrelated to my new position, the hard work of my CUE-NV colleagues and I will be realized as we host the Silver State Technology Conference on September 29-30 at Western High School in Las Vegas. We are going to have dozens of presentations from some amazing educators, featured speakers in Dr. Jesse Welsh, Mr. Pat Skorkowsky, and Mr. Jon Corippo, a student panel, and keynote speeches from Ben Cogswell and Ari Flewelling. There will also be tons of great educational product vendors. If you have not registered, you are risking missing out on an amazing event! If you live in the Las Vegas Valley, you have no excuse; elsewhere, maybe you need a weekend getaway in Las Vegas to learn with your PLN! Register ASAP at http://bit.ly/CUENV17STATE. Want to know what kinds of sessions there will be before you register? Check out the conference schedule at https://cuenvsilverstatetechconfere2017.sched.com/. We hope to see you there!
Until next time..