17 months ago I successfully defended my thesis. Shortly afterwards, I sought a new role. I also felt, in a way, that I had earned one.
No work change happened and what I came to understand were some truths: To the co-participants who lived alongside me, to my family, to those who lived and taught alongside me, the work mattered deeply. For me, the learning journey changed me. This is deeply relevant. For my employer, my graduate work was mostly irrelevant.
So I did what I knew. I went to work. Every day. I taugh with beauty and compation, and I helped students in my care fill their Circle of Courage pillars. And then, we did it again.
I never once concidered applying for a role in administration. There had been a time, years years earlier, when that path shined.
I think those admin-pulls happen for all educators who love to learn, to grow, to lead. During those first years, when we educators glean good at what we do, other suggest we ought to jump into administration. Like the jump ought to be, simply ought to be some altruistic natural leap. For power. For prestige. For money. For influence.
Only the influence held my attention.
I remember my former co-operating teacher, an educator whose work and ethics I respect, telling me in a sort of reminding way, that I needed to consider administration, how else would I impact bigger systemic change?
A few years later a different principal I respected was leaving his small rural post and moving into the city. I had concidered applying for his job and called to chat with him about the role, and the community. “Cori, he asked, “Think about it. How many kids’ lives did you impact this year? I did 12x that.”
He had a point.
I thought about all the times I had driven students to Open Mic practices on Sunday nights so they could try out for the provincial team. All the edits, revisions, drafts and celebrating with students as they had worked to publish their writing. As they became lifelong writers. ~and still do…
I love these moments. My heart is in them.
My heart is in the stories.
My heart is in student stories.
I am irrationally crazy about kids.
So. I built a program. My way. I lived alongside kids. And I attended to them.
In May I was offered a new job. Those who truly know me know the irony of this role. Though, in my heart I knew it was a opportunity to implement a bit more change than the past years.
And the role was slightly new. And I quite like a challenge.
But I soon returned to the question, How can I better serve kids & families? What is my purpose…
And though this wasn’t and still isn’t a great schism in my spirit searching kind of question, no it lives as that beautiful place of understanding that there is more, and there is beauty, and there is purpose, oh, and challenge and joy in my path too.
Sometimes I reflect on the great, great amount of students who suffer the swift consequences that remove them, make them feel alienated from, or traumatized by our educational landscapes. (Almost no consequence ever taught a lagging skill. Almost no intervention, without the implantation of a behaviour learning support plan ever helped a student come to acquire a lagging skill.)
“How else would I impact bigger systemic change?”
And there’s a teaching there.
….A deep and vile acid forms in the back of my throat when I think of the work I see most administrators do. Most. But not all.
So many educators who I respect have become administrators. My mentor and friend Jan, retired in June and lived every moment of her career serving kids and families, not systems. Zac Chase who too, continues to ask the needed questions.
So. In January here’s my plan.
I will teach. Living alongside the students in my program, yeah, and too, I will co-teach/coach a section of a first year education course at the university.
Here is my plan …