26 March 2005

Wanted: Full Time Goddess

In January, 2003, our Curriculum Director put out a call to see if any secondary science teacher in the district might be interested in being a "specialist" for the district. We were the only content area without one. It seemed that it might be rather necessary for someone to do that job, as state standards and NCLB were staring us in the face.

I told the Director that I might be interested. I admitted that my professional training didn't include some of the skills that a person in a curriculum job would need. I think a couple of other people also threw their hats in the ring, but I ended up with getting the nod. The "job" would start on February 1st and I would be provided a stipend in order to work on things outside my regular class day.

Later in the year, we discussed my status for the next year. I was honest and said that given the choice between money (a stipend) and time (part of my school day allotted for the job), that I'd much rather have the time. Money is a wonderful thing and I would love to have more of it. But it doesn't guarantee that I'll have the space in my day to do what I was asked to do.

I got my time: a .2 contract. Ordinarily, a secondary teacher teaches 5 classes (1.0 contract). The Director provided a way for me to teach 4 classes and then have 1 period in the day to devote to my district job. This job, however, just keeps growing and becoming increasingly demanding. It probably "eats" close to 60% of my time instead of the 20% it's supposed to.

I have no complaints about the job. Yes, there are some difficult people to work with. And I definitely have had quite the learning curve in my face. The position has required me to stretch and challenge myself in some ways that I'd never have in the classroom. I really like it. I just need more time to do it.

The Director and I had talked about trying to find me another .2 next year. School budgets being what they are (ever shrinking), there was only a small amount of hope for that. At least until yesterday. Apparently, the Director thinks she has figured out a way to free up some of her budget to pay me. And pay me to do the job full-time...no more classroom teaching.

I was stunned. We had talked about this sort of thing as being farther down the road. I wasn't ready to leave the classroom---I love the teaching part of my day. I thought I was going to have next year to tie up some loose ends at school and then become a Full Time Science Goddess. The picture now has the potential to radically change and I'm finding that I'm okay with that. I do wonder, though, when the Director was going to pass along this bit of information. I'm guessing that she didn't want to say anything to me until it looked like it was doable...but it certainly isn't a "done deal" yet.

I have the weekend to process this (as well as some other big news from Friday). And for once, I don't have big things to plan or correct for my classes. That gives me some headspace to reflect on the past and contemplate the future.

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