I taught for 20 years before leaving my classroom in 2005 to become an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT). I wasn't sure I would like it so at the time I thought, "well, if you like it, Mel, you will never return to the classroom. And if you don't, you will be back quickly."
Well. . . I loved being an ITRT and at first thought I had found my niche and decided that I would commit to learning everything about technology education that I could and I did so. I decided that a career as a curriculum writer that knew how to integrate technology efficiently was what I needed to be doing.
But, for the past 5-6 years I have felt that something was missing. For the past 3 years I told colleagues each year that I wanted to go back to the classroom. Most thought I was NUTS!!!
Well, this year, I did I am heading back into the classroom as a kindergarten teacher. When I had my interview I knew I found a kindred spirit when my principal understood the insanity behind the desire. I was craving those real relationships and I wanted to make connections with with students. This was hard to do when as an ITRT I was seeing 1200-1500 students a month. Don't get me wrong. I think I had some part in bringing positive changes to my division in making technology more available for students and teachers. I was blessed to have parents help me in opening a STEAM lab in two of the three buildings I worked in as an ITRT. I will miss being an ITRT but I am so thankful that I am returning to the beginning.
Today I went to school and walked into my new classroom home for the very first time. The feeling was overwhelming! I am returning to the classroom in the middle of a global crisis. We shut down school last year on March 13 and are just now making plans to open schools back up again. The very first thing I did was sit down and pray. I prayed a prayer of praise for returning me to the classroom and I prayed for each child that would be in my care. I don't want to let them down. I also cried. I cried for the confusion and fear that these little ones and their parents would face this year. My desks were set 6 feet apart!!! Little people need hugs and love. How is this going to be possible?
The truth is, we don't know yet what this year will bring but I am committing to the Lord, to my students & their families, to my principal who believed in my, and to my division at large that I am going to do the very best I can to make this year the most magical one in the lives of my students. I refuse to be fearful - or at least, I refuse to let fear stop me from doing what I know the Lord wants me to do. To that end, I have decided to chronicle everything-each step of the way. This is my classroom as of today.