After applying to over 20 new jobs/transfers, I found my perfect fit. I thought I bombed the interview, but what they were looking for was someone who upheld the same values about teaching and learning. And for that reason, I have felt at home at Big Picture from the start. At Big Bang (our conference in New Orleans with 450 others involved in this work), I found educators who had been subversive and sometimes at odds with those in charge. I can relate! The hardest part of this past year was the struggle between being a part of a team and being true to what I believed. Often, it was a choice between one or the other. A tough choice. So I felt broken, distant, unhappy, frustrated, useless, ineffective, and lonely.
But, this is where I find alignment. We began our training and planning for East Big Picture on Monday. We began by examining the values of our students and parents (written on dozens of post-its during the informational nights). What were the themes? What were their values surrounding school, teaching, and learning? Then we listed our values. What do we believe are important to school, teaching, and learning? We prioritized, combined, and cross-checked. And from there, our mission statement was bore. A mission statement that I believe in 100 percent. Maybe for the first time, I feel aligned with the mission of my school. Phew! What a relief! And some healing, camaraderie, and a feeling of being whole.
But of course, that is just the start of my training and like with all good things, there is stretching and pulling and just a healthy hint of discord! So at the same time, I feel skewed. I don't know how exactly to bring my goals to life in my classroom. Advisory is new, and although exciting, also seems scary! Project-based learning in math! Yes! And yet...ohhhh...wait, I'm the one who has to plan it?! And so I begin my journey, both aligned and skewed, at the very same time.