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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life Threw Me a Curveball

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ableman/
     In October of last year I submitted a job application and resume to the New Tech Network/Knowledge Works to become an instructional coach for some of the schools in the network.  I had been working on my PBL skills and knowledge for 3 years, I had spoken on PBL at conferences, and I was considered by many in the social media world as someone knowledgeable on the subject of PBL.

     Applying for the job just made sense.  I soon got an email thanking me for my application and stating that interviews would start in January (2012).  Going into the Holiday break in December I felt good about my chances and couldn't wait for my interview.  Towards the end of January I felt less positive when I started noticing the coaches in the network putting out feelers in emails and on facebook for people interested in applying for coaching positions.

     I contacted the New Tech Network and our school coach and there was a collective silence for about a week when all of a sudden there was an email requesting my application and resume again.  They had obviously lost my original but I turned it right around.  The next day, literally, I received an email asking if I was available at the end of the week for a phone interview.  I made sure I was there for that interview and I completed it feeling pretty good.  I was told that it would be 4 to 6 weeks before the next round of interviews and I went into waiting mode again.

     At the end of the 4th week I was contacted by email asking if I could make a phone interview in two days and I, again, made sure I was available.  I completed the interview and felt really positive about that interview and was pretty darn sure that I was going to get the job.

     As an aside here, between the original submission of my application and the final interview I had presented with students at Tech Forum Austin on how PBL was done at our school.  I had led a conversation at Educon Philly on how to get started with PBL.  I had done an impromptu session on PBL at the Texas Computer Educators Association (TCEA) conference.  I had also been asked to do a one day professional development for a neighboring school district on PBL for this summer and I had been asked to come to Edcamp Dallas next Fall to do a session on PBL.  Finally, I was incredibly active in a twitter chat that was started in the late Fall all about PBL (PBL Chat).

     Needless to say I was checked out in talking with educators about PBL.  Then came the blow.  That email thanking me for my interest in the job but that they had decided to go in a different direction.  For the next 2 or 3 weeks I was terribly bitter about everything New Tech - except for the PBL chat.  As a matter of fact I made sure I was as active as always during that chat.  Then came this past week...

     On Wednesday my principal called me in and told me that our superintendent wanted to see me the next day to offer me a job dealing with getting a 1:1 program going at our sister high school.  This is an incredible opportunity and I would be foolish to pass it up.  But I told him I had to think about it because, well, I need to think about it.

     If (when?) I take this new job I will be severing my PBL and New Tech life.  I already was feeling weird for the last two years moving into engineering and away from math - something I had been teaching since 1994.  In May I will be completing my fourth year of being a PBL teacher and teaching with PBL is something I just can't imagine being away from.   And, this summer when the New Tech teachers are meeting in Grand Rapids I won't be a part of this incredible conference.

    I can't even think of how to end this post because ending this post feels like it is putting the stamp on my leaving the New Tech world.  In my roughly 20 years of being in education I have said good bye to  schools in Newport News VA, in Sasebo, Japan, in Portsmouth RI, in Brunssum The Netherlands, in Gainesville FL, and in Round Rock Tx.  I have never felt such a loss as I am dealing with now and I haven't even taken the job.  But I know I need to take the job and move on and move on I will do.  I'm writing this to no one since very few ever read my posts but I wanted to put my thoughts down here so it can never be said that I just was chasing the greener grass.  There's grass over on the other side of the street but it isn't greener it's just different.