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Entry date: 11-14-2022 - First day (again) - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Today is the day that I realize a goal I’ve had for the last five years. I start a new job with a nearby school district that I’ve been wanting to join since 2018. The people I worked with in this district while I was still employed by Casa helped me see this goal and today it is realized.

Now the fun really begins.

Starting a new job is always interesting, right? We’ve all had our first day somewhere. I’ve had a lot of them as you faithful readers know. Maybe not as many as some, as I tend to be a loyal guy, but probably more than others. According to the oracle (google), the average person has twelve jobs in their lifetime.

My total is now 21 if you don’t include multiple times working for both Easy Street and Casa or any of my side hustle gigs. Considering I’ve written for around a dozen different publications that have paid me to put words together at this point, I’m way above average. I can think of two big side hustles that I have mercifully forgotten about, too.

Yikes. I’ve been around the block a few times. I am wondering if this average of 12 jobs is going to go up now that we are in a “gig economy.” Existence has become a gig economy and you can quote me on that. The world is a place that will swallow you up if you don’t swim like a motherfucker.

Am I nervous, you may ask? Yes, of course, I am nervous. It’s a good nervous, though, and a “ready” nervous. Perhaps I get off on the first day thing. Maybe that’s why I put myself out there and go for new things every five years or so unless necessity butts in. I haven’t gotten to that aspect of my career in the narrative yet, but I shall. I have a lot to say on finding a way to keep things paid.

It’s always nice to know that people have your back, too. I’ve had a lot of help over the years from friends and family when it comes to finding jobs or making the dots connect. I had great examples from my parents, too, on how to make things work and be a good employee. It may not have seemed like I was listening to them, at times, or watching, but I was.

This day, though, is different. This is an opportunity to make this a potential landing spot for the rest of my career. There’s only a couple of things I am working towards that could change that and those are things that would be completely lifechanging, so I will just leave that there for now.

Apologies in advance, dear reader, because the rest of this blog is going to be a lot of stuff that I need to say to myself. As I type, I realize that this whole thing has been a public display of me talking to myself, but maybe every blog is just that. Maybe that’s social media, too. Not maybe…it is.

I’ve been given the opportunity to be the teacher I truly am today. That’s a gift and a challenge. It’s time to step up and do what is best for my family and self and the students I will serve. It is that simple, even though it seems like it’s going to be rough at times.

I know that the students are going to test me today. They need to see who this guy in the room with them is and what his limits are just as I need to see, hear, and learn about them. There are some benefits of it being so close to the holidays, with a nice five-day break coming up next week for Thanksgiving. We can ease into our new routines and then have an opportunity between Thanksgiving and the winter break to cement them in.

In thinking about the things that worked and didn’t work last year, I have a lot of experience to bring to the table. This is not my first-year teaching in my own classroom all over again. This is year number two, and I will learn a lot from this shorter version. From now until Memorial Day, I get to figure out how to be a great fourth grade teacher.

I accept and understand I have a lot to learn, but learning is my favorite thing. Learning about people, learning new skills, learning a song or a joke … it’s all wonderful and awesome and hard and great. This is why I am a good teacher; I love to learn. I seek it out constantly.

Like any good learner, I love to share what I learn. I can’t wait to share new things with the students and bring them into my world. We will have fun in my classroom. We will face the tough days together and come out stronger because of it. As with all of my students, my main goal, deep down, is that they finish the year a better person.

Maybe that is an arrogant goal. If I am honest as I look inward and have put this in writing, I see where it is self-serving. What an amazing thing to say: “I helped you be a better person.” Isn’t that the job of a teacher, though? Isn’t that what leaders need to do? Yes, I want them to kill the stupid standardized tests and understand reading and math and science and social studies better than they did yesterday, but I also want them to feel good about themselves and feel ready to move on to fifth grade with confidence.

If I can look each one of them in the eye in late May and know that we have done our best work together, then the rest is gravy. I will love them and worry over them and do the small things to make them feel safe and respected, but I will also move on next year and welcome another class full of different faces and needs.

This is the journey I start today. How lucky I am.

See you tomorrow.

This gnarly little grommet lives next door now. Seems a fitting picture for some reason.

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