For more than a decade I’ve witnessed the emotional rollercoaster of a senior’s final days in high school. The mixture of excitement, sadness and fear, makes up the surreal reality that a chapter of their life is coming to a close and a new one is beginning. Moments of joy and celebration for the memories and all that has been accomplished as well as moments of sadness for all that is left behind.
I will be leaving the classroom this year and beginning a position as our district’s new Tech Instructional Coach in the Fall and I feel like I am graduating alongside the class of 2018. I am so incredibly excited about my new role and yet without warning my tears flow at a memory or comment from a colleague or student. I’ve had days where I’ve even questioned whether I made a horrible mistake and should stay in my current role as culinary arts teacher; a position that I’ve loved.
Today was one of those days where the flood gates opened and the tears were unstoppable. The more frustrated I became at my uncontrollable emotions, the more the tears flowed. It was in that moment a precious friend texted me this, “Big hearts (one’s full of passion) go hard and fall hard.” I let her words resonate in my soul as I gave my heart permission to deeply feel the emotions of leaving a chapter behind. My heart has been woven tightly around my role as a culinary teacher these past 12 years. So much of my identity has been wrapped into building a program and pouring my heart and soul into the students I’ve served. I went hard for 12 years and now that I’m leaving, I’m falling hard too.
Back in December I decided my “one word” for this year was going to be AMPLIFY. I wanted to amplify my impact this year in a big way. The chapter ahead is full of adventure and opportunities to do just that…amplify my impact. As George Couros says, “Change is the opportunity to do something amazing” and I am ready for the challenge! I know this is my time to move!
As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed today this Dave Burgess quote hit home, “People who are comfortable and accustomed to traveling with the pack, always riding in the middle of the peloton, often resent those trying to escape in search of something more. BREAKING AWAY requires a huge burst of energy and enough strength to avoid getting dragged back to the pack.” I know this is my time to break away and venture into uncharted waters. Breaking away in this final stretch is definitely requiring me to dig deep to find the energy and strength to finish strong. Though the finish line is in sight, my race isn’t over yet. I want this to be an ending to remember.
I also know that the tears will still flow, and I’m okay with that because it means I’ve given my whole heart to my role as culinary teacher and to the thousands of kids that have entered my classroom doors. It’s been an amazing journey and now I’m ready to start a new one. A new adventure awaits!
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.