I have been to many teaching interviews over the past few years. Above all else, one moment stands out. I was in the second round of an interview. The tables had turned and it was my turn to ask the questions. I asked, what is the best part about teaching in your school district? It’s funny because I asked this at all of my interview and sometimes people would stop and seem surprised and then say I guess I’d have to say the kids. However, this particular teacher spoke of something else. She said, “Teaching at ___ feels like coming home.” Chills shivered down my back. I hadn’t known it, but as a young woman in my 20’s trying to find my place in this big world this was exactly what I was looking for. Yes I wanted a career but I wanted something more too. I wanted to build a life.
The irony of this post is that I didn’t get that position, perhaps that was a blessing in disguise for I am now 95% of the way through my school year and I can truly say that working in my school feels like coming home.
I was worried it wouldn’t come to this point. At new teacher orientation, I was the only person from my school. One teacher is 3 years older than me, but she’s married and working towards making a family. Two teachers are about 30. The rest or over thirty with families of their own. Their weekends weren’t going to be free to hang out with the new girl trying to make friends. This did not exactly set me up to make friends with people beyond a professional, working relationship.
I quickly learned that there was nobody else at orientation because once people come to our school, they don’t want to leave. I’ve never seen ALL of the teachers in one school getting along so well. There is a feeling of warmth, trust, and acceptance. There have been multiple happy hours, weekend parties, and impromptu ice cream trips after school with these wonderful folks. Everyone is invited and most people show up. Doors are always open after school and people linger in the halls to catch up. We can lean on one another on the hard days and celebrate together on the good. My tears have been dried and my spirits lifted on many occasions.
I’m still figuring out this whole teaching thing. I’m still working on finding my place in this big world. I’m not sure where I’ll be 10 years down the road. What I do know is that coworkers like mine are one in a million and I will continue to be incredibly grateful and fortunate to work with them each day that I am given.