Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Whenever we’d go on a picnic or to one of my brother’s ball games, I remember my parents saying to us, “Make sure you leave it better than you found it.” Sometimes that meant picking up someone else’s candy wrapper or empty water bottle. It was frustrating sometimes when Daddy would make us slow down to not only clean up our mess, but clean up other people’s messes.
This mindset that my parents instilled in me has carried over into other aspects of my life as well. I expect that when I enter a place to somehow leave it a little better than I found it.
I cleaned out my classroom today. I wiped down tables and counters that have never been cleaned in the two years I’ve been at this school. I put away glassware and books and found my skeleton’s arm that got broken months ago. I threw away papers and took posters off the walls. It feels so empty now without my kids’ posters on collective behavior and dissections and meiosis.
I feel confident that when I walk out of my school tomorrow afternoon, I will have left it better than I found it. Not only because I cleaned, but because I’ve created new things in this space: formed new relationships, encouraged new thoughts, written new curriculum.
I know that my school is leaving me better than it found me too. I’m a better teacher, a better leader, a better coach, and probably and all around better person.
This experience has been trying. It’s felt really impossible sometimes, and the decision to leave my school at the end of this year wasn’t difficult. While the decision wasn’t difficult, the leaving is proving to be a little more so. I’m leaving so many great teachers and students that deserve someone rooting for and appreciating them every day.
I’ve been offered a position at another high school next year. I’m excited to grow as a teacher in a different environment, one that I think is really on the edge of what the future of education will look like. It’s exciting to start a new adventure and I’m taking a whole lot of knowledge and experience with me.