A Time of Transition.

It’s been about a month since I last wrote anything, so I figure it’s high time to return from my blogging hiatus. A lot has happened in the last month, so bear with me while I mentally explode all over this post.

First of all, let me say this: I officially have a year under my belt as a teacher. I complete a full year teaching third grade all by myself at a public school in Durham, NC.

I DID IT.

It’s unbelievable knowing that a year has already passed. Everyone (and by everyone I think I literally mean everyone) always says how fast time goes when you get older — this is not me saying that I am old, by the way — and I think they’re all right. My life is different now than it was a year ago after I graduated from UNC.

Now, I live alone — ridin’ solo as I prefer to call it. This whole one-bedroom apartment living is something I know I will adjust to in due time, and for the most part I like it a great deal (why wouldn’t I like playing my guitar and watching Mad Men whenever I so desire!?), but dinnertime is the absolute worst. I’m used to eating breakfast alone and having lunch at school with no other adults, but dinner was always that sacred time where I was able to eat with someone my age — someone I could talk to and laugh with and all those lovely things. Like I said, I know I’ll adjust to this in due time, but summertime can be hard for that when a teacher isn’t as busy as she is the other ten months out of the year.

I also won’t return to my school in Durham next year — world, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make. A friend of mine mentioned to me sometime back in January that a dual language magnet school would officially open in Chapel Hill for the next school year. This news caught my attention, and I was easily intrigued. I would ask her a little more about it periodically until I finally decided to just go observe the school with the project based learning model. I haven’t taught PBL before, and I wanted to see what that large portion of the school day looked like before committing to an interview. Needless to say, I loved what I saw and got my name down for an interview right after spring break. The interview went well and I was tentatively placed on their personnel list for the following school year until things were clear for the principal to refer me for hire. One thing led to another and here I am, officially on staff to teach 3rd grade dual language!

Sometimes I would think that leaving Durham to return to Chapel Hill was a cop out — leaving students who truly need me, saying goodbye to a place desperate for consistency. My heart hurt for those kids and for nothing else, and I felt almost guilty that I would leave to better myself instead of stay and better them. I felt selfish. Fortunately, a revelation occurred and I realized that in decisions like these, I, Miss Stewart, need to be a little selfish. I need to do what’s best for me as a teacher and find a place where I can grow professionally and develop my skills so that I can be the best teacher I can possibly be. I hate to say this, but I felt like I couldn’t do that in Durham, and given the chance to work in a Spanish dual language setting accompanied with project-based learning where children will learn science and social studies curriculum through experiences and creation, I couldn’t think of a better place for me to be. After months (seriously, this decision took me months to make) of deliberation and prayer, I realized how perfect this opportunity is and how God opened all the right doors at the exact right time for me. My year in Durham was certainly not a year wasted — rather, it was a year where I gained invaluable experience. Experience I didn’t even realize I would ever need. There were people who supported me often and I truly can’t thank them enough, and I hope they all know how much they helped me in my first year (which, if you’ve been keeping up with this blog for the last year, you know it wasn’t easy!). I definitely think this career move is a step in the right direction, and I cannot wait to work with people who share my educational philosophy!

School starts in about a month and a half and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my summer thus far. It’s amazing to know how good it can feel to relax after working so incredibly hard for the last ten months. Speaking of relaxing and enjoying my summer, my attention was drawn to this article on Twitter earlier today. I encourage you to read it and reconsider any comments you will make to me (or any other educator you may know) concerning the fact that “teaching is easy” and that “it must be nice having summers off.”

I really like this down time that I have right now — I leave for the beach tomorrow to spend a week in pure vacationing bliss! I feel as though I will be very ready to get back to school when the time comes in August for that first workday, but for now I think I’ll continue to revel in my low-stress lifestyle of sitting poolside and playing guitar every day.

I also really like this transition time that I am currently experiencing. Living alone and changing jobs and having a retirement plan (?!) and paying bills — it’s all part of growing up. I’m realizing how much I’m growing up and becoming more reliant on myself and it’s kind of amazing. This is truly an “I’m a big kid now!” type of realization. Evidence? I took the Jeep to get an oil change and tire rotation this week. I also bought a lamp.

Oh, hello adulthood, nice to see you again.

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