Welcome!  If you came here looking for Middle School OCD, you came to the right place.  A lot has happened since I posted last.

Two and half years ago, I had an epiphany.  I was deeply unhappy.  When you have been unhappy for so long, the grind just seems like how life is supposed to be unhappy.  I came to the realization one morning, while quietly sobbing in the parking lot, that quietly sobbing in the parking lot before one goes into school was not normal.  It was not normal, not okay, I deserved to feel better, to feel happy.  It was a soul rocking moment.

The previous ten years had been difficult.  I cared for my parents, losing both of them in hospice. Caring for them through all of the hospital stays, late nights, little sleep, and stressed 911 calls, and ultimately, losing them, had numbed me to happiness.  Sitting there that morning, I decided that not only did I deserve better, but so did my students and colleagues.  I promised myself that I would make a change to an elementary school, and if the change did not fit, then I would retire.  That morning before the bell, I sent off emails to several principals in the district and asked them to keep me in mind if they had an opening for the coming year.  I was sure that no one would reply, that I had vegetated too long at one school.

All of the recipients responded before lunch.  Before the end of the week, during a grant writing meeting in my room, I got a phone call letting me know of an immediate opening.  I thanked the caller,  quietly declined, and went back to the meeting.  Before the end of the meeting, I had called back.  

It took two months to get there, my first interview in thirtysome years, a long goodbye to a school that I had been an integral part of for 28 years.  Yes, 28 years in the same place, most of it in the same room, at a middle school that I had never planned on staying at, nor had planned on leaving.  They had a wonderful luncheon for me, with presents and flowers.  They all said that they couldn’t imagine the school without me, and asked how they were going to function with me gone.  

They are fine.  They won the grant, have gone on to do incredible things with technology in the classroom, and even became a National School To Watch this spring.  All of it without me.

Me?  I drove off with my car loaded to an elementary school 15 minutes from my house to teach 4thgrade.  To an elementary school with a staff that knew nothing about me, parents that had not been students in my class, with PTA carnivals and bells ringing all the time.  My first year and half, I got to watch the kinders play out my window instead of breaking up 8thgrade fights. Some of the staff welcomed me with open arms, others with indifference, and none of them came to my room expecting me to solve all of their problems, answer their questions, or give them materials. I was blissfully alone, uncomfortable in the learning curve, and I loved it.

This last year, I stretched myself again and moved to 1stgrade!  Despite the exhaustion, and constant scrambling to keep up with them, I love it!  

We start up again in a few weeks.  This year I can start knowing that 1stgraders are not all capable of tearing out workbook pages and how many hugs I will get every day.  I can hardly wait.

My new colleagues were concerned that I would have trouble adjusting to elementary, having kids all day, rotations and small groups.  I slid right into that part.  For all my time at the middle school, I was self-contained.  For most of that time, I taught Read180 with rotations and small groups.  So, you see, I have always been essentially elementary.

Welcome to my new (and not that different) world.  Now that I have my feet under me and the routine down, I will be back with new products and posts.   

I love my job!

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