I’m Moving Up


I’ve been quietly exploring new options for next year.  Those of you who know me or who have read my blog before can probably easily tell I haven’t been happy this year and that my current school/situation isn’t the best fit.

For the past couple of years I have heard, “You should really teach middle school.  Are you sure you want to teach 5th grade?  You treat your 5th graders like middle schoolers.  I know eventually you’ll move up.”

Last year after hearing I seem like I’d be a perfect 7th grade middle school teacher from yet another person, I finally decided to take the Praxis for Middle School Language Arts.  I passed the test, but I still kept the idea on the backburner and took a position as a 5th grade classroom teacher (teaching all the subjects).

After a rough year this year, I decided I might want to explore a middle school position further.  I always feel like I’m pushing my students, but they aren’t developmentally ready to do what I want to try with them.  I also miss just teaching reading and writing (my last school was departmentalized and that was my focus).  I’m constantly spreading myself thin trying to do 5 preps a day.

Before, I thought I could connect better with my students if I had them all day, so I went for a position teaching all the subjects.  I’m realizing though I connected more with my students over books and their writing in the shorter periods that I was with them than I feel like I have with my current students that I’m with all day.  I also feel like my teaching was better when I could pour my heart into reading and writing lessons.

So, I applied for a couple middle school positions.

Last week I got the call from one of the schools inviting me to interview.  As I continued through the process, I wanted the job more and more.  It’s so weird how you start to learn what you want and you wonder if it exists after such a challenging year.  Then, out of nowhere it shows up with a position and at a school you would have never expected.

My mom kept saying, “If it’s meant to be, you’ll end up there.”

Ugh- that statement is so annoying.  I say it all the time to others, but hearing it lately seemed like a statement you tell people so they don’t cry.  It’s like telling a bride it’s good luck to rain on their wedding day (someone clearly made that up to calm down a hysterical bride).

Well, I got the call tonight.  I guess it’s meant to be.  I’m moving up to middle school and am going to be a 7th grade communication arts teacher!   Suddenly this year doesn’t seem so pointless, but it seems like it guided me to finding what will hopefully be a better fit.

I’m excited and nervous about this new journey. I’m definitely going to need to pick the brains of some of my middle school friends.


7 thoughts on “I’m Moving Up

  1. Congrats Jen! I know this year was miserable. You are entering an exciting new phase. How great you can learn from Cris Tovani and Kelly Gallagher at All Write! Are you in the same district?

  2. Congratulations, Jen, and good for you. Flipping the coin seems to be working for you. Follow your instincts. I like the title–communication teacher.

  3. Congratulations! I have always said it takes a special person to teach middle school! I guess you might have a new affection for the words “If it is meant to be…” I am smiling for you!

  4. Thanks, guys. I’m nervous and excited. Leanne, I am moving districts. I can’t wait to learn at All Write and see all of you again! I’ve seen Kelly Gallagher before, and he is amazing. I will definitely be trying to soak it all in and asking questions to all the middle school teachers.

  5. I spent 13 years teaching elementary before I made the move to middle school. You’ll LOVE it! It’s scary and exciting but I have NEVER regretted my decision. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help! I’m so excited for you!!! Congratulations!!!!

  6. Michelle,
    I will definitely be asking you lots of questions as it gets closer. I’m nervous. Are 7th graders scary? 🙂 I know that I want to developmentally work with older kids, but I’m unsure of how it will be different from 5th grade. I’m not sure really what to expect. However, I’m so excited to focus on reading and writing! The school seems like a wonderful fit too- lots of diversity, small district, enthusiastic staff, and autonomy in teaching choices.

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