A couple months ago I wrote a post “This is where the magic happens” about taking a risk. Remember that? I was frustrated with my job, and everyone around me (even my horoscope) was like, “Dude – accept all the good stuff you do have!”
Well, I didn’t write something else pretty important that had happened. I had also interviewed to be a “Mentor Teacher” for my school district. I had solid experience and proven success (along with passion!) for this position, and I felt like I nailed the interview. This was it – I had been patient and finally an opportunity had presented itself. So it was a total blow when I DIDN’T get the job. Not just to me either! Everyone I knew professionally was shocked, pissed off, and confused. I did some digging with multiple people “in the know” as to what went wrong, and was told that it was a political move; I wasn’t sucking up to the right people; it wasn’t about experience, but more about the district’s agenda.
I sat at my desk, while my students were across the hall in math, and stared dismally out the window. What am I doing here? I wondered. Why am I swimming upstream in a place that everyone knows is toxic and dysfunctional?
An hour later my students came back and we were finishing resumes for a career unit, and then practicing interview skills. I felt like a fraud. “In an interview, you need to really showcase your skills and expertise without bragging…just be yourself!” I said. But what I wanted to say was, “It’s all a lie! All that matters in this world is sucking up! Climbing over each other! Vote everyone else off the island!” I held my jaded tongue.
I have this book, Do More Great Work and in one of the exercises it asks you to write down times you’ve really felt inspired and energized professionally. I realized that many of my moments came from sitting in workshops hosted by Jim Knight at the Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He transformed the way I do and think about things as an educator. After my students left that day, I shot Jim an email. I thanked him for his guidance, and I suggested that if he ever needed a professional coffeemaker he should keep me in mind. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Now two months later, I have just accepted the opportunity to become one of his workshop facilitators. You know, someone who TRAINS the people who do that Mentor Teacher job I DIDN’T get in my school district. (Oh so satisfying.)
Next week I head to Kansas to present to my esteemed colleagues, then I fly to California and back to Kansas to learn from one of my heroes. Surely, this is where the magic happens.