It’s hard leaving a school you love. It’s hard leaving the place where your career begins. It’s hard leaving the friends and coworkers, the students that you love so much, and the sense of community every time you walk through the front doors. The past few months have not been easy. As my time at Gray’s Creek has come to a close I have been able to reflect on the teacher I have become in the past two years and the teacher I will continue to be in the future.
I cannot imagine landing in a better situation as a first year teacher than I did here. I stress that everywhere I go; be it an interview for a job next school year, catching up with college friends, or being introduced to my grandma’s friends in her Sunday School class. I cannot possibly fathom starting my career in a more supportive and encouraging environment. From my department, to the admin team, and everyone in between there has been nothing but a sense of community and an “I got your back” mentality. I have been allowed, heck even encouraged, to try new things, and then, when it fails I have been given the opportunity to reflect and collaborate with other teachers on my practice.
I like to joke that I don’t feel like a beginning teacher. Maybe it’s the ego, who knows… Regardless, as I now prepare for my third year as an educator I feel confident and prepared. Gray’s Creek has given me that. It was here that I was able to teach an Advanced Placement class in my second year. It was here that I was able to implement technology freely and comprehensively. It was here that I was able to learn from veteran teachers, but, also, share new strategies with them as well. It’s a two-way street. I do not claim to have all of the answers or be some Ron Clark superstar teacher. However, I am thankful for the culture here at Gray’s Creek. This school and this community have loved me and enabled me to grow as an educator.
Like I said, leaving this place is not easy, but neither is an unfulfilled dream. A desire to continue my career as a public educator and the dream of building a family in an area that my wife and I love has motivated us to make a move westward. It’s hard not to see John Muir’s famous quote, “the mountains are calling and I must go” plastered all over anything slightly associated with the western part of North Carolina. As cheesy and commercialized as the saying has become, his intended meaning behind the quote was to, yes go to the mountains, but, more importantly, go there and study it and take responsibility of preserving and improving the places and people you love. I feel called and I must go.
Next year I will be teaching at Buncombe County Early College High School in Asheville, NC. My excitement cannot be put in to words; it is a dream come true. But, Gray’s Creek, I would not be in a position to take on this challenge without the love and guidance you have given me the past two years. I cannot thank you enough.
Always a Bear,