About two and a half years ago I was on a plane flying back from a trip to Germany composing a blog post about the next transition in my professional life. I had just accepted a position in my district in Rocklin as a Tech TOSA (teacher on special assignment), which meant I was about to say goodbye to my life as a history teacher (which I started in 1998). Before I began this new chapter in my life, I shared my thoughts in a blog. Here is the original blog post.
Fast forward two years and I'm starting another post as I sit in the passenger seat of our car somewhere in the Arizona desert with the thermometer pushing 122° and I am once again facing a new path.
Now, this is not because I find my work as a Tech TOSA lacking in any regards, I really love my job being a TOSA. Sure, I shared those same feeling that all educators do once they step out of the classroom of missing the connections with students. As a TOSA I anticipated that I would have many of these opportunities to connect with kids as I moved from school to school and class to class working in classrooms. At times this did happen (just this last spring I had the incredible opportunity to work with the 6th grade classes at Sierra Elementary and their fantastic teachers assisting with their Environmental PSA videos). This experience was one of the highlights of my TOSA life! Thanks again to all of you for letting me come out! Here is a link to the YouTube playlist of videos these kids made.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities, the reality of my job was that these opportunities did not come around as often as I thought they would have. The primary reason for this was simply the scope of the job and the size of my district. Being the only Tech TOSA in a district serving 11 elementaries, 2 middle, 2 high, 1 alternative and 1 charter made it a bit of a challenge getting into classrooms. Even with these challenges and how much I found myself missing the classroom, I still loved going to work each day and assisting teachers, building capacity and helping the district move forward with the betterment of the teaching profession. The biggest PLUS in terms of this job was being part of what we called “Team TOSA”. This is the incredible group of TOSAs with whom over the past two years I have worked in planning, collaborating and laughing over so many projects.
So where does that leave me now?
Well, a lot went down in a short time and I’ll give you the Cliffsnotes version.
A teaching job at Rocklin High (my previous school) in Broadcasting opened up and after talking with the principal and my family, it looked like we all wanted to see me back at the school. My oldest daughter will be a senior and my youngest is going into 8th grade. They both have grown up in our town of Rocklin observing me as a teacher and football coach their entire lives. They wanted to be at the high school with me, in my classes, and have us all be part of our rich school culture together. And yes… I wanted that too. It was the timing of this TOSA job two years ago which made this a challenge. But now, here we were with a new opportunity with a new class, one which ties in with my digital storytelling passions and allows me to back in the classroom at the school with my kids.
One of my biggest concerns in all of this was leaving the body of work and connections I had made as a TOSA though. So, some conversations with lots of higher ups brought about a compromise that will allow me to juggle both roles. I will still get to remain as a part time TOSA and will work in the afternoons in that position while teaching Broadcasting in the morning. In the end (hopefully) I get the best of both worlds.
In closing I would like to thank a few people who really made this happen.
First my Superintendent Roger Stock and Deputy Superintendent Kathy Pon. As I approached the two of them with this idea, the message that they gave me back about “whenever you put family first, the chips in life will fall into place” (sorry if I butchered your quote Roger!) made me feel confident that I was making the right choice.
Secondly, RHS Principal Davis Stewart who guided me through this process and shared with me his vision of the potential that this class has to be something special. Thanks Stew!
Lastly my wife and two daughters, you three were very supportive of me during this last stage as a TOSA and you desire to have me at RHS made this all happen.
Alright, time to start lesson planning.
Uh...any ideas where I should start?