30 Day Blogging Challenge — Day 9

Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).

My biggest accomplishment that nobody knows about has to be returning to teaching after a year off. I broke into the teaching profession at a time when districts in Wisconsin were struggling with budget cuts, resulting in layoffs. As a member of the biggest district in the state, I was subject to layoffs after my first year and my second year of teaching due to my lack of seniority. After the second layoff my family decided to take an opportunity that involved travel and a year off of teaching for me.

At the beginning of this hiatus I wasn’t sure that I was ever going back to teaching. I was in very real danger of becoming part of the 50% of new teachers that leave the profession in their first 5 years. In the end, nothing particularly exciting happened. As the year went on and we talked about returning to Wisconsin to raise a family I had to figure out what I was going to do. A friend from college reached out about an opening at his school and I decided to return to teaching.

My first year back was nothing too exciting and I was still feeling uninspired by the profession. The shift really happened for me at the beginning of last school year. There are a number of things that contributed to turning the lightbulb on for me including a new instructional model, a new team, a new baby, grad school, general experience as a teacher, and new leadership.

The point is that I almost walked away, but something drew me back. I’m glad I came back, but I can certainly understand why some teachers don’t. At this point in my career, that’s my biggest accomplishment that people don’t know about.