Sunday, June 30, 2013

Catching Moving Trains

It was 15 years ago, I'll never forget it, I had just come back home from a year of wandering abroad and I decided to become a school teacher. I was slinging drinks at a Mexican restaurant and going to school to get my credential when a friend asked, "Hey, don't you know something about Drama?"


The local high school had a drama teacher, but he jumped in his car at lunch and never came back. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.


I walked in as a volunteer to direct the school play and fifteen years later I am walking away from that school having been a volunteer, a substitute teacher, a teacher, a department chair, a vice principal and for the last six years, the Proud Principal. What a run.


I'll never forget the first moments of each step along the way.


You see it in the movies, some guy sprinting down the railroad tracks, he has the chance to back out, but then he leans in, full sprint, total commitment. His feet are now running faster than he can control and he lifts a hand to grasp some part of the moving train  this is the moment of no return. He has one hand on the train that is pulling out of station and one foot on the ground out of control.


I walked into that theater as a volunteer on my first day and there was still time to have backed out, the train hadn't fully left the station, but then Nate Joseph, 12th grader at the time, standing about 6'4", slung his arm around me and looked the long way down to where I stood at 5'6" and said, "You're not going to quit on us too are you?"


There is always that pivotal moment, as scary as it can be, when you have to commit fully. I have just accepted a new job: I am moving to my district office to help all our schools move to Common Core; I have also just been accepted to The Google Teachers Academy. In both cases my feet are just running beyond their limits and my hand has just grasped the moving train and I am excited, scared, proud and terrified about liftoff!