It doesn’t seem possible but my first year back to teaching is almost over, according to my countdown timer there are

total time remaining before 1:45 P.M. on June 16th – our probable last day when I started this blog post.  I want to do a reflection on my return to teaching, the good, the bad and the ugly.  There has been a lot little of each.
Last summer I was very unhappy with the job I had. It involved a great deal of financial management and administrative oversight of the AmeriCorps Grant Programs.  I loved the people I worked with, but just couldn’t reconcile myself to the duties of the position, even though I was doing a good job. 
Due to those feelings and frustrations, I undertook a month-long review last August of what I was good at and what I wanted to do with my professional life, that is documented in my Dream Job blog series.  After going through that process, I knew what my dream job would look like if it became available and had made myself ready if the opportunity suddenly presented itself.
After going through the Dream Job process, my next step was to sit down with my boss to discuss my plans.  I don’t believe in surprising people and make every effort to be upfront and honest about things.  It was very difficult to sit down and tell someone that you no longer want to work for them, especially because I really respected and liked my boss, but it was the right thing to do.
So my journey back to teaching actually started on Sept 2nd last year, when I told my previous boss that I was going to look for a different position in either Teaching or Emergency Management.  I had fully expected to be at that job until the Summer of 2010, because finding open teaching positions in September is not a typical occurrence and finding a position in Emergency Management is not all that easy.
Sometimes there is such a thing as Karma (especially when you do things the right way), the next day I learned about an unexpected vacancy at a local Junior High School.  I didn’t have to worry and scurry around trying to figure out if I wanted to apply for the job or not.  I already knew what I was looking for, and this position was as if they had written the position description and job requirement with me in mind.  I had everything together and within 48 hours had submitted an application package to the school for the teaching position (getting the Letters of Reference took the longest) without staying up all night trying to get my Resume and Cover Letter just right – they were almost all done and just needed to be tweaked.
After an initial interview with the Principal and Special Education Director and a followup interview with the Superintendent, I was offered the opportunity to teach beginning October 5, 2009 and accepted. 
Doing all that research on my Dream Job had paid off.  I was ready and had been able to react quickly when the opportunity had presented itself.
I had also been very lucky.  I was excited, nervous, a little scared…I had never taught in the public school before, only a private Special Purpose school for students with Behavioral or Mental Health issues.  But I knew that I wanted to get back to teaching, even with all of the challenges because I did miss those “aha” moments.
I was definitely going from the frying pan into the fire, stopping work on a Friday and beginning teaching the next Monday. I was going into the classroom with no time to prepare, look at the student records, IEPs, get to know the syllabus or curriculum because I wasn’t an employee yet. I also had never used a MacBook, and I only knew 1 of the other staff I would be working with daily (professionally only).  It seemed that I was setting myself up for failure, because the potential recipe for professional disaster, was enormous.  I usually set myself up to succeed, but not this time, looking ahead during that the last week at my other job I wondered what I was getting myself into.  I was either going to fail miserably or succeed – there was no in between. 
My last day at my previous job was Friday, October 2nd. That was also the morning my mother went into the hospital for a serious health condition.  Most of my last day of work at my previous job was spent in a Hospital Emergency Room.
I will be continuing my Return to Teaching Part 2 later this week.  This will be the toughest one to write about

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