New Year, New School

So it’s been almost a year since I lasted posted here, and much has changed since that time. When I last posted (early December 2012), I was anticipating a busy spring. Little did I know. Things always seem to get busy in February with the start of baseball season (check the blog’s archives–or lack thereof–for evidence of this phenomenon), and on top of that, I was gearing up for a national job search.

Shortly after that post, job referrals started coming in, and we were off to the races. Between writing approximately 60 cover letters to schools all over the country, doing numerous phone/Skype interviews, traveling for three hiring fairs (Atlanta, Atlanta, and Boston) and six campus interviews (Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, and Virginia), baseball, and–oh, yeah–teaching a full courseload, the spring flew by. The end result of all of that, though, was that I found a great new opportunity, and my wife and I are excited to be back in our home state.

I had started my search with a three-pronged mission: 1) to find a school with a baseball program where I could teach and coach–as opposed to teaching in one school and coaching in another, which had been the norm for me; 2) to find a school that was very intentional in its curricular design and committed to a more constructivist approach to education; and 3) to find a school that was, ideally, in Virginia. As my travelogue above indicates, I was willing to settle for two out of three, but in the end, I found an opportunity that accomplished all three. I feel like I hit the jackpot with my new school. (I wasn’t necessarily committed to boarding schools, but I did see rejoining a residential community as a definite plus. Make it a fourfecta!)

I remember spotting this particular opportunity on the NAIS job board. It was the end of my Spring Break, and I had just completed three campus interviews in three different states in four days, and I was exhausted and ready to put the search in the rear view mirror. Although I liked all of the schools that I visited that week, I vividly remember saying to my wife, “Well, I just found the job I really want.” I submitted my resume, and from there, things moved pretty quickly.

Of course, once I accepted the position, the focus shifted from finding a job to planning a move. That meant making all of the little repairs to our house that suddenly seemed more urgent, interviewing realtors and preparing the house for market, and hiring movers. It also meant figuring out the housing situation here on campus, and paring down our belongings as we moved from a 3BR/2BA house with a deck, a garage, and an attic to a 2BR/2BA apartment with a small porch and no deck or attic. Then it meant shuttling across the North Carolina/Virginia border several times as we painted the new apartment, moved valuable or fragile belongings ourselves, and closed on the sale of our house. (Fortunately, our house sold quickly and relatively painlessly–no small relief given the housing market woes over the last few years.)

Once we were moved in and unpacked (early August), my attention shifted to planning for the school year. I usually spend a significant portion of July pulling together ideas/resources/etc. for the year ahead, so the start to this year felt a little like I was flying blind, but it’s gone OK. (Does this mean that perhaps I don’t have to work quite so hard in the summer anymore? That would be a nice “bonus” after five years in the classroom.)

Anyway, needless to say, there hasn’t been much time for blogging. However, we’re now–more or less–settled into our new place, the school year is rolling along relatively smoothly, and I’ve been itching to write again. Given that I’m back on the dorm duty rotation and will be helping out with JV basketball in addition to baseball, there’s a good chance that the busy season will start in November instead of February. With that in mind, I don’t know how long my regular posts here will last this time around, but I’m looking forward to getting back to using this as a place where I can “wonder aloud” about teaching and education in general.


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