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New Adventures!

Welcome to my blog! Each post will have some thoughts on teaching, science and stuff (but mostly teaching and science). So, away we go!

The Teaching Section

This has been my year of new things.  After spending a lifetime as a diehard New Yorker, my husband got a new job and we moved to New Jersey.  Of all places, Jersey.  As a New Yorker, moving to New Jersey was like moving to another country.  Up until last July I had lived my entire life in the best of NYC's boroughs, Queens.  Sure, I went away to school and spent a year living in a cabin in the Massachusetts woods (my Thoreau year?) but my drivers license always said NYC.  But now, I sit in my suburban New Jersey neighborhood, and an NJ license sits in my wallet.  I miss Queens terribly but I have a beautiful house with a backyard and square footage I could have only dreamed of in NYC.
My suburban jungle.
For 8 years I worked at a school in my Queens neighborhood, only a mile from home.  But, the move to NJ made the commute unbearable.  A toll road, 2 bridges, the Cross Bronx Expressway (which has traffic 23.5 hours out of every day) and over 50 miles of distance made staying at that school impossible.  So, I took the plunge and applied for teaching jobs in middle schools in Staten Island (another place I never thought I would find myself).  While in a dressing room with my 1-year-old on the first day of summer vacation, I got the call.  I had gotten a job at an expeditionary learning school in Staten Island (one exit on the toll road and one bridge - much easier on my car, wallet and sanity).

As it turns out, my new school was a huge adjustment.  The workload and expectations were way more than I had experienced at my other 2 schools.  My first couple of months were spent grumbling about how much work I had to do and how hard it was to find time to get it all done while spending time with my family.  But, by November-ish, I found my groove and realized I was actually starting to like the challenge.  It turned out I was having fun planning and even more fun teaching.  For the first time in a long time I was challenging myself to make my lessons more engaging and rigorous.  It was what the new school demanded and what I should have been doing all along.  My students and I were having fun and we were all learning something along the way.

Recently I went back to visit the old school in Queens.  It was sort of strange.  Everything was the same but it also felt oddly different.  Then I realized what it was that was different - me. I am a different teacher than I was a year ago.  I am better. My classes are better.  My students are excited to come to class and the parents are eager to tell me about how their kids love to talk about what they learned in science over dinner.  I even had a parent tell me that her child had lost all interest in science before she same to my class.  Now it's her favorite class.  This is what I have always wanted.  I love science, I love teaching science and I hope to always make science fun, fascinating and engaging for students.  This is the year I finally made that happen, and all because I moved to New Jersey.


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