Hi again! I hope all of you had a great summer and are ready for the new school year. I am! It’s been a busy summer. But it’s also been fun to relax and recharge.
Let me catch you up.
The biggest news is that my partner and I moved from San Francisco to New York. After spending my entire life in the Bay Area (except for a year in graduate school and several summers in other cities), I wanted to try out a new adventure. It’s a little crazy — and some of my friends and family have made sure I know this — but so far, I’m feeling great feeling stretched.
Unfortunately, the move meant having to leave the great job I had last year as an instructional coach. Though I don’t reveal my employers on this site (to honor their policies regarding technology use), I can say that it was tough to leave the teachers with whom I worked. Together we made significant progress in figuring out what it means to teach high school students how to approach reading in a new, joyful, visible way.
The good news is, I was able to find a new job here in New York that is extremely similar. Instead of working at four schools, however, I will work exclusively with teachers at one school in the Bronx. Along with another instructional coach, my role is to promote the teaching of literacy across the curriculum and to help develop teachers’ confidence in teaching specific reading strategies.
The only major difference (as I see it, though this might change) is that I’ll likely be working with more beginning and inexperienced teachers than I did last year. My preference, of course, is to work with veteran teachers (for many reasons). It’s more easily and immediately fun. Yes, that’s selfish. Nevertheless, I also understand how crucial it is for teachers to receive high-quality coaching at the beginning of their careers. I remember my mentors in Cambridge and Fremont, and I hope to return the support and inspiration I received.
The weird part is, I always have trouble starting at a new job. Maybe that’s one reason I stuck around my San Francisco school for 12 years. (There are many other reasons, too!) It’s hard for me to get to know people; they probably feel the same thing about me. Doubts creep up: Um, do I really know anything about literacy, anyway? Where’s my credential? What makes me think that the teachers will find me helpful? I’m no expert, after all.
But over time, I trust, things will smooth out and take care of themselves.
Sort of rambling here, but I’ll leave you with one last thing (and go into more depth in an upcoming post). The Kindle Classroom Project has seen steady growth over the summer, and I’m happy to report that I’ll be receiving the 70th Kindle in the next few days!
All of the Kindles safely made the transcontinental move, and I’m eager to get them ready for the new students. Why didn’t the Kindles stay in San Francisco and Oakland? After tons of thought, I decided the program would be stronger if I’m nearby. Keeping all the Kindles up and running — not to mention the ebook library — takes constant care, and troubleshooting across the country just didn’t sound right. I look forward to meeting with the ninth grade teachers at my new school to get them hugely excited about getting their students involved.
I am also very happy that some of my passion for reading will not leave the Bay Area. My friend and former colleague Nancy Jo Turner, who works in Berkeley and is an excellent! excellent! ninth grade teacher, has agreed to take care of my physical book library and to launch a significant independent reading program with her students. She just completed cataloging the books — there are 512 in total! I can’t wait to share her updates from her classroom.
Update: I’ve decided to move back to San Francisco. More details in a future post.
So there it is, a rough update about what’s been going on this summer. I look forward to hearing from you, loyal Iserotope readers, and to share with you more stories this year. Let me know what you’d like to read about!