I have traded my Skyline red and black for Northwood green and gold. I’m no longer a Titan, but now a Charger. I have traded the Pacific for the Atlantic. I have traded my sunny California skies forone of Carolina blue.
In short, I’ve moved.
I’ve got mixed feeling about this. One the one hand, I deeply miss my children in Oakland. On the other, I’m already building relationship with a new set of wonderful kids, all with adorable accents. I miss my colleagues in California, and I’m getting to know and like my fellow Chargers. I miss my friends, and my parents, but I’m glad to be closer to my grandparents and my friends at CTQ global HQ.
The great adventure
Driving across country is a great adventure. For me, this was my fourth such trip. Heading South from California’s Bay Area, I struck East on highway 40, running parallel to the famed Route 66. In Arizona, I was treated to the sight of a thunder head on the horizon. I watched in awe as lighting flashed across the anvil-shaped, black cloud while blue skies turned navy and purple above my head as the sun set behind me.
Two days later, I was in Oklahoma. Perhaps August was the wrong time to visit, because the corn wasn’t nearly as high as the musical had promised. Instead, I was treated to a string of “Authentic Indian” souvenir shops with gaudily painted plastic bison, but lacking in any “authentic” Native American people.
So far, the people of North Carolina could not be any more welcoming or helpful. I received an invitation to interview only hours after hitting “submit” on my on-line application. Mere days after my interview, I received warm emails from members of the social studies department, and a follow-up phone call from the principal thinking me for my time. It was just over a week before the principal called back to offer me the job.
I also had great luck in finding a new apartment. One the phone in California, I called one complex that was recommended to me by my CTQ Collaboratory colleague, Wendi Pillars.
After explaining that I was a teacher from California, relocating to her town, the office manager told me that she would have a one-bedroom unit coming available at the end of July. “Well, I wont be arriving until the second week of August,” I demurred. She assured me that this would give her ample opportunity to ready the unit for me. I asked if I should send a deposit to hold the apartment. “No,” she assured me, “I’ll hold it for you. We like to take good care of our teachers.”
“Southern hospitality” has not been an empty stereotype in my experience so far.
New curriculum, new challenges, new opportunities.
The North Carolina legislature recently increased the high school graduation requirements for Social Studies. While this years current seniors only need three years of history classes, the junior class will need to complete four years of history, along with their other required studies, for their diplomas. I’ve been asked to teach the newly formed class, American History 1. This class, along with American History 2 next year replaces the old single-year US History requirement.
In short, instead of trying to learn US history from first contact to the present day in a single year, North Carolina teens will have two years to do so.
My new district doesn’t yet quite know what to do with these new requirements. Some current US History teachers seem to be simply slowing down their established curriculum, making room for students to dig a little bit deeper into the wide range of topics than their predecessors did.
For my part, I shared with my colleagues and principal the primary-source-document-based projects that I’ve been leading Skyline 10th graders through these past six years. They were as thrilled as I was with the idea of revamping that global studies curriculum into an American studies one.
So this year, my Discovering the Global Past books will sit on a shelf. I’ve ordered Discovering the American Past and my students are already reading about what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke.
I’m excited about the new curriculum, as well as this new chapter in my life. While I miss my kids back in Oakland, I’m filled with hope and optimism about my new school.
As the song I referenced earlier attests, “I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.”