• Amber Chandler

It was scary, but pretty good.

This week my daughter, Zoey, started high school. My son, Oliver, started middle school, and I started my new role as the Coordinator of Alternative Education and Interventions. There were so many new things and firsts that only one third of us (Oliver) has a "back to school" picture--which is saying a lot since we are really into that sort of thing.

It was a three day week that felt like a month. We were exhausted with new schedules, lost in new places, and there was a general sense of being "off." Zoey's three years in the middle school had gotten her to the point of casual comfort, my 16 years there teaching 8th grade had led me to that "I can do it with my eyes blindfolded" sensation, and Oliver had found his way while in Mrs Dvornski's 5th grade classroom.

Here we were though, at the end of these three long days, back at Oliver's locker because he'd forgotten something. One of his new teachers asked how the week had been, and he answered, "It was scary, but pretty good." I looked at the three of us, and realized that all in all, that was a pretty accurate statement to describe my new adventure too.

For the first time in 16 years, I didn't know where to park. I didn't know who gets which of the million pieces of paper I filled out. I didn't know how long it took for me to drive between buildings. I didn't know the high school bell schedule, and the middle school changed this year too. I didn't know who to talk to when I walked in the high school faculty room. I haven't taught 9th graders in 16 years either; luckily, I just had half of them in 8th grade, and as any teacher of freshmen will tell you, they are really 8th graders at this point. It was scary.

But, it was pretty good too. I love my students already. I've been blown away by the counselor, Brendan, who I'm getting to work with. It turns out that I like breaking up my day with the short commute (about 9 minutes, as it turns out) between schools. I've loved how engaged and engaging the teachers are who are working with these students. There's been incredible flexibility and adjusting on the fly, and though it makes me feel anxious, it also makes me feel alive and challenged. One thing is for sure--the "I can do it blindfolded" sensation is gone!

I'm looking forward to a great full week of school. Here's to scary things that turn out pretty good!