While people in countries that use the Gregorian calendar are celebrating the start of a new year this weekend, to me it feels more like intermission.
And here in the overly-large school district, the first half of the show has been marked by a lot of chaos and change (some good, some bad, some just different).
But the really big alterations in my work life are yet to come.
The first occurs in less than a month when my friend and colleague Karen retires.
For nearly eleven years (with one notable hole), we have collaborated and conspired on a variety of projects, throwing ideas, discoveries, and toys back and forth as we tried to help our colleagues understand the place of technology in teaching and learning and adapt to all the changes it brings (or should).
Beyond that, working with Karen has been a wonderful experience since she is also someone who’s not afraid to let me know when I’m headed in the wrong direction, regularly calling BS when I’m about to go over the top and/or get myself fired and/or arrested.
While retirements often seem like funerals (mostly you never see the victim again :-), I’m pretty sure Karen is not going away completely (except for a few months in Yellowstone).
At the very least, she will remain in my back channel, continuing to let me know when I’ve screwed up.
Ok, that’s the big one, but definitely not the only major shakeup waiting in the wings.
Another goodie arrives in mid-February when our little group will be moving to an office building somewhere closer to the center of the county.
Just setting up shop in a new place is not a big deal. I’ve done that many times in my life.
However, what makes this different is that this will be the first place I’ve worked in my professional life that wasn’t a school, a former school or some other institutional space (Circle K doesn’t count).
Instead of a converted elementary classroom, with their somewhat quirky characteristics and relative privacy, we will be in what can only be described as a cube farm (just call me 2-110) straight out of Office Space.
What makes this really unique is that by the end of the second half, almost all the central office people I work with (most of three departments) will be in one building instead of spread around five or so. With many of the big, big bosses in the executive suite downstairs.
So, among other things, we will need to be careful about impromptu inter-cube discussions, not to mention where I fire the screaming monkeys.
Between the large hole that Karen will leave and the strange new work space, the dynamics of my work life will be very different. My primary goal going forward needs to be figuring out how to find the positive in that difference.
Of course, adding a continuing surreal feeling to the balance of the year will be the on-going conflict over drastic cuts to next year’s budget (with all the accompanying doomsday rumors), and the uncertainty of how they will affect the school-based trainers we work with (and us).
Unfortunately that soap opera is not likely to end in June. We’re already being told that the academic year beginning in July will likely also be a bad one.
Anyway, that’s a brief summary of how the second half of my year is shaping up.
And why January 1 is no beginning around here – just a short break in the circus.
Image: Farewell to Tai by Techmuse (Karen, who has become an excellent naturalist photographer in the time I’ve known her), used with the expectation that she won’t mind if I do.
As a former SBTS in the overly-large school district that you work in I am sad to hear about all the proposed budget cuts. It just doesn’t seem like anyone is really thinking about what is in the best interest of the students.
As for Karen…I learned so much from her and thank her for helping me become the instructional technologist that I am today.