Today I got together with KW, the newly hired ECHS teacher, who will share my classroom next year. I am excited about teaming with her because she is an amazing teacher, and I think I will learn a lot next year. I have loved working with TS, whom I share a room with now. TS is more fun than anyone else in my life. She's a joke a minute. She adores the students, and they adore her. She calls the students "goobers" if they don't do their work. She told a parent "I don't have enough duct tape to keep your child here." When the students try to cross her, she says "You don't mess with the fat lady." Once she told a student "If you don't bring work next week, I'm going to skip nagging and go straight to execution." But she said it so lovingly. TS is a Mensa member, (which means she's incredibly smart), and she knows how to get the kids to understand the information. Every once in awhile you hear funny noises coming from that side of the room, and it's TS watching some Internet video and dying laughing. She's the kind of teacher you wished you had in high school instead of that woman with orthopedic shoes.
KW is almost the opposite. If TS is a Beach Boys concert, KW is the symphony. She's classy, driven, creative, and quality all the way. As I get to know KW I realize how much alike we are. She's practical, and organized. She uses comics in her teaching. I put a comic on every test for my students. She loves to travel, and in a weird quirk of fate, she's going to Istanbul this summer about the same time as I am. She has passion and high expectations for her students. I think she's like me in that she speaks honestly and you know where she stands. When I asked if she cared where her desk went in the new room, she said "Oh, I'll have an opinion!" I love that. Today we went through her room, where for years, she has lovingly collected beautiful books, games, art supplies, and activities that are perfect for teaching middle school social studies. Very few things could actually be used for teaching independent study high school. The middle school standards end at the Civil War, and we start after Reconstruction. We don't really do whole class games and art projects. I can see how it would be sad for her to walk away from all this that she has spent years building. And that's just the stuff. The friendships run deep, too. Our mutual friend, MW, is also moving to the high school level, so they wouldn't be together next year even if KW did stay. They won't see each other daily like they do now. We vowed to all get together next year. But it won't be easy for KW to leave a school where she has deep roots, even if ECHS is the BEST place to work.