I'm really into collecting music on my iPod (that I received as a Christmas present in 2006 and it's still kickin!) One of my current favorites in rotation is Fun.'s Carry On. The best line is "Let your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground."
I used to think that leaving things in the past, or making something part of your past instead of the present, shows that you don't care anymore. The growth I've done in the past few weeks, aided by my students, has shown me that isn't the case, and that carrying on doesn't mean ignoring the importance of the people and the memories we made with them.
After much consideration, deliberation, and contemplation, I decided to take a new teaching position in the Metro Nashville Public School District here in Tennessee. I have always found the prospect of a school district in a urban area interesting ever since I heard about Corey Flournoy and his Chicago Ag Science chapter. The exciting opportunity I'll have in my new position is something I've been reservedly (is that a word?) excited about. I can't wait to meet new students and show them what ag ed and FFA have to offer...but that meant I had to break the news to my students first.
We had our banquet Friday, and I felt like that would not be an appropriate day to discuss it. The banquet went well with almost all of our RSVPs attending, including representatives from TriGreen Equipment who drove all the way from Alabama to present their $2,000 National FFA Scholarship to one my seniors.
After it was over, a very exhausted Vet Science team and I drove 3 hours west to a hotel to prepare for our first Vet Science contest the next morning. And ya know what? They won the state contest! The elation they felt was rewarding to witness. You know you've got some FFA leaders on your hands when they kept saying, "We met our goal, we met our goal!" instead of, "We won, we won!"
I woke up this morning at 4am feeling nervous and sad. I had dreams of all of my former and current students standing in my shop, questioning me and asking why I had to leave. There's no doubt about it... I expected the worse this morning. With a few tears I shared the news with my officer team. They nodded and showed signs of understanding when I explained that what I need to do for myself as a professional does not change the fact that I will always be someone in their life that cares about them and will be there to help them with anything. The worst was over and even though they had lots of questions, they showed me what it is to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and carry on.
The support and understanding from my students and colleagues has helped me grow as a professional and show me that change and flexibility is an inherent part of our jobs as teachers. Instead of fearing change, I'm now looking forward to the excitement of a new challenge, armed with the experience and wonderful memories I have of my time at Page High School. There are too many amazing students and wonderful memories to try to list them all.
And now it's time to carry on, getting the classroom and shop ready for a new advisor and jumping feet first into my new position, including the most exciting news ... I'll have an animal lab! I look forward to sharing that and more highlights from the next part of this wonderful journey as an agriculture teacher.
Until then, I encourage you to carry on through any difficult decisions or tasks you're facing. Carrying on will always lead you to "the glorious sunlight of brotherhood and cooperation."