Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Announcing a change...

After teaching third, fourth, and fifth graders for twenty years, I have decided to leave the classroom. On the one hand, I am very sad about this because I love teaching and I love being around children every day. On the other hand, I'm excited to be staying at Stanley in a different capacity and I am looking forward to new challenges. What follows is the letter I sent out to the parents in my class. I've also included excerpts from a letter that Tim Barrier, Head of School, sent to the parents. The most frequent question I got from the children after I told them was, of course, "Why?" I hope this helps to answer their question:

Dear Parents,

It is with very mixed feelings that I announce to you that I will not be teaching this class next year.

After twenty years as a classroom teacher, the time has come for me to turn the reins of this class over to someone new. I want you to know that I have not taken this decision lightly and it is a decision born out of a desire to take on new challenges on behalf of the school.

For two decades, I have come to school every day filled with excitement and passion for what I do. The energy of the children, the parents and my colleagues feed me daily. There has not been a day when I have not learned something new and not retired at the end of the day grateful for what I am able to do every day. I have been blessed with an incredible community of families over the years and this current class is especially dear to me.

I wrote an essay recently, titled Seven Thousand Miles which some of you may have read, in which I outlined how important teaching at this school has been not only for my professional development, but also for my personal growth. I could not imagine a better place to teach, and a more loving supportive group of children and families with which to work.

I am excited to move to a new role within the school, one that Tim discusses in his attached letter. Among other things, I will be combining two of my great loves – theater and writing – in a new position which will help support the school, particularly the arts, in a way which I hope will benefit all children, families and staff here at Stanley.

I am excited to keep my connection to the 3-4-5 team and students through weekly drama and spelling classes and by continuing to co-direct the 3-4-5 musical.

Part of me cannot believe that, once fall arrives, for the first time in a very long time, I will not be running a class, laughing with students, building with math manipulatives, putting on bandaids, helping kids navigate the choppy waters of friendship, sharing my love of writing and reading, dressing up as historical characters, planning field trips, telling jokes, meeting with parents, training an intern, giving hugs. There is a huge part of me that is sad to no longer be enjoying the daily interactions with an amazing close-knit classroom community. There is also another part of me that is anticipating the new challenges that await, knowing that I will be making a difference to the life of the school, and all our students, in another way.

We will continue this semester in the way we always have – filled with excitement for learning, great ideas and projects, and making sure this classroom is the best it can be. Now is not the time for thank yous or goodbyes. I’m sure you will be hearing a lot of those from me in the future. I am sharing this news with the children today as well.

With great love, appreciation and respect,


and this from Tim:

I am writing to add my thoughts to the letter Steve shared with you. On behalf of Stanley BPS and the many families Steve has touched, I am grateful for all that he has given to our school in twenty years of teaching.

As you certainly know, Steve is a person of many talents, and he will continue to serve Stanley BPS in a number of teaching and administrative roles. Steve will continue his role in 3,4,5 Afternoon of the Arts, including directing the spring musical, and also will continue leading a spelling group. His administrative work will add to what he currently does with scheduling, assemblies, programs, and family groups. Some of his new responsibilities will include coordinating the Performing Arts department and managing program and space needs, overseeing school Safety procedures- including carpool routines and emergency drills, coordinating and communicating the master school calendar of events, providing staff support to campus parent jobs- including the Auction, and coordinating the administrative sections of our ACIS Self- Study. Steve will also apply his writing skills in capturing some elements of our program for use in Development/PR communications for internal and external community audiences.

We have begun the process of finding a replacement for Steve. Literally and figuratively, his will be big shoes to fill. The teacher we hire won’t be just like Steve, and he or she will bring unique ideas and talents. But we will be looking for someone who shares Steve’s passion for bringing out the best in all his students, his ability to implement a dynamic curriculum, and someone who at least approaches Steve’s creative energy and good humor.

Later this spring, we will find suitable ways to recognize Steve for his service to your family. In the meantime, I know this change will be a significant one in the lives of your children. I know you join me in expressing appreciation for what Steve has done for your children and for what he will continue to contribute to our school.

Tim Barrier,
Head of School