The past few months have been transitional in my life with lots of beginnings. A new baby. A new place to live. A new car to drive. A new job. All within a matter of days or a couple weeks of each other.
I moved to Memphis because of the Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR). I spent the past year earning a Master of Urban Education and teaching/tutoring at two elementary schools here. The goal when I started was to work as a teacher for (at least) three years as a full-time teacher afterwards but as this year progressed, a larger Memphis plan started coming into focus. This did not include me working as a teacher. Not because I didn't want to necessarily, but rather the realization that the type of equipping you need to be an effective teacher in a high needs school were not the tools that I have come to find on my tool belt. I know what it looks like well enough to know that I ain't got it. Fortunately, the MTR staff were very aware and understanding of this. They were and continue to be extremely supportive of me and my family.
Because I was not continuing in the prescribed course of the program (they get you placed at various schools in four target neighborhoods for the three year commitment), I needed to figure out my next step. This was a very daunting process because I hate looking for a job. Writing cover letters and tweaking resumes, submitting them, and rarely getting any sort of feedback is mind numbing, especially because the process is repeated over and over (and over).
Fortunately, the process for my new job wasn't that at all. I literally submitted my resume on a Sunday afternoon via email (thanks to a job alert on Twitter), and the very next day I had calls from two different individuals calling me in to interview for the position; a job that I was offered and accepted the following week.
This job is with an incredible organization in Memphis called Church Health Center whose mission it is to "reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits." There is a clinic that provides affordable health care to those who work and aren't covered by health insurance. There are exercise and diet classes. There are a whole bunch of other things you can learn about on our website.
The Center runs a preschool in North Memphis for 128 families of three and four year olds. My responsibility is to oversee the day-to-day operations. I am not the principal, nor am I involved with the curriculum planning, but I need to have my hand in everything else operational - budgeting, purchasing (food, supplies, furniture, etc), making sure everything we do own stays running, and creating/maintaining systems of operation for teachers and staff. There are many pieces to the job. Many. My job essentially exists so that everyone else (the 16 teachers and 6 staff members) is empowered do theirs. I am excited.
I technically started during the last week of last school year however, we follow the local public school calendar (we are housed in one), so were off for summer vacation. I had a few responsibilities over those weeks (generally meetings and workable-from-home type stuff) but I was "off." Last week, the teachers returned to school so now I go in every day. Students start back in about a week so the crazy is about to get rolling.
Last year, I was known in school as "Mr. Abel." It was weird initially but as the year progressed, it was just a normal thing. Now, working at a preschool, everyone goes by their first name so I have become "Mr. Ryan." I am still in the "it sounds weird" phase but before long, it will be old hat.
Here we go.