This July, I started work at a new school. It is my fourth school in my 20 year career. I remember distinctly the cognitive and professional dislocation I felt during my last school transition. It seriously threatened to derail me, undermining my confidence and my identity as a teacher. Thankfully, so far I have been handling this transition with more grace.
When you have been in a school for a long time, there is a known track record, a level of trust, familiar resources, known professional expertise and working relationships that you are comfortable with. In changing schools, all these are left behind. While I carrying with me a large pool of professional capital, in my current setting it is only privately held. In contrast, the collective professional capital of my new school does not yet belong to me. I know that it will only be a matter of time and experience, that eventually I too will be able to claim and be fully cognizant in the collective professional capital of this new workplace. For now though I live and work with a level of ambiguity that is uncomfortable and stressful. I am trying to rejoice in this: to claim it as my own professional Goldilocks Zone, or ZPD if you prefer, of professional learning. I do not believe in professional stagnancy. So while I am struggling, I also know I am learning.
How has change impacted my life of late? It has not merely been a shift to a new school. Can I promote growth through practicing positive assumptions across all areas of my life? I have written before about developing growth mindsets and positive habits of mind in our students. Now my challenge is to develop these is myself amidst these changes:
- Changed country from China to New Zealand
- Change educational systems from an IB International School to the New Zealand public school system
- Switching from Year 5 to Year 0
- Living with family just down the road for the first time in 18 years
- Started attending a new church community
- Living in my own house instead of rented accommodation for the first time
- Living on considerably less than my previous salary
- Owning and driving a car for first time in 18 years
- About to vote for the first time in 18 years - This one is really confusing me. Understanding a countries political climate is tricky!!!