A decade of my life

I first saw the format for this post on Epiphany in Baltimore, the honest and insightful blog of a 30-something high school English teacher in Baltimore City. I really appreciate his candor, and at times wish I could be as forthcoming.

When I started this blog at the end of 2006, I made a decision to publicize it with my students, colleagues, and administrators. As such, at any given time, the superintendent of schools, my department chair, or Johnny's mom could be reading. That doesn't bother me. In fact, I am elated to have a variety of readers. What it does mean, though, is that I sometimes filter feelings and raw emotion, which, in turn, makes my writing not as powerful or affecting as it could be. Yet that's OK. This blog's purpose is not to serve as a drippy digital journal where I reveal my innermost thoughts and secrets. It's primarily designed to be a sharing and learning tool.

With that said, I will now, ironically, reveal more intimate details about my life than ever before...

2000: Graduated from college with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. Landed my first full-time job as a newspaper reporter at a mid-sized daily in central Massachusetts. While living at home, I managed to save $7,000.

2001: Quit my job at the paper to fulfill a dream I'd had since high school - hike the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail. I manged to last three months and 1,000 miles before succumbing to two straight weeks of rain. Wrote a series of columns about my hike called "Tales from the Trail." Landed my first "job" in education as a volunteer tour guide at a nature reserve, which eventually led to a full-time middle school sub position.

2002: Survived the year as a building sub and decided if I could handle that, I could handle just about anything the world of education could throw at me. I enrolled in graduate school and spent the summer working at a really fun arts camp for kids.

2003: Had success teaching composition to first-year college students. Gained experience working at a writing center where I learned of the "non-directive approach." This would have a significant effect on my teaching philosophy.

2004: Earned a M.Ed. in English Education. Landed my first full-time teaching gig at a small high school in Western Massachusetts. My first year of teaching proved to be challenging and more work than I had imagined. I made it through the year, but had doubts about teaching as a career choice.

2005: Spent the summer mulling my future in education. I eventually switched to a larger high school in a nearby community. This was fortuitous, as I was paired with a mentor who would validate my ideas about education and encourage me to stick with it. He became an outstanding professional resource and great friend.

I met the girl I would marry at a coffee shop. She was a grad student studying to be a teacher who agreed to meet me on the condition that I would help her prepare for the teacher test. Fortunately, our next date did not involve test preparation.

2006: Served on a variety of committees at my school. Was given better classes to teach, including a Journalism elective. Started blogging. Won a grant from the New England Association of Teachers of English, which went toward the purchase of a new classroom computer. Hiked a 100-mile section of the AT with an old high school friend. Decided I would finish the trail bit-by-bit, knocking off various chunks during summer vacations.

2007: Proposed to my wife outdoors on snowshoes. Rewrote the Journalism curriculum. Had my students published in a national poetry anthology.

2008: Got married. Purchased my first home. Earned tenure. A huge year.

2009: Took a breath after all the action of 2008. Settled into married life and home ownership. Revamped the school newspaper as advisor and enjoyed success as students won awards. Earned the title of Certified Journalism Educator. Enrolled in a Master of Educational Technology graduate program.

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