If you love science fiction like I do, you might have watched Stranger Things on Netflix. The song, “Should I stay or should I go?” is heard from the radio in several episodes. That question plagued me over the summer and it is a question I will need to consider before this school year ends.
On Wednesday, February 8th, I was filled with excitement. I heard from The Kitchen Community, my school, Wendell Phillips School #63 was selected to receive a learning garden. When I completed the application for my school, I wondered if it was good enough for us to be selected. That Wednesday, I learned it was. I’m a gardener and I blog about my family’s garden journey at my website Gardener Shicole. I was glad to be able to share part of my life outside of school with students at my school. The next day, February 9th, I was told by my principal that my literacy coach position was being eliminated and I was being displaced. Clearly, I would not have put so much effort into bringing a learning garden to my school only to leave at the end of the school year, but I have learned in life, the plans you make many times are not the plans that become reality.
Throughout the summer, I interviewed within my district (Indianapolis Public Schools) and outside of the district. I was exhausted from answering questions and I had to make a chart to ensure I didn’t wear the same outfit twice for the call back interviews. I was walking a fine line. Being displaced means you are guaranteed a job, but if you don’t find one, you could be placed anywhere in the district and I did not want that to become my fate. If you could see my resume, you would know I have only worked in schools on the west or northwest side of Indianapolis because of the distance to my home. I hate to drive. I didn’t take driver’s education until my senior year and that’s because my parents forced me to sign up. The fear of being placed in a school on the far east side, drove me to stay motivated so I would interview well.
I was offered a job at every school I interviewed at except for one. The burden of making the right choice weighed on me heavily. Just as a person can interview well, but end up being a poor fit, a school can present itself as a good option, but end up not being what it seems. In the end, I decided to accept a 9th/10th grade English/Language Arts Multi-Classroom Leader (MCL) position at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet School. Normally, when I tell people my title they reply, “So what exactly do you do?” As a MCL, I teach students and coach teachers.
Crispus Attucks holds a special place in my family. My grandmother and her brothers attended this school when schools were segregated. Although, they all attended, my grandmother was the only one who graduated. My great uncles either left school to join the military or to work. If you ever walk the hall of Attucks, you will see pictures of each graduating class hanging on the walls. I sort of feel like my grandmother is watching over me while I’m here.
On June 30th, I officially received my administrator’s license; this gives me more options for the future. I already have inquiries about my plans for next school year, but I’m not one to chase a title. If I take an administrator position, it has to be the right fit. My dad said, “Shawnta, you would be a fool not to consider all of your options, but make sure you do the best job you can this year to ensure you have options for your future.” This school year, I chose to return to the Indianapolis Public Schools district and I am striving to be the best high school educator and academic coach I can be. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I know God will take care of it.