New Horizons

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was pushing out of my comfort zone and applying for a new job–and I am writing today to say that I have been offered (and have accepted) the position of Secondary Literacy Curriculum Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools.

It’s a big job, a small raise, and a curious change. I have defined myself for the past five years as a North High teacher, and to step away from that title, from the prestige that, even if only in my mind, comes with it… is a bittersweet thing indeed.

I will still be an active and persistent part of the operations at North, but now I expand my reach, and widen my gaze, to start meaningful and important work with all of the secondary schools in Des Moines. This means getting my toes back in the water that is middle school, setting aside old hurts from old jobs in other high schools, and making a place for myself in the landscape of English and reading instruction in Des Moines.

The hard part isn’t the new job at all–it’s leaving the old job. It’s walking out the door of North High this week and knowing that I will never again walk IN the door the same way. Even walking in this morning was strangely awkward, as though I did not quite fit anymore. Not because I’m bigger or better–but now I am different.

North is the first place in my life where I have belonged. I’ve talked on here before about high school, and maybe even a little about college. It wasn’t until this job, this assignment, came into my life that I finally found a place where I could be confident and happy and bold and take the critical steps that my life had until-then not allowed. It was at North that I started to finally grow up a little (but not too much!) and it is at North High that I will always, always, have the fondest memories of education.

I have taught with amazing people, made terrific friends, and worked with the best kids on the planet. I have been changed in every conceivable way by my time at North High, and in every single instance it has been a change for the better.

Life carries us onward, but destiny is shaped by the people with whom we interact on the journey. I have been so lucky to have had my fate shaped by such tremendous souls.

I am taking a big step on a narrow path, walking away from the comfort and the safety of a job that I have loved with all my heart and that I woke up every morning excited to do. But I have the nerve to face this uncertain and perilous journey because of the strength that North High has given me.

And yes, before you ask…

I miss the kids already.


About jlschwennen

A teacher, a writer, a voracious reader, a player and lover of games, and sometimes, if you are really lucky, an interesting conversationalist.
This entry was posted in Education. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to New Horizons

  1. Lou Prosperi says:

    Congrats on the new job! Just remember that you now have a chance to impact even more kids through your role in selecting/determining curriculum.

  2. Kristine White says:

    Congratulations on the new gig, Jeremy. I’m sure you will do well – just like you did at North. You made such an influence on students’ lives there and that will never be forgotten by those students. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your new set of adventures! 🙂 P.S. We should do dinner again soon!

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