Big Announcement (Life)

So, in many of my social media circles over the past few days, I have made cryptic reference to the “Big Announcement” that was coming today. Here we are today, and I find myself dragging my feet a bit about it.

Maybe I can explain why with my patented application of too many words!

So… for the past six years, I have had the tremendous honor and pleasure of working in my current role in our school district. I am the coordinator of curriculum for secondary English/language arts and associated content areas, and it has been a job that has, in every way that matters, changed my life.

Yet, as of Thursday night last week, I have accepted a new job. Still with our district, of course–my heart will never be content away from the students and community of Des Moines. But I will instead shift gears to work in our amazing Teacher Development department, focusing my efforts on supporting instructional improvement through our leadership and instructional coaching structures. For those of you who don’t speak educationese, here’s the gist:

  • Before, I helped to decide WHAT we would teach, and sometimes we got to talk about HOW to teach it.
  • Now, I will help to shape HOW we teach, and that is a thing that excites me beyond my meager capacity for words.

Of course, it means change, and change is scary. I notified the amazing teachers that I work with through our department newsletter earlier this week, and writing that message was harder than expected. These have been six really good years.

I feel very much like I felt in the late spring/early summer of 2012 when it was time to move into the curriculum job and leave my beloved North High behind (I found the post!). Scared and thrilled and worried that I will suck and hopeful that this move will be the right one for me and for everyone into whose orbit I am lucky enough to fly.

I think this will be another good one. I really do.

But change is hard. Always.

I can scarcely recognize myself in the mirror, compared to the guy who was, this time six years ago, starting to nervously panic about packing up at North and moving downtown to the Curriculum team.

Maybe, several years down the road when the next move–a move back to the classroom, I think–happens, I will be able to say the same thing.

I hope so.

I want someone watching my life in retrospect to be utterly suspicious of my character development. That’s the English teacher’s final revenge on the universe, I think!


I’ve been an English teacher since 2004, and I’ve known I was going to be one (for sure) since 2000. Come August, when I start in the new role… it will be the first time in 18 years that I haven’t identified myself that way.

Change is growth is necessary is important is hard is right.


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.
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