Today I received an email which began as follows:
On behalf of the Board of Education, the Department of Human Resources with the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is pleased to offer you an Advance Contract for the 2014-2015 school year. You are receiving this advance contract because we have identified you as an outstanding teacher. We look forward to supporting your efforts in the classroom making a difference in the lives of students in BCPS.Officially I do not YET have a school assignment, but I am was recruited for a specific school, and I am pretty much assured of going there.
The principal, a former Maryland Secondary Principal of the Year, is an old acquaintance who recruited me for my current position, but then chose to accept his current job. I knew he was leaving before I accepted my current job, which had been designed for me.
This will be an equivalent commute - of about 45 miles each way.
I will make somewhat more than I had been making, the exact amount to be determined after I submit verification of my teaching experience (I have already submitted by DD214, military discharge papers).
I tentatively know my course load
3 section of AP Economics, combined Macro and Micro (which I have not previously taught)
1 section of AP US Government & Politics
2 Sections of Local, State, and National Government to students identified as talented and gifted
I am expected to challenge the bright students who have assigned to me, to take them beyond where they think they can go, to get them to think more deeply, to express themselves more precisely and persuasively.
In line with that, I may also become the sponsor the Speech and Debate club/team. While I have never coached a debate team, I have coached a mock trial team, and I have organized formal debates in my classes. I also have experience in public speaking, dating back to winning a prize at an American Legion Oratorical Contest on the US Constitution when a high school junior, including speaking at political gatherings on behalf of a candidate for President, and being paid to speak on education and on stewardship.
I had ten days to sign this advanced contract. It was possible within that window I might have been offered a job to which I could walk to work, in my own community, for substantially more money, and Virginia did not sign on to either Common Core or Race to the Top. But then I would not be working for a principal who knows me, who is willing to give me room to function in the way I need to in order to meet the needs of my students.
So I signed the contract within hours of receiving it, and will fax it in sometime tomorrow morning.
I will have the comfort of teaching a subject I know well - government - and the challenge of taking on a course I have never taught - economics (although I do know a fair amount, and a good chunk of government deals with economics).
I consider myself very lucky.
And it certainly is nice to be told as I am hired that I am "identified as an outstanding teacher."
By the way, the school system, Baltimore County Public Schools, has the honor of being the home of the newly announced National Teacher of the Year.
So I will continue to be teacherken, not merely in my writing, but in my primary purpose - the teaching, challenging, supporting and occasionally inspiring of young people.
Wish me well.