It was surreal; almost like going back in time. When I turned into the parking lot of Hopewell Junior yesterday, it was like stepping back to a hazy August day in 1992 when I began my first teaching job. I’ve been gone from here for almost fourteen years. What will it be like when I walk back in the building? Will they recognize me? My stomach turned just like it did the first time I walked in there…and then it was replaced by pure excitement. I was home.
I left the Lakota Local School District (West Chester, OH) in 2004 to work full-time for TCI. I loved (still do) Lakota. It was an agonizing decision to leave a classroom and district I loved after twelve years for something so different as working for a publisher. I’ve never regretted the decision as my role with TCI has allowed me to work with thousands of teachers and students. Routinely, I go into classes as a visiting teacher. It’s always a new place….Frankfort, KY., Kettering, OH., Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Though I don’t get to have classes as my own, these experiences keep me grounded to my roots and within our company mission…we are by teachers, for teachers.
As a company, we want to make sure that the resources (especially our new technology tools) we put in place are “battle-tested” and meet teachers needs. In that vein, I am going back to Lakota as a visiting teacher to try out our newest subscriptions in a world history seventh grade classroom. My goal is to help teachers find a great match between resources that mean something and the new Ohio academic standards. I know the metal of the teachers I will be working with in this district. I will get to work along side Tracey Parks of Hopewell Junior. Tracey has been teaching in Lakota since 1992. She is a dedicated and passionate junior high teacher. Tracey and I worked together as fellow department chairpeople when I taught in Lakota. She and other 7th grade teachers in the district have graciously allowed me the opportunity to be a visiting teacher in their classes. They are excellent teachers and are all about bringing history alive. I want to help them discover, as I did as a Lakota teacher, how the TCI Approach supports their goals.
I plan to blog about my experiences, throw out questions to you in advance of my visits, and interview teachers I work with. Thankfully, social media tools such as blogging, twitter, nings, etc. will help me to communicate with a broader education community yearning for engaging pedagogy. You can follow along my journey back to my teaching roots on this blog and my Twitter handle: @Brian_ThomasTCI.