One year ago this week, I left the classroom to take a coaching position, not knowing if I would ever return. It was a risk, and while I’m usually a big fan of risk in the classroom, this risk was blind.

Since then, I have changed schools/districts, presented at a dozen workshops and conferences across the state, and grown into many business-like skills that I didn’t think I would need.

For example, I never learned how to manage a calendar. Who would I need it? The bell tells me when to go potty.

"Come on, second period, come ooooooooon!"

“Come on, second period, come ooooooooon!”

Last week, I was walking around with the superintendent, visiting school sites and checking out classes that were doing interesting things (with tech). While killing time in the office, he asked me, “So, Matt; do you like your job?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s a great fit for me.” Luckily, my honest answer doesn’t require me to censor anything for the superintendent.

“Is it like what you thought it would be?” He leans in and raises his eyebrows.

“I don’t miss having my own students as much as I thought I would, and I get to give fun demo lessons and never give report cards or IEPs.”

We all chuckle and head to the next class to visit.

Here’s the longer answer I could give:

Is this job what you thought it would be?

Not really. And that’s okay.

After the CUE conference, there are a half-dozen new cool things teachers wanna try. Most of them will go back the classroom and forget them. If I want, I can go back to a desk and spend time on the clock figuring out new ways to make class more meaningful.

It’s pretty sweet.

(Notable: I’ve been in about 15 classes as of Thursday lunch. Not much desk time this week.)

Also, I don’t miss having my own students as much as I thought I would. That was by far the most important part of my classroom, and I’m not finding a hole in my heart like I thought there would be.

I believe I’m doing a decent job of district-level coaching without being viewed as the district stooge, which was a worry of mine.

"It's so great to see game-changers like you creating 21st-century learners for student success."

“It’s so great to see game-changers like you raising rigor and creating 21st-century learners for student success. Let’s take a 2-hour lunch and discuss it.”

Since I gave a snapshot of this week a year ago as I left the classroom, I think it’s fitting to give a snapshot of this week (before I arrived at CUE 2015):

Researched web-hosting for my personal website and my boss’s soon-to-be-created CEPTA portfolio.

Chat with a Speech and Language Pathologist to answer the question “What technology will help with small-group instruction?” (This–by the way–is a much more effective question than “What can I do with iPads?”)

You can do a lot of different things with ____, what do you WANT to do? That might not be the best tool for the job.

You can do a lot of different things with it; what do you WANT to do? That might not be the best tool for the job.

Fine-tuned a digital fitness portfolio for Middle School P.E. Teachers, then set up all the students in Google Classroom and pushed out a blank copy. (Click that first link and check out the graphs. I’m quite proud of it.)

While joining the students to Ms. Berkler’s Google Classroom, I can tell she’s clearly not understanding the intricacy of what they’re doing. She gives a shy smile and claims  “I’m not techy”. But she paces along dutifully as we logged into a Google Classroom with her Fitness Intervention students.

As fourth period files out to lunch, she turns to me and says, “This is going to be so good for us. I can see how this will help our class. And the students were really into your instruction!”

“Thanks!” I reply, “Any chance I can get in a classroom with middle-schoolers. They’re just so fun!”

She smiles the biggest I’ve seen all day and declares, “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”


So, yeah. It’s going pretty well.

~Matt “One Year Anniversary” Vaudrey