Time to Move On

I’ll be honest I am in disbelief that it is December. How can it be that the second quarter is quickly coming to a close? How is it possible that the first semester is finished? For that matter where did 2012 go? That said, I was out on the sidewalk last night talking to our instructional coach when a third grader came buzzing by on his bike, calling out, “Three more days!” I did not want to accept that either. He would be leaving our school, moving to another district.

It made me stop and reflect back to the day I met him – August 6, 2012. I was covering the bus cross walk and he walked past, then turned around and said, “What happened to the other principal?” I told him she was working with other kids at a different school. My words didn’t seam to matter much to him, he simply said, “So will she be back? She was the best principal I ever had.” I knew the previous principal had done tremendous work to move our school forward and make teaching and learning a priority. I knew I had to continue that movement. I just didn’t expect to hear about it from a third grader.

So I thought about his comment and the next day at lunch I saw him again and asked him to let me know what qualities made the previous principal the best. He quickly came back and said, “She treated everyone fairly.” I asked him to keep thinking and keep me posted, so I too, could move the school forward.

Each day at lunch he would find me and let me know what worked and what didn’t work. What I was doing that was good and what I wasn’t doing. I enjoyed our quick conversations and learned what I could from him.

Now let’s fast forward to October. It is the night of our Fall Festival. Parents, students, and staff were busy hustling around preparing for the evening. I was at the front of the school with sign-in sheets. A few different waves of kids came through and then there stood my third grade friend. He handed me a chocolate tootsie pop and said, “Here I want you to have this. I think you are doing a really good job.” I thanked him and tried to give the tootsie pop back, but he would not have it.

A few weeks ago he found me at recess to tell me that he was moving and would not be going to our school anymore. I know students, parents and families come and go. But I just wasn’t prepared for this student, at our school to leave. We often hear about teachers who have impacted students, but what about students that impact our lives? Think about a student that has changed your life this year. What was it that impacted you?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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