First, I want to say how proud I am of the student-athletes at our school as well as the families, who’ve all overcome such difficult conditions to compete and support each other during the basketball tournaments. It is the epitome of resilience and has been the highlight of our year. The message I’m posting is not in any way intended to distract from that--not that I think anything really could at this point-- but rather it is to detail the one positive thing the weather has afforded me, and that has been the introspective time to evaluate the recent life decisions I’ve made and mentally prepare for the steps I need to take.
That said, I might as well be up front in stating that I turned in a resignation letter and won’t be working at Heart Butte next year. This is a conclusion I reached after a difficult and prolonged internal struggle. At times this job has been very challenging-- especially with the interruptions due to the weather and building repairs --but it’s also been an incredibly rewarding to work with the students, community, and staff. I’ve met a lot of great people who’ve taught me as much or more than I feel I could ever teach, and for that, I am truly thankful.
Although I do eventually plan on returning to teaching—a conviction strengthened by my positive experiences—I have accepted a job starting June 4th on a wildland firefighting crew near Challis, Idaho. This is a temporary position that runs through September. Once I finish, I plan to substitute teach and use the rest of my G.I. Bill in the spring to pursue my masters at the University of Montana. I can make good money this way, and as I plan to continue firefighting a few years, it will allow me to pay off some bills and save money for my future.
My first priority going forward, then, is to end the year on as strong a note as possible. This includes rooting our basketball team through state, striving to continue to provide high quality lessons and a safe learning environment, putting together another literature magazine and printing all four issues into one volume, taking the students out onto some hikes this spring with our camping gear, and seeking out a replacement for me. I want to do everything in my power to leave the school and the English classroom in a better position than before I arrived. These young men and women deserve it.
My next major priority is to prepare myself for the rigors of firefighting. I’ll be located in very mountainous and remote terrain, potentially working in some dangerous situations with other people counting on me. This is not the kind of work that’s entirely unfamiliar to me, and I find much to enjoy in the challenge, otherwise I wouldn’t so willingly enlist to do it. I also take it very seriously and intend to report for the position in the best possible shape.
All this being the case, there’s a good chance I’ll be deactivating my Facebook before long, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s realized my tendency to continually disappear and reappear. While it has been useful for navigating the weather situations and staying connected with our school’s staff and basketball team, I frankly just get too distracted by it, and with so much on my plate right now, that’s not what I need.
If you’re still following along, the best way to contact me in the future is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes and go Warriors!