Every day and in different ways, I tell you to take risks, be open to failure, and follow your heart. At least I hope that’s the message you get from me. And well, now it’s time for me to take some of my own advice and do something just a little bit crazy.
Ever since my semester abroad in England in 1998, I have wanted to see the world. Some might say that travel is my first love, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to stay away. My other greatest love, as should be painfully obvious, is teaching. Someone asked me once what I’d do if I weren’t a teacher, and I had no reply. Teaching isn’t what I do; it’s who I am.
So when I came upon the opportunity to combine my two loves, I had to muster up the gumption to take a chance. A big, crazy, scary chance. Which is why I am excited to announce that this is my last year at Biotech, and next year I will be teaching IB English at a school in Costa Rica.
It’s no secret that I love my job, and it’s even more clear that there is a piece of my heart and soul sort of permanently embedded in Biotech. I feel so unbelievably lucky to have been one of the “elite eight” (as the class of 09 called us), starting a school from scratch and spending the last ten years watching it grow into one of the best high schools in the country. And by “best high school,” I don’t mean that it earned a ranking by some old magazine. By now you all know how I feel about rankings; we are so much more than a number. By “best school,” I mean a place that has the kindest, funniest, brightest, most compassionate students I have ever met. The kind of place where kids support each other and keep each other afloat, especially when the going gets tough (and boy does it). The kind of place where my colleagues have become my friends and where I have been pushed to always be my best just as our students have. The kind of place where I can let out all my inner nerd and never feel like I don’t belong.
For the past ten years, I have been lucky enough to love coming to work every day. Ok, maybe not every day, but I think a 99% good day rate is pretty darn tootin’ fantastic! How many people in the world can say that?
I was at Biotech throughout some of the most difficult times in my life, and the one thing that I could always count on to make me feel better was school. No matter how cranky I was for whatever reason, you crazy kids always find a way to make me laugh. I don’t think I’d be lying if I said I have laughed every single day of school since I started. Now that’s impressive.
So then, many people (my dad included) think I am crazy when they learn that I am leaving. Why would I leave the safety and security a job I love to move to a new country and new school and new kids all by myself? And to those people, I have only one response; the universe is calling, and I have to answer.
Since my time in England, I have said I want to live abroad again. Last summer in Mallorca simply fueled the fire. While I was there, I met so many awesome teachers who teach all over the world, and I felt like I was home. From my very first day of class there, I just knew that I would finally be pursuing this dream. I can’t keep saying “one day.” I need it to be now.
To be honest, I’m terrified. What if I hate it? What if I can’t connect to these kids? What if I’m lonely and homesick? What if I forget all my Spanish? What if I regret leaving Biotech? How can I give up my cats? How can I leave an apartment I love? Why would I leave my school? Don’t I realize how much I’ll miss my family and friends? Won’t I miss New Jersey? Won’t it be hard to live in a new city all by myself? Are all teenagers as awesome as Biotech teenagers? What if they’re not? What then?
And on and on and on.
But like I said, the universe is calling. If not now, when?
This year at FFA, the keynote speaker was Nick Vujicic, a man who grew up with no arms or legs. His whole speech was inspirational and amazing, but what impacted me the most was when he said, “you don’t know what’s around the corner until you go around the corner.” And well, I don’t know what’s around the corner for me. But I know for sure that if I don’t make the trek to find out, I’ll live to regret it.
So, yeah. That’s my news. I love you, Biotech! Thank you for helping me become someone who could do this. I don’t know where I’d be without you. xoxo <4 <4 <444