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Making Changes

Sarah Kirchoff Education, Elementary, Life in the Classroom

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Making a change or transitioning…this is the question for me. I recently blogged about my new position for the upcoming school year. I am going from a kindergarten classroom teacher in my current district to K-6 instructional coach in a new district. I have been thinking about how difficult this change will be for me. One of the comments from my blog that I took to heart was “It’s not change that’s hard, it’s transition”. I need to keep this framework in mind while going through this next chapter in my professional career.

Transitions happen in life all the time. We transition from student to teacher, from single person to married person, from working person to working mother. We transition to teaching new grade levels. All these transitions take time to work through. Transitions are not always easy for everyone involved. It can be difficult for me of course because I will be new in this role, but it may also be difficult for the staff to adjust to having me in this role.

I am a perfectionist by nature, so beginning a new chapter is filled with uncertainty. I want to be great in this new position. I strive to assist the staff as much as possible and provide support and guidance to as many staff members as possible. The problem for me is that I still don’t have a clear picture of what my role should entail. It is a new position at each school in the district. There will be over 50 new instructional coaches. I am looking forward to meeting with the other coaches and finding out who may have already held this type of position so I can seek some guidance and support. I will definitely need some. There isn’t a manual that says, “This is the best way to support teachers as a coach.” I have started reading a few recommended books about student-centered coaching and teaching effective instructional strategies. I need to learn new things; I need to have a growth mindset.

Transition includes growth. I will need to continue to grow professionally so I can impact more students by assisting teachers. That’s the goal, right? Increase student learning for the betterment of all. Making an impact on students today is setting up success for the future. If I want to model lifetime learning for my students, then I should, myself, be a lifelong learner. I need to set an example for them to take risks and try new things and work hard toward goals.

I remember thinking that my new position and change would be “hard”. I appreciate the comment on the blog about transitions being difficult. I have made many transitions in my life, so I just need to draw on those previous experiences and reflect on how I navigated those transitions and how they were successful and use that to my advantage now. What transitions have you made and how did you handle them?

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Sarah Kirchoff is a kindergarten teacher in the Higley Unified School District. She has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. She began her teaching career way back in August 1999, when everyone was worried about Y2K. She did not even have computers in her classroom at that time! Since then, she has taught first grade for four years, preschool for three years, second grade for two years and kindergarten for twelve years. She has worked for three different school districts during her teaching career. During this time, she has been able to identify which grade she found to be the most enjoyable. Her greatest teaching passion is for kindergarten. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. She was teacher of the year at her school in the 2019-2020 school year. Most recently, she became a National Board Certified Teacher as an Early Childhood Generalist in December of 2020. She currently serves on numerous committees at her school including school site council, the instructional leadership team, and the culture and climate team. She is a mentor teacher at her school and has mentored numerous interns and student teaching candidates. When she is not busy with school commitments, she spends time with her family. She has a husband who is also a teacher, and four children. Two of which are students at NAU and two that are in high school. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading books and spending time with family, friends and her two dogs. Young children need a teacher that is always advocating for them, socially, emotionally, and academically. Sarah wants every student she encounters to realize their potential and she is willing to help in any way she can. The impact early childhood educators have on students reaches far beyond their younger years. Sarah wants to leave a positive impact on her students so they can continue to have wonderful educational experiences beyond her classroom.

Comments 1

  1. Rachel Perugini

    The last big change I made was easy. I literally had to decide between leaving teaching forever (because I was miserable) or finding a school I felt more welcomed at. There was an adjustment, but ultimately, I needed that change or I would have found a new profession. I’m glad I made the leap to a new town, new school, new grade.

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