Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Re-branding Reeves

            Times they are a changing. I've been teaching for 7 years at my Alma Matter: Pleasant Grove High School. I've been blessed to teach the most fun subject as well: English! Every year I get the task of getting the sophomores adjusted to High School. My goal by the end of the year was to have them looking at high school as what it is...a rock in their path that keeps them from the exciting college aged years of their lives. My goal with my 12th graders was to kick start their lust for life by reading fun books and then going on field trips. We read the Hobbit, and then went to the Hobbit. We read "A River Runs Through it" and then I take them Fly Fishing.

            Overall I went from scared first year teacher to a fairly well accomplished teacher whose classes fill up first on registration days because of my popularity. My students score high on tests and ENJOY being in the classroom. I bounce around like a caffeinated hamster telling jokes and engaging the students so that they enjoy their high school English Class and hopefully take some life lessons from me as well as essay writing skills.

            Along the way I also picked up the responsibilities of being the Student Council Adviser. When I got in, the school spirit was low, and we only ran about 3 activities throughout the year: Homecoming, Angel Tree (Sub for Santa) and then a bunch of things in May. I successfully introduced a super scary Halloween party, the all night volleyball tournament, and my baby: Save Ferris. That might be my favorite thing I accomplished at this school. After attending multiple school dances as a chaperon I realized that the music was horrible and students could not/would not dance to it. So we did "Save Ferris" which was made up entirely of 80's music and took all of the proceeds to give to charity. Most of the songs played that night were on vinyl and it was SICK! I even had the Beatles' Twist and Shout to play in honor of Ferris Beuler's Day Off. You've never seen a more pumped up crowd.

           However life happens. I have 3 young boys and a little girl (help!) on the way in October. I was able to kind of make things work financially by working at PGHS during the day and then at Discovery Academy in Provo a couple of nights a week. Meanwhile my wife started some projects that turned into great financial opportunities and has needed more time to focus on them. She's awesome. I was never home, and when I was, she was working and it just didn't work anymore. Here I was with an administrative license that I earned painstakingly at BYU for 2 years and I had applied 3 times to get a job with the district...without even getting an interview.

           My Principal is the greatest guy you'll ever meet. He decided to hire me into the TAA (teacher on administrative assignment) position at the high school next year. The plus? I'm still at PGHS, the school I love, the people I mesh with. The Minus? I'm out of the classroom. The issue I'm dealing with now is that it's not just a switch of assignment, it's a situation where I need to re-brand. What is re-branding? Well in my wife's world of blogs and instagram accounts, it means that you had a name, a company, whatever, and it wasn't working so well, so you rename it and try it again. English teacher persona Justin will not work in the front office...not entirely.

          I'm about as light hearted a person as you'll ever meet. I crack jokes to make people smile. I crank rock music loudly in the morning to wake myself up and get energized. I get to use creativity on a daily basis to implement out of this world lesson plans that will challenge my students while keeping them engaged and happy. But light hearted energetic and funny doesn't mesh as well with my new position.  

         I'm about to re-brand myself as a much more serious, business version of myself, which I can totally do. When it's time to be serious I can be serious. I can work within the confines of propriety while at the same time using my skills to make a difference in the lives of students. For example: most of the kids who will be sent to my office will not be being sent there because they did good things and have stellar attendance. So "going to the principal's office" will suddenly be "going to my office." How will I act?

         I will use my skills of humor and attitude to calm down situations. I plan on starting every conversation with the embattled student in the chair across from my desk with, "so tell me about yourself." The best part of my teaching job has been changing kids' lives...I want that to carry on with what I'm about to do.

        Making bad puns in class can turn a tired sleepy class into a bunch of teens laughing and smiling...I doubt very highly that bad puns in principal meetings will have the same effect...same goes with meetings between myself and angry parents, and the same goes for meeting with large groups of professionals looking for stats and such. So I will have to hold back the humor, and that's fine...but what will that do to me?

       My biggest worry next year is that I'm going to get too serious and lose my "lust for life." I end so many class periods and so many days exhausted but with the biggest smile on my face...will it be the same next year after a long day at the office followed by supervision at a sporting event? I hope so. So here's what I'm going to do:

       I am going to try to recommit to being super creative outside of the job. Guess where I'm going to share all of this creativity? Here on my blog because man I used to be a great photographer. I was in A.P. Art and I just MADE things, you know what I mean? So my creative outlet will be here, feel free to drop by and check it out. I just may need the validation. I'll start working on a screenplay soon I hope. My dream is to be at least nominated for an academy award, that's not too lofty is it? Delusions of Grandeur? Or attainable dream?

       Though it sounds like I'm overly distraught about leaving teaching, know that I'm also equally excited to try my hand at the administration side of the equation. I think I'll be good. No, I know I'll be good. I've managed to be employee of the month at every job I've ever held, and I intend for that trend to continue. Watch out world, here I come.

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