Building New by Bringing Old
When I first started teaching I committed to this little tradition for myself where every year I would keep the same pose for all of my staff photos. It was a little bit of fun that I could share out and hopefully bring a little joy with. The pose is silly and the bow ties add that much more personality to the photos. When I switched over to Riverdale Ridge, this was something I knew I’d want to continue. The bow tie color may have changed, but I did not.
On Wednesday last week, I got a delightful email from one of my first ever students who is now a senior at Brighton High School. He opted to take his senior ID photo in the same style as my pose and I couldn’t have been happier (and more honored) opening an email in quite some time.
People change jobs all the time, so I don’t dare assume that my experience and feelings of missing my “home” are unique. But, acknowledging that everyone feels changing pains when they go to a new place doesn’t make it any less real or human for me.
BHS was my home long before I was a teacher there. I grew up as a Bulldog and when I was done with college in Fort Collins, I found myself back in Brighton again. While I taught there I was teaching with people who had known me since I was a kid. They’ve seen me live my story. I would also dare to think that they also know I was ready to finally step out of my red and white.
Friday night was the Brighton vs. Prairie View rivalry game.The PVHS StuCo invited our Ravens to attend a halftime ceremony to welcome our students to the district while both schools were in attendance. It was our Student Leader Team’s first official event together. We were this small faction of matching Ravens in a sea of Red and Black (side note, did you know that a group of Ravens is called an unkindness?).
I had a bit of time to kill before halftime, so I threw on my old BHS jacket and moseyed on over to their (our?) side of the field. It wasn’t far before I was met by a rush of former students. If I’m being totally honest folks, I needed that Bulldog love. After a few weeks of new (and the discomfort that comes along with it), I needed a moment of familiarity and comfort. It warmed my heart to get to connect with my Bulldogs. I had a healthy mix of “We miss you” and “Come back” and “You can’t be wearing that [my Bulldog jacket].” The thing I heard most though was that it was so different for them this year and not just because of my departure. New dress codes, new technology and schedules and 30 new staff members meant that for as much change I’m experiencing so too is BHS. I had a blast getting to see students as they continue to grow and change. One of them has been a soccer player since freshman year and came running over after the game in football gear, switching it up seems to be a theme this year!
When halftime came, I had to take off my Bulldog jacket again and represent my new Raven family. I got to watch the video of us all walking onto the field together and it made me recognize the importance of approaching this new adventure with as much personality and personalization. BHS will always be a home for me, but it is home because of what I put into it. My new Riverdale Ridge home deserves as much of me now. An ID photo tradition is a start, a small and silly bit of old me to share with my new home and my new family.