I hope you'll forgive me for a bit of self-indulgence with this post. This is a big move for me...
I started MrRoughton.com over 10 years ago. This is now the 3rd edition of the website. I've gone through multiple hosts, themes and complete rebuilds. Projects and games I created are no longer usable due to their various technologies no longer existing. (Microsoft, I'm still mad you shutdown Popfly!) Over the last year I haven't had much to add. I added the SEL page. I cleaned up some navigation. Overall though, it is pretty much done.
I've felt the same way about my curriculum. While I've made small adjustments to lessons here and there, I really haven't built anything new in quite awhile. This year I kept busy by digitizing many of my lessons but that didn't really excite me creatively. I considered some new things but every time I did I realized I'd have to cut something old and, honestly, there isn't anything left I want to cut. I've already cut many of my old, engaging experiences due to updated district mandates. I love what I've created curriculum-wise. It will never be finished but, after 19 years, it is pretty darn close.
Walt Disney said, "Disneyland will never been finished as long as their is imagination in the world." Well, I still have imagination. I still have creative hunger. However, I'm just plain out of space.
So, what do you do when you've filled up all the space in a land? You start another.
Over the years I've had one request on the website over and over again. "Mr. Roughton, I love what you've done for middle school. When are you going to do something for high school?"
Yes, I'm leaving the world of Middle School. I've accepted a position teaching high school. I'm not going far, just about 2 miles down the road, and, with great joy, I'll have the same kids. But, at least for awhile, I'm leaving Middle School behind.
This decision was long in the making, but still wasn't easy. I've been at my site for all 19 of my years, plus another for student teaching. I never planned to teach middle school. My degree is is Economics. My passion is political science. I took the job because it was offered! I fell in love with it. Not the curriculum mind you - I would still watch an hour of Closing Bell over an hour of any World History documentary, but the kids. The ability to instill excitement and joy in a 7th grader uplifts me all the time.
This past year though, that has been sadly missing. I know this last year has been hard for everyone. Professionally, for me, it has been a nightmare. I was simply not able to connect with kids. I have no compassion for black squares on a screen. I found myself getting increasingly frustrated. I needed a reset.
So, I took the plunge. I put in for a transfer and a position I was happy with opened up. I still don't know exactly what I'm teaching - but it shouldn't be World History at least!
Did I have doubts? Of course. I do right now as I'm writing this. I have every time I've talked to a colleague this week about my decision. But, it is time.
My former elective kids, who I will get to join next year once again, took many of my doubts away when I told them.
"THIS IS THE BEST NEWS IVE GOTTEN SINCE THE QUARANTINE ANNOUNCEMENT"
"I START CRYING TEARS OF JOY"
"Everyone is excited to see you again."
Right back at you guys.
I plan to start creating new activities as soon as I know for sure what I'm teaching. First on the list for any of the courses is to finish my Hamilton: Act 2 hyperdoc. Act 1 came together so well but by the time I started working on Act 2 I was already onto the next topic. Whether I have US 11 or Government I'll surely want to kick off the year right with Hamilton so that will be happening. What else? History Mysteries? Time Warps? Weigh the Evidence? Definitely. All of the above.
I'll miss my colleagues, both in person and virtual, but to all of you I promise I'm not going anywhere. The middle school stuff will still be on the site. I'll still very slowly work on organizing it in a way that makes sense to people who aren't me. I'll still be part of the conversation. I'm not just turning my back on 20 years.
I'm just starting chapter 2.
And, oh yeah, that book thing is still happening too. Still hoping to see it in people's hands before Summer! Look for more news to come soon.