Tired but happy
New teacher reports from Prestwood
Prestwood Elementary School is a phenomenal place to teach. The staff is wonderful, the kids are eager to learn, the parents are supportive, and the campus sits among lovely swaying trees that keep the school nice and shaded. I can tell all of this from teaching at Prestwood for less than two weeks.
Rewind to last month: I had never even heard of Prestwood Elementary School, had never touched foot in Sonoma. All I knew of Sonoma was that its name was printed on some of my favorite wine bottles.
My husband and I recently moved to Napa from Honolulu, Hawaii. I attended college and taught in Hawaii before we moved to California. Due to my husband’s ever-changing career in the military, he was recently stationed at Travis Air Force Base, and we both agreed that Napa seemed like a fantastic new place to call home.
Fast forward to this month, and moving to Napa. With stacks of unpacked moving boxes in our newly-disheveled home, I took a break from all of the chaos and researched some employment opportunities, hoping to teach in either Napa or Sonoma. I quickly applied to be the Special Day Class Instructor for grades 3, 4, and 5 (the Special Education teacher) at Prestwood Elementary School and I was soon called in for an interview. Thankfully, very shortly after that, I was invited to join the staff at Prestwood. That’s when the
panic set in.
I was really impressed by the panel of women who interviewed me, I thought they asked me thought-provoking and intriguing questions, they were all very welcoming and bright, and I knew that if I accepted the position, and these ladies were my future colleagues, I would be happy. But I still panicked.
When I arrived home after my interview, I looked around my disorganized house, trying to avoid eye contact with the unending lists of to-do’s, begging to be checked off. I realized that I was in way over my head, and that accepting a teaching job so soon after moving to a new city (school started a few days after the interview) was just too overwhelming and unrealistic.
I wanted to teach, but the practical voice in my head reminded me that I literally did not yet know the name of the intersection near where we had just moved, and I barely knew my address. I still haven’t memorized our new phone number.
Early the next day, I called Prestwood’s principal, Beth Wolk, on her cellphone while she was driving to express extreme gratitude for the offer. And said I was hesitant to teach so soon while dealing with the chaos that comes with moving to a brand new city.
That’s when Principal Wolk literally pulled her car to the side of road and talked to me for more than 20 minutes like no prospective supervisor (or, for that matter, any supervisor) had ever done. Beth spoke of everything, from how she and the staff at Prestwood would support me, to how she’s been in my shoes, to how great of a fit she felt Prestwood would be for me, and vice versa. I knew that a supervisor like Beth Wolk would only come along once in a lifetime. The boxes could wait.
I started my first day teaching at Prestwood Aug. 17.
As I write this from my cluttered dining room table, there are still pictures that need to be hung, annoying unopened boxes that need to be dealt with, street signs I need to learn, and to-do’s that need to be crossed off.
But, it can all happen in due time. I’m the official Special Day Class Instructor at a wonderful school, with enthusiastic students, and a very supportive staff. I’m tired, but more importantly, I’m happy.