We are all guilty of over enjoying the comforts in life. We want the most comfortable bed, shoes, clothes, and car. We equate comfort with quality of life. When I first heard the idea that the greatest things in life happen outside of your comfort zone, I was a bit confused. Don’t we work our whole lives to achieve comfort? Why would great things happen when I’m uncomfortable? I didn’t really get it, but I’m not typically a risk taker. I’ve never climbed the face of a cliff. I panic at the thought of purging my material items and living in a trendy “tiny house.” I don’t have the need for speed, and I picked my car for safety and comfort over style ad fashion. Leave me in my comfortable bed while you risk life and limb in search of magic. I’ll like your dangerous-feet-hanging-out-of-the-airplane picture on Instagram while snuggling with my puppy and sipping chamomile tea.
Then I started thinking about risks and comfort zones within the classroom, and I realized I’m actually a risk taker! Stacy McNally may fear the risks in life, but Mrs. McNally will do anything it takes to improve and make learning fun. Mind. Blown. I’m not afraid to stand on a desk and sing a song I wrote about properly answering text dependent questions. I’m not afraid to send my kids on a scavenger hunt throughout the school for pieces of a puzzle to create the perfect thesis. I’m not afraid to start blogging with my students when all the other teachers in my building are still writing traditional essays. I’m not afraid to dress like a puritan woman and walk through the halls during class change to get my kids excited about what we are doing in class. I have certainly failed when taking risks. When I dress in costume and walk with (okay, maybe chase) my students down the hallway, they are mortified to know me. They call me crazy, but they are excited to come to class.
I spent the last six years of my career teaching in West Virginia. When we added twin baby boys to our family, being away from home didn’t feel right to my husband or me any more. We needed our children to be raised with family. My husband started his job search first to bring us home. He was a police officer, so we thought he would have a tougher time finding the right job. We thought wrong. Within a month, my husband had landed an amazing job and was set to begin at the start of the year. It was one thing to talk about making this huge jump and moving back to my hometown. It was another to actually do it! I started getting my portfolio ready to present to a future employer. I filed my paperwork for Ohio certification, and eventually I had an interview at my dream school. I was hired and I will start teaching at Beaver Local High School in a few weeks. They have a 1-1 initiative which will allow each student to have their own iPad. Their new K-12 School is the most innovative school in the state (and I would venture to say country). I am so excited to begin this new journey.
Since beginning this transition to come back home, I have told myself over and over, “The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.” I have taken this risk in uprooting my family and career with the faith that magic will happen. I am confident that my new school will allow me to blossom into a greater teacher than I could ever have imagined. I’m determined to continue to push myself until I am making magic in my students’ lives every single day. I believe it will happen. If you’re interested in seeing my journey to the magic, subscribe. I will keep you posted on the highs and lows of teaching outside of my comfort zone.