With that being said, my answer to Tim's question is Yes, No, and Double Rainbow Unicorn Land.
On top of that, I'd have the best of both worlds. Only one class to lesson plan for, assess, deal with classroom management for, and invest in emotionally? Whabam! That sounds like quite the deal. I was so exhausted after most days of school and, by the end of February, I was looking for a finish line. With one class, the emotional toll that a set of 185 students take wouldn't even compare to 54 minutes, 180 days, of 35-40 high school students. That I could manage.
Looking past the utopia of a one class assignment, I would also be able to "stay relevant" with the implementation of the tools that I am researching. When going to work with another teacher or offer up advice, my foundation for all discussions would be based on what I'm currently doing or plan to do with my students in the coming days, weeks, or month. This would certainly add credibility to what I'm trying to accomplish as I work with 1100 teachers in my current district.
Along with this, teachers would be able to come in and observe my learning lab and come up with new ideas for us to try out. Knowing that this class is a one-of-a-kind experience, the students would be familiar with the regular visits and would embrace the idea of being special enough to be involved with it. Seriously, this would be a pretty cool thing to see happen.
In this scenario, I imagine being pulled in so many different directions. Right now, I'm a member of 4 committees who meet regularly and make decisions that directly impact the learning that happens in our 1100+ classrooms throughout our district. I'm involved with professional development teams who count on the consistency and insight of educators and district personnel who can bring in pertinenet information. I was always overcommitted as a teacher, but this would take things to a whole new level.
Not only that, but I would be relegated to the one campus instead of all 8 high schools in our district. One perk of the job that I didn't expect was seeing the different cultures on each of our campuses. I learned from an English teacher today at our southernmost school and learned from a librarian at our northernmost school on Halloween. If I was in the classroom for a period, there's no way I could keep my sanity and my schedule simultaneously.
With that being said, it's not fair to the kids. If I'm teaching a percentage < 100 of my contract, there's a limited percentage of time I'm thinking of those students. Sure, they will always be the ultimate priority, but it's a whole different mindset. As a Geometry teacher, I was always worried and eager to find better ways to help my students learn and care about Geometry. Anything else was a personal hobby. If I'm expected to dedicate 1/5 of my time to math and the rest to supporting the district, there are going to be gaps that I'm not willing to allow happen. This either means a stressed and unhappy me (and family) or a lapse in productivity.
It isn't fair to the school. Let's assume that I'm a decent teacher. By no stretch of the imagination was I great at teaching kids math (hey, just look at my test scores........ oops) and I had plenty of gaps in my classroom management that needed (still need) improvement. Those kids in my learning lab would know that I'm only on campus for that one period, or only teaching for that one period, and I can't help but imagine that there will be repurcussions because of it. Kids can sniff out a fake, can tell when someone's lying, and know when they're being cheated. To me, a 1/5 assignment is cheating the kids of the best job that the selected teacher can do for the students, teachers, and culture of the school.
Double Rainbow Unicorn Land
At the end of the day, I felt like I got my feet wet again and had the chance to try out a few new things that I hadn't done as a classroom teacher with my own students. Some of the new technology like Doceri wasn't available to me when I was in the classroom, so this was the perfect chance to put my money where my mouth was and model what that could look like. Not only that, but I've been working a lot more on Mathalicious and advocating for our district to invest in it. This gave me some ground to stand on. It also gave a 2nd year teacher a different look at instruction with her own students rather than a learning lab.
When it was all said and done, I went back to the office, reflected, thought about how I could improve for next time, and got right onto my calendar for the next training that we were planning for a Chromebook rollout. I wasn't worried about how I was going to teach the lesson the next day and I could focus on the next group who needed my full attention and respect.
In short, I was able to give each scenario the time that is deserved.
As my role evolves, I am hoping that more of these opportunities come up where I can be invited in and work with teachers to teach lessons. I'll plan with (or for) the teacher, co-teach or just teach the lesson for the day (giving the teacher somewhat of a much-deserved day off), and provide those opportunities we never get to have a conversation with another adults about what actually happened in class that day.
Otherwise, my step away from the classroom will feel more and more like a giant leap into the darkness.
Happy "Double Rainbow Unicorn Land" Fishing