A Fresh Start

Hello! Hello! To whomever may find their way stumbling upon my page: hello. I mentioned in my most recent post that I would be sort of re-branding my own blog. Taking it over. Taking it back. Well, here we go. It’s time for that fresh start.

What better topic to begin with, then, than of my recent move?

After spending the previous three years teaching in a wonderful school in Ann Arbor, I have moved to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where I will be teaching 9th and 11th grade English, among other things. This move has been filled with peace for me, as I have felt like I am moving back home, despite most of my family being in or close to the Ann Arbor area. I’ve heard a lot of feedback on my decision, ranging from:

“So proud of you , Brian, following your heart!” (said by my mom, even though I’m moving further away) to

“What a sad move, from A2 to Central.” (said by an Internet acquaintance)

Now, even though this last quote was merely an acquaintance (we’re not really close enough for me to count him as a friend), it is symbolic of a lot of reaction I’ve had from my friends. They would say things like, “How could you leave Ann Arbor?” or “Well that’s an interesting choice.” And I would look at them and tell them that Mount Pleasant really is where I want to be, and I would (obviously) choose it above Ann Arbor. Some understood. Many didn’t.

The thing is, I understand where they’re coming from. Ann Arbor is a great place to be. I love visiting there. Many people love living there. It is often lauded as a Top Ten City in list after list.

Mount Pleasant is also a great place to be. It’s not going to win awards, but it’s the right place for the right people. I include myself in those people. It’s beautiful. It’s friendly.Β It’s smaller without being a one stop-light town. It’s home.

Let’s think about this. Any other things you can think of that are highly-loved, on all kinds of Top Ten lists, and people might not understand when you don’t love them? I know I can.

And do we find ourselves confused when people might shun the titles on these lists and gravitate towards something we don’t fully understand? I know I have.

The right city for the right person. The right book for the right reader. We must match these things up properly. Neither is a one-size-fits-all solution. Both require careful consideration of the individual involved.

As the school year approaches (and for some of you, has already begun), please keep this in mind. Help your students find what they need, not what you want them to need, even if it’s not your cup of tea. Even if you don’t drink tea.

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18 thoughts on “A Fresh Start

  1. I really enjoyed this blog post. Of all the places I’ve lived Mount Pleasant is one of my favorites. Four years attending CMU, staying on campus as much as I could, make it feel like home to me too. Even though the city has changed a ton in 40 years, it gives me a sense of peace when I’m there.

  2. Congrats on your new position and new town! I’m always excited when someone gets a new opportunity – I can’t believe you had nay-sayers. I appreciate your connection to readers and the right books. Just tonight I was trying to explain this to a parent. Looking forward to your future posts.

  3. We’ve all been reading Professor Nana’s posts for so long we’re becoming experts in educational metaphors and analogies. πŸ˜‰ I love this Brian, even if I was one of those people who wished you’d stayed in Ann Arbor. But I absolutely understand your reasons for why you didn’t. I wish you the best in your new town and school.

  4. Excellent! Congrats on the move – from a teacher who has just moved from Boise, Idaho to Munich, Germany! It can be a lot to deal with but also, as you say, a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to look at how and why we do what we do – and how to do it with the kids’ best interests at heart. Good luck for the coming year!

  5. Well put – coming from someone living in a not one, but two (!!) stoplight kind of town. There is the right place for everyone, the right book for the right reader. I need to thing more about this, I feel a blog post coming on. Thanks, Brian! And I wish you nothing but the best.

    • Oh, I’m excited for that blog post. You do a great job of finding the shred of awesome in other people’s ramblings (in this case, mine) and expanding it into this entire delicious plate of magic. And you do so without mixing metaphors in a way that makes no sense πŸ˜›

  6. Best of luck to you, Brian! I think a move/change is healthy and good! I like how you equated it with the way we need to respect kids’ choices. I had a librarian tell me last year that she doesn’t have graphic novels in her library because she doesn’t like them. Ugh. Your encouragement is much better – find out what our kids like and help them find it!

    • Ugh indeed. And It’s not just what they like (though that is, of course, also of high importance), but what they need. Often they’re the same, though sometimes, they’re not.

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