The Classroom Calls

Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond

A year ago this month I learned that my wife and I would be moving to Boston at the end of the school year.  Rather than scramble to secure a teaching position I decided to take the year off and think carefully about my next move.  That decision has helped to clarify a number of things concerning my passion for history.

I imagined a year of engrossed study and research in my home library as well as in various archives in the Boston area and to a certain extent that is exactly what happened.  I put the finishing touches on my Crater study and completed a number of smaller projects.  Best of all I was able to sketch out a new research project on the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry that will help to connect me even more so to the rich history that now surrounds me.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this opportunity, however, what I’ve come to appreciate is the extent to which my love for history has been shaped and nurtured through my interaction with others.  That became painfully clear to me back in September as I sat on the sidelines for the first time in 15 years at the beginning of a new school year.  I miss the excitement of the classroom and the chance not only to share what I know, but to learn and grow from my students and colleagues.  The structure of the school calendar gave me focus as well as a profound sense of purpose that solitary study simply cannot match.  I am willing to wager that I was more productive all around during the school season than I have been since moving this past July.  That’s OK as I learned that I am in no way burned out from teaching.  The fire is still there.

As the hiring season gets underway for the next school year I feel confident that I will find the right position in one of the many private schools in the Boston area.  While I’ve got the classroom front pretty much covered, I ask that those of you who live in the area to keep your eyes peeled for anything else that you think I should check out.  I am interested broadly in history education so a position in a historical society, museum or other historical institution will be given serious consideration.  Feel free to leave a comment or you can use the contact form.

What matters is that I have the opportunity to work with others.

15 thoughts on “The Classroom Calls

  1. Lindsay

    “That’s OK as I learned that I am in no way burned out from teaching. The fire is still there.”

    I love this line…and only teachers can truly understand this feeling. What a great reflection!

    Best of luck to you in Boston and in the classroom, I am sure your students leave with an ignited interest in history!

    If you don’t mind my asking, what age level do you teach?

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Lindsay. I’ve taught on both the high school and college levels.

      Reply
  2. Rob Wick

    Kevin,

    Wish you best of luck in your job search. What is the economic picture like for teachers there? Is it better in the private school arena or did you choose that because of your previous experience in Virginia? Again, good luck.

    Best
    Rob

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      It’s hard to say what the economic picture looks like in this particular area. No doubt, I will soon find out. I am confined to private schools in large part because I am not certified.

      Reply
  3. Lindsay

    Hopefully you will fare better there in private schools than public school teachers here do – we were just told that it is likely that next year we will take a 2%-4% pay cut, a 5% hike in what we have to contribute to VRS, possible furlough days, and the list goes on…and being that I have a masters but just barely make 40,000/year is scary (and that is only because I have a stipend for doing two extra clubs) – how much more can they take from us and expect good teachers to stay?

    And sorry to hijack your post, I realize that this has nothing to do with your original point!

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Lindsay,

      I am so sorry to hear that, but unfortunately it is all too common in a society that places so little value on teachers and public education. The mainstream media loves stories of teachers who violate the trust placed in them, but how often do we hear about the teachers such as yourself who are going above and beyond the call of duty in their classrooms day in and day out? It’s so incredibly sad. I have nothing but the highest respect for teachers. It is a noble profession and we make a difference.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay

        You’re right, it is a noble profession and anyone who spends time in a classroom and does right by our children deserves that honor. Maybe we will one day live in a society that agrees. Until then, people like us just keep doing what we’re doing because we wouldn’t have it any other way :)

        I am interested to hear what you settle on up in Boston, best of luck in your job search!

        Reply
  4. Neil Hamilton

    Kevin and Lindsay,

    I have always been in awe of teachers, especially at the high school level. When I was in the military, as a First Sergeant, I had the full power of the United States Army behind me. Even if a private soldier was bigger, meaner, and more skilled in martial arts, I knew that the MPs were only a phone call away and residing in the Stockade was a big stick to swing if I needed it under the Uniform Code f Military Justice.

    But a teacher goes into a classroom totally unarmed, with little or no support from the parents or society, using only their knowledge, their inherent social skills and their desire to teach. In my view, teachers, police and firemen ought to be at the top of the pay scales, with everyone else after. Your job (and theirs) are just too vital to go unsupported in the fashion it is today.

    Thank you both for hanging in there, and seeing the worth of what you do. I always did and I appreciate everyone who ever stood in front of a new class, wondering how this one was going to go.

    You are my heroes.

    Sincerely,
    Neil

    Reply
  5. John Buchanan

    2 quick comments/questions.

    Kevin, just how far a net are you willing to cast? As you know New England is chock full of private schools and academies. Heck, I know if you can hook up at Xaverian High School in Westwood, my brother’s alma mater, you’ll be teaching the sons of Patriots and Bruins front office staff (sweet tickets!) Seriously, depending on how far you are willing to commute it is very fertile ground

    Secondly, to you and Lindsay, and all other teachers, thanks. Its popular again to thank our service personnel (wonder when the bllom is off THAT rose) but I can not remember the last time there was a concerted campaign to thank our teachers. Teachers have more to do with our our children become citizens than just about everyone outside of family. We blissfully turn our children over for 13 years to people who are under paid and appreciated and are used as pawns to make cheap political gains. We have become pathetic as a country. We can justify underresourcing our children as a policy decision just to win reelection?

    I am the son of public school teacher who become a college administrator and a brother to sub teacher. I have adjunct but that is not the same as what you and your peers do.

    So, simply, thanks.

    May this country be forgiven for the way we have forsaken our public education system.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Westwood is definitely in my neck of the woods. I taught Howie Long’s kids in Virginia so I now to handle kids 4x my size. :-) I am looking all over the place so thanks for the suggestion.

      Reply

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