By:  Rosanne Franco

After 20 years of service as an educator, I was given the opportunity to consider the age old question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I have had countless experiences in my roles as a substitute, science teacher, science department head, assistant principal, and principal. I have worked with thousands of students and hundreds of staff members devoted to improving the future through education. So now what?  Is it time for a career change?

My father repeatedly said, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” It didn’t matter that I was a girl growing up before Title 9 took hold and before gender equity meant anything. He challenged me to think that I was equal to any task. To make his point, he gave me quite a few tasks to complete until I believed him.  This included taking apart a filthy carburetor that needed cleaning and a new gasket.

I came to believe that I can handle any task that is placed before me (Thanks Dad!).  So, the next question is, “What do I want to do with my life?”

I considered working at the university level, going back into the horticultural industry, working in safety and security in the private sector, or continuing in education. The idea of something completely new was liberating. And yet…

I love working with adolescent students. I have been so blessed to work with teenagers over these past 20 years through education and coaching. I love that my former students stay in touch with me through social media or by getting together with me for a cup of tea, ice cream, or even lunch. They continue to make me a part of their life, even when I am not physically present, whether it’s invitations to graduation parties, requests for help with future planning, or general updates. I have been so fulfilled by the many graduates who have stayed in contact with me or renewed contact with me over the past year. How could I leave education?

But, what should I do? The outpouring of kindness from so many students really caused me to question my goals. I had chosen to pursue a career in administration to make a difference for more students. What I have learned is that I am more inspired and fulfilled by developing deeper and stronger connections with students.

So, I have decided to go back to teaching science. I am excited for the opportunity to teach marine science, biology, and chemistry at Dartmouth High School starting in September. I will continue to blog and post, but look for me on YouTube and Pinterest if you would like to see what my students will be learning throughout the school year.

I know what you’re thinking – “Will she ever go back to working as an administrator?” Maybe, someday perhaps. But, for now, I look forward to re-charging my battery by directly interacting with students.

I am so grateful to the 20 years of students who taught me so much at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.  Thank you for believing in me!