Onward

The only constant in this world is change.  This is not a unique thought, but it has applied very much to my life since the beginning of 2022.  

I have been putting off writing this post for a number of reasons.  In January, it was because I wasn’t sure it was really going to happen.  In February, it was because it wasn’t official and I hadn’t really started yet.  Now, in the middle of March, I have run out of excuses and I am actually excited to share.  

I am no longer a teacher.  Wow, that feels weird to put it out there publicly.  Like many other classroom teachers, I decided that the personal cost of teaching was too high.  I  was tired. I was tired of worrying about whether students were safe at home, tired of worrying if students had enough to eat, tired of the constant disrespect from students, parents, and even district-level leadership.  I was tired of investing more in my students’ education than they were willing to invest.  I was tired of being told, “at least you have summers off” or “you knew what you signed up for.”  The “I was tired of” list goes on and on.  In the end, I wasn’t just tired I was burned out and starting to resent my students and have panic attacks on the way to school. 

I did the selfish thing.  I found another job outside of the classroom and left my position in the middle of the school year.

It has been almost 2 months and I can’t describe how free I feel.  I feel like the burdens of the world have been lifted off my shoulders.  I can sleep at night.  I feel happy in ways I didn’t even remember that I could feel.  

Do I still battle feelings of guilt?  Hell yes!  I feel guilty every day for “abandoning” my students.  I feel guilty for leaving my colleagues in a bind and adding even more to their plates; I knew I wouldn’t be replaced this year.  I feel guilty for walking away from a career I pursued and have had a passion for since childhood.  I know I let my students and their parents down.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.    

I am now almost a month into my new non-teaching job at a small liberal arts university.  I am loving every minute of it.  The people I work with are wonderful and I am allowed to bring all my experiences into a new position.  The best part is that I still get to work with students, but as a supervisor, not a teacher.  I don’t dread going to work in the morning, I actually look forward to it.  

It is a big change for me.  I had to walk away from a major part of my identity.  In the end, I am still passionate about education, but I have no regrets about my decision.  

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” 

-Martin Luther King Jr. 

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