Breaking Up With Teaching After 20 Years
After 20 years, I am trying to let go. Trying to let go of a career that has brought a lot of joy, but also one that has given much stress and heartbreak.
As I look back through the years, I remember mostly the relationships. The bonds I have formed with my students, some who now have families of their own. I laugh when recalling how many mistakenly called me “mom”. A mistake I always took as the highest compliment. I tear up thinking about the students who first entered my classroom unsure, ill-equipped, and disrespectful, but left fully confident, well-educated, and mannerly. I remember the ones who come back to visit and to say, “Thank you!” However, this task did not just fall on my shoulders. My fellow teachers, my co-workers and friends, were my collaborators in these efforts. We had meetings with ourselves, administrators, and parents, to ensure the success of all of our students fully aware that each measure of success was different. While each year seemed to have its own struggles, the past 20 years have flown by, and it is these people and these experiences that I will miss most.
The last few years have been the most difficult. It’s a constant struggle to be able to teach during a time when parents won’t let their children accept responsibiltity, an important lesson every person should experience. I’ve reached out to fellow educators and read many artices. All share many of my same feelings.
So, I enter the summer of 2017 with mixed emotions. I am filled with a certain amount of sadness knowing I may no longer have an impact on young lives. I worry that some students will feel that I have abandoned them. I cry genuine tears when thinking about leaving my co-workers, the people whom I have laughed with, cried with, and fought with through the years. However, I am mostly filled with excitement. I am excited about the future. I want to wake up each morning with vigor in my steps again. I want to, no I need to, find a new purpose in my life.
So this year, right now, I’m choosing me. I need to make this change for me. I want to know what else I am capable of accomplishing. I am content with the mark I have left of my students, and humbled by the mark they have left on me. But now, I begin again. Are you ready for me?