Something has been weighing on my mind lately. After chatting with a former coworker yesterday and participating in an inspiring #miched chat about teachers as writers, I felt the need to share. I have a confession to make. I left the classroom… again. And I’m not proud of it.
The decision was one for my family, and I don’t regret it because my stress level is near none-existent and I get to be “mom” when I’m home. But I still feel guilty. Guilty about the class I left behind (though I know they are in good hands!). Guilty about the classes I would have had in the next couple years, where I might have had some students I taught previously in 2nd grade. Guilty for leaving my teammates to train a new coworker in the middle of the school year when they are already overloaded with responsibilities.
And guilty for the teachers still in the classrooms across the country. Not because they want to leave, but because I know how hard they work, and the lack of respect and understanding they get weighs on me. I see how they keep getting more work piled on each year, how the expectations they are expected to reach are near impossible. I know they love teaching and most do not want to leave, but I see and hear the stress in the stories they share. I left the classroom once before, spending four years in the private sector. My new job (which I love) is a state grant funded position through my local ISD. And I can easily say that TEACHING IS THE HARDEST JOB I’VE EVER HAD!
When you become a teacher, you don’t do it for the money, the prestige, definitely not the paycheck. You do it because it’s a calling. Something inside you pulls you to become a teacher, to help the next generation, to make a difference in a child’s life. Yes, there are teachers out there that are in it for the wrong reasons, but I’ve spent a lot of time around a lot of teachers and they are few and far between. Yet public opinion seems to tell us otherwise. But I want to let all the teachers out there know what I think of them because I know it was something I needed to hear.
You are amazing! You are stronger and more resilient than I am – you stayed in the classroom where the kids need you the most. You may be frustrated with the politics and naysayers, but you stay for the students. You come back day after day with a smile on your face, ready to meet whatever challenges the day might bring. And I have more respect for you than you will know!
And although I am happy for the opportunity that I have right now, I hope that my time as a teacher isn’t over yet. I hope that someday I find myself back in the classroom doing what my heart loves. I just hope outsiders haven’t completely destroyed public education by that time that day comes 😕.