Four years ago I quit teaching. I spent two years away, feeling strange every time the school year started without me. Strange, but not bad. Then, life happened, and I dove back in. A new school – very different than the last. For a year I was really happy. It was hard, but it was great. That’s what I thought, but it didn’t take more than a few weeks into the second year before the uneasiness set it. Five weeks in and I was desperately job searching. In retrospect, it seems so odd. I was so sure that first year back that I would stay, and then SO sure within weeks of starting the next year that I would never return.
So I’m leaving teaching. Again. It’s hard to give up something you’ve always wanted. I think I’m a pretty decent teacher. I LOVE the kids. I love the interactions with them and the relationships I build with them. I love watching all those light bulb moments. I love seeing them learn to think in new ways. I do not love the entitled parents. I do not love the way administration bows down to those entitled parents. I do not love the way society demands accountability and ties my evaluation to that via testing, and then opts out their child from that testing and completely screws me over. I do not like the direction education is going.
I have enough time for a whole new career, so I’m going to take a huge leap of faith and try something new. Again.
This is a terrifying thing.
The other day one of our students had stayed after school to work on an assignment with me. He was waiting for his mom to pick him up and wandered into the room next door, which is another one of his teachers’. He was surprised to see her still there and asked,
“Mrs Teacher! Why are you still here?”
“I live here. My desk folds out into a bed.”
“You mean, like a futon?”
It’s crazy that we are in the FOURTH week of school, and no joke, not only do I not know all of my student’s names, but today I looked at a girl sitting in my class and literally thought, “Hm, I have never seen that child before.”
Turns out that she had colored her hair last night, so apparently I did know her, but still…
This is a real thing. Some people I know don’t believe me, but it’s so real it’s almost painful.
My teacher brain has symptoms like super restless insomnia. I am sometimes so tired that I think I might throw-up, but for some unknown reason, my brain spins and spins and spins. It thinks about different seating possibilities for that obnoxious kid in 5th period. It revamps all my warm-up activities for the week. It lurches ahead to March and starts designing a unit that I don’t need to think about for at least another 3 months. It’s absurd.
No matter where I am, or what else I’m doing, I’m almost always thinking about my students, or my curriculum, or my classroom organization. ALWAYS.
It was so absurd this month that I forgot to pay rent. For the first time in the history of me, I just totally blew it off. *Sigh* I’ll try again next month.
Oh man. I somehow forgot how ridiculously EXHAUSTING being a teacher is. I’m a bit out of practice with it all, so I’m fumbling around with things that I had really gotten in a groove with prior to my little break. For example, I keep forgetting that you have to train middle school kids. I find myself backpedaling a little every day because I didn’t actually teach them the procedure for doing things like…writing their homework in their planners, putting their notes in the notes section of their binder (as opposed to say, the section they have for math assessments…), or just that they have to take the pass every time they leave the room!
That said, things are off to a good start. I am remembering how much I love this age group because they are so silly and goofy and spazzy and are generally still interested in learning new things.
I already have a few that have wormed their way into my heart, and no big surprise, they tend to be the naughty little boys that drive most everyone else up the wall. I just find them so hysterical, especially because the smaller the kid, the more of a pain in the butt they can be. Remember Twitch? Goofball? Speedy G (The first post in all these links is the same, just scroll down for the rest)? If you are new here, check them out, they are the ones I’ll remember forever…
So, in the three weeks since I last posted, I have accomplished nothing related to school. Unless you count shopping for markers and glue. I had big plans for how much I was going to get done in the three months between my hire date and the start of school, and like the last 30-ish years of my life, procrastination has bested me.
I have about a week until I go back, and a little over two weeks before I have actual students, so I’m going to try and make a more realistic goal for myself. I need to plan out my first week of lessons. That’s it. One week. I have unit outlines, sort of, so this shouldn’t be too hard….right?
It’s certainly been a while since I’ve been around, what with all the quitting teaching and everything a few years ago.
As it turns out, quitting wasn’t nearly as permanent as I anticipated it being.
I’ll be going back to work next month, still in middle school, but in a new school and with a new curriculum.
I’m FREAKING OUT.
In the spirit of renewal I thought I’d give this blog another shot, and I’m hoping you’ll join me for the ride. I’m going to make a goal of posting at least once a week, so I hope there are still some readers out there who can hold me to that!