Nov 19, 2009

Message to Quitting Teachers

I've been there before. It was the toughest decision I ever had to make. The knowledge that I was letting an entire village down - my students, my colleagues, my administration, friends & family, and anyone else who ever had a stake in shaping who I'd become - only compounded my depression.

-Teacher's who bent backwards for me since day one to ensure my success, my student's success, and, maybe most importantly, my sanity.

-Students so used to broken promises, starving for attention and structure. Young geniuses who sought direction. A few who called me their favorite teacher.

-Parents, friends, family who were proud of me, who knew of my struggles but supported me beyond measure, who respected what I got into, understood it'd be a struggle, but still believed in me nonetheless.

The hardest part about letting all that go is saying goodbye. Admitting to everyone and, even worse, yourself that something you wanted to get into for so long is something you cannot do.

Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. We all got our reasons. And I feel you on that. We are humans first. Teachers second.

But please do say goodbye. The text messages, emails, and phone calls aren't to further the guilt, but are out of genuine concern. And any sort of goodbye or closure you can provide for us is thrice as meaningful for them.


Again, keep swimming. Things look up on the other side of winter. Way up. And it's not that far away.


Coach J said...

Oh geez, I feel ya on this one. When I left my first teaching job (I had been bashed into submission) I cried for hours. I feel like I had failed, like I had let everyone down. But you know what? The break was for the best. A much better, much healthier teaching job literally fell in my lap, confirming that I had done the right thing. It's a tough thing to admit that something you worked so hard for ins't necessarily the right fit, but there's better things down the road.

Thanks for sharing.

Lance Bledsoe said...

I really appreciate this post. About 15 years ago I left my first teaching job, and the feelings of failure and guilt were tremendous. Like Coach J, I think it was ultimately for the best, but at the time that didn't really make me feel much better.

Now I'm looking at getting back into teaching. I'm a little nervous about it given my first experience, but I'm also a lot more mature, and maybe a little smarter, than I was back then. It's also good to know that I'm not the only teacher to ever go thru that.

Thanks for the post Mr. G.

Eyawn said...

Thanks for the comments Coach J and Lance. I think stories like ours are more common than we realize, but are not shared b/c of the guilt we all speak of. It's comforting to hear others' who've walked those same shoes.

Lance, best of luck re-entering the classroom. The fact that you've had that first experience but still seek to return is already very telling. Sounds like you'll do great.