If you read my blog for the last two years, you will know I have contemplated leaving teaching. You would have read all about how miserable I have been and how hard it has been. These last two years took a tremendous toll. It was not just me. There is now a considerable teacher shortage as teachers left the profession completely. Who can blame them? Their posting on Instagram and Facebook made so much sense and pushed me further into negativity and despair.
But I stuck it out. I worked behind a screen. I worked with students who had not been in a classroom for more than a year. I worked with student anxiety, depression, and a general lack of motivation. Here I am on the other side.
I am here to say the other side is bright. It is bright with possibility and promise. Our administration this year started something new. They are a new group, actually. Their battle cry is “Students first always.” I like it. It’s catchy. They sound supportive. They gave out recognition to teachers as we started back last week. They announced that we have our faculty dining room back and they will provide lunches for teachers again in the faculty dining room. This alone was so exciting. WE can eat hot, prepared food in a room with colleagues from other curriculum areas.
Part of me feels like a prisoner released. Our building is getting a much needed face lift as well.
I am glad I stayed. I am glad I did not leave my profession which has for so many years filled me with a divine sense of purpose.
Last night my husband and I were working the first football game of the year. I made my two boys go as well. As I was standing by the fence that surrounds the turf, two of my previous students saw me and ran over. They gave me hugs and squealed my name.
“Oh, my god! How are you? I can’t believe I won’t have you this year!” I hugged them back as people around us turned and looked. A parent caught my eye and smiled. I stood there talking to them for a bit. They wanted to get a picture of the three of us. When they left, my son was surprised.
“What was that?” He asked.
“Oh, just a couple of my students,” I answered.
“Mom, they acted like you were Justin Bieber. There was so much screaming.”
“I know, right. It was pretty cool,” I said smiling.
“It was like you are famous,” he replied. And I thought about that for a minute because I feel like it is better than being famous. People scream and yell and want to been seen by someone famous because they do something and it affects them very deeply, but that famous person does what they do to suit them. They create music or act in a movie or say something funny because it suits them. The fame is either the reason they do it or a natural by product. Teaching is all together something vastly different though apparently it can sometimes have similar results. True teaching requires extreme sacrifice with no promise or reward greater than the belief in the future and a deep sense of purpose.
I am a teacher because I do get something out of practicing my craft, but I teach for my students and only for my students. I stayed because of my students and I am so glad I did. If all these people are jumping ship, someone has to stick around to make sure our children can have a chance.
It’s also pretty nice to feel like Justin Bieber every once and a while.
Love and Light!