Monday, March 30, 2015

Throwing in the Towel

It was with a very heavy heart today that I stepped into my Principal's office and submitted my letter of resignation for the 2015-2016 school year. Many of you have left comments and encouraging words, on this blog and on Facebook.  I can't tell you how much those comments have meant to me. I read each and every one multiple times, and I took every comment to heart. So many of you poured out your hearts and shared your own frustrations with your teaching jobs. Many of you have left for the same reasons I have given.

Several of you have asked how I've been managing, and I really wish I could be a good example of a teacher sticking it out. I tried. I really did. I gave this job everything I had and then a little bit more.

I was doing okay for at least six weeks, leaving by 5:30 and not bringing work home. The only exception is Sundays. Sundays are still filled with planning for the week ahead, and often it's done at school, away from my family. I find myself feeling more and more resentment towards the time I spend on the weekends preparing for the week ahead. The time I spend away from or disconnected from my family.

I suppose I could just not do it, sure. Except, I know myself, and I'm not the type of person that flies by the seat of her pants. I'm a control freak. I need to feel prepared before I stand in front of a classroom of students on Monday morning. I'm not comfortable with not having my ducks in a row.

So as much as I tried to turn it around and make a positive change, I've decided to let go. I'm going to finish out this year and enjoy everything I love about my job for the next ten weeks. I'm going to savor every moment I have left with my students.

That might creep them out, but hey, what fun, right?

I want to focus on the good. I don't want to leave my profession with bitterness, although I'm not going to lie, I have felt bitter at times.

I will miss the kids. This awkward age group especially. They are caught between childhood and adulthood, awkwardly navigating friendships and crushes. Their personalities are so varied and amazing. I marvel at the things they do and say every day. For those of you that are parents, you should know that teachers really do appreciate and love their students very much like you do. We notice them. We appreciate their uniqueness. And yes, we are proud of them. When the year is over and they move on, we miss them.

I will miss my teacher friends and everyone else I work with. As adults in a middle school, so many of us are immature ourselves, and I love that. We joke around every day. We laugh until we wet ourselves and make snorty noises. We scare our students when we behave strangely and that makes it even funnier.

I will miss the school supplies. I have always had a special place in my heart for brand new school supplies.

I will miss hearing students say "Oh, I get it now!" Even if sometimes it is closely followed by "Nope. Gone now."

I will miss bossing people around who are taller than me. I'm not gonna lie. Some days it makes me feel powerful to give a six foot tall basketball player a tongue lashing and then have him give me a sincere apology. I know it's wrong, but it does feel good. Even though these kids are at a very self-centered age, most of them really do not want to disappoint us.

I will miss writing on my beautiful, gleaming white, whiteboards with chisel tip dry erase markers.

I will miss watching my students grow from the first day I see them in September to the last day I see them in June. Academically, socially, and vertically. It's very rewarding.

I will miss trolling for new foldables, curriculum, lessons, and classroom decorations.

I will miss setting up my classroom every year.

I will miss reading teacher blogs and getting ideas and inspiration from them. I don't think I will be able to continue reading teacher blogs because I'm afraid it will hurt too much.

I will miss meeting my students' parents and seeing their features and mannerisms mirrored in adult-sized, responsible citizens.

I know there is so much more I will miss, and I'm going to be looking for the things I will miss over these last ten weeks. I thought about making a list of the things I will not miss, but that just sounds like such a gigantic buzz kill, so I'll decline.

There are still a lot of teacher related things I have wanted to share, so I'll try and get those posted before the end of the school year. A "What Has Worked for Me" post of sorts.

For those of you sticking it out and hanging in there, my thoughts are with you. I love, appreciate, and admire all of you. I hope you will be able to hold the frustration and discouragement at bay, like I have not been able to do.

Thank you all for your comments and good wishes. I appreciate them more than words can express. As we drag our gnarly carcasses through these last weeks of school, May the Force be With You.