I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile. I just have been struggling to post it because it is publicly acknowledging my failure. I am 34 and a failure.
This past April I resigned my teaching position. I always knew teaching was a stressful career, but I always thought I would leave on my own terms. For me, teaching has always been about building relationships, because if it was only about the transference of information every teacher should be replaced with computer programs.
So I built these relationships, worked with students, taught some math hopefully, but ultimately the goal of education is to provoke a fundamental change in the student. Even though I taught Math, mixed with a little Social Studies, I felt successful when a student had changed a perspective, mindset, or procedures of thought. When students would just learn some Math terms and procedures, but nothing really changed, they weren’t educated, they had been trained.
I figured out that education is difficult to achieve without an established relationship of trust. It takes time to build that relationship, and in the field of education their is a natural end to that relationship, graduation. I thought I would spend somewhere between 25 and 35 years trying to educate students to achieve the most that they could. Work with students, steer kids down the right paths, and repeat.
In hindsight maybe I was just too much of an idealist. Maybe I should have just left three years ago. The signs of discontent have been there for awhile, I just thought that they were part of any normal job stress. I should have known it was over when I started telling my students when my formal observations were going to occur. I really should have known it was over when I changed a lesson to include all the hoop jumping activities, opening activities, kinesthetic activities, stretch activities, exit tickets, technology, etc. I finally knew it was over knew it was over when going over my final evaluation it really just focused on my ability to control students, with the phrase, “I really just wanted to tell ______ to shut it and punch ’em in the face.”
It was officially over when I was told I needed to do a third observation. That was the sign it was done. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of going through another observation knowing exactly what the outcome would be, so I resigned. Leaving teaching isn’t what is bugging me, the fact I didn’t get to leave on my own terms is what is bothering me. I feel like I have unfinished business with several students. I even still owe one of them a recommendation letter.
Some days I blame other people, it’s the administration, it’s the students, it’s the parents. Some days I blame myself, thinking of all the ways I failed, better resources I could have used, been more strict. Some days I think it’s all systemic problems that are out of the control of everyone. All I know is that I am done with teaching. I don’t want to be done. I still hope that I can keep working with someone in an educational capacity, but I am done with the job of teaching. I only applied for one teaching position, and that was only halfheartedly. Just the thought of going back into a school next fall is nauseating. Maybe I will be back sometime, but it won’t be next fall.
Right now I don’t know what I am going to do. It will be the first fall since I was six that I won’t be in a school.