I haven't really thought twice about resigning from my teaching job at Gretna...until this weekend. Well, to be fair and honest, a few weeks ago I panicked while driving to school one morning as I thought about not having a definite salary--but today was the first day that I really wondered if resigning was the "right" thing to do.
I have felt like a terrible teacher this year. My personal life has been in such disarray this year, and I feel like it's really caused me to take a step back in the classroom. This chaos coupled with learning the ropes of a new district that works hard to hold kids accountable, left me scrambling. I pride myself in the connections I've been able to make with students during my teaching career. But this year I feel like I merely survived without really getting through to my students. I feel like I've cheated them, and I've often wondered if I've done any good.
I gave a final test on Friday to my juniors. The last question asked them to reveal what this course (English 11 CP) has led them to think more deeply about; many of the responses surprised me. Much of our literature and writing has led us to converse about indifference, intolerance, and empathy. More kids than I expected wrote about how they think about how what they say or do will impact someone else. Some wrote about the lessons they learned about society and the world around them. Others wrote about how challenging the course was, how hard they had to work, and how much they actually had to think about the material. A few left notes of appreciation for me. And because I'm a bleeding heart, many of these responses made me cry. Sure, it's my job to teach these kids English, to make sure they read and write well and are prepared for college. But the most important part of my job, the one I take the most seriously, is teaching my kids how to be humane individuals who look at the world with eyes wide open, who see themselves as individuals capable of making a difference. One of the most rewarding experiences of being a teacher for me is knowing that a kid has picked up on the "secondary" curriculum. I took photos of a few of my favorite responses to the last question on the final so I could keep them. Here are just three of these:
And as I graded these, I wondered if I had made the right decision to resign. So much of my identity has been wrapped up into my job as an English teacher; it's difficult to imagine life without this.
I lamented to my parents on Friday night about this very concern, but my dad reminded me to remain level-headed about it all. He explained that I decided to leave this job for good and honorable reasons and not to get so wrapped up in the emotions of the end of a year. Simple advice, but it was what I need to hear. I know next year will be difficult to be out of the classroom doing what I love, but I have faith that God has bigger plans for our family. This is not the end of my teaching career. It's just a break in it.