Saturday, April 1, 2017

the story of how I quit my dream job

Fair warning: this is less of a teacher post and a more personal post so if that's not your thing - feel free to move along and I won't judge you.

Yesterday, I quit my dream job. Not teaching (phew) but the place. I resigned from the only place I had envisioned being; the place I worked for and towards through 4 years of college. Its the school I attended, my mom worked at for 12 years, and somewhere I basically grew up. It's a place where I subbed and met "my kids". On my worst days in college, I could get through knowing I would see their faces and someday be part of their journey.

It's the place I got to teach my first class. To nurture my LOVE for teaching math and see kindergarteners amaze me. They are my kids.

This was the place I saw myself staying for years, visiting students I had in elementary at the high school I once ruled [ha!]. This was the place I imagined bringing my own children - watching them move through classes of teachers I love and respect. I would know they were safe and in a place - my place - a home.

Yesterday, I left my home. Because it isn't really my home anymore. 

A few of you know the struggle I've been facing making the decision to leave based [mostly] upon a school wide reform the school is adopting. It's also due in part to being under appreciated and beaten down all year long. I don't really want to get into it much...because I've made the decision.

A few months ago, I went to a job interview. The principal was amazing and you could tell she had so much respect for her teachers. It was a tough school, in a tough area (something I'm not unfamiliar with) and she was truly turning it around. Her staff loved her and the interview went perfectly. She gave [both my mom and I] us a tour of the school and the more she talked, the more pull I felt. In the moment, I grew more and more excited - it was really out there...somewhere that could be the place I could truly teach. If not there, then somewhere. It had to be and has to be. 

I left on a high. Then, I went home and threw up.

Okay, not really but I did have a pseudo-meltdown. 

I laid in my bed and thought about my students that I would be leaving. I thought about the neighborhood I learned to drive in and the Sonic that was run mostly by kids I graduated with. Then, I thought about never driving there again. Not seeing those kids walk the high school hallways and graduate in the colors I did. After all, even if it no longer is and no longer even resembles my home...this place used to be home.

Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am a fiercely loyal person. It's not always a bad trait. Leaving something, like a job in this case, feels like plain old giving up. It took me a long time to be able to look at it like the self-care that it is.

The truth is, I am leaving a comfort for something extremely risky. I am leaving a small district for a very large, urban one. If I even end up there, it will truly be my first year of teaching because I know nothing. I entered last year knowing so much about the district - I knew the procedures, the school layout, the staff, everything. I knew the good and the bad which made it much easier to handle.

But now, I know nothing. It could be a bad decision. It could be that this school is not any better - that I won't have instructional choices or there won't be good support. It could be that the testing is overwhelming or the demands even higher. It could even be that I don't get rehired because their budget cuts are even heftier and they are closing down schools...

It could be bad.

It could be.

And yes, I could get through the year and move on but then my resume would read "2 years experience at 2 different places and looking for something else again" - doesn't that scream hire me!?

But yet, this is my city and these are the kids I love. If I can't be where I truly want to be...I have to be somewhere. And this could be home. 

It could be.

I like to think I'm some awesome, rebellious, risk-taker but if I truly self-evaluate I am anything but. I'm terrified in every way and thoughts, continuous thoughts, keep rushing through my brain. Deep in my heart, I know things will be okay. I know that. I know that my husband has a good job; I could always do something else; I could suck it up and try a suburban school down the line; I could go back to school; my parents will support me; nothing is permanent...I know that. 

But, yesterday I quit my plan. I quit home. And I have dreams about someone telling me it's all just a joke- LOL no reform - you can stay! 
It's where my heart is. It will always be in some way.

But I'm leaving. I'm going out in the big wide world to find some kids who need me and teach them. Because I know I can and I need to surround myself with people who believe that too.

 It's so easy to me... yet it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

Thanks for getting through this post - 

Happy teaching.