“Your resignation has been received and approved. Enjoy your spring break!”
It felt very similar to when I received a Citizenship Award in first grade. I remember pushing myself as a young student, doing my very best at my level while also most definitely following the rules.
One day my teacher presented me with an 8.5 x 11 page that was fresh off the dot matrix printer.
I guess I had done something good. Did I make much of an impact?
Somehow the signatures on my official resignation document from HR left me with the same feelings and wonderings.
After 17 years, I am leaving the classroom as a public school elementary school teacher. Sticking it out for about 10+ more quickly became a mentally unhealthy option and continued to grow more unsettling as the 2021-2022 school year went on.
Limited alternatives and finding a job that would replace my income at this point has also been a risky and stressful choice. But I did it. My new role in the fall will be Credentialed Teacher for a homeschool charter.
The benefits and perks of this decision far exceed my Citizenship Award from 1986.
I will no longer be responsible for keeping 25+ young children safe, happy, and learning within the four walls of a classroom for the greater part of the day.
Navigating up to the minute decisions that potentially derail a whole day of instruction within the confines of an ever-changing schedule and fragile school climate will no longer be on my to do list.
Pressure from parents in the small town in which I also reside will no longer impact the already blurred lines of my personal life.
My job as executive producer of a live daily show featuring social-emotional learning, an unnerving safety plan that was on a loop in my mind everyday, similar to that of the videos shown before taking flight on an aircraft in case there’s a crash will soon be over.
And academics? Anything that could be effectively “covered” while putting out all the little fires in between was a rare victory.
No more exposure to mixed messages and inconsistent support from administration that has become part of school climate and culture, invisibly swirling around through the halls.
Injustice and questionable policy resonates with and haunts many teachers, along with the mental collective trauma of teaching through a pandemic; preventing Covid, living with it, and fighting to get sick days back because of it.
I have internalized a lot. I had no choice but to take action after realizing my worth in all of this.
In addition to seeking professional help via therapy, which is at the top of my to do list, I’ve cried and hugged colleagues and friends, sharing my truth, and I have taken the time to enjoy learning spaces with my students within our classroom community for the last time.
No regrets. Just realization and an official resignation.