I am fresh out of the classroom teaching game. I am moving on after 17 years and I will begin a new job as a credentialed homeschool teacher in the fall.
During my time working in traditional public schools, I have taught challenging students, but I still stand by the fact that the reason why I quit was not the children. It was never my co-workers or teacher colleagues either.
Vibes with administrators always had complex layers, but the kinship between teachers who were in the “trenches” together was special.
I was very lucky and blessed to have worked in such supportive environments with strong, professional, and caring teachers at both school districts where I taught.
A very crucial part of each school day were hallway huddles. It was never mandatory by administration, but it was a mental health must do for getting through the day as a grade level team.
Even if we were only down to the last 2 or 3 minutes before the first morning bell rang, I wouldn’t hesitate to step, skip, or run to the hallway to confer and check in with my co workers.
“What time is the fire drill?”.
“Have you sent your newsletter home yet?”
“This is unbelievable, did they really (fill in the blank and choice of curse word if needed)?!”.
“A kid just threw up in the courtyard”.
“Another positive case in my classroom”.
Anything to alleviate the pressure of the day-to-day responsibilities and up-to-the-minute decision making was immensely helpful.
If it meant verbally putting something out there in the air, even if it isn’t exactly words; perhaps a long and heavy sigh, or the sound that you make when you pretend (or really do) pull your hair out before the children enter the room, this is what sometimes needed to be done.
It also came in the form of shouting out a question that remained unanswered;
“SOMEONE TELL ME WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN?!”
It’s just like gas that is trapped in your body.
Better out than in.
I have always tried to work as efficiently as possible and stay mindful of the time when a check-in would turn into a full on visiting session lasting over half an hour, and sometimes that was very necessary too, but having the instant support of next door or across the hallway neighbor teachers and support staff is irreplaceable, especially if they’re on the same page and personalities mesh well. I was so lucky to have that.
It was definitely very difficult to get through the new routines of teaching during Covid-19 distance and hybrid learning during the lockdown and social distancing days. We were all so happy to reunite again in 2022.
I am sad and I will definitely miss those spaces.
Comfort and collaboration.
New ideas, tears, and belly laughs.
Goodbyes were difficult at the end, and I unexpectedly “ugly cried”, but I knew it was all part of the process.
Hallways have officially physically disappeared now that I have chosen a slightly new career path, but they were the foundation for my favorite forever friendships.