In 2020, to the beat of my own heartbreak, I resigned my position as fifth-grade teacher and turned out the lights in my classroom for the last time.
While I've spent a good while trying to pinpoint a single "why," I've just recently come to terms that my one why? doesn't exist. I can’t blame my teaching resignation on one administrator, or one school, or one parent, or one thread that broke the camel’s back.
The unsettling conclusion I've become inclined to believe true: because my experience is one of many being had and felt by teachers around the country, the problem is systemic.
A system. Its ecosystem. A whole hierarchy and its ball and chain, pounding along a hamster wheel, year after year ♻️
After submitting my resignation letter, I hung around for a few weeks until my replacement could move into my role. I went through the motions, trembling through goodbyes and as I penned my departure emails to parents and colleagues. Most of what happened throughout that period of my life felt far away and slightly abstract, tasting like the remnants of a recent nightmare, while also teasing the sweetest freedom I'd known.
I can remember my pre-resignation days with much more clarity. I remember I felt demands on me increased by the day. I remember my frustration towards the expectation that a teacher takes her responsibilities without question, while manning them with grace, and giving 100% to each and every task and duty.
I remember becoming a shadow of myself.
Because, beyond the disappointment I felt when I discovered I could, by no means, do "it" all, the disappointment I felt in myself for neglecting relationships - with my students and colleagues, my family and friends - was much more debilitating.
Relationships - they take mental and emotional energy. Strong relationships require clarity and patience. And when you’re a shell of yourself - patience? Genuine human connection?
Like ice skating barefoot.
Tense. And chilly.
If I had stayed in the classroom, I would have lost what lived at the core of me for as long as I could remember: Teaching was my calling--one I'd have lost if I'd stayed and let myself grow cold and complicit.
So I took a leap.
And that's where my story begins: I call it En Route to Educator Autonomy.
If you’re questioning whether to stay or transition beyond your classroom teaching career, you are not alone. Many have been there, and many will one day get there, too. Seek support from trusted family, friends, or colleagues, and know your skills are valuable, no matter where you are to apply them. ♥️
If you'd like a tool to help you work through your thoughts and make a decision about your future in teaching, we've created a free workbook for #TeachersinTransition, which you can download below.
We hope it helps you make the best decision for you--your wellbeing, your relationships, your career, and your future.
Leaving takes the support of a village. You’re the best part of ours 🏽
Click below to download the Teacher in Transition Workbook!