Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 27 2011

Bye, District.

Last day at work. They have my keys and I have my final paycheck. How horribly depressing.

I stopped by the district office to say goodbye to the math coordinator and return some of her amazing resources. I was so afraid to have this conversation, since she’s been nothing but amazing to me and now I’m walking away. Yet instead of laying on the guilt trip, she first asked what I was doing next year. Then she told me that she was sad to see me go, but as long as I’m still teaching somewhere it’s good with her. She was really supportive of me doing what I need to do to be a happy person as long as I’m not leaving the profession, and I nearly collapsed with relief. I’ve been feeling such a heavy guilt since I first even considered moving away, and I have desperately needed at least one person to tell me I’m not a monster for doing this.

I also told her how grateful I am for all the support I’ve received in the district, and how it makes me nervous to walk away from something great into the unknown. She surprised me by saying I created that for myself and will be able to re-create it anywhere I go. I’ve always thought of support like it was something out of my control, where either there are helpful, knowledgeable people around me or there aren’t. That’s obviously at least part of the truth, but this woman does have a point. Over the last two years, I have learned how to make support happen in a way I never could before. I started out terrified to knock on closed doors, but quickly learned that it takes too long to do things right on your own. Independence might be all fun and games in other contexts, but in education the gradual trial-and-error process just ends up hurting the kids you have today. If you want something done right, you don’t do it yourself. You barge into someone’s office with your hands out and a question ready, and you don’t walk out until you get an answer. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and the quiet wheel gets stuck alone with classes that don’t listen and lesson plans that don’t work.

While I’m definitely fortunate to work with so many people who are able to help me, it’s empowering to realize that I at least have a role in replicating that somewhere else. I have gotten pretty good at barging into closed doors and announcing that I don’t know what to do, and hopefully she’s right that it’s a skill set that should serve me well.

2 Responses

  1. thelearningcurve

    You’re absolutely not a monster for finding a portion of the profession that works for you as well as your students. That’s just wise. I wish you the best of luck. It’s been a true joy reading your blog.

  2. Luanne A.

    Oh, I really hope you keep blogging. I check your words as soon as I’m home from student teaching. You are inspiring a whole other set of students… please keep writing!

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