Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 28 2012

Thanks, Jeff Li

The universe is talking to me. Read this.

The standard lines have been spinning through my head since I found out about the Admin opening at my school: “No one goes back to teaching. You’ll never be a teacher again. If you love teaching, don’t try anything else. No one ever goes back.”

I get that if I find a job I like better I won’t go back to the classroom, but I don’t want to be guilted about that. I love teaching, but if I find even greater happiness in something else then I should seize that. I don’t want to keep from trying new things because I’m afraid to learn I don’t like teaching as much as I think. That seems silly, doesn’t it?

What I am afraid of is that teaching actually is the best job for me, but that if I experiment with an education job outside the classroom, I’ll never be able to go back. Like the doors will just slam behind me and I’ll be trapped in a career path that will never make me as happy as working with my kids does now. Like the lure of an office to myself and interactions with grown-ups and bathroom breaks whenever I want will just be too much for me. Like there will be no amount of stress and responsibility in a new job that could ever make me miss photocopying through the sunrise. That’s my fear.

But if Jeff Li can be Executive Director of TFA New York and then go back to the classroom, why couldn’t I supervise discipline of my own kids and then go back to the classroom? Are people bing honest with me when they say No One Goes Back? Maybe I’m not stuck in thus huge ultimatum: teaching now or never again. Maybe there is a door back if a new opportunity didn’t make me happy. Maybe people would stay in teaching longer if we knew it was okay to take breaks and try new things along the way.

Thanks, Jeff Li. I’m so relieved to know that if I apply for another job, it doesn’t mean I can never come back.

3 Responses

  1. The privilege of bathroom breaks whenever you want is one of those don’t-know-how-wonderful-it-is-until-you-lose-it type of things. I thought I was going to explode by fourth period today. T_T

  2. G

    My mentor teacher was a former administrator…and she went back to teaching 1st grade. She is so much happier than she ever was as an admin. Don’t let that thought keep you from exploring your options!

  3. Ms. Math

    I could go back to teaching, my adviser might wonder why he taught me to do research, but the door doesn’t feel closed at all. We are math teachers after all-always in demand!

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