Sunday, August 02, 2020

Why jump ship?

At a significant cost, I jumped ship from my teaching career after 34 years. That decision has come with all kinds of emotions, yet there hasn't been a day when I regretted the choice. 

What emotions has this created?

Certainly there has been some anger. Anger that a pandemic is raging, in part, due to poor, ignorant, self-serving, irresponsible leadership. Anger that no one would listen to me or take my ideas about safe school in the fall seriously? Anger that my tireless, 24-7 successful remote teaching in the spring was ignored for the most part. Anger that my underlying health risks were ignored. Anger that decision makers showed no concern, respect, or support for teachers' good work, investment, and lives. Anger that throughout my career, it has almost always been a battle to be heard.

There's an element of guilt that emerges too. I know how to teach well. I am very creative. I can take almost any situation with children and turn it into a positive learning event. And so there is some guilt about jumping ship when I know that I have the skills and abilities to be as asset during a time like this, but self-preservation outweighed guilt. Bottom line, I didn't want to put myself at risk of dying from the pandemic or at risk of not being able to teach well due to poor leadership and poor decision making.

I could retire. I am grateful for that. I've worked for a long time. I invested money into the state's teachers' retirement system over time. I earned a lot of credentials throughout my tenure as a teacher and I worked very hard. I enjoyed my career. I felt I did a good job overall, and I'm grateful that I can retire at this time and turn my focus to other matters in life, matters that mean a lot to me. 

I am excited about the chapters ahead, but that excitement is somewhat dampened by this pandemic since there are so many limitations and a lot of fear. No one wants to get ill, and life as we like it is greatly compromised. Yet, with some short term sacrifice, I hope that I can engage in some imagined explorations and adventures in the days ahead.

I'll miss the school team. I enjoyed the creativity involved in collaborating to create great programs for children and to serve children and their families well. We created a good model. We had a successful school. There was a lot of joy and success. I'll miss that. 

Honestly I have little regret. I always did my best, though at times, there was error and mistakes. Those errors and mistakes, in general, were due to not knowing rather than any planned misdeeds or endeavor. As I taught, I learned a lot. That's both the upside and challenge of teaching well--you're always learning and you're never perfect.

I have great respect for educators. They truly are nation builders, and I hope that the country will respect and support that profession and those professionals going forward.