Long before the pandemic hit, I knew that I was reaching my breaking point…
As most first year teachers, I started my career in education with the same wide eyed enthusiasm as seen in Quinta Brunson’s Janine Teagues of the new show Abbott Elementary. (If you haven’t watch it, you should!)
I knew that I wanted to teach and worked like crazy to get there. I believed that I was born to do it. I still do.
My time in the classroom will always be some of the best years of my life and the relationships that I built with my students are a level of respect that still carry to this day, even if some of them are anti-vaxxers now…but that’s a different writing on a different day.
Eventually my journey in the classroom took me to places around the world to learn, becoming an invited guest to share my experiences through presentations and keynote speaking. I’ve met some of my best friends through this journey but also experienced some of the darker sides of education that we most often can’t and won’t discuss.
Those darker moments of edu are what weighed on me most and when the opportunity came to leave my last district post and return to my hometown, I made the decision to take the time that I needed to mentally heal and not make the immediate return to the classroom or school.
And then the pandemic hit…
Instead of teaching online classes with my peers, I chose to do contract work from home and create platforms with companies behind the scenes under NDAs that no one will ever hear about.
When I thought about returning back to the classroom, my state opted to send kids to face to face classes without mask mandates or vaccines.
There was no way that I could go back to that and watching a few people that I worked with personally lose their battles to this awful virus didn’t help change that decision.
I do miss it. I miss working directly with kids and teachers. I miss the chaos of implementing new ideas, success or failure imminent.
I miss the excitement of seeing learners grasp concepts or create something new for the first time.
All the things that made me know that I was created to teach…I miss.
As of now, I am working my way back into education but not necessarily on the pathway that I previously walked. I want to be someone who can support teaching and learning and unfortunately to do that most often means not working in a school but working school adjacent in some capacity.
That said, I also still do not intend to be someone who takes up space that should be left for those doing the work. I still believe in amplifying student and teacher voice and in a climate where schools fail at doing this, especially now, I won’t.
So, what does all of this mean?
I took a much needed break from work but now I’m coming back. I’m still a person who loves art and music (*cough* BTS *cough*) but I’m also a person who still has years of expertise to give and much more learning to do.
Where my feet land in this vast academic space, I have no idea…but when I do, you’ll hear it from me first.
(I’ll be writing a lot more now so please forgive this first day back. I’m a little rusty…still)