Friends have been asking how it feels to know I’ll have the summer and next school year to work on personal and mathy projects.
Beyond the obvious excitement, my primary feeling is concern for my colleagues. Teaching in any school, but particularly in a failing, high poverty school, is intellectually and emotionally draining.
Learning with children is deeply rewarding work, but it requires a level of resilience I don’t know I could maintain if a year off wasn’t possible. I’m concerned for the long-term health of educators who work within this broken system. I’m saddened at the instruction and leadership our students and teachers miss out on when qualified educators move to different schools or different professions to be healthier or to grow professionally.
Because that’s why teachers are leaving education. We’re advocating for the health and respect we deserve, and often these elements are missing from our most struggling schools. When these schools hemorrhage the talent they’ve managed to cultivate, they’re then back to square one or worse off than they began, with the added baggage that educators who remain may feel abandoned.
I’ve struggled with a deep sense of loss when my colleagues have left Wildwood in past years. At the risk of seeming self-important, I fear I’m contributing to this problem by spending a year away from my community. And that’s why I’ve been clear, sometimes even aggressive, about my assertions that I’ll return to my Wildcat family next fall.
I hope you’ll stay in touch with me during this adventure.