When you return to your classroom after an extended break it just feels different. You have a long-term perspective that you cannot replicate without a lengthy break. Classroom teachers are impacted by their closeness to the classroom. Details in everyday teaching, paperwork minutia, working with the families of their students create an immersion which can be observed, by only felt from the inside of that classroom bubble.
Of course, some teachers move into other positions during their career in education. Some move into support roles and others move into administration. Often in these other roles one acquires another way to view the precious 180 days of a school year. The separation from the details, which bring a teacher’s vision down to one classroom level, frees an educator to survey different ways of teaching and being a teacher.
But for teachers who want to stay in the classroom, how can we sporadically inject that perspective into their practice? Why in the current educational system are moves from classrooms to other positions a one way proposition?
Classroom teachers could use a way to confidently take a year off from the classroom without permanently leaving the classroom. Teachers likely need assurance that they can return to a comparable classroom. Teachers likely need a culture which values shifting perspective and does not think a move “back” to the classroom is a downgrade.
Our best teachers should be in the classrooms. But what if we use them up? Could we extend the quality of a “good” teacher’s career by structuring meaningful years outside of the classroom? Only those truly closest to the classroom can help us answer that.