How many does this make? I may be intentionally not keeping track, but here is the latest viral resignation post by a teacher. When I read these I understand more facets of the argument than I am proud of. I wonder what other teachers think when they read about peers who have resigned from teaching. Do new teachers become discouraged? Do veteran teachers do a math problem to calculate years to retirement?
Does Time in Teaching Matter?
I understand that as a teacher in the second half of my career, I have a different view as well. And I have already conquered starting out in teaching, starting over (and over) again teaching in new states, and I feel resilient as a teacher.
I guess there is a place between where I am right now where these teachers find themselves. They have already been successful in teaching, but they have opted out of having to survive more. It is not just the countdown to retirement that retains me. And we all know that the bureaucracy of public education does not encourage teachers who feed on student growth and enthusiasm. So why haven’t I resigned from teaching yet?
Probably for the same reason YOU have not resigned from teaching yet.
Why I Haven’t Resigned
I like short people. The inverse relationship between your height on your attitude toward learning is interesting. I like introducing ideas, exploring concepts, and testing things out with people who are genuinely interested. Any learner can have that time when s/he is not prepared to learn, but children seem to have fewer of them. Students seem interested in learning about the patterns of the world. I also enjoy teaching adults who display these qualities, but it just seems adults come with more issues blocking their openness to real learning.
The upside of the bureaucracy of public education is that we have experience focusing on the long game. Teachers are not opposed to working diligently on small components and bringing them together to make a larger whole by the end of the year. Public education accepts small chunks and slow progress, and as long as you are being successful by the outside metrics de jour – is often willing to let you close your door or work with your team to accomplish that incremental growth as you deem fit.
Mostly, I am not ready to give up yet.
I still can justify my daily efforts by the number of those I am able to help.
That is what keeps me coming back day after day, year in and year out. When that goes away so will I, but luckily that has not happened yet. I am surrounded by colleagues who remind me of how we impact classrooms.
For my part, I want to remind you that you are in this for the long game too. You are making a small, gradual, yet undeniable difference! I respect those who share their resignation stories with us so that everyone can weigh our contribution to the daily burden of being an educator in the public school system at this time.
I value those resigning to a mass media audience as the canaries in our coal mine who should let the public know that our public school system is in a crisis. Ideally, I want to be here to pick up the pieces and make it better when the current socio-political experiment concludes.
When the public asks why you think these teachers are resigning – tell them why you are not resigning yet.