Sometimes I need to use this blog just to get some feelings out, and this is one of those times.

I'm leaving my job. I was considering leaving since last school year, but then my district eliminated my position due to budget cuts (expected) and did not offer me a position in my building, they offered me my old crappy job at the alternative school (unexpected) even though I should have been offered a job in my building with my kids (which does exist). Basically, they made me an offer I couldn't accept, and that made my decision for me. I was very sad and hurt because I know that the reasoning behind this was personal. I offended a higher up because I stood up for something I believed in, and that put me on the short list of people that rock the boat and therefore must be eliminated. I have no bad observations in my file and I've done a million things for the district. My resume speaks for itself. But I am expendable.

In reality, I'm very happy about leaving and I know I'll be happier when I'm gone. One, I'm disillusioned with teachers' roles in the education system as it exists, and I don't feel like I'm doing as much as I want to be doing in terms of really, truly making social change. Two, there are just things going on here that I can't support, namely the treatment of teachers. I'd rehash it, but I just analyzed it in my paper and it took 10 pages just for the economic and political sections and I'm frankly so sick of it that I won't even get into it. Long story short, it's a toxic place to be right now and I'm glad to be done with it.

But, there's rumblings around school about me leaving which lets me know it's time to tell my kids. That's the part that sucks. Because I teach a large group of kids who have been left or abandoned by multiple people in their lives. And it sucks that I am going to be another one of those people. It sucks that the girls whom I've coached for the last three years, the girls who turned our program from never having a .500 season in school history to going undefeated in conference last season, that I'm not going to be there for their senior season. I'm sad that they might think that I'm leaving them, because that's not it. For me and my own sanity, I've got to go.

And I'm sad because for most of my adult life, a large part of my identity is as a teacher. I've been entrenched in this community and the work I've done with these kids. To walk away from that, from the relationships I have built with my kids, and from that atmosphere, is difficult. I'm having a little crisis right now because I don't think I can go into the classroom. I always swore that if I found myself getting bitter, I'd get out of the classroom, and right now, I'm bitter and my heart isn't in it. I look at the amazing teachers that I work with, the most intelligent, skilled, deliberate educators I've ever met. Sometimes I meet teachers from other places and am pretty aghast that they're in a classroom, because they just seem like amateurs compared to our staff. I'll be sad that they're not my colleagues any more, and I'll be sad that I won't be a teacher.


Jaelithe said...

That sucks. I don't even know you in person and yet from reading what I have here on your blog, I can tell you have the right sort of dedication and the right sort of personality to be a good teacher. It's terribly, terribly sad that good people like you are being driven out by ridiculous office politics, just because you refuse to compromise your principles. I've had to quit jobs before for similar reasons, and it always sucks. But I can't imagine having to leave a group of kids behind.

I hope you do find another school, one that treats you better, and I hope you do stay in education, if you can without getting totally bitter. But, if you can't, I am sure you have already made a remarkable difference in some kids' lives, and they will remember you. Really.

I remember the one exceptionally good teacher I had in all my years of crappy public school. Her name was Judy Huck, and she taught me in third grade, and she is the reason I didn't decide to hate school altogether. Which means she is the reason I got a scholarship to a private school later, and the reason I went to college and didn't quit.

I am sure you will be the reason for one of your kids, too.

Rebecca said...

wow. don't you just love jaelithe? she's the best.

Susan said...

Keep up the good work. The system needs a good shaking. Teachers exist not just to impart knowledge to students, but also to provide an environment in which optimal learning can occur. You refused to just "teach", instead you acted as an agent of change. I know you changed many students' lives and hopefully seeing what is going on with you has inspired them to question the powers that be. Love you much!

Brian Mac said...

Sorry to hear that, Kelli. Shocked actually. If it helps Parkway Central has three English positions opening up. One, however, is mine, but you can have the rest if interested. The staff could use a little more radicalness. I'd be curious to know where you end up if you head out of education.

P.S. I was supremely jealous when I saw that forearm tattoo. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

Hey KBO. So sad to hear. You are an amazing woman and have so much to give. I wish you luck wherever your next step may be. I think you should make a list of things you could do. Like 1) Teach violin lessons out of your home 2) Be a professional "dog runner" - I have a friend who doesn't walk dogs, but runs them. She makes dough. 3) Finish doctorate, work and teach at collegiate level. Love you. Weed in cali.