Jumping Ship: Part 2

For about the last five years I've gone back and forth about my choice of profession. Spring naturally brings out the cleaner in me and I try, in oh so many ways, to rid myself of unnecessary clutter. Each of these recent years I've ended the school year feeling overwhelmed, feeling indecisive, feeling pretty damn deflated for a number of reasons. I've felt this way each time and then summer arrives. It's a reprieve...a necessary maintenance time for any teacher truly invested in the future of their students. And each year I return with enough piss and vinegar to start a brand new school year...probably because I'm a masochist. It's basically like I'm in some shitty relationship and each year I return to this partner of mine thinking, hoping it'll be the way it used to be (the way I imagined us together). But each time, each year, it seems I invest just a little less of me into the relationship, because ultimately I know it's just not working out, and because I over and over again have imagined me without them in my life.

I've been going through my old lessons and units, emptying folders, stripping myself of paper waste, salvaging anything from my 13 year commitment to this profession that is actually salvageable. I find myself getting all sentimental, teary eyed at times. It's as if I can feel the energy and promise and drive I had when developing these plans over the years and with every toss into the recycling bin I'm simply throwing it away. Somewhere inside me, I hear Steve from Sex and the City trying to persuade Miranda to stay together. She tells him it isn't going to work and he responds saying, "there's good stuff here". My mind is breaking up with itself.

I kind of want to talk about it and I kind of don't, mainly because I'm tired of talking about it. I'm actually pretty fucking tired of talking about education in general. I'm tired of having the same conversations. I'm tired of trying to explain to both teacher friends and outsiders how I absolutely believe in education, but how I don't feel our society values it in the same way; or how I don't enjoy the inhibitory side effects state testing has introduced into education; or how I really want to help my students be successful, but only if they want it too. I'm tired of constantly feeling the need to defend teachers and teaching. I'm just so tired of it all.

I feel like a failure.

My seniors are four weeks away from graduating. Twenty years ago, I was in their position. Jesus. How can that be? I wonder what I'd be contemplating at this exact moment if I'd chosen another route at that time. I'd probably be sleeping. It's three in the morning. The thing is I don't actually regret the decisions I've made, the path I've chosen. But I can't help but wonder where I'd be if given the opportunity to Marty McFly it back to just after my high school graduation...just kick-start a different chain of events.

I don't know. There's so much of these twenty years that I have no desire to change. So how does that work? I can't just pick and choose which domino to pull hoping some of the design still manages to exist. Right?

Forward movement. I can't look back and question if the decisions I've made that have brought me to this place were the right ones. I can't change what was...only what is.


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