A Fond Farewell
I often forget how long I’ve been in education until I run into a child who I’ve taught and who is now an adult with a job and family. Apart from my role as a mother, my life has been pretty much defined by my role as an educator. I have had the privilege of educating children for almost two decades. As I reflect upon my service, I am humbled, that I was chosen for such a noble profession. I guess you could say I tackled my role as a teacher as I did that of parent, I went all in. There were countless times where I have been called mom by one of my students, and I am guilty, as many teachers are, of referring to my students as “My kids”.
Sadly, after 18 years as an educator, I had become somewhat jaded in my perspective. In recent years, I had become discouraged in my role as an educator. Maybe I’m from the “old school”, but I believe that children should respect adults, and that it isn’t unreasonable to expect children to conduct themselves in a manner conducive to being in a classroom setting. I have been lied on, cussed at, and even physically attacked, I had begun to question my calling as an educator, and the years I devoted to it. I was disappointed in how drastically things have changed over the years. Additionally, the seemingly lack of parenting from parents and the demands from administrators, the long hours, and the lack of pay worthy of such a position, had begun to wear on me.
The one thing that always made me feel that this job was worthwhile, was the children. I’m asked many times why I think children are so different now than in the past, and I say unequivocally, it’s the parenting that has changed. I believe that many have given the job of parenting, to television and smartphones, and therefore, our children are suffering. They can’t enjoy being children due to being bombarded with information that they are not mature enough to handle. As a result, we have a generation of children who are not being raised, but taken care of.
At the end of the last school year, I decided that I would no longer serve as a classroom teacher. I had grappled with the decision for the past few years, but it became clear to me after this school year that I could not serve as a teacher any longer. I personally feel that to be a great teacher you must to be all in, or you’re not doing the job justice. This summer, I was afforded the opportunity to work as an Advisor with Junior Young Leaders Conference. Children from all over the country spent six days in Washington D.C. learning about leadership through a historical lens. I worked with two LFGs or (Leadership Focus Groups) over a two week period. Though I was bit homesick myself by the end of the two weeks, I’m happy that I had the experience. The children I worked with were great. They were children who listened, who were respectful, and just made my time there worthwhile. It was a great way to end my classroom experience. I’ve been asked, “What will you do next?” I don’t know exactly what’s next, and though I won’t be in a classroom setting, I will continue to impact the lives of children. After all, it is what I’m called to do.