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Making the Decision to Leave the Classroom

Mar 01, 2024
leaving the classroom


In the years leading up to my resignation from my beloved teaching position, I found myself making innumerable pros and cons lists. Leaving the classroom was a decision fraught with inner turmoil, a dilemma I grappled with long before the pandemic's onset. Teaching had always been my calling; I reveled in the connections with students, the camaraderie among colleagues, and the joy of growing and learning together. Yet, beneath the surface, the dysfunction of the school system, culture, and environment grew.

The mantra, "Shut the door and do what's best for your students," had long sustained me through many bureaucratic frustrations. But eventually, the dysfunction and toxicity penetrated my classroom walls and became impossible to ignore. Micromanagement, pedagogically unsound initiatives, and impotent responses to bullying eroded morale and disregarded the students' true needs. Despite my attempts at diplomacy, voicing these concerns rendered me an outcast. The hostility from administration during the Spring of 2020 was palpable and ultimately marked my breaking point.

"They really don't care about us," echoed relentlessly in my mind during that grueling summer break. Dread, anger, sadness, and resentment consumed me. For the first time in nearly a decade, I couldn't summon excitement for the new school year. Tears and outrage replaced my usual optimism and silliness. The person I once knew, the one who savored impromptu dance parties and embraced life's adventures, I couldn't find her anymore.

With a heavy heart, I finally tendered my resignation that July. Despite pouring my heart into my work, my employer's indifference stung. "We'll miss you, but I'm sure we'll find a replacement," they remarked casually. It was a confirmation of my fears: my efforts had been in vain. At that moment, I had clarity – I had made the right choice.

Though heartbreaking, leaving the classroom was the best decision for my family and me. Two weeks later, my husband's embrace and our collective sigh again affirmed my decision to leave. It took nearly two years to heal all of the emotional turmoil I'd been through. Ultimately I emerged as a version of myself my children describe as annoyingly happy, confident, and proud of my accomplishments.

And while there are still times that I miss having a classroom full of students, I truly love what I do now and the person it is allowing me to become.

Best wishes always,