A year ago yesterday I took a wild leap away from expectations, and I’m not sure that I’ve landed yet. In leaving the classroom, I walked away from the path I had chosen and prepared for my entire adult life. It was not an easy decision, as I am not used to failing and I am (was?) not used to quitting. There have been many times in the last year that I’ve wondered whether I did the right thing, and even tried to reopen that door, but the universe has seen fit to keep it (mostly) closed.
Subbing has been a very redemptive experience because I get to work at a school where children get to be children without worrying about where their next meal is coming from or whether a loved one is going to make it home that night. And I discovered that they (and I) are, in fact, safe to be around after all. Having been at the school several times in the last few days, it has inevitably crossed my mind as to whether I could or would go back to full-time teaching if given the chance.
There’s a lot that I miss about the classroom, and things that I could probably enjoy at a school like this that were not available in the schools in which I’ve taught and interned. Mostly just a generally good foundation for learning, ability to find and use available resources, and a lack of serious backtalk or behavior issues. Funny enough, though, I had an incident today wherein I had to tell some students that while they could choose not to learn that day, they were not permitted to be disruptive to their classmates. One of the students who was working said to me, “Thanks for taking the initiative on that. [The regular teacher] just waits for them to be quiet.” Which made me laugh a bit inside, A) because that used to be my strategy, and B) because after all I’ve experienced, I just don’t tolerate nonsense well anymore, especially from students who have so much given to them. They’re not bratty in general, they just don’t know any better (or maybe I should say worse). At the risk of sounding a bit bratty myself, I think that I may only be suited for teaching in a certain type of school setting, and not that of the schools in which I found myself. But if that setting is not available to me, then I just pursue other options.
It’s been enlightening, exhausting, and absolutely terrifying to blaze my own way in the last year. Try as I might to surf other people’s bow waves, the universe has made it clear that I have to learn to swim on my own. And part of that is not being afraid of the water, which I’m gradually learning as well. A year later, I haven’t sunk, so I guess I’ll just keep swimming