Back to School Blues
For the first time in 13 years, I'm not heading back into the classroom. I'm not heading back to ONE individual school where I will devote my time, heart, energy and services. I've been racing through the summer on a cloud through the journey my career is taking me, so having anger, sadness and frustration pop up the last few days has been pretty unexpected. I was able to talk with my counselor about it this morning and realized that I'm grieving a loss, a huge loss at that.
Being a teacher was my identity for 13 years. I served one year as a vice principal, but even that year was devoted to supporting teachers and making their jobs easier. I love working with students - struggling adolescents and under-served populations in particular. So as my husband and daughter get prepped to go back to school, I am sitting on the sidelines this year headed in a different direction. And I'm sad.
With teachers leaving the profession in droves, I can understand and empathize where they are coming from. Teaching is NOT for the faint of heart. If you're going to last in the teaching profession, it's because you care VERY DEEPLY for the students and families you serve. Many secondary teachers roll in thinking it's about their academic subject, when realistically that can't be farther from the truth. There is often a sense of shock when they get out of the honeymoon period of "good" student behavior and kids start feeling comfortable enough to let their guards down. They test you - they test your boundaries and your willpower just to see how much they can get away with. And they have the ability to slowly drive you insane if you don't take care of yourself.
Even with impeccable classroom management skills, you're human and need support. You need tools to be able to work with challenging behaviors as they arise. I managed to do this pretty well for 13 years, and the only thing worth stepping out of the classroom for me, is knowing that I'm working with a variety of schools, districts, teachers and students, to help give teachers these much-needed tools so they want to stay in the profession and continue to serve our students so desperately in need of strong role models.
I'm writing a book with many of these tools, strategies and supports that will be out in October. Until then please know, for all of my educator friends and colleagues heading back into the classroom, I'm thinking of you and here to support you every step of the way. If I'm coming to your school and/or district in the coming months for PD and/or coaching/mentoring, please stop me and let's have a dialogue about anything you might be struggling with. I'm here to help. I WANT TO HELP. If not, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me virtually if you're in need of support.
You are on my mind and in my heart.
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