I’ve been wanting to start a new blog that would be a personal blog with a professional theme. I am aware of and read several great educational bloggers. I started to think that setting up yet another educator blog would be redundant.
I was recently offered a new position at a university, which, although it won’t take me out of education, it will take me out of the classroom. I’ve decided to take the job and as a result, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching on these last few days in the classroom. Will I ever come back to teaching?
Yesterday, (and I’m sure many females out there will relate to this) I wore my “cruel shoes”. These shoes start off in the morning feeling okay, but by the end of the day, my feet hurt like someone has been holding them in a vice grip while pouring molten nails with shards of glass over them, then grinding them into . . . . well, you get the picture. On the ride home from work (thankfully, David was driving), I tried and tried to leave those shoes on my feet, but a few blocks from home I just couldn’t stand it any longer! I took the shoes off, staring at my toes in disbelief that they didn’t look like misshapen, bloody stumps. When we got home, David laughed that I was walking barefoot in a skirt up to the house. I explained to him that once you take cruel shoes off, there is no putting them on again.
How are these three paragraphs related? Well, as I said, I’ve been soul-searching. I’m really troubled about whether I’ll ever return to a classroom. I’ve found my years of teaching are similar to that day wearing the cruel shoes. There are benefits to wearing those shoes – they look good, sometimes they even feel good, they offer some protection, they complete my look, and they don’t always hurt. The bad thing is, they hurt my feet often and I suffer through my day when I wear them. I tolerate having them on because the benefits are worth it to me for that day. But once I take them off, there is no convincing myself to put them back on, at least not for a few days.
Those shoes are the reason I’m leaving the classroom. No, not those shoes, but the metaphorical ones that represent the things I dislike about teaching. Things like the personal responsibility I feel for many children’s lives, the stress of coming up with the right lesson plans, the agony of having to make everything fit a state-prescribed formula, the worry over whether my students will have what they need to pass state-standardized tests, the disappointment when my students aren’t excited about the things I love. These are things I’ve put up with because of the benefits of teaching – that look on a kid’s face when you just may have instilled the spark in their brains for what will become their profession someday; the thank you from the student you helped prepare for a test so they could graduate three years ago who has come back for a visit; the “good days” when everything you planned works, the kids are engaged and excited, and you go home feeling like a real teacher. But now that I’m taking the shoes off, will I ever put them on again?
I decided to name my blog “Cruel Shoes” because I want it to be a place where the realities of teaching can be spoken. Oftentimes new and good teachers leave the profession because they’ve become disillusioned. They thought teaching was going to be something it can never be. They became disappointed and didn’t give the rewards time to catch up with the penalties. I’m hoping this blog will be a place where teachers can read the truth and in so doing, learn that they are not alone. A place where seasoned teachers can tell the young ones Yes, it is tough, but it is worth it.
In reality, after next week, I truly may never walk into a classroom in the capacity of teacher again. In my mind, I will never leave the classroom. As a teacher-at-heart, I will post information here about things that will be helpful to teachers, but I will also speak the truths about that information and about teaching in general. Post a comment here, let’s get this party started!