It's preference sheet time again, and if I want to get out and enjoy the beautiful day, I should be busy as a bee cranking out my letter of intent to re-apply for my current position. (For whatever reason, all out-of-classroom teachers have to submit a resume and a letter of intent to re-apply for the jobs they currently hold, even if they've held the position for years. Presumably because out-of-classroom positions are considered desirable and therefore apt to be subject to seniority rearrangements? I know that in many schools, out-of-classroom teachers are practically considered the scum of the earth and don't appear to work very hard, but in my school we're working our fannies off just as much as anyone else.)
But instead I'm clicking around the Internet, randomly applying for jobs in other school districts, trying to find anyone in this economy who might be hiring. I spent the weekend clicking through the Facebook pages of teachers with whom I attended school in Massachusetts, whose elementary school websites look like cheery places where teachers design their own units and nobody collects their binders or rearranges their schedules at will. It reminded me that there was a time when I actually enjoyed teaching -- imagine that! -- and that maybe there are schools left where all the joy isn't sucked out of learning by checklists and labels and data. I always thought I would stick it out in NYC public schools or leave teaching altogether, because the alternative -- getting a teaching job in a district outside NYC -- is nearly impossible. The whole thing has left me feeling pretty gloomy on this first pretty spring day.
Naturally "the grass is always greener" and all that, but it's that time of year -- just three days before our spring break -- when I'm so discouraged and disheartened by the thought of another year in this place. I don't know how teachers do it year after year until they retire.
Just a few days ago a colleague of mine, who is tenured, advised me to "get out" as soon as I got my tenure. She's been at my school more than five years. I could never, ever envision myself still here in five years...and I pray that I won't be.
I think most employees of the DOE have similar thoughts as soon as the preference sheets go out. I used to have a fantasy about being excessed because it would all be over and I could finally move on. Like you, I felt that if I were excessed I would leave the system completely. I don't know what it is, but something keeps me coming back and torturing myself with this job year after year. Maybe its because it is truly a job where you can see the difference you make in young lives. I'm not sure, but I'll be back next year.
I wish you could sign up to work in MY room with ME! We NEED out of the classroom teachers who rock...desperately. So far, we have one. I can see all the glorious reading progress now!
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