In my classroom

Yes, that’s a watch on my wrist. For telling time. Remember those?

I finally resigned from what I thought would be a defining and fulfilling career as a classroom teacher. For the last four years, I’ve received a letter about extending my leave of absence another 12 months, and I always renewed it and tucked the letter away in a “teaching stuff” file.

For a while I hid under the warm, fuzzy haze of denial, pretending that one day I’d be ready to commute from New Jersey to Coney Island for 8am classes. For a while I hemmed and hawed,Β Oh sure, I could do it. We’d hire someone to take the kids to the bus and put them in aftercare. For a while I forgot what it was like to grade essays and exams and plan lessons and fill out paperwork and stay late for meetings and collapse at the end of the week. But I always knew that it wouldn’t work. And because I’m in the lucky position of having the choice – I didn’t make it work.

The hardest part of finally tapping the impersonal NYCDOE link, filling in my file number and clicking “resign” was that I had to admit that I just wasn’t that into it. My passion for classroom teaching had faded enough that I cried a few tears and was grumpy and growling around the house for a day, but I still resigned. I had to admit that maybe what I always thought was a calling was actually just a job.

Because really, if it was about life’s passion and a need to share the life-altering power of literature and communication, I would have taken classes to teach in New Jersey. I would have kept up with classroom volunteering wherever I could find it. I would have read more education publications and kept up with best practices and devoured more books.

Because really, the side-long glance excuse of “I don’t want to deal with parents like me” is half-hearted, at best. I’ve dealt with overbearing parents and desperate parents and parents who were willing to fall just short of bribery and threats to raise a grade or forgive a transgression.

Because really, I enjoy the autonomy of running a small business and volunteering a whole lot and following passions that don’t depend on a relationship with a paycheck. And people like me fill in a lot of gaps that government checks and schools and churches and other parents can’t or won’t. And that’s okay. And that’s good. And that’s what a village is all about.

Because really, attaching my entire identity to a career I believed defined my self turned out to be not all of me. I have found I can teach in many ways. And sometimes people listen and learn even without the motivation of a grade. And sometimes they don’t. And then sometimes they do.

Because really, having a choice may feel unbearably difficult, but it’s the easiest thing in the world.



yeah write. it’s where you want to be.


About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. #RESIST
This entry was posted in random observation, Things I love, yeah write and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Resignation.

  1. Erica M says:

    Congratulations on your decision! That sounds weird. Does one celebrate a decision or making a decision? Lemme start again:

    Congratulations on the clean break and a new life phase!

    (For the record, I am the desperate parent who gives really generous Christmas gifts then forgets all about teacher appreciation day, so that averages out to a C+)

    • Either way is better than the implied threat about “Do you know who I am?” or “You work for me, Lady.” At the high school level nobody remembers Teacher Appreciation Day anyway.

      And for the record, I HAD to resign. The very generous five year leave of absence for child care was going to run out in October…otherwise I’d just keep hanging on and living in purgatory.

  2. Yay you! I did the exact same thing… without actually making a decision. i kept putting off going back to work. i knew i wasn’t, didn’t even pretend to look for child care for my new baby, but for some reason couldn’t admit that or put the nail in the coffin. so i stalled, until finally my agency was bought out and we were all laid off!! how fabulous was that? I liked my work, but although it can be crazy, and sometimes mind numbing, i like staying home and being one of the village people. πŸ™‚

    • That’s kind of how this all started. Before I had my first, I swore I’d be back to work within six weeks. But then red tape and reality of child care caught me up in its net and made me happy to stay home for a few months…and by the time I went back – I was preggers again.

  3. rarasaur says:

    Onward, indeed! Cheers to a bright future! πŸ™‚

  4. outlawmama says:

    This is how I feel about law but I’m having a hard time resigning. I love this post.

  5. Eugene says:

    Nice piece. Sometimes a calling turns into a job, sometimes it’s vice versa, and it usually surprises you either way.

  6. mamarific says:

    You are right, you can teach in many ways, one of which is through Yeah Write. I have learned a thing or two from you πŸ™‚

  7. zoe says:

    WOW. congratulations…choice is a great thing but the result ie change can be tough ( great too…but tough). Glad you’ve found your direction!

  8. I think you may have found your real passion after all. Running your own business? Sounds beyond cool.

  9. Amy says:

    Great post Kristin!

  10. nikkiana says:

    NJ to Coney Island? Sheesh… That’s one hell of a commute! Congrats on making the decision that’s best for you!

  11. Decisions. Whether tough ones, ones that need to be made, easy ones, not my strength. (As you’ve witnessed since I can’t even pick a restaurant for lunch.) I felt anxious for you. But I think taking a step forward does deserve congratulations. So good for you πŸ™‚ PS, love the picture AND the caption.

  12. Karen says:

    I hope your new path is full of great things. Congratulations on your micro-business.

    It’s also awesome that you are volunteering. Some of the best experiences of my life have come through volunteer work.


  13. I think that sometimes what we think is a calling turns into just a regular job, and things we thought were “hobbies” become callings. Congratulations on your big decision and your next chapter. You’re already doing such incredible things. The village is lucky to have you.

    • So true. And part of what helped me make the break is that I remembered the less-than-lovely aspects, and how it would affect the life I’ve built with the autonomy I now have. It also helped me remember how extremely rare and lucky my current position is. It may not be the same a year from now, and I may not have the freedom to make the same choice. But for now….

  14. Cheryl T says:

    I LOVE this line “having a choice may feel unbearably difficult, but it’s the easiest thing in the world” … I think the choice is the easy part – the consequences of that choice – a little more challenging. It sounds like your world is more settled now that you have moved on to things that fulfill your heart and nurture your soul – I’m happy for you πŸ™‚ Great post!

  15. iasoupmama says:

    I’m not sure that that people don’t have more than one calling. I think you get a calling that fits your life at the time it calls and when it doesn’t fit your life any more, something else calls. You just have to listen — and it sounds like you have. So brava!

  16. I hear you here and am happy you took the “do I/don’t I” decision off your shoulders. The anxiety of not deciding can be debilitating for me. I took a long time deciding whether or not to go back to my old career – the thought of which made my stomach hurt every time – and felt a great relief coupled with the fear of navigating a new, unclear path. Here’s to you and next chapters. Wonderful post!

    • Thank you! It’s funny…just today I was gabbing with another “at home right now” teacher. It immediately came back to when – not if – we’d be going back to the classroom. I guess my moment of clarity is over. 😦

  17. dorothyadele says:

    Congratulations on your resignation, you will never regret following your heart.

  18. Kiki says:

    What a great piece about this decision and choice. Sounds like you figured out the right thing for you and I’m glad. I hope it feels peaceful now that you’re official.

  19. dadofthedecade says:

    What a brave thing. The best thing in the world is a passionate teacher, and one of the hardest things in the world is a teacher who no longer is. Good on you.

  20. Cindy Reed says:

    Onward, indeed. On a jealousy side, I wish I had your choice πŸ™‚

    • I know! It’s an enviable position. I also feel lucky because I realize that it could very well be an incredibly short-lived choice. And I love that watch! I wish I knew where it was now…

  21. Cindy Reed says:

    Also – the watch? Swag.

  22. Love this post so much. As someone who has defined herself as a teacher, stay at home mother and now a work at home writer/business owner, at each time in my life, I could have never imagined that next step in my life. I held on strongly to what I defined myself at each time and had a difficult time letting go to move onward to a new period.

  23. Shanique says:

    Congratulations..Your prize is greater peace of mind and happiness in the fact that you are following your heart.

  24. Ken says:

    It’s never a bad thing, when you find you’ve grown and your interests have shifted, that you’re brave enough to take steps to act on that. Good luck with whatever is hiding around the next bend. πŸ™‚

  25. “What I always thought was a calling was actually just a job” – wow, such a profound realization! I haven’t been in that place – always worked jobs I didn’t care much about, chasing my calling on the side. I hope someday I’ll be able to choose, like you.

  26. Jorge says:

    it’s interesting the choices we make and where life leads us. 10 years ago, I was convinced I wanted to direct films and that that was my destiny somehow. But now, you couldn’t pay me enough money to stand around on a set for 16 hours and boss people around.

  27. Congrats on your decision! It’s always exciting to end one path and focus more on another.

  28. Stacie says:

    This sounds like just the right thing! We need your efforts in gun control!

  29. Rachel J says:

    This made me so happy on so many levels. Been thinking about it since. When I read this I thought of you

  30. Yessss, K-Dubs! Yes. Onward, for real. What a great post. Congratulations. Clearly you’ve learned the greatest lessons about yourself from the best teacher of all. πŸ™‚ Fantastic!

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