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Please be a teacher: A Response to Warnings and Resignation Letters

Please be a teacher: A Response to Warnings and Resignation Letters.

This is a blog post I read recently that got me thinking a lot about things I had put out of my mind. Namely, how and why I left classroom teaching, and do I still consider myself a teacher.

I used to teach Biology and Chemistry – first at the college level as a grad student, and then at an exclusive prep school.  I loved being a student, and I loved being a teacher. I loved the classroom.  I loved my students.  I loved the work.  It was the best job I ever had – and I would still be doing it, if it were possible.  But it isn’t.  I found myself pushed and prodded and bullied and micromanaged to such a degree, it made doing the actual job, the work I was so crazy good at*, impossible.  Why would they hire an expert, and then not allow her to function?  It was an obscene farce.

I soldiered on for eight years, believing in the work I was doing.  But finally, what amounted to the last straw was an ethical dilemma, where I found administrators more intent on maintaining their power than doing the right thing for some kids who were bullied.  I was disgusted.  I couldn’t bring myself to be in the same room as those people for one more day.  All I could think was – “You don’t get to work with me anymore.”

That meant – no more being a teacher for me.

Or did it?  I entered what I called “semi-retirement” – I puttered around at home, went to the library, went for long walks in botanical gardens, swam laps.  But I couldn’t turn off the teaching part of my brain. I found myself still mentally composing lectures and activities for my students – but I had no students.  I used to teach about 50 students a year, intensively. I missed them.

Well, I found a way.  Now I teach thousands, through Socratica, all over the world.  I can still be a teacher.  I still am a teacher.

KHH

*not to tootle my own horn, but I was awfully good at my job.  Presidential awards and other commendations. Unbelievably high test scores. After taking my class, kids got lab jobs and into top colleges – the works.  But nothing was ever good enough.

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2 thoughts on “Please be a teacher: A Response to Warnings and Resignation Letters

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