A Much Needed Change
It was one of those deafening silences, those muted explosions, an event where two diametrically opposed ideas held presence, the embodiment of a mutual exclusion. If you can somehow imagine what it sounds like for a soul to crack, you'll glimpse what it felt like.
Right now, in March of 2019, I’m a teacher, and I’ve been a teacher for 12 years. But I won’t be a teacher for long. The transition will take time - and approaching 43, time is something that seems to be disappearing at an increasing rate - but it will happen. I don’t have the skills yet to get where I want to go, but I’m working on it. That’s the main reason for starting this blog, to kind of detail my experience, relate events, tell my story. Why? Because our stories must be told. Our stories have no life unless they are known. And all our stories deserve to live. But also, I'm planning a significant life-trajectory change beyond the midpoint of the average US male life expectancy. And being the inherent educator that I am, perhaps somebody along the way who faces a similar situation might benefit from my ramblings. Forgive, I get ahead of myself.
On a brisk January morning not too long ago, I was explaining to my high school juniors that they needed to start taking the class more seriously. The end of the semester was approaching, and I informed them that half of the class was failing. From the back of the room came a snide, “That’s because you’re a bad teacher.” I chuckled. This comment in and of itself would have been harmless. I’ve had students complain about my teaching before, and it’s something most all of us teachers deal with at one point or another. Not everybody likes the way we do things, and we as teachers do things differently from each other.
But it was what happened next that would prove to be the catalyst for my descent. Immediately after the comment was uttered, the entire class erupted in applause.I'll never be able to aptly describe that pain.
And I laughed it off because, well, what else could I do standing in front of 30 teenagers? But after I redirected the conversation and the class period wore on, the damage that had been done began to fester and metastasize.
You have to be tough to be a teacher. You have to be able to take beating after beating after beating in the forms of behavior, disrespect, abusive language, less-than-supportive admin, and just downright meanness. There’s a reason that teachers are leaving the profession at record rates, multiple reasons actually, many of them related. I understand them; I’ve been impervious to them.
On that cold winter morning, however, the raucous consensus of my ineptitude crossed a line. It was uncomfortable because it was disorienting. And it was disorienting because I didn’t know the line existed. Something inside me broke and broke forever. And it’s never coming back.
The realization that it's gone forever is even more shocking than the break itself. My road to becoming a teacher was a very long, difficult, painful one, but one that I endured because I believed in the ultimate outcome. I believed in the good that being a teacher could bring (largely due to the absence of good teachers I had). At every setback and every hurdle there was always in my mind that one student who would choose to press on amid adversity because of a caring teacher. Me. But that's a story for another time.
Suffice it to say, my teaching career is effectively over. I will keep it on life support until I can move on. It pays the bills right now, and it's not so bad that I'll lose my mind if I continue . . . yet.
So what does a 43-year-old, 12-year veteran teacher do for a career change? Why, Information Technology of course.
Stay tuned as I delve into my journey of transition from teacher to IT professional. Next up, the serendipitous discovery of www.cybrary.it