June 1st marked the end of my teaching career. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m in the process of moving to Washington D.C. for grad school. When I first began my teaching career I was full of hope and energy. The whole premise behind me wanting to be a teacher was the hope that I’d be able to impact the lives of others. That’s all I’ve wanted to do as long as I can remember. I didn’t always want to be a teacher, but I did always want to help people and impact their lives in a positive way.
Teaching is quite possibly the most difficult, most under appreciated career path. When I first started teaching, I knew it would be difficult. I knew I would be working 70 hour weeks and not getting paid for half of the time I put in. I knew I would my patience would be tested by working with teenagers. I knew my bedtime would change from 1 am to 8 pm. I knew of most of the sacrifices I was going to be making in order to do what I wanted to do.
However, I didn’t know the impact the career would have on me. I couldn’t possibly comprehend how working with teenagers all day would make me realize how much hope there is. It is very easy to feel hopeless in our world, but my students were full of life and energy and ready to make things better. Not all of them of course, but most of them.
My students over the past nearly three years have made me feel invincible and like a superhero and intelligent. They’ve made me feel important and special and worthy. They’ve made me feel shitty and impatient and harsh. They’ve made me feel exhausted and short fused and numb. But they’ve taught me more about what it means to be a human than I ever thought they could.
People always ask me why I teach high school and I always reply saying that high schoolers are difficult shit heads 95% of the time, but that other 5% they are vulnerable and growing and honest. It has truly been an honor to see my students become themselves.
Teaching is hard. The hardest, most frustrating, thankless job I’ve ever had. It has changed me and shaped me. It has thrown me into the void and helped me climb out. I hope that wherever I go in life and whatever I am doing, I never stop being a teacher in some way, shape, or form. Teaching is important. Teaching is progress. Teaching is love in its purest form.
I will miss being in the classroom. I will miss seeing the lightbulb go on. I will miss the unpredictability, yet routine of every single day. I will miss feeling needed. I will miss being the fearless leader. The tool shop. The soundboard. The problem solver. The listening ear. The pass writer. The scolding scholar. The warm heart. The question answerer. But I’m on to my next adventure in the world of education. I hope to learn as much from my next career path as I have learned at the front of the classroom.