Admittedly, the words sound whiny even in my head. But I can’t help it.
Now that the year is nearly over, I’m not ready to go.
I do understand that I was incredibly lucky to have had this school year and to have met such wonderful people. And I know all good things come to an end.
But after all my grandiose claims about not being sad to say goodbye and moving on gracefully, I have to acknowledge that I’m not ready to let go of this community. For the first time, I’ve found a group of teachers who truly support one another in every way possible, and I can’t believe the difference it makes at work, at home, for the students, and for the teachers.
Please don’t misunderstand; I’ve worked with incredible teachers throughout my teaching career, and I’ve seen abundant acts of kindness.
But never before have I seen the kind of cohesion that provides a support system, which reaffirms and bolsters, as I have recently experienced.
From morning greetings to heart-warming texts, from literal to figurative shoulders to cry on, from lesson collaboration to tag-teaming exams, I’ve seen what it’s like when teachers work together without concern for competition or judgment. It’s an amazing sight. And for the first time, I saw my kind of role models…teachers I hope to be half as cool as at some point in my life.
I am not ready to let this go.
I am not ready to return to the independent struggle faced by so many teachers.
I’m not ready to see my coworkers as competitors or judges.
I’m not ready to let ridiculous testing standards and assessments break my spirit.
Or feel that my voice has no weight because it is a solitary voice.
Which makes me wonder…do I have to?
While I know it is very unlikely that I will ever work with any of these teachers again, I can’t help but wonder if all is not lost. Can a similar sense of community be fostered elsewhere?
One of my co-workers suggested that I take “Quesadilla Day” with me, but what if I take more?
What if lunches could be turned into happy occasions for camaraderie?
What if grade level and subject area cohorts resulted in an equal division of the workload and not a stalemate over differences of opinion?
What if we congratulated and celebrated one another, instead of continually comparing ourselves and feeling insufficient?
The answer is the possibility of a community of teachers who could band together and create a positive workplace. While there would still be rough days and incessant demands, we would no longer feel alone in our struggle.
I’ve seen it. It is possible. And I believe it can live on for more than a season.
So, am I ready to let go of this amazing community? Absolutely not.
Yet, there is hope for amazing communities elsewhere. So I will take that hope with me when I go.
Oh, and “Quesadilla Day”…that’s coming, too.