Here we go again! Another school year is upon us!
Last year, after I retired, I felt as if I might have made a mistake all those years ago when I first chose teaching as my profession. Quite frankly, I was exhausted, disillusioned, stressed and done with the educational system. The last few years of my career had been incredibly difficult. I had performed double duty as caregiver and provider for the two years my spouse fought stage 4 cancer (and won, by the way!); then a return to normal was overturned when we had a school shooting in November 2019 at the high school where I worked for 31 years; follow that up with the pandemic in March 2020; and the final nail in the coffin, was we worked through all of that without a contract and no pay raise sine 2015. No wonder I thought, "Maybe I should have gone into forestry all those years ago." The joy of teaching had been extinguished. The excitement of the new school year was gone.
I was/am not alone in how I was feeling in the summer of 2021. Record numbers of educators continue to leave the classroom due to low pay, low morale and working conditions. The numbers of younger people going into the profession continue to decrease. There is an unprecedented teacher shortage in this country. The proof is in districts that are offering signing bonuses, going to four day work weeks and hiring people without degrees or teaching credentials.
However, my joy of working with young people (and teaching adults) has never diminished. Within a couple of sessions of tutoring and working with students again, I found my joy of teaching had returned! I love it! The recognition of a concept mastered, The joy of saying something understandable! The relief of a grade that has turned around! Those are some of the reasons I entered the profession! And the connection. One on one with another person. Laughing, talking and learning I have found my niche!
So this school year, I say, "Bring it on! Let's go!"