Have you ever been told to do something and then gotten in trouble for doing it? Psychologists call it a double-bind. It’s a no-win situation where you are damned if you do, and you are damned if you don’t. Although shocked and blindsided, I realized in those moments that I was fighting a monster far bigger than I was. My crime was following directions, yet for some reason I was getting in trouble for it. I hung my head and cried for a few minutes, and decided that if he was putting me in that position, then I quit. I disagreed with the letter as well as the whole process of the team and assistant principals talking about me behind my back and planning to destroy my career without a benefit of a doubt or any willingness to help me in my perceived weak areas. It was clearly personal and political, and it was a bigger, more sinister monster than I wanted to fight.
Gift: I walked away with my dignity and integrity knowing I followed directions and worked as hard as I could to be the best math teacher I could be. I am now able to re-focus my energies on my family and my health and not feel the negative side effects that come from working in a toxic environment. I know that I forged meaningful relationships with the students and motivated them to work. If you know me, you know I love math. You know I love science. You know I love kids and teaching. This negative experience helped me to sharpen my focus and to re-examine my professional philosophies. It gave me the opportunity to spend time reflecting on the past and how to use past experiences to achieve future dreams. I will not lower my standards or compromise my integrity for a flawed public school system. Instead, I will work for myself and focus on teaching math, one-on-one without the interference of a highly politicized work environment. I do believe that education is the key to success, and that learning never ends. I still aim to teach kids to love math and to love learning throughout their lives, wherever their strengths may lie. I am focusing on expanding my private math tutoring business and opening up a website in the future to help kids learn and love math.
Why tell this story? I want to set the record straight that I quit only because they told me I couldn’t stay. If any former students or parents are reading this entry, I want to tell them I did not quit on the kids. I feel that they lost the most in this experience. All of a sudden I was gone, and they didn’t know why. I heard from one of my students a few weeks after I left, and she said the administration told my students I quit because I got another job. I want all the kids and parents to know I did not get another job. I only left because I couldn’t stay, and I didn’t know how finish the year when I didn’t know what to do day-to-day. I want them to know it wasn’t because of them; it was because of the staff and administration. I still believe in the kids, and I still believe in education. I will keep being me and keep doing what I do regardless of whether this particular school wants me or not. I know who I am – and I know what I’m about, and I won’t let this negative experience destroy me. I will use it as fuel to for purusing my dreams. These are all pearls (of wisdom) on a string.
Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!