It’s halfway through August and I’ve had a lot of feelings come up. I’m not returning to the classroom as I resigned at the end of the year, but my body thinks I am. It’s what we call “fake fall” on the East Coast, meaning the temps have dropped a little bit but will return to hot soon. The sun angle is changing, and I guess now the sun will set before 8pm for the foreseeable future. I can see the old green of late summer, and smell fall coming. My body knows what all these things mean, but for the first time in my life, I am not starting a new school year as a teacher, professor, or private tutor.
I realize that part of my physical reaction (buzz of anxiety, alertness, reluctance to go through the school supply aisle at Target) is part of a trauma response. Teaching in a public school can be traumatizing, and I don’t use that term lightly. Don’t get me wrong – I had so many good, fun days of teaching in my last gig. But take the inordinate amount of compassion fatigue and then top it with active shooter drills and you have yourself a shit sandwich.
I’m still sad about the fact that I had to leave. I feel for my colleagues who remain, as well as the students I served and kids I know who are returning to school. But me? Well, I’m embarking on a new journey into corporate America. And I have to admit, I’m not bitter, angry, or seething about the conditions that forced me out.
I’m sure I’ll write more about my new position, but for now suffice it to say that I’m super excited about a hefty raise, what seems like a great team, and an interesting industry where I get to use so many of the skills I’ve developed in my career over the past almost 15 years.
Even though I’m officially a #transitionedteacher, I still need to take care of my teacher self. I have to make sure she’s physically, mentally, and emotionally stable. I have to assuage her of any guilt she has about “getting out”.
PSA: If you are a fellow teacher moving into something new, please take care of yourself. Seek out therapy, get good sleep, eat nutritious food, create healthy boundaries at work. So many teachers I know suffer because of their lack of boundaries, and that stuff isn’t just going to magically go away – you have to actively work on it.