Next week I’m starting a new job as a vice principal. A friend I was chatting with asked me why I left the classroom. Except she didn’t want an answer in the DM we were chatting in – she asked for a blog post. So here it is 🙂
It’s a long answer, and has to do with my past and my future. First, the past. I came from as close to a perfect position as a teacher could ever dream of. I got to loop with my students for two years and teach a world history class with a cross-curricular Humanities focus. The English teacher I collaborated with on this is a brilliant teacher and human being. The smaller learning community team I was on – the math, science, and English teachers that shared the same students I taught – was nails. I was 1:1. I had administrators that trusted me to take risks and do right by my kids. I had colleagues that pushed me to be better. I got to take risks and get pushed and do what I wanted, do what my students and I wanted – in my classroom. That’s a hard spot to get immediately back to.
But the larger part of my rationale for leaving the classroom dealt with the future. As a middle class straight white cisgender male with a Masters degree, I am the epitome of privilege in this world. If people like me, people with incredible privilege, aren’t going to try to maximize the positive impact that they are having on the world, well, what’s the point? I agree everyone can help. But for me there’s an urgency there, to try to make the system that benefits me so much better for more students, for more people.
I loved the impact I got to have on the 110 kids I got to teach every year. But could I have a bigger impact? Could I help create the space and support for more teachers to take risks to do right by their kids? Could I help more kids feel loved, feel valued, than I did?
For me, a way to try to answer those questions meant to leave the classroom. But I honestly don’t know if the answer to those questions is yes or not. I am hopeful that it is.
I also know that I could teach history for the rest of my life and love it. But I want this challenge. I want to step outside my comfort zone and see if I can do this. If I can have a bigger positive impact. We’ll see if it happens or not. I’m excited and thrilled for the opportunity though!