Comparing my profession to finding the right pair of running shoes is fraught with all kinds of potential inaccuracies and legitimate criticisms, but the fact remains that education is in trouble because we aren’t listening to the experts, we aren’t helping teachers find the right fit, and we aren’t spending the money where we need to spend it and providing the resources necessary to do the most effective work. And the refusal to do so is pushing teachers out of the classroom at an unsustainable rate and leaving children without education experts with the knowledge and skills to teach them at every level.
I have no idea what this coming school year holds. I don’t know how long I will be teaching in person, if or when we will be forced online, and I don’t know what school is going to look like for my own kids. I’m scared and apprehensive and exhausted and hopeful all at the same time.
This August, I will put on a mask and pack a personal bottle of hand sanitizer in my teacher bag next to my favorite grading pens. I will come back to the classroom because it is the most important space where I can make a difference. I will return as a teacher every fall for the foreseeable future because of the challenge, not in spite of it. Books will be loved by the right reader without my tutelage, but I will not be the same without the opportunity to teach.
It was an amazing trip full of beautiful experiences, lovely people, and the slow re-emergence of a little bit of my high school Spanish from long ago. While I missed my family terribly, I am also glad that I took the chance to get out of my comfort zone and try something completely new. It was certainly a spring break experience to remember before getting back to reality.
I’m really great at setting idealistic goals and then being seriously disappointed when I get to the end of a break and I don’t achieve those goals. And it’s usually not for lack of trying. My husband likes to call them my “Sarahntees,” well-intentioned “promises” of things that I really want to see take place, but life gets in the way or the goal takes significantly longer than I intended which means I have to either put other, smaller tasks to the side or scrap the bigger idea for something less complicated.