A few weeks ago, a job opportunity presented itself. It would allow me to use all my different areas of expertise: ESL teacher, dual language supporter, and writing background. The company has a supportive community, and I already know and love many people who work there. In many ways, it’s a perfect fit that might not come around again—or at least not for a long time.
It’s been a tough decision for me, and I’ve been spending a lot of time weighing pros and cons, really trying to ask myself if I’m ready to leave the classroom. Would the lessening of daily stress level be better for my health? Not that there wouldn’t be stress in the new job, just a different kind that might not be so overwhelming—or at least so overwhelming on a day-to-day basis.
At first I thought I couldn’t give up having summers off, but then I learned pretty much everything would be the same—similar summers, similar breaks, and similar money. Everything seems equal, which only makes the decision that much more difficult.
Some days, with changes to education (tying test scores to teacher pay, funding issues, constant additions to the workload), I think about how I can possibly stay. How many more years will I have enough energy to continue working so hard and feel such little gained while testing more and more and more?
For someone who has never worked outside the bell system, even the lure of having a true lunch, where I’d have enough time to leave campus, would be an exciting proposition. Besides changing up my duties for another form of challenging work, I could have lunch with my kids or be able to volunteer in their classrooms once in a while. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t daydream about heading off to yoga on occasion with the more flexible schedule.
And then, while giving a state-mandated test—which I abhor—I looked down at a test booklet. It was for one of my newcomer students who’d only been in the US for about two months. She’s sweet and hardworking. The sentence she needed to fill in was about a teacher she liked. She’d chosen to write about me, and on the line that said, “I like this teacher because__________” she wrote: “She me love.” She’s right. I do love her. And suddenly, I couldn’t imagine leaving.
What helps you make up your mind?