Is It Time to Jump Ship?

How do you know when it is time to leave…

to retire…

to change jobs…

to jump ship and switch careers?

Maybe you are looking for an “aha” moment to point you in the right direction.

A signal that shows it.  is.  time…

unnamedI am a teacher. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. I’ve always known that my passion is dreaming…

learning…

teaching.

That was until the beginning of November 2015.

I had just run and finished a 26.2-mile marathon. The school year was underway. My daughter Aubrey was in First Grade two doors down the hall from my classroom. Life was jammin’ and jivin’. I had a fresh student-teacher to work with and a team of dynamic, skilled, and supportive coworkers.

We also had some new administrators. At a meeting, all teachers were asked to write a statement presenting justifications to our new admin team where we felt we fit on the “compensation framework”. Having a master’s degree and almost twenty positive years of experience at the same school, I was confident in myself and my coworker’s expertise in our teaching craft.

Fast forward a few weeks, it was Friday. All the administrators were at a nearby college’s “new teacher recruitment fair”. Letters were placed in teacher mailboxes minutes before the end of the school day. These letters contained our “scores” of Educator 1, 2, or 3. Each level associated with performance descriptors such as seeks and receives coaching and instruction, uses data to inform instructional decisions, or collaborates across grade levels and disciplines.

I stood in the carpeted corridor next to the teacher’s lounge. I nonchalantly opened my official white envelop to discover that I was placed at a level 1. I stood for a moment, refolded it, placed it back in its wrapper and I walked back toward my classroom.

Shock.

Small groups of teachers were already congregating in the hallways…some sobbing, others comforting. Everyone was shell shocked.

Although there was a smattering of 2s and a rumored 3, we all felt slammed and misunderstood by our fresh-faced 29-year-old principal.

What followed this event was a year of teacher non-renewals and teachers who quickly applied for and accepted by positions in other school districts. Others made dramatic career changes mid-year. It seemed that another teacher or one of our gifted support staff was leaving each week. It wasn’t just fellow “educators”, or colleagues that were leaving…no. These were my friends. I commuted almost 60 miles roundtrip each day for to this district, this school to work with these people. As a teacher, you love teaching, you love the students, but in my case, I also loved my colleagues.

It wasn’t just a simple aha moment, but a series of moments. I knew it was the beginning of the end.
Who is Lisa

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3 thoughts on “Is It Time to Jump Ship?

  1. This broke my heart to read. I knew that something had happened during the rumored “4 years ago”, but I can only imagine the shock that would have been to the entire building.

    I’m so sorry that happened, but I am so grateful that I was able to experience the beauty and mystery that your room held for the students. I can’t tell you enough that you changed my life and how I view education. You are an amazing teacher.

    You are the teacher I strive to become when I grow up.

    I truely hope you enjoy your retirement, because you have earned it.

  2. Did you retire? Remember when you close one door another door opens. Sounds to me like everyone got a slap in the face from an inexperienced administrator. Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way. Her direction of where she wants programs and teaching must be different from all the experienced teachers. Could it be that administration wants to watch the budget and make it unpleasant or insulting for those who have a lifetime of experience? If they leave they can hire new teachers without a masters degree and pay them a lot less. Just a very sad thought. If that is the case, they certainly aren’t taking into consideration what is best for the students.

    Whatever you decide will be the right move for you. Do things that you always wanted to do but never had the time to do, ie write a series of children books, create a teacher blog. If your not ready to retire full time you can always teach on a part time or casual part time bases. Take some time to think about what you would like to do. The world is waiting for you to decide your next journey. Let us know what that will be.

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