Prominent Teachers Leaving The Blogosphere

Summer is a time for change for both teachers and students. The CEA Blog would like to wish the following teachers a fond farewell; they’re leaving their current teaching assignments behind, and leaving the profession temporarily, if not permanently.

Click on the jump below to learn more about them and to read excerpts of their farewell posts.

Mrs. Frizzle: leaving to try her hand at writing.

I told some of my students that I wouldn’t be coming back next year – it came up naturally as part of an end-of-year events conversation.  I spun it as reaching out for new opportunities, which is true, though being really, really tired and ready for a lower-stress job that still means something is also part of it.  When I said I was leaving to become a writer, one girl asked if I was going to write a book about them.

TMAO at Teaching In The 408: a former Teach For America alum– leaving, just leaving.

I’m burnt-out.
This is another one of those things I hear teachers say frequently, and more often than not it prompts an immediate, and probably unfair, response: Burnt-out? Fool, you gotta be on. fire. first. then maybe we can talk about burnt-out.

I think I was on fire, once, and maybe most days still am. If the flames are less high and maybe less intense than they once were, it’s only because there’s a different type of fuel burning now. Still, the kids are, in the words of Don DeLillo, “an open wound of need and want.”

There is no free time, no mental energy, no chunk of your finances that cannot be poured in that gaping wound like the most potent of Hydrogen Peroxides, a pouring that fuels the kind of consumption that only reinforces the pouring, justifies it, encourages it, emboldens future pourings and the expansion of the pouring into a variety of other areas. This is the root of the famous many-hats cliche, the thing so many of us simultaneously relish and decry about this work. I’m not happy unless I’m putting the best product in front of kids, but I’m not necessarily happy in the constant construction and revision of that product.

I’m not happy unless I use work hours 80-82 to take kids to the District All-Star Basketball Game, but I’m not necessarily happy working hours 80-82. I’m not happy unless I’m being the teacher I see in my head, but the process of finding that guy and living as him no longer makes me happy.

Is that burn-out? If you can connect the dots, feel free, cuz I don’t know how to chase my tail on this anymore.

Mr. AB at From The TFA Trenches: Moving to China with his wife to teach there for a few years, but will return to the states to teach and continue his service.

Four years ago, one of the three good teachers I encountered in my credential program framed TFA perfectly. Talking to a group of corps members who were attending her office hours, she said, “Ask yourself: is your teaching service or philanthropy?”

Two years, or four years even, given to the needy masses as a present from the rich and mighty, for the quiet quid pro quo of networking and resume building, is as much philanthropy as a $10,000 check to an art museum. Don’t get me wrong: Philanthropy is a good thing and we need plenty of it, but it is a gift, nothing more. Philanthropy can be an investment in the community, but also the assuaging of guilt, the buying of indulgences, or a public relations campaign. Literally, it implies an affection for people, no deeper values or ensuing commitments.

Service is work. It is a labor wrought for the benefit of others. It implies that the power is in the hands of the one being served, connoting a sense of humility and selflessness in the very act. Serving must be modified into “self-serving” to suggest a personal benefit. When you serve your community or your country, you validate its needs and subsume your own. Service demands an egalitarian value, a belief that the people being served are worthy of the work.