Three dusty, plastic crates sit in a closet in my apartment.
Their contents include hardcover, dog-eared Folger Library editions of Shakespeare plays, piles of novels, hanging folders, manila folders, scattered handouts and a couple of DVDs. (Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Kenneth Branagh’s “Othello,” to be exact).
In one of the boxes, a calculator plays bedfellow to a neon-green Koosh ball, made super sticky from being touched by hundreds of kids.
In another box, there’s a small, stained-glass suncatcher depicting Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims on the way to Canterbury — a gift from students I had seven years ago, in my first year of teaching.
But I haven’t touched any of my school stuff in awhile…not since I joined the ranks of Those Who Taught this September.
Almost three months have passed, but I just updated my About page a few weeks ago and my Twitter page yesterday to reflect my new, ex-teacher status. When people ask what I do for a living, it takes me a minute to remember not to say I’m an English teacher. I was an English teacher.
So what do I do now?
I’m a writer in the communications office of a large nonprofit. And I have some freelance writing projects.
Do I feel guilty about leaving?
Do I miss teaching?
Some parts of it, yes. More on this later.
And am I happier in the new job?
Abso-freaking-lutely. More on this later, too.
Leaving teaching is like breaking up with a bad boyfriend, exactly as Rose said.
When I first asked Rose to share her experience on the blog, I had been looking for someone to tell me that life after teaching could be better — even though I knew teaching was the most rewarding job I’d ever have, and even though I still cared — and still care — about education.
Turns out, a lot of teachers are searching for Life After Teaching. I mean, they’re Googling “life after teaching” and making Rose’s reflection on why she’s better off the most-read post on this blog!
(I also asked her to share what she misses about teaching, but that hasn’t gotten nearly as many views.)
I definitely did not start this blog to help teachers quit their jobs. But I’m ready to add my story to the fire…