Is the grass always greener on the other side? Often, the case is not so. Yet, that is not to say there are more patches of green on the other side.
I recently made a heavy decision to leave the school setting that I know and love. I have moved to the suburbs and, according to my teachers’ contract, could no longer teach in the city. I had to live in the city in order to teach in the city. I saw this as a new adventure in my career and was eager to embark on it.
Leaving what one has done for a decade can be both intimidating and enticing. I found myself eager and energized. I was moving to a district where parents read to their children, children saw a dentist before their baby teeth rotted out, gang symbols and needles did not litter the playground, and funds were allocated smartly. On the other hand, these are the challenges that have inspired me to wake up every morning. These are the children who, more than ever, need an adult to show them a moral compass, or to give just a few words each day of encouragement and belief. What I found in my new job, was not much different.
Although I do not witness the lack of concern and care for children at the degree that I did while working in the inner-city, I still work with children who have less involved parents, or children who have other emotional needs. Luckily for me, I am able to continue to work with the most struggling readers, as that it what has always driven me in my career.
When I left my city career I worried that I would leave a part of me in it. I now realize that I hope this is the case. I pray that some of those children on the streets hear my voice and make a right decision when put in a tough situation, or more importantly, hear me telling them that they can achieve anything they put their mind to. It has been an honor to have the opportunity to work in schools, struggles and all, because those are the experiences that build character. I left a piece of me in each of the 250+ students I taught over 9 years. More so, those children have become a piece of the teacher that I am today.