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November 7, 2005

November 7, 2005

I just reread my last entry, and my gut resonates with the sense of unsettledness I expressed at what others might think of my decision to leave–only now I’m feeling unsettled at what I think about my decision to leave. 

Today was my last day, and I feel awful.  This evening, Paul said to me that, to be honest, he had been surprised that I decided to resign because he didn’t think it was in me to give up on something, no matter how hard it was–and, to be honest, I didn’t think so either.  I thought I was tough and determined and ready to stick out anything for the sake of the common good. 

So did I just give up?  I am terrified that part of me resigned simply because I didn’t want to do this–because it was taking too much of my time and my life away from me.  It will never sit well with me that I was able to make this decision–that I have the luxury, as some of my Cayuga colleagues expressed, to make the decision to leave something that wasn’t right for me, something that I didn’t enjoy and that I couldn’t put my whole self into.  Too few people have that luxury.  Little did my colleagues know that every time I heard that phrase–“the luxury to”–I wanted to go mad.  I wanted to shake them and scream and cry that I wasn’t taking this decision lightly, that I was agonizing over it and that the only reason I would let myself leave is because I know I’ll put my energy and passion into an equally good cause in teaching’s stead.  I’m not going to the suburbs or to corporate America–I’m going to go right back to another front in the fight for social justice.

I know that’s ultimately why I left:  because teaching really didn’t fit me, and as a result it was suffocating the passion I normally feel for the causes I’ve worked for in the past.  I wasn’t feeling passionate about teaching, and it’s not me to not feel passionate about what I’m doing.  I have a strong passion for social justice and for life, which not everyone has; I can’t let that gift die or dwindle because I’m doing something that I dislike.  I should do something that keeps my passion alive and burning strongly.

Shouldn’t I?  A small part of me still wants to say “no”:  you should have made yourself passionate about teaching because that is the choice–and commitment–you made.

Of course my mind and body are full of doubts today.  How could they not be after saying goodbye to twenty precious 7- and 8-year-olds?  How could I not feel regret as I think back to Angellisa’s beautiful brown eyes looking up at me with a mixture of disappointment and confusion as she says goodbye to me for the last time before I leave?  “Can I call you tonight?” she asks as I walk across the schoolyard towards my car at the same time as her after-school program is ending.  She had requested my phone number earlier, which I gladly gave to her on a Post-It note, one of the last remnants of my now near-empty desk drawer.  “Sure, if your mom says it’s okay,” I said with an encouraging smile.  What I really wanted to say was not tonight, honey, because I don’t think I’ll be in the right mindframe to fake cheerfulness on the phone–but please do call, Angellisa, because I’m going to miss you.


Miss Thatcher


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