In my 13 or so years of teaching, I have taught multiple ages. I have taught kids from age 3 to age 21, have taught kids with affective needs, autism, developmental delays. I’ve worked in elementary schools, high schools, and K-12 schools.
In 13 years, I’ve taught in 9 schools.
I’ve left due to budget cuts, due to moving states, due to health issues, due to numbers.
And at the end of this year, I’m leaving one more.
Before the winter holidays, my principal sent me an email asking to see me. As I don’t have a good track record with having principal meetings hanging over my head and not having anxiety attacks, I emailed a question back.
When she answered that it was about planning for next year, I just knew.
Our numbers are too low to sustain my classroom along with the other early childhood classrooms.
Which translates to: we don’t want your odd hybrid early childhood special education class here and would rather use the space for another 3rd grade classroom.
So, I have a choice.
I can attempt to follow my classroom. Contact the principal, cross my fingers, put on interview clothes and hope she is nice and not crazy or a bully. I can learn more names of colleagues who will most likely never know mine. I can sit through countless hours of professional development of topics that will never pertain to me.
Or, I can take the job the director of early childhood special education offered me.
I can become an itinerant teacher.
I can go from serving kids in one classroom to serving kids in multiple classrooms. I can go from making lesson plans to observing and offering other teachers advice and techniques on how to best work with kids with special needs.
The idea of losing my classroom is scary. The idea of having to relearn one entire school, and principal quirks, and data teams, and lesson planning is overwhelming.
The idea of having more time – to actually work with kids instead of drowning in tracking minutia of data changes and Teaching Strategies Gold – just the idea of having more time, less parents sending me angry letters about their kid’s diapers, less time pulling the same child off of the top of the same table while he tosses things at my head..oh. Oh yes, I know what my decision will be.
And maybe this time, as I’ve thought all those times before, maybe this one will actually stick, and I won’t dread going to work everyday.