Everything I Know I Learned in Pre-K

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 12 2012

Saying Goodbye

On Thursday afternoon, I went back to my classroom to get my stuff, and it was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew it would be a bad idea to go in the morning, because I would either mess up the day (UPK time) for their new teacher, or I would create a disruption before nap time and the kids would never go to sleep. I decided to go at the end of nap time, so that there wouldn’t be a problem if the kids got upset.

Thankfully my boyfriend came with me, because otherwise I probably would have had a complete breakdown. When we got there, the kids were getting up and putting their stuff away to get ready for supper. At first, a bunch of the kids were really excited to see me. They ran up to me, were giving me hugs and kisses. But when the first one started crying because she was going to miss me, I broke down. It definitely didn’t help that I had two who wouldn’t acknowledge me. I know they must feel that I have abandoned them, and I wish I could explain that I want nothing more than to be with them until they go to Kindergarten in September. I wish I knew what had happened even, so that I could understand why I am not with them, but I don’t have that luxury.

I’m not sure what is going to happen now. I’m going through the placement process again¬†with TFA. I’m also looking at other opportunities, both in education and outside of it. I’m hoping to get placed in a classroom soon, because I really think that’s where I should be right now. But I can’t lie, if the opportunity to join a non-profit with a focus in education came along, I don’t know that I would say no. I just feel so confused right now, I’m in something of a whirlwind.

I find myself not telling people about what’s happened because I can’t explain it or give more details, and because I don’t know what is going to happen now. I just say that my kids are great, and teaching is great. What else can I do?

5 Responses

  1. Kayla

    Hold on to the faith. All of the Pre-K teachers in our district got laid off on Friday for next year because of insufficient funds. It’s a rough time of the year.

  2. I don’t know you or your exact situation, but I can tell you that leaving your students is not something to feel guilty about. Remember that learning to teach is a journey we can only take one day at a time. Sometimes what feels like a detour or shortcut is actually a critical piece of navigation. Whether it feels right or wrong in the moment, it will be part of your story. All we can say to ourselves in difficult times is, “I am here now, and I can’t change that. I can only look forward.”

    As you consider your next move, remember that failures and setbacks are part of every good teacher’s story. No one–not one single person–started out great or even good. Don’t give up teaching for policy. Teaching takes heart and a great deal of courage. Policy without a rich foundation in the classroom is soulless work. You must know yourself and your students before you can make decisions that affect other teachers and their students. Think about it.

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