There is an ornament that says “Special Teacher” hanging on our Christmas tree. It was given to me by a family member several years ago, and it is significant–nearly all of our ornaments have a special meaning–because it celebrates my career as a teacher.
I started teaching in the fall of 2005 just after I graduated from college, and after ten years, it’s difficult for me to think of myself vocationally as anything other than a teacher. Teaching is a big part of my identity.
But all of that is about to change.
As most of you know, I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for about a year now. Last February, I entered crisis mode and had to quit teaching quite suddenly. I spent the rest of the semester at home with the goal of going back to teaching after the summer.
I started back in the classroom again this year, and though it’s been tough at times, it has also been victorious. But as the school year has progressed, it is getting harder and more stressful, and rather than being on the path to healing, I seem to be on the path back to where I was last year around this time. We don’t want that.
So, instead of waiting until I get myself into a crisis again, we (my husband, my counselor, and I) decided that the best option for my health was for me to step out of teaching at the end of this semester. That means that after Christmas break, I will no longer be a teacher. For how long, you ask? Indefinitely.
Wow. I’m letting that sink in.
It was a difficult decision because I love teaching, and I will surely miss my students and the relationships I’m building with them. I will miss being in the classroom and talking about Shakespeare and laughing at the funny things that students say. I will miss the joy of teaching when students “get it” and even the frustrating challenge of when they don’t. I will miss the energy of high schoolers and the wisdom of colleagues. I have loved being a teacher for the last ten years, and I will certainly miss it.
And what will I be if I’m not a teacher? A stay-at-home wife. A future mom (Lord willing). Someone who has time to read and write and visit with friends. Someone with the opportunity to get involved in local missions. Someone with time to do language studies and keep the house clean and actually cook for my husband. While I will miss teaching, I am also feeling great relief about the rest and renewal that is forthcoming.
I ask for and appreciate your prayers as I walk this road of transition and healing.