[Apologies for the late update – I had this drafted last night but forgot to post!]
So, as of Thursday, I’ve officially resigned from teaching, and this weekend I’ve been at my happiest since the summer.
The build-up was worrying – I couldn’t shake the fear that I’d be walking back to hurt, angry, inconvenienced senior staff and an English department suffering from an added workload. I was completely wrong. After a friendly, considerate chat about leaving dates and a promise to keep in touch, I spent an hour with my department, being myself. This may sound pathetic, but it was almost overwhelming. Many of us must know the fears of leaving a post because of personal issues – the intense vulnerability, we think, must be written all over our face. Yet my smiling mentor simply called it “a professional loss” for the school, but a “personal victory” for me. What a brilliant way to put it.
On Friday night I went out with several Teach First friends, who over these past few weeks of sick leave and precarious negotiations with work, I’ve not been in contact with. Again, as I made my way to the birthday girl’s house, I felt that quickening of my pulse; perspiration slowly laced my neck. Why? Because I felt I had something to be ashamed of. I was the ill teacher who couldn’t hack it in a sea of successful ones.
Of course, again, I was met with open arms. I felt that I blabbed like an emotional, broken tap, but hey ho, sometimes one “victory” at a time is enough. I have left my first potential career, to save myself from misery, and perhaps the most amazing thing I learned on Friday was that people admire me for it. Some actually looked a little wistful as we spoke. Quitting isn’t only something to be envied; it’s to be respected. Who knew?
I’m a little woozy after the fun we had last night, so I won’t ramble much longer, I promise. But I feel like this is a moment which could change my outlook on the rest of my life; maybe it could be useful for someone else to read, too! My dad once told me that clichés are only clichés because they’re true, so I’m not afraid to use one here. Life is short, everyone, so take control of it!
To wrap up, here’s a quote from one of my favourite writers; Mrs Poyser captures my message far more efficiently, I think:
“‘Yes, I know I’ve done it,’ said Mrs. Poyser; ‘but I’ve had my say out, and I shall be th’ easier for’t all my life. There’s no pleasure i’ living if you’re to be corked up for ever, and only dribble your mind out by the sly, like a leaky barrel.'” (George Eliot, ‘Adam Bede’)