No, not me. I’m still here. But the return from Fall Break has been rough for everyone. It was like a respite from work reminded people of how much they give up to work as a teacher and the realization has set in a discouraged feeling. No one has ever quit the Nashville corps, but if you talked with any first year corps member they will probably tell you that they’ve thought about it, some more seriously than others. Coming back to starting a new graduate class that actually is trying to get us to do a teaching practicum on top of our regular job didn’t make that feeling any better. Now, it’s only half an hour a week, but the logistics is perhaps what made people most frustrated. I’ve only quit a few things in my life and let me tell you, it has not been accomplished without serious guilt and second thoughts.
Now, in contrast, I came back from a great back catching up with friends from back in college. While I know that teaching made for a difficult first year out of school, I realized how many of the things I’m feeling and going through are not unique to my job. Many of my friends feel overworked, exhausted, and are not entirely pleased with their jobs. I’d often wondered if I’d been part of the St. Louis corps if I would have been happier because I have so many friends in the city, but I realized I probably would have hung out in the same places and just felt guilty for not seeing my friends as much as I wanted to. One of the girls that I interviewed with about a year ago who was placed in St. Louis has already quit the corps there which was hard to hear.
When I came back, my uncle was in town. Now, now he and I had had dinner during week 1 of my teaching and this was week 10, beginning of the second quarter. We talked about a lot of things, including how teaching was going, and he said that he could tell from how I was talking about things that I sounded more confident. And I realized, I do feel better about teaching. I’m still struggling in a lot of ways, but since the beginning of the year I’ve figured a lot of things out. Do I still wish some things would change that I have no control over? Yes. Of course. Do I realize that some of the people I thought would be helpful aren’t the best channel for advice? Yes. For sure. Is my data showing the kind of results I was hoping it would? No, not exactly.
They say that teachers hit a low in October, but then it begins to go back up. While I know that many of my friends here are struggling (despite being in one of the best ranked regions holla), I’m starting to feel like maybe that turnaround is starting. Did I put in an insane amount of work this week? Yes. I’ve taken to underestimating how much work I do for our Americorps hours out of habit as if no one would believe me that I put in 16, 17 hour days on a regular basis. But even though I’m exhausted, there’s this new kind of energy that’s pushing me through some of the work that I’m doing. Who knows how long it’s sustainable, but I’m going to ride it however far it takes me.
So about the title to the entry? I’m quitting thinking about quitting. I’m quitting thinking about all the other things I could have been doing. I’m quitting thinking about all the things I wish were different that I have no control over. And finally, it’s something I don’t feel guilty about quitting.