Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's unofficial - I will be leaving the classroom for good in June

After my wonderful dream and then a horrible meeting, I've decided that I cannot go on teaching. I haven't turned in my resignation. I've only talked about it with my wife and a few trusted colleagues. Now, using my nom-de-blog, I'm putting it out for the world to see. In fact, I'll probably have to change my nom-de-blog because I'll be neither an expat nor a teacher after June 13th.

I've simply lost the joy.

It started 3 years ago. Back in London, I was a little bored and stopped getting excited about my time with the children. I thought it was because I hadn't changed subject matter in a few years. So I thought my move to DC would change that.

And last year it did. I was tasked with learning the history of India and China. It was fun and exciting. However, I never regained the passion for the art of teaching nor the children. I just enjoyed learning.

This year, I've got very little to learn for the content of my classes. In fact, I'm sure that I've done the Greeks for the last 8 years. Not much new there.

One of my biggest hopes was that my new post in Washington would allow me to experiment and to work with new pedogogical ideas. In fact, my school is better suited to "chalk and talk" and change has been difficult to bring.

The straw that broke the camel's back was a meeting I had last night. It was a perfect opportunity to modernize a project we give to all 8th graders. When it was first designed in 1987, it was cutting edge. Now it is a glorified science fair-style exhibition fair. Our assistant head referred to it as "show and tell."

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I finally got my principal in the meeting. She said that the project had to be much less involved. The "more is better" mantra was preached.

The outcome was that the one teacher who didn't want change was able to hold up the entire project. As I've been saying all day, "The new deck chair arrangement on the Titanic looks good."

It is time to jump ship now.