For a long time, years, I looked forward to the idea of
doing what I do right up until I just can't do it anymore. I
thought I would retire some day, right from the classroom I
have been teaching in the last ten years.
When I began, I was lucky to land where I did. Arguably the
best secondary tech school in Pennsylvania. Some might
dispute that, but I have no doubts for my part.
Three campuses. About 120 instructors, with students from
every public and private school in our county. Back then,
everyone wanted to teach with us, and nobody ever wanted to
leave. It was a team... and we all worked towards the same
goal. For years, we lost perhaps three or four instructors a
year... mostly to retirement.
I can say, without reservation, the people I have worked
with the last decade are the finest professionals I have
Two years ago we got a new director, a new administration,
and a new 'direction'. Since then, we have lost over 40
people. Most went to surrounding counties tech schools, with
the rest going back to industry. That's a third of the
faculty... enough to staff an entire campus. Some of those
were damn fine people.
I have watched what's been happening for the last two years,
and taken my own personal hit by the current administration.
I've decided not to pursue the certification and I
have decided this will be my last year with this
institution, and teaching at the secondary level.
Ten years, and nearly five hundred students.... and I would
not trade a second of it. I've worked with the best people
in the world, and had the best students imaginable. I've
outlived two directors, five principals, five adult ed
directors, six vice principals, six disciplinarians, three
curriculum directors, and four student counselors. Through
it all, I maintained my belief in our shared goal, our
mission, our calling.
I'm not certain what the future holds, but I'm sleeping
better since reaching this decision. I love teaching, and
likely I'll stay with it if there is a place for me. If not,
I'm at peace with that as well.