Sometime around this year, I put my foot down about leaving teaching. I even put a countdown marker on one of the windows of my mac, counting down the days until the last day of school. After what felt like a lifetime, I finally told them I wasn't renewing my contract and I left.
In some weird twist of fate, the last six months have gone by in the blink of an eye. And I only know it's been six months, because I forgot to take down the countdown marker. When I went to that particular window on my mac to use the calculator widget, I saw the countdown marker tell me, "6 Months Since Last Day of School!"
I think the back of my brain was already cognizant of this, because I've been thinking a lot about being a teacher. I realized that I'm still trying to piece together everything that happened over the last 4 years. There's still a part of me that hasn't exactly forgiven myself for burning out; there's still a part of me that hasn't forgiven myself for every time I was a crappy teacher. Every time I lost my cool, or rolled my eyes, or just gave up when the old me would've figured out a way around. I think about the last few months when even I could tell I was digging in my heels and being uncommunicative and doing the bare minimum necessary to squeak by.
I've had a lot of (former and current) teachers tell me to not be so hard on myself. But it's definitely easier said than done. It takes more than a pat on the back to come to terms with the five-year plan you so expertly laid out crumbling in front of you. I went from researching M.Ed programs to staying as far away from working with children as possible.
But, to steal a line from an old blurb here: where I am on that path doesn't matter, so long as you're going forward. And forwards on I go. Just after I delete that stupid countdown marker.