The quote from John Muir goes, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” However, as beautiful as the mountains are, the waves are what call to me. I took the photo above within 2 hours of the plane landing! It’s been such a stressful year and my heart couldn’t hold it in anymore! I spent sunset allowing my soul to reconnect and relax. Sounds a little crazy, but in stressful moments, I often turn to the meditative sound of the waves.

This year was a particularly difficult one. At my core, I’m a teacher. I love working with people to gain knowledge and share some of the fascinating facts that I have learned over the years. As I watched the waves roll in and out, I realize that tears are streaming down my face. I realize that this year was my breaking point.

I didn’t even know I HAD a breaking point.

It’s no fun to walk into the same fight and struggles each day. In fact, some could even call it the truest definition of insanity, the one where we do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.

It isn’t the school, it’s a great building and cleaner than most (that’s still not saying much!). I have access to technology and supplies. I have a great team and administrators who listen and are supportive. We have parents who literally give shirts off their backs to our kids. We have support personnel like counselors, social workers, behavior specialists, family involvement specialists….and the teaching is phenomenal!

So, Pam, why is this not nirvana?

We are sure giving a lot to the kids. Free supplies, free food, free counseling, free education, free family events, opportunities to achieve their wildest dreams…but not a damn one of us is holding these kids accountable for any of it.

“Restorative Practices” is a great program when we implement it to help kids and not just give them another excuse to become a victim. We have a lot of people who seem to want to be victims (parents and students) and it’s taking over our classrooms..but more on that in a different post.

So, since the waves are calling, I must go to them. I am not returning to my classroom this fall for my official 20th year. It’s been a difficult decision, but I believe it’s the right one for me. Right after that photo was taken, I thought I needed to walk out of my relationship. I thought he was the whole reason I couldn’t “fix” the issues in my classroom, that he was the reason I had no life outside of the classroom, and why I had been emotionally eating my way through the year and added 10 pounds to my frame despite working out daily. So I left, like literally took all of my stuff, rented a car, and left.

I spent two days crying and driving along the coast and trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. My thinking was that NOW I could finally spend all of my extra hours working and signing up for committees and really focusing on building relationships with kids.

Yes, that’s really what I told myself. I left my partner and my life so I could work MORE.

Y’all that’s not right.

My daughter has been sacrificed. My ex was sacrificed. My hobbies and my friends have all been sacrificed. My self-worth has been sacrificed. I have nothing left to give.

I still love it. I’ll still fight for it. I still believe in free and public education with every fiber of my being, but it’s being destroyed and it’s taking the teachers with it. I am very fortunate that my partner and I sat down, worked through the issues, and could recommit ourselves. We also realized that something had to change. We couldn’t see our relationship making it through another year like the last one. I admit that I’m very fortunate that I have a partner who can support us financially and that I have this option. Most teachers don’t and it’s been evident this week that I’m not alone in how I’m feeling. The word that has been used the most is “brave.”

I’ve never thought of myself as brave. Definitely didn’t think of myself as brave for leaving. There are so many teachers and others out there that need to find their own voice, because, like me, they’re burning the candle at both ends, and when they actually say “no,” they’re made to feel like they aren’t doing enough “for the kids.”

So I am going to try my hand at all sorts of new and brave adventures, including writing this blog! Please reach out, subscribe/follow, and I’ll keep on loving becoming my imperfect self!