This post was originally published on TeacherPop.
Pro/con analyses have gotten me through some tricky situations. Theyâ€™ve helped me move forward with things that scared meâ€”joining TFA, applying to the Peace Corps, being in a long-distance relationship, etc.â€”and have pushed me to be brave.
The process gets much more complicated, though, when children are involved. As I near the end of my two-year commitment (side note: when did having 25% of a commitment left mean that I was near the end?), I am filled with too many thoughts, in and out of my own head, to make sense of it all.
â€œYou donâ€™t have to do anything for anyone. Youâ€™ve already given enough.â€
â€œWhat would your school do without you?â€
â€œHaving a gay teacherâ€”closeted or notâ€”is a huge deal for your kids.â€
â€œWhen are you going to have time to be a 20-something?â€
â€œMr. Mishleauâ€¦ are you going to quit?â€
Over the last few months, the following next steps have entered my mind at some point:
- Stay at my school a third year and revolutionize the support that ELLs get (HA)
- Move to a charter school where I can comfortably be myself
- Teach at a district school and have some restriction of the amount of work Iâ€™m demanded to do
- Go on a six-month road trip with my bestie
- Move to NYC (or Chicago, or Milwaukee or Hawaiâ€™i) and work for TFA
- Join the Peace Corps
- Move to NYC with a suitcase and a dream
- Work in retail for a bit to numb my throbbing brain
This is in conjunction with attempting to be a halfway-decent teacher, a full-time graduate student and an at-least-remotely-socially-active human being.
Mixed in with all of this is an overwhelming sense of guilt. A teacher with a traditional license doesnâ€™t usually have the same choose-your-own-adventure expectation after teaching for just two years.
Why should I? Is it because of the culture around TFA? The fact that, in every conversation I have with CMs, they ask, â€œSo. What are you doing next year?â€
Or is it because, aside from a few fleeting, â€œYay teaching beyond two years is great!â€ comments, Iâ€™ve had no pressure to stay at my school or in teaching directly?
I suppose what Iâ€™m asking is for someone to make the choice for me, which will never happen. Iâ€™m thinking I will, however, follow the very sage advice a co-worker gave me. â€œDonâ€™t make any choices until you have to. Thereâ€™s a moment every day where I feel like quitting. The next moment may make me feel the exact opposite.â€