On February 24, 2018, I was at the beginning of making a pretty big decision in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some pretty big decisions in my life, particularly in the last 4 years or so, but this one was equally important on my journey of healing and road toward striving to reach my authentic self.
It was on this day that I decided I no longer wanted to be a principal. I wanted to return to the classroom. After 12 years as an elementary school administrator, and after a very challenging year as an elementary school principal, I longed to connect to my passion that made me strive to be an educator so many years ago.
As an administrator, particularly in the last 6 months of my admin career, too much emphasis had been on the negative. Too much emphasis had been away from student-learning and growth and focused on other factors which took time away from truly making a real difference as a school leader – a real difference in the lives of educators and their students.
In turn, throughout this time, I seemed to be working harder and harder, longer and longer hours, into the night after I put my kids to sleep, to try to make that difference. A difference that people didn’t want me to make. A difference I knew was possible and one I had felt I had made elsewhere. A difference people were not ready for.
As I examined what was happening in my professional and personal life, I knew an important change was going to have to be made. I knew this to the heart of my being. After much counselling, and considering all I have been through these last few years, I knew a change was important to my life moving forward. I could see it so clearly now. Much more clearly than ever before. It’s like I had glasses on for the first time ever – glasses that I had desperately needed for years, but was in denial of getting. What I saw made my decision so easy. My final day as an elementary school administrator was Friday, March 2, 2018.
I decided to return to the classroom. I decided to leave administration after 12 + years to pursue my passion – making a meaningful difference in the lives of children and their families. They needed me to be closer to the front lines. They needed me to be able to reach them and develop relationships with them and their families in ways I hadn’t been able to in years. Yes, as an administrator I feel that I have been able to impact many children and their families in a positive manner, however, there seem to be more obstacles in the way. As a teacher, I was able to develop deep relationships with my students and their families – relationships that still carry on after many, many years.
My own children needed me more. I needed them. After a very challenging few years, it had become clear that my kids needed my physical and emotional presence more now than in the last year. I could feel deeply how things were changing. Without going into detail, over the past couple of weeks, it became so clear that I was right in this assumption. Very right. I couldn’t be there as much as I wanted to be as an elementary school principal. It just wasn’t physically (or emotionally) possible in the position that I was in at that time.
So, I am back in the classroom again. Making connections with students and their families. I am also getting more sleep at night – not working well into the early morning after putting my own kids to sleep. In addition, I am getting home from work very early. My kids needed me both physically and emotionally. I feel I am able to give them both now. I couldn’t be happier or more satisfied in my decision.
I feel so fortunate that I was able to make this decision. This is one of the best decisions I could have made for my family and myself.
Not only do I get to be home more, both physically and emotionally, for and with my kids, I also get to do other things – things one might just take for granted in a “regular” job. I am able to eat lunch each day – at a regular time – at lunch time and not at 3:00 or later, depending on how crazy the day became. I get to go on lunchtime walks around the lake near the school I am working. This allows me time to breathe, to relax, to reflect, to connect with myself, to connect with nature, and to rejuvenate. I am able to relax at home – have some chill time. I actually watched the entire first season of This is Us over Spring Break. What a concept! I am watching movies and I am focusing more on me. This is such a foreign concept, but one that is so needed – especially for my own kids. They need a mom who is more balanced. More able to be there. All there.
I look forward to what the future holds as I continue on this journey.
2 thoughts on “Finding Meaning and Passion”
Thank you for sharing this post, Tia. I truly believe there are many who feel as you do but do not know how to step away from their role as administrator. Being in the big chair is such a difficult and challenging job and unfortunately it can take educators away from the passion of what led them there in the first place. You will never regret being there for your children in the coming years as this is the time they need you the most. You will also not regret taking care of yourself – but you have already felt the rewards of this.
I think of Peter Reynold’s book ‘The North Star’ when I think of your journey. As he finishes on the last page he does not say, “the end” but instead “the beginning” – so true for you. All the best.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Anne-Marie. Yes, such a journey…. definitely the beginning. I have no regrets now and I am sure I won’t in the future. That was one thing I asked myself as I was making this decision – would I regret it if I left that position or would I regret it if I stayed. The answer was obvious. All the best. I will likely be seeing you around SD36 next year.