Figure I put it out there.
As most folks know by now, I’m on a long-term paid leave of absence from BPS. In keeping in touch with contacts at the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) and educators at several schools in Boston, I feel my decision to move on from Education was the right call for me. In an industry that for years unfairly and systematically targets male educators–specifically educators of color–I’m more comfortable with my decision to publicly say I’m leaning toward parting ways with BPS.
While yes I’ve said many times I’m ready to move on, I never outright said I am or what my next plan is.
Now I can.
Before I talk about my next step, I do want to address some things I know some folks who follow me on Facebook have been waiting for me to say.
- I left the Mission Hill School in April because the stress I was under at the time was too much for me to handle. The combination of work-related stress as well as stress at home–the latter of which I still have to contend with–threatened to send me back to a place I’m in no rush to return to. A very dark place mentally and emotionally. Everyone deals with different types of stress differently. The key is balance. For me, there was simply too much bad stress I was dealing with.
- Some might call my departure from MHS almost a month after a former colleague quit more than a coincidence. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I won’t speak to his reasons for leaving. It’s not for me to put someone else’s businss out there without their permission and more importantly, I wouldn’t do it anyway. That said, as I said above I had my own reasons for leaving. Unlike my former classroom partner, the school community knew in advance when I was leaving. It’s just not my style to leave without saying anything personally. Call it an ego thing or chivalry if you want.
- I’d be lying if I said I don’t hold ill will toward BPS for some of the things I experienced over the last 10 years. What I will also say is I don’t think it was because of my race. I am not prepared to say what forms of discrimination I think was at play at this time because I’m still trying to figure that part out. Actually even if I did, I wouldn’t share that detail publicly until well after I’ve sought legal counsel.
- I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say recent incidents in Education involving male educators have made me more and more self-conscious of my being in the minority in an industry dominated by white females. Something the American education system failed to pay attention to during the 80s and 90s were the children/students of single mothers and the unique needs of those students. Specifically minority families. This is not the time to drive male minority educators out of schools. This is the time to bring them in and most importantly, KEEP THEM IN. This is a disproportionate problem nationwide that can no longer be ignored or “kicked to the next person in charge”.
I learned alot over the years. This much is true. I learned alot of important life lessons my two years at Mass Bay Community College failed to teach me: Experience is the Greatest Teacher one can ever have. There are ALOT of things you will never learn just sitting in a classroom and that includes grade school. Going with my final point above, I’ve gone as far as I could this year. Looking back at this year, I feel if I leave BPS, I’m leaving in a good place mentally. I gave it my best and there’s not much to be said beyond that.
The most important lesson that I learmed–and a very hard one, at that–is it’s ok to be selfish when it comes to your personal goals. Until four years ago, I was content giving up my own goals in life to just focus on working in classrooms for the next 30 years. Then I met student teeachers and high school students whose dream was to become teachers. That was when I realized I really didnt’t want to work in classrooms for the rest of my professional life. After all, my colleagues could tell at first glance I would be better suited doing something I really wanted to do. Something I was both passionate about and something where I could make better use of my unique skillset.
So I am taking steps to make that happen. For the first time since I left high school, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Most importantly, its time I got started.