It is an overwhelming personal question mark that lingers over your status of wellbeing. It is that pro con list in your drawer. It is that prayer on your lips. When is it okay to say I can’t do this anymore? When can I say I don’t have enough to keep giving what I am used to giving? When do I admit that even on my best days, I feel I am at my worst? What is my breaking point?
This is the topic resonating with so many educators today, that schools are literally closing down because they do not have enough staff. People who once felt a selfless dedication to a profession are throwing up their hands and walking out of the doors. One by one people are choosing sanity over showing up to a classroom that looks the same, but now feels like a gauntlet of pressure.
The truth is the superheroes in our schools are humans. They did not venture into education for the paycheck, but they have little financial incentive to stick this out. They knew there would be mountains to climb but didn’t foresee people continually attempting to push them off a cliff. They understood there would be crisis but did not know they would have to be equipped to save lives from students carrying semi-automatic weapons.
I believe the last straw for most is when they are faced with hopelessness. The day they get up and feel there is nothing they can do to make things better for those they love more than anything, their students, is the day they decide teaching is better without them. They no longer feel as though the sacrifice they put into their passion is worth it because they cannot see or feel their impact on others.
However, there is only one way for hope to find a home. We must protect our breaking point. We must hold it in the depths of our soul and surround it with faith. Faith in the colleague across the hall. Faith in the parent that is counting on you. Faith in the student that is coming to school just to feel your love. Faith in the administrators that are just as fragile as you and just as overwhelmed with need. Faith in yourself. Faith that when you dig deep you have enough for the moment.
I would love to inspire those on the verge of quitting, but I know that I am just not gifted enough with my words to make those who want to leave stay. All I can do is promise that I will put every ounce of my soul into my colleagues. Those in my school and those across the globe. I have twenty years of knowledge built up, so whatever I can give I will give without complaint. I will sit with those who just need to cry. I will try to spark a moment of hope to those who feel like there is nothing left they can do to make things better. For it is said that all we need is hope and for that we have each other.
Lead. Learn. Love.