Well, that's it. I am not longer a teacher of Latin, though I think I will retain the online name.
It's weird how much your profession defines your personality. Thirteen years of my life I have committed to education through the medium of Latin. And I feel that in my heart of hearts that I was born to be a teacher. In fact, one of the veteran teachers at my old school told me years ago that I was a "lifer." I believe that this is true. There are many reasons I have chosen not to return to teaching next year.
I sometimes think that I need to be a stronger man and learn to deal with some of these issues. On the other hand, I felt for the whole year like I was just on the edge of burning out of teaching forever. I do not want to be one of the bitter, angry, and mean teachers that I see. I believe that children (especially midde schoolers) are awesome, creative, and eager. I encourage laughter in my classes, and I know that education is not simply the subject. Most of educating, in my mind, is teaching children to interact with the rest of the world.
My classroom involved less Latin and more laughter, less teacher-centered knowledge distribution and more peer interaction, less lecture and more inductive discovery, less control and more organized chaos. Latin just happened to be the vehicle for me to teach students how to be organized and study, how to be responsible for their materials and actions, how to learn about how they learn. I personally love Latin, but I have forgotten more about it than I have learned.
Before I finished packing all my belongings, I photocopied the binders that I have diligently kept since I started at this school. To me, it is important that the next person have available to them the things that I have collected, created, and used. The next person will not have to use them, but there is no reason for that person to reinvent the wheel either. I wanted him or her to have a resource to build on in their own way. I do not think they need to use the materials, but I also think it may help to have something they can refer to. I have even offered to "mentor" the next person if I don't have another job yet.
I am not leaving with animosity or regret (well, maybe a little). But it is important to me that the program that I have created remain strong. If I have to help make the transition smooth, I am willing to do that.
It has been the most successful seven years of my life. I am sad to leave, but I am excited to move on to the next adventure wherever it takes me.
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