Jennifer – Mount Dora, FL
I used to be an elementary school teacher. After six years, I decided to quit so that I would have more time and energy to devote to writing a novel. It was a decision wrought with tears and sleepless nights. I was so sure I needed a change, but unsure of how I would make it happen and what the outcome would be.
I had spent the better part of my 20’s imagining and learning and growing with my students and, at this juncture, leaving them and the stability I had was terrifying. Of course, there was also a giant guilt cherry on top of this big decision sundae. I felt selfish for abandoning the kids to pursue something that may only be important to me.
When I told my principal I would be resigning at the end of the school year, I was fairly numb. The ramifications weren’t real to me yet. But, when I told my two classes about my decision, I was an emotional wreck. The heartbreak of 9-year-olds who look up to you and want to continue seeing you as a source of support in their life will do that to you.
But, like the line from Zach Braff’s latest film, “Wish I Was Here,” states, “On the other side of heartbreak, is wisdom.” Not an hour after I made my announcement, one of my students approached me in the cafeteria with the note below, signed by nearly every child from my two classes. I smiled big and hugged them all, then retreated to my classroom to cry tears of joy and relief.
I’m sure the little girl who wrote that note has no idea how much I needed to hear those words that day. They now hang above my desk, and I will look to them for encouragement for many years to come.