Today, I ended my career as an alternative special education teacher, serving our district’s toughest kids and parents. I worked hard to build up our program, successfully lobbying to add services and features to which the students and families had never before had access. For six years, I was the best at what I did. Maybe the best that the school district has ever seen in that position. The problem was, I knew it. It was reaffirmed by others over and over. Eventually, I became quick to lose patience with my coworkers and bosses. I lost the sense of empathy that I worked to build within my students. If someone couldn’t intuit with alacrity, I was quick to write them off.
Tomorrow (no summer break for me), I begin my new job. I won’t be the best at what I do. I may even be the worst. I’m moving to an academically gifted program. Academics are pretty far outside of my wheelhouse. Behavior and social-emotional learning are my strengths.
But, I am ready for a change. I am ready to be humbled again. Being the best isn’t what I need right now.