I have this super awesome song from fly my pretties on repeat in my head.
It has got wedged in my head with the news that not one, not two but three (THREE) people I have a lot of time for are leaving New Zealand classrooms for ‘brighter shores’. All have told me in the space of a week. This is on top of another who left for a ministry job at the end of last year and another couple who left last year. Most are still in education, just not in front of our students.
Wise people (Thanks Matt especially) remind me that sometimes if you want to extend your reach, you need to move away from the classroom which is how we can justify moving into more senior leadership positions within a school. This means those leaders can have more impact on class rooms by helping more teachers and having more say in curriculum design. Likewise, if people chose to work for the ministry of education or PD type places, they can help teachers help more students.
For the people who are leaving for positions overseas, I can totally understand how the pressure is driving them. Not just pressure for money (although I just don’t understand how anyone could survive in Auckland on a teachers salary) but pressure to ‘conform’ to school policies, or in the jostle to find a job they might not be in a school that is the best fit for them. Stress around getting permanent positions have resulted in less than half of my class (I was at Tcol in 2009) are still in teaching and some of those have bounced from position to position…..
The time away from home is tough on young families too, last week with parent teacher interviews and meetings, I picked my son up once from daycare. I felt like I just didn’t see him. And then on the weekend I just had to spend an afternoon catching up on stuff – the parent guilt was really winding up and I did momentarily consider what jobs I could have that didn’t mean I was working on a weekend to catch up.
Despite all this, I do LOVE my job. The challenges, the success, the sheer joy and utter lows it can bring. I can still just forgive the hours spent ticking boxes and doing jobs I think are meaningless for all the fun stuff I get to do and the people (students and staff) I get to work with.
And so I can’t help my internal worry and rage that such people are leaving the profession. People who have challenged me, challenged the system, tried things, shared things, tried to break the mould and who strive for the very best for their students and staff and schools are leaving.
Fly away…. so long as you come back some day.