Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Hope You're Sitting Down...

...because I have something to tell you. And I'm really hoping you'll understand, since I haven't known exactly how to tell you all. However, as I say to my friends, "Honesty is the best policy." Granted this is something that I usually say through gritted teeth as I'm investigating the latest case of Who-Hit-Who-First and I know I'm being lied to. That's where you pull out the classic, "You know, if you hit someone, you will be in trouble because that's not okay. But if you hit someone and then lie about it AND I find out, which I will, then you'll be in more trouble and have lost my trust." Yea, that speech is an oldie but a goodie.

I'm just going to come out and say it. Just like that.

I'm not teaching this year.

There. I said it. Do you hate me? Am I still in trouble? (If I was I ever in trouble to begin with?)

But know this. I am a teacher. (Let me say that again, a little bit louder now.) I. Am. A. Teacher. (I feel a little like I should be ripping apart my break away shirt to reveal a fabulous super hero outfit with a giant T for Teacher in a bold red on my chest. Very Wonder Woman. And very fabulous.) I will always be a teacher. And I have every intention of teaching again. Every. Intention.

Let me explain my decision because it's not just about the book. (What book you ask? Why click here and see for yourself!) (Dazzling smile.)

I had decided some time ago, before the book came out...and really if I'm honest, before the book was even a possibility, that perhaps it was time for me to move on. You see, I learned a tremendous amount at my old school and met some amazing people. Honestly. I just didn't blog about all that as often because, well, it wasn't that funny. Just fabulous. And then of course, there were my friends, or as I like to call them The Biggest Reasons I Stayed. But despite all the fabulousness, all the learning and all my friends I could feel myself getting angry, frustrated and just blah. (There's a concise word for you.) Because all the other stuff that I blogged about did happen and I was terrified that I would turn into a bitter, angry teacher. Actually, starting the blog helped me to stay longer and learn even more. It was a way for me to vent, to get it out and to refrain from poking myself in the eye. Clearly, I am struggling for words to express myself, but there was just this feeling - perhaps some of you know what I am talking about - that it was time to go.

ALSO....because as always my reasoning is multi-faceted and long winded....Mr. Mimi and I thought we were moving. How could I start a school year, meet all those little friends and then leave them? I knew I couldn't do that.

AND THEN....yes, there's more...I'm also in graduate school pursuing my doctorate. (Very fancy pants, I know. Lots of suede elbow patches and Victrola playing in my house.) (Not really.) (More like lots of staying in my pajamas all weekend desperately trying to complete all my coursework with occasional bursts of Jay Z inspired dance parties to celebrate the completion of a chapter.) (Again, it's all about honesty today, isn't it?) I am officially in the home stretch or at least that's what I'm telling myself. I am fortunate enough to be able to take a year (and my book advance) away from the classroom to focus and finish. And people, I NEED to finish. Mr. Mimi NEEDS me to finish. My sanity NEEDS me to finish...

OH RIGHT...the book. There was that too. I have created some rather colorful characters. And as I've said before, I've only ever shown one side to these characters...the side I think you'll think is funny. Sure, I've taken a few liberties here and there to make things funnier because I know at the end of a hard day, we can all use a good laugh. My intention was always to mock the system, the ridiculousness, the drama that plagues us all (no matter where we teach) and not the individual people. But I know some feelings have been hurt - word gets around pretty fast, you know. And for that I'm sorry. And please don't hit me. In fact, I considered titling this post "Can't We All Just Get Along?" because I'm quickly finding out that the answer is no. No, we can't. Not all the time.

So there you have it. It's all out in the open and I hope I haven't let you down. I do intend to continue blogging. Let me say that again. I WILL KEEP BLOGGING! My readers and commenters and emailers (I'm a writer now, I can make up words from time to time.) have been amazing, have kept me going and have inspired me to continue to speak up for teachers everywhere using my own experiences. Hearing your stories and words of encouragement have made me realize that I wasn't alone. And, perhaps sadly, that some of the problems I was facing weren't just problems I was having because sometimes I can have a bad attitude (it's true) but rather they were problems that plague many schools. (This would be another cool place for me to rip away clothes and show off my super hero costume. Really, that's a great way to punctuate a speech. Note to self - find seamstress who is able to work with spandex.)

I knew this day was coming, so I saved a ton of juicy fun stories off to the side just to tide us all over. Hilarity still to come! And now that my secret is out, probably more regularly! (Oh, and don't worry, I won't start posting about my cat, what I had for dinner or that lady who took the last bunch of flowers from my favorite guy at the farmer's market.) (Unless you really want me to and even then, I'm still not sure how I feel about that.)

OOo...and as a bonus side project (because I am the Queen of taking on more and more and more until my plate is officially at capacity) I am working on developing a Mrs. Mimi website for teachers. Very Mrs. Mimi, very informational, very fabulous. Seriously, it will become the place you go for teaching, learning, sharing and feeling fabulous. FABULOUS. I will keep you posted on this development for sure. Watch out internet, here I come!

Let me wrap this up (I KNOW! Finally, right?) by saying that I AM A TEACHER and I love all my Super Colleagues - those with whom I've worked and all of you out there who I write for. (Pretty sure that sentence could have been structured better...shouldn't end with "for". Let's see - those with whom I've worked and all of you out there for whom I write. There, that's better.) I WILL TEACH AGAIN - Mrs. Mimi is no quitter and I have no intention of quitting all of you.

Blog, I just can't seem to quit you.

(Okay, taking a deep breath and hitting "Publish Post" Don't quit me. Or hit me for that matter.)

23 comments:

ChiTown Girl said...

WOW!!! Congratulations! I so wish I was in your shoes. (mostly the doctorate-pursuing part, and the year off part.) ;-) I'll definitely keep reading. I ain't quittin' ya!

Mamie said...

Mrs. Mimi, I love you, no matter WHAT you're doing! I can't wait for the website, and I think your plans for this year are fabulous. I myself have been away from the classroom for over two years now, and while I miss my friends in a heart-rending manner, I know that when my current position fades away and I am back with new friends and super-colleagues, I will return rejuvenated and ready for some serious fun. And so will you!

Chapati said...

Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all! Good luck and I for one would like to know more about this doctorate ;-)

Emily said...

I think that your decision is a wise one and also well-thought out. (also a sentence that could use better structure) I will not quit you or hit you. Promise! :)

Mrs. B said...

If a college professor can take a sabatical, why can't a teacher, who probably would benefit more!?! Good luck! I look forward to reading future posts. Your book was "laugh-out-loud-funny"!

rach :) said...

The mark of a truly great teacher is that they know staying behind when the love is gone is bad for their friends, and that's just not an ok thing to do. Congrats on knowing when it was time to move on, and being brave enough (and solvent enough-- Mr. Mimi must have adequate health insurance) to do what was right (write?).

And we have no doubt that Dr. Mimi will return to the classroom, bringing her Fabulousness with her.

jerel said...

This actually came up at lunch today. I think recognizing when it's time to step out of the classroom (on a temporary basis or not) is what makes one a good teacher. Being in a negative mindset is bad for the kids, and you say "hey, I care about kids too much to do that to them." Putting the kids first is what the good teachers do.

Good luck with your doctoral work, and I look forward to reading whatever it is you have to say. Even about the cat. :)

Vicki Vocabulary said...

Yeah, I quit once too. You'll be back. You won't be able to stand it after awhile. You're mind will always see the awesome lesson embedded in whatever activity you're engaged in or you'll see crap at a yard sale and think "I could use that in my classroom" only you won't have a classroom anymore. Rest up, you'll be back! Enjoy the time off! :)

Deanna said...

Thanks for being our VOICE. There are so many "problems that plague" our schools and they need to be heard. I wonder what would happen if we all banded together? Wow.. what a LARGE voice we would have. Love your book and have already passes it onto a 2nd grade "Super Colleague" of mine!

Angela said...

Sounds like a great plan. Looking forward to the website! Let me know if you need any help. :-)

Rebecca said...

You can take Mrs. Mimi out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of Mrs. Mimi! I can't wait for your website!

Also, go to Amazon.com and get "How to Write Your Dissertation in 15 minutes a day" if you get stuck. Worked for me. :)

Oooh...DOCTOR MIMI..faaaaaancy

Dawn said...

I suspected this much in the past little while... and good for you! A sabbatical could be the best thing that's ever happened to your teaching career. And you go, girl - finish that dissertation!

hoyden said...

You are living the dream! Never feel that you need to apologize for taking care of yourself.

The first rule of first aid is do not enter the scene unless it is safe to do so. The same is true for teaching. You can't help anyone else if you are injured.

Trysta said...

Your post made me laugh and was very fun to read! I want to read your book now and am happy for you being able to have time off and pursue your doctorate. Good luck and keep up the good work!

amazeingteacher said...

I'll just say it...I'm jealous! Not in an "I want to slap you way", but in a "that's good for you and I wish I could too" sort of way! Everyone can empathize with what you said. My super colleagues and I were just talking about this yesterday. We need some time off...what else could we do and still get paid for it? We're not ready to quit either, but sometimes you need a break. Thank goodness we at least have a fall break around the corner!! You deserve it and I know you will keep the great posts coming our way!

Nicolasa said...

I think that is fantastic that you are doing that for yourself. You are aware that it was time to step out for the time being and peruse something else. Nothing wrong with that. This is my 4th year, I am exhausted and wonder how much longer I'll be able to do this. Instead of getting easier each year, it gets harder. I feel like it's just my district because all the programs we have take so much time and energy to implement... ahhh anyway, this was supposed to be about YOU not ME! :-)
I'll still be reading!

Mister Teacher said...

I totally understand about needing to take a break, AND how blogging can help you get through even the rough times!

Good luck in your pursuits!

blossomteacher said...

I feel you! I am starting my masters (t-6 weeks!!), and I can see the writing on the wall...as soon as I've got it, it is time to move on. Too much crap that has NOTHING to do with quality teaching and too much to do with people waving their winkies around. Congrats & good luck!!

Valary said...

Congrats Mrs. Mimi, for taking the leap and a break. Once a teacher always a teacher! Now I just want to take you out for martinis and hear all about the book! Mazel tof especially for that!
Just became your fan on FB and thanks for sharing your life with us all;-)
Enjoy every moment...
Valary Varee

Daisy said...

A dear friend is spending the year on an educational leave. Where can she get one of those superhero outfits? I'd wear one, too! (Maybe. I don't look good in spandex.)

Stephani said...

I have been reading your book all night and although I teach fourth grade, I feel like every story in your book is a blurb from my life as a school teacher.

I love how you tell it like it is and also how you are smart enough to take a break when you need it. I can feel myself becoming that burned out teacher, and it's only my fifth year in. I adore the "little friends" but can't stand the BS and am looking for a way out. I wish you good luck and can't wait to read more!

Liberty Rose said...

I am on a one year leave to work on my administrative license (yes, I am trying to understand the dark side!) but am seriously considering switching to a PhD program. This year off is quite the adjustment. My own kids need me and I realize that all those years in EBDland took away from how attentive I was as a parent. (Isn't it great to be able to pee when you want to???)

Barbra Stephens said...

Congratulations are definitely in order! I think that is great!I wish you the best in everything...you have worked so hard!The only hit that should be coming to you is the dent you'll be making in the universe...Whatever you do...do it big, baby!:)

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