don't look back.
Image by mariaguimarães via Flick

Are you indispensable?

Sometimes that is a loaded question, it inevitably leads to the next question, “Why are you asking me that?”

Do you think for a minute when you submitted your retirement/termination papers at the end of the last school year or if something happens to you where you would not return to your school or classroom in the fall, that someone else would not be there in your place.

There will be someone else. It doesn’t matter where you are on the educational hierarchy:  Superintendent, Administrator, Master  Teacher, Teacher, EdTech, Secretary, Custodian and yes even Special Education teachers.  That is simply reality, someone at your former school may talk about how it was “when so and so was here” or “gee, I wonder where {name} is this year?”

No matter how important you were last year or the last five, ten, or more years at your school, you would be amazed at how quickly you will be relegated to “oh they used to be here” and forgotten.  You might even go back to visit, but it is not the same, you are no longer a part of the current team and to see what you so diligently worked on for all those years change so much – so quickly after your departure.   This can be very difficult for some to resolve, especially those who believed that they were such an integral cog at a school for so many, many years.

How will you feel?

I have done this too many times over my working life, where I have gone into a position, worked diligently, made changes (hopefully most of them were positive), been there a certain number of years, been fairly successful and then for whatever the reason moved on.  When I have gone back, it is never the same.

There almost always a certain amount of awkwardness if you go back to visit and even though others may try to make you feel at ease. You still feel like you don’t belong – that you are interrupting whoever you are talking to from doing their work – because you remember when you were on the other side of the conversation, how you felt (inconvenienced) and you will suddenly remember a reason to conveniently leave as soon as you can.

If you decide to go back and visit your former school, just remember you have been replaced and were not indispensable, they have moved on and that you need to also.  Don’t become one of those “dreaded” former educators that can’t stay away after they have “left”.

Remember what you used to think of them.

How will you handle it – not being at your school anymore?

  • Well – I hope!

“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda