Over spring break, I came to the conclusion that I'd like to move back to Seattle next year. There is no one reason I made this decision. It's come as a result of a lot of different things.
My health has been deteriorating, and I can't really explain it. I've been in a number of doctors' offices in the past week to do a number of different tests to explain symptoms of vertigo, headaches, and chest pains. I'm not exercising as much as I used to, or enjoying the things I used to really enjoy in life. I prefer to live on a human scale (within walking distance of a healthy grocery store, a gym I enjoy, and work), and I can't really live in the neighborhood I work in (doesn't have any healthy food or gyms I want to go to). So I currently commute about fifty minutes each way between work and my apartment. Lastly, I'm originally from the West. My family is there, and it just feels like the time to return. I think my life has become incredibly unbalanced, and I hope to rediscover some of that balance in the last place I had it.
Despite all of my reasons for leaving, I discovered today that there may be a good chance my position wouldn't exist next year anyway. My principal sent out an email today informing us that the chancellor put a freeze on all personel transactions as staff reductions are considered. "There are a few positions that could go," my assistant principal told me. "And yours would be toward the top of the list." She went on to tell a colleague that he and a few other teachers might be in trouble.
When I told my administrators that I wouldn't be coming back next year, it turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. It was actually really sad, and I'm not sure I expected that. I've really learned a lot teaching at my school, and, for the most part, I've really enjoyed the staff (including the administrators - imagine that!) and students I've worked with. Despite all that, however, this recent news only served to remind me of all of the ways the NYC DOE is messed up.
The DOE recruited me heavily last summer, provided my staff and I with minimal space and support (and numerous worthless mandates) to educate some of the most difficult students in the country to educate, and may very well be eliminating my position at the end of the year. (I am, by the way, very well aware that the contradictions in that sentence emanate from very different places and political motivations.) Although my AP has often reminded me, "It's only messed up if you think about it," I've had a tough time not thinking about it. I can't help but wonder if the stressful medical symptoms I've recently been experiencing have been, in part, a result of how much I think about it, and how much I've put into this job at the expense of other aspects of my life.
I will leave New York in early July with a sense of sorrow. I love the city, and I love my school. But I will also be glad to get out. I'd prefer my life be more than just my job, especially when that job is so subject to the whims of politics.