Dear Future Self

“How many crossroads are you allowed to have in life? I seem to have a lot of crossroads. I think maybe I crossed back across the same road too often.” – Queen Latifah

Dear Emma,

Today I find myself navigating a storm of emotions and making a decision I couldn’t see myself making only 18 months ago. I have quit my job as a classroom teacher, letting go of my permanent position within the department of education. This is not a decision I have made lightly. I love teaching. I love my class and my students. I love my colleagues. I love helping kids develop their own opinions about the world.  I don’t love the treadmill I have found myself on. I don’t love the panic attacks. I don’t love that teaching has become my sole identity and reason. I don’t love this feeling of being trapped. So I have quit my job and decided to take up relief teaching for a time. I am doing this because I need to extract myself from the pit of negativity that I have found myself in and because I need to work out who I am.

As you well know, when I graduated high school I was filled with such fear and anxiety. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but I was scared that if I didn’t start university right away I never would. Added to this, I let my family’s financial situation dictate what I should do, and thus commence the next chapter of my life where I lived at home and studied my course externally. While I am grateful for the financial and career opportunities doing so provided me, I regret not hitting pause for a short while and taking the time to explore just exactly who I am. My next opportunity to do so came at the end of my degree at a time when I was so broke that not immediately going into work was not an option.

Over the past 4.5 years my dedication to my students and the clash between my professional values and the realities of this job have worn me out to the point where hitting pause is my only option. I am taking this break to rediscover my identity and set my values for life. My goal is to reconnect with myself and create a life outside of work and study. I want to reach a place where I am happy with myself and also able to compartmentalize my work.

My most sincere wish is that as you are reading this 2 years in the future you are in a place of happiness and calm. Secretly, I still hope that you are working as a teacher because I love doing it so much, but if you are not that is still okay, as long as it is right for you.

All my love,

Emma

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