Many of you have heard or read the news of my resignation this past week. It’s been emotional to say the least. I’m writing this morning to say thank you. Thank you to colleagues, family, and friends from all over the country and world who have written to encourage, support, and stand beside me as I made the most difficult decision of my life. This does not replace a personal message, phone call, or in person thank you, but because there are so many of you, I wanted you to at least know for now how much I love and appreciate you all.
Children are more than numbers, more than test scores, and deserve to be treated as humans who will lead us into a bright future. This week I made the decision to take the stand for teachers who deserve the same respect. The work we do with children, the lives we invest in, the years we prepare to be the best professionals we can be, cannot be measured by a test or by a federal government regulation. I had to make a difficult choice to stand for future of teachers, future classrooms of children, and the future of our profession– or simply allow bureaucracy to win again.
What’s most difficult is leaving those fifth graders, that community, those ten and eleven year olds who put on their own armor of protection and challenged my every teaching move. What’s hardest is leaving those children who, underneath the armor and the anger have hearts that are tender and emotions that are raw and lives that are difficult.
What’s wonderful is that we live in a time where we can connect at any time, in almost any way. The kids and I are blogging now, and oh, what powerful words they are speaking. They are pouring their hearts and their lives into these posts…on their own time, in their own way, for their own purpose. It proves to me that writing can lead us out of our pain and into a world of hope, connection, and possibility. I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye in person, but here’s the letter I wrote to the kids to make sure they knew that THEY are what matter. Our certifications do not define us. It’s the lives we touch and change that matter most.