Here I am, about to tell my bosses/private school administrators that they can take their teaching job and shove it. To find out why teaching at a private school was the worst job I ever had, go check out Part 1.
I walked into the Head Principal’s office and laid two copies of a document in front of her. “I’ve repeatedly informed you about the conditions in Liz’s classroom, but administration has failed to take appropriate action. I refuse to work here any longer. I would like you to sign this document releasing me from my contract with the school.”
Her mouth gaped and her eyes flashed to the document, me, back to the document. “I need some notice…” she trailed.
“No. I will not be working another day for this administration.”
She was silent for a moment, contemplating my words and calculating. “You don’t even want to say goodbye to the kids?” Ouch. She actually cut me to the heart with that one. I adored those kids, and leaving without addressing them was extremely difficult. But I knew that the administration wouldn’t really let me say goodbye, and I’d never be able to give the real reason for my departure. I envisioned myself enacting some bizarre two week charade in the classroom, graciously leaving due to “personal commitments” or an unidentified family need. No. Lying to those children wasn’t right, and it wouldn’t ultimately do any good. The kids were smart, and I believed they’d know I hadn’t abandoned them unceremoniously for nothing.
“It is difficult for me to leave without saying goodbye, yes. But this is the right thing to do. I’ve made my decision.”
She hesitated, her mind clearly racing. She knew how this would reflect on her personal choice to keep Liz on staff. How it would shed light on her failure to address the problem, or any of the parents’ complaints. “I need to consult with our lawyers–” she scooted the document back at me with two fingers as if it might contaminate her desk.
So it had come to lawyers. I jumped at the chance to reveal my well-rehearsed punch line. “My lawyer has informed me that I can sue the school. However, I’m willing to forego legal proceedings if you release me from my contract.” I scooted the pages back in her direction and tilted my head toward her. “Now.” I missed public school. At my old job we had union reps to keep things from ever getting to this point.
“Sue us?“ What on earth for?” Her nostrils were literally flaring. It would’ve been comical to me if I didn’t take the situation so seriously.
“For failing to address the unfair and unsafe working conditions in the classroom, all of which I’ve previously brought to your attention.”
We locked eyes for a long moment: determination in mine, bewilderment in hers. I almost felt bad as it appeared to dawn on her. My resignation would open an unruly can of worms on her desk. Regardless, it wasn’t as bad as a drawn out legal battle that the school was destined to lose. And things could be worse; She could be sitting in Liz’s position. She signed the documents, thrusting one in my direction and one into her own drawer.
I was standing to leave when she looked up suddenly and pondered aloud, “What should I tell everyone about why you left?”
“Tell them whatever you want,” I mused. “They’ll know.”
I walked into a publishing office a couple hours later and talked my way into an executive position, sparking my ongoing marketing career in a field that I love. I do still miss working with children.
Liz was fired, and hasn’t been employed by an educational establishment in the years since.