It has been a long spell – one would reason that given this past year’s pants-on-head pandemic, I would find myself with far more writing time. Indeed, I have scribbled some rather shitty poems, some creative pieces, a genuine letter of resignation, a slew of academic research papers, and some other riffraff that doesn’t warrant publishing to this mediocre and neglected blog. Alas, I am only human.
Oh? The letter of resignation? That.
At the time of this writing, I am in my classroom, cleaning out my supplies, my various knick-knacks, all the goofy shit I have accumulated over the years and plastered o’er the walls; the whole shebang. In truth, it is bittersweet and yet frightfully terrifying. Am I to walk away from this calling of five years?
In short: yes.
In truth, comrades, this past year has sapped my willpower, my desire to do good by my students. If it weren’t for them, I would have resigned in disgust ages ago for the children really and truly are our best bet toward securing a better future. The kids are the important ones behind schooling, but the caustic nature of academia – with all those useless meetings, petty bureaucrats, and asinine rules that strip us of individuality within the classroom – has seen me pause and reflect upon my current standing. Am I, I have asked myself, truly Happy at this point in my Life?
In short: no.
Content, yes, but happy? No, for this fell hydra that is the local, state, and federal oversight has seen my willpower and drive dismissed to almost nothingness. I live for my kids – this is not in dispute – but I cannot abide the abuses, oversight, and uncompromising attitude of it all, especially now that we are entering another year of abject uncertainty without clear guidance. This is no way to manage a school district – had this been a business, it would have folded ages ago. Now, enough thinly veiled criticisms; here’s the rub.
After having faithfully served in the classroom as instructor, therapist, father-figure, yearbook enthusiast, and all the other hats one must wear when attending to the needs of young charges, I must alight for familial pastures and opportunities. Effective at the time of this writing, I resign.
Now, this was a long time in coming methinks, for anyone in public education – especially after this past year of mayhem and mishap – has pondered and entertained the very same thoughts as I. Indeed, my dear students have done the same, with many of you absconding to different, less restrictive districts, online-only schooling, or mere truancy without recourse. It cannot be helped: humans seek comfort in knowing that what they are doing has value and is appreciated. And, though my praises seem to be sung hither and thither, praise does not sustain a soul.
That, comrades, is by the pursuit and conquest of happiness.
To that end, let me explain my rationale for the curious: a writing and research opportunity has arisen for me. After wandering around the Rockies with the bulk of the family, the design to write the family history – the story of a couple of Swiss immigrants, some Anabaptists, and their American Dream – has been dropped rather comfortably into my lap. It seems to check all the boxes that this misguided and disheartened vagabond could certainly use at this point: controlled chaos, a chance to genuinely write for myself and not for a grade, the opportunity to travel about the country to interview and research this obscure and miniscule topic, breathing room upon my own terms that is not predicated upon the machinations of absent superiors, and the need to secure a historical position before the first-hand accounts succumb to old age.
In short, comrades, I am temporarily resigning my position to write my family’s history before the chance is squandered on what-if’s and maybe’s.
Now, of course, I do take shame in knowing that I submit this resignation a week before school starts, and for that I am profusely apologetic and disgraced with myself. However, it cannot be helped: this bug was only planted in my head a week ago so the roots, like weeds, have furiously done their work in the shortest of spans. That is not much time for my colleagues and superiors to accommodate my decision, and for that, I am genuinely sorry. I do take comfort in knowing that, having already interviewed candidates for an English position available earlier in the summer, candidates exist for my vacant position. A small token, certainly, but it is better to leave afore school starts rather than mid-term – that would be the true injustice to the kids.
To my students, my beloved goombas, you know that Mr. B is – and will always be – here for you. You have my number, my email, hell, even my Twitter, so please holler if you need anything. Just because I’m not roaming B Hall to crack jokes and throw chairs anymore doesn’t mean I cease being your instructor: those bonds go on well beyond these walls.
To my colleagues, I offer my sincerest apologies for my departure. It has been an honor to serve alongside you o’er the years and I look forward to our eventual reunion. You know I still have your backs should you need anything. And, hey: at least I can finally put my History endorsement to use, eh?
To my family, I hope I do y’all justice as I wander about conducting research and interviews in pursuit of Grandpa and Grandma’s tales. No doubt this might come as a shock to the bulk of you, but know that this decision was not reached lightly: family first, as I tell the kids.
It has been an honor to serve. Goombas, I look forward to your successes this school year and want to reiterate that my door is always open – whether I am employed with the school or otherwise. And don’t forget your DIDLS and FITT.
Now, as always, go do Good things.
I’m not crying. You’re crying.
3 thoughts on “The Prodigal Grandson”
Well, Bruno. Good for you! Kent and I have been working on his memoirs and his wife’s letters of their 8 years or so on sailboats — it is therapeutic and quite a learning experience. I’m sure you’ll do the family chronicle justice! Let us know how it goes. I’m sure you’ll miss your students and they will miss you.
My daughter is very sad, but she and I both know the trauma of this last year is very real. Wishing you well.