Ever watch a droplet of water on the counter? How it holds together until touched and then runs away? That's how I feel today, only I call it a tear. I feel like one giant tear. If you touch me, the water will run everywhere; and I'll disappear. Today is my last day at a school I helped build in a community that needed my sophistication and expertise. I was president of their interagency council, building membership to its highest peak ever and bringing in prestigious speakers to build the infrastructure in the community.
I spent my weekends in the the dirty, windy streets strewn with litter handing out pamphlets that offer help to those who need it while a pitiful parade walked and rode by for some celebration. I stood at tables in fields holding the canvas protection from the sun and signing little passport replicas that indicated people had stopped by to peruse the pieces of paper that held information that provided hope.
I spun weekly news releases and built rapport with community agencies to build the demand for a post-secondary vocational school to save the impoverished students a two-hour round trip for the nearest educational opportunity past high school. I served on the committees that talked up the need for the school and begged the school board in the wealthy coastal cities to remember this pitiful town of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, many U.S. citizens with solid roots in the community, and give them a chance for a better life.
I was always "second" under some incompetent leader who was retiring, not really interested in working very hard or building very much. Finally, the last of the uncaring left, and there was hope for me. Instead, a failing school was reorganized and my wonderful new opportunity sank in the bowels of politics and reassignment. I remained not only second, but now third. I continued to pour my heart and intellect into opening a school that shouted "class" to a world that looked down its nose at our community and was surprised at open houses that rivaled the more sophisticated schools with our technology on the cutting edge and innovative curricula with industry standards.
No one told anyone in the city, anyone in the administrative tower that could make a difference in my life, that a person of intellect and quality was pouring her expertise into this beautiful new school. No one carried the message that I was interested in upward mobility and had the capability to do so much more. No, everyone feathered their own nest with my accomplishments as I drove a hundred miles a day to give them that chance. Dump trucks emptied their dirt and grime on my car until the paint peeled and cracked; oncoming traffic sent me into the ditch, and one head-on seemed that it might be that final curtain.
Finally, something snapped. I knew that one morning I would wake up and never drive there again. If that happened, I would burn bridges that might some day leave me impoverished myself. Instead, I asked for a letter of reference for my many years of exemplary service, watched those I toiled with walk down their halls and into their offices for the last times. I asked for a quiet and uncelebrated departure. What is to celebrate? What is to mourne? I just can't wallow in mediocrity anymore; I can't watch my life dissolve into settling for so much less than I am. Life is safe that way; die a little every day waiting for the pension and have a heart attack after the retirement celebration. I've seen enough people broken; I won't be another casualty. I resigned for "personal reasons" to the shock of my caring colleagues.
I still feel like a tear, ready to break and disappear. Change is like that. For some, this is the first day of school; for me, it is the last.
Causes DK Christi Supports