letter of recommendation to officially leave my professional role

Dear School community,

I am writing to recommend Amélie Baker for a longer extension of her time as a writer. Amélie found great fulfillment as a teacher in BPS for ten years. During her time she taught a range of courses, some more successfully than others. She foresees a return to the classroom in the future, but not at this time. Amélie has been using her sabbatical to focus on her writing projects and has decided that her creative world deserves a few more years.

This letter mimics a college recommendation because the writing of that form to help facilitate the dreams of students inspired my own life change. There are also two tangible factors of being a teacher that were particularly ill fitting: waking up early and wearing business casual. I never minded the bureaucracy or the PDs, those just seemed like what it meant to be a grown-up. But the larger façade of being a teacher began to gnaw at me.

My colleagues would complain about students and I would nod along, when in truth it was likely that I had been a worse offender as a student at BLS myself. My own hypocrisy perturbed me –at 15 I smoked, I skipped school, I broke rules, and the law, and social mores. And yet now I was seen as respectable, but what if my uglier parts were revealed, could I then lose the mantel of “teacher”? I offer this as part of my letter of recommendation because I hope to advocate for those trouble makers, delinquents, idiots and arrogant fools – they might just end up decent enough adults.

In this current political climate I would be hard pressed to maintain the objectivity assigned to teachers. Nor do I find the public especially open to the complex lives of teachers. This could be a simple bureaucratic letter, but no one who actually knows what it is to be a teacher considers that role simple, prescriptive, or clear-cut.

So I officially will not be returning to my position  for the 2017-18 school year.

With sincere gratitude,

Amélie Baker


p.s. I maintain a blog of unpolished writing at collectivefailure.com, I will have a story published in the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review in the Fall, and hope for more future announcements about being published.

to fail or not to fail, what is your response

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