Thanks to the NC state budget, I was forced to make a very difficult decision this week: Stay at my current school where my position as full-time technology facilitator is more or less being eliminated or pursue moving to another school where a full-time technology position is hanging on by a thread. This was a very difficult decision for me since I love the people I work with, love my school, and love the children.
I started at Jefferson during its infancy and watched it grow to a well rounded, mature and loving family. I'd like to think I have given my best over the last 12 years at Jefferson. I have taught teachers and students new technologies, and hopefully made an impact.
But, it can all come crumbling down thanks to the short-sighted decisions by the "drive by education experts" in Raleigh. I keep thinking to myself..."What reasonably sized business does not have a technology support person?" Yet, we have a school of 1200 students, over 70 teachers, and over 400 computers/laptops and there will be no fulltime dedicated person to support that program? It just seems ridiculous. And of course I am not the only one being cut. There are other critically important people at Jefferson and other schools who are being cut as well, and I am very sad for them as well.
There were many things to consider about this new job opportunity. For one, I never wanted to leave my family at Jefferson, but also didn't want to end up "between a rock and hard place" trying to teach and support technology in a school so large. I did not make this decision lightly or without much contemplation. I wrote out all the pros and cons. I talked extensively with family and close friends. I went back and forth considering both emotional reasons and rational considerations.
In the final analysis, I took comfort in a couple of things: First, I received a heart-felt letter from a parent of a student who graduated from college this May and had remembered me. She thanked me for inspiring her son to succeed. That made me think...maybe I did in fact do my best. Secondly, I was reassured by a comment from a teacher at Jefferson who heard that I might be leaving. She said: "John, at first when I heard you might leave, I thought how can we survive without you? But, went on to say: "But, you have taught us so much...I think I can do it now." To me that comment was a defining moment. I can leave knowing that everyone will be fine.
Finally, in the last few days I thought about my mother who left her war torn country of Ireland a generation ago with a handful of children and very little else. She not only survived but thrived in an entirely new country filled with opportunity. I know that I carry her strength with me, but also know this situation does not even compare the the struggles she faced.
Like my mom leaving her family 3000 miles away, I will miss "my family" at Jefferson terribly. I will stay in touch and continue to help in anyway I can. But, I also know it will never be the same, and for that I blame the legislators in Raleigh who had other choices :( Shame on them!
I am thankful for the privilege of working with such fantastic people for the last 12 years!