I resigned from my suburban job last week. Not a completely shocking decision given folks who wondered why I was going there in the first place, but enough of an unexpected rumble that it makes me sad. I worked with phenomenal colleagues who were willing to share their practice, to help me figure it out, and to remind myself that even in the suburbs, someone has to speak up for the kids of color. In the ‘burbs, too, I realized that speaking up for other kids matters, too, the ones who are a bit quirky, a lot uncertain, and majorly unhappy. It always comes down to missing the same things, ultimately: my colleagues and the kids. However, I read this great quote (accidentally, but perhaps not, as I’ve an affinity for lovely quotes): Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it. Trey Parker–of South Park and the Book of Mormon, maybe?–said that. I was moved by the quote and taken aback that Parker said it–maybe I shouldn’t have been, but that’s just the way it is.
While it’s the kids and the classroom triumphs and challenges that stay with me, it was also a deeper desire to work with kids of color again that compelled me to leave the suburbs. I realized the differences, though, between the city and the suburbs, and it’s lit a fire under me to do more. It matters. And I think MY work matters more in the city than in the ‘burbs. For now, at least.