Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

This Must Be the Place

I went back into teaching today.

Towards the end of last school year, I decided to leave the district I’d been with for the previous six years mainly because of a commute that due to a move had grown considerably longer than when I had started. Once the decision to leave that district was made, I decided to leave the profession altogether. There were a number of reasons, but mainly I was feeling burned out. Besides, I had never intended to teach forever. Teaching was my second career. After growing tired of the ups and downs of freelancing in the film business, I had wanted to do something ‘useful for a while’ as I told people who thought I’d lost my mind back when I was working through an alternative certification program.

Last summer, I decided that since I was going to be looking for another job why not look outside of public education? I spent the summer interviewing and searching and finally found a job as a project manager at a small company. It sounded exciting – a combination of marketing, IT and communications. The job was okay, but it didn’t leave me feeling fulfilled. The commute was horrendous, I got home very late each evening and while there was no grading to do, I had little time for writing, a problem that was growing increasingly difficult since there is another novel just bursting to be written. So back I went to the calculus of career in which I always conclude that what I do all day must be personally fulfilling and give me time to write.

The thing about teaching is that I know I’m really good at it. I can reach the kids who hate school (just as I hated it until I got to college) and I can push them past the level of ‘minimum skills’ that Texas requires, showing them that they can read and write and – most importantly – think better than they ever thought they could. Not teaching felt like I was wasting part of myself.

A few weeks ago, I started looking and found a mid-year opening at an alternative school. It’s a boot camp environment for kids who are on their last chance. In some cases the next step could be prison. This is exciting to me. When I got the job last week, I happily packed up my office and quit. Today was my first day at my new school. I loved it. It felt right. When I resigned from my old teaching position everyone tried to convince me that teaching was my calling and that I shouldn’t leave the profession.

I’m glad I did, but I’m thrilled to be back where I think I probably belong. I’ve had many jobs, a few professions and careers, but only teaching has ever made me want to get up and go to work for someone else.


  1. Got my pencil out and I’m ready to take notes.

  2. Congratulations on finding a career that fits you that well! May it continue to find you wanting “to get up and go to work for someone else.”

    I would also think a job like that might lend itself to some pretty good stories. I look forward to that.

  3. As we often opine around the marbled halls of IM Central, teaching would be a great job, if it weren’t for students.
    Still, your point is well taken and we join the chorus welcoming you back to the fold.
    By the way, will this be on the test?

  4. The world needs more good teachers. The world does not need more project managers in communications (sheepishly admitted the project manager in communications.) Bravo!

    Love the new blog look, too!

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