I just shut the door to my classroom and handed in my school keys to the main office for the 18th year in a row… but this June is different. Why? I’m not coming back to teach next year — and I might not return at all after that. It’s time for a change, and I’m now on a Leave of Absence! My reasons for this choice are many.
As a friend once said, “When it’s time to go, you know.” While I’ve had some wonderful times teaching over the past two decades (and I deeply hope that I’ve positively impacted the 2,500 students I’ve taught during that time), it has become clear to me that I can no longer serve students in the ways that they need. It’s time for them to have a fresh teacher — because this one is pretty ragged right now!
What next? I’ll be spending the coming year — and hopefully beyond — taking my writing and illustration career to the next level. In particular, DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoon Site is my opportunity to share the ELA teaching wisdom I’ve honed over all these years with a far larger audience than a single classroom.
DrawingsOf.com has only been around for two years, but it now gets over 20,000 readers a month, and English lesson requests come in from teachers from around the world — including the recent “Lose vs. Loose” and “Types of Conflict in Literature” posts. If you are (or know) a teacher who’d like to request a hand-illustrated article lesson on the site from me, let me know! I’m exhilarated to be moving to a chapter where I’ll have time to grant those requests on a speedier timeline.
To continue the “what’s next” question, being on leave from teaching will allow me a much more open travel schedule to parter with new destinations and feature them on this site, dear AroundTheWorldL.com, which will be a full 14 years old next year. (Happy birthday, my first baby!) Stay tuned for the exciting international destination I’ll be featuring in a few weeks…
Finally, in late August I will be expanding the hours of my Reiki practice for healing touch energy work, as demand grew so much during this past year that I had to pause bookings in order to catch my breath! That’s a very good thing. It’s been an honor to share healing and realignment with the beautiful clients who trust me on that table. (I have to note: the juxtaposition between teaching 140 students a day versus the calm of being able to focus on just one client for an hour-long Reiki session is a striking one!)
Speaking of healing and realignment, the #1 reason I am going on leave from teaching is to heal. This past year has been the most difficult of my life (for reasons that I won’t elaborate on at this time), and I know that if I continue working at a teaching job with my battery at 1%, that will not be good for anyone involved. It’s time to move on.
Though money may be tight for a time because of this career decision, I vow to live a life that puts health, love, joy, family, contribution, growth, exploration, and happiness above all — so this leap is the right move. Let’s fly!
June of 2023 Update: After a WONDERFUL year-long Leave of Absence, I’m headed back to part-time teaching, but this time with a firm focus on work-life balance. I’m excited!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!