Saying Goodbye

With school fights, technology, and a lack of respect, teaching has become a difficult career for many. Over time, more and more teachers are leaving the profession to pursue other careers or aspects of their lives. Others simply leave specific schools to grow in their career. No matter why they decide to leave, it can be difficult to say goodbye. 

Teaching can be a difficult career, and the COVID pandemic has only increased these challenges for many. With the addition of technology in the classroom comes an addition of responsibility for teachers. French teacher Vivian Moore has seen how teaching has become difficult, though she still chooses to stay in the profession. 

“After COVID, there have been numerous challenges that didn’t exist before. Some of the things that we’re asked to do keep increasing. Teaching isn’t a job where you walk out the door and leave it, you’re going home to plan, grade, and all the things you don’t have time for during the day,” said Moore. 

From grading papers to handling student-related issues, being a teacher can take more time and effort than expected, even after school hours. These time-consuming tasks can make it difficult to pursue other aspects of one’s life, including raising a family. English teacher Alyssa Turner is leaving her career as a teacher to raise her baby, and she has not decided if her choice is permanent or temporary. 

“I’m actually leaving because I’m going to be staying at home with my baby, who’s going to be born in August. I don’t know if I’m going to come back to teaching or if I’m going to do something else. I feel like I’m at a crossroads, where I’ve experienced what I want to experience with teaching, but things would definitely have to change for me to come back after raising my kid,” said Turner. 

Though some teachers leave due to negative experiences in their career, many simply choose to pursue new areas of their lives. It can be difficult to leave schools and students behind, but many teachers make the decision to discover new interests. Culinary teacher Ann Guffey is leaving the profession after 18 years of teaching. 

“Teaching is a huge part of who I am. It’s been my mission to be part of my community and invest in the next generation in the place where I live. Building a stronger community in partnership with the school has definitely been my life; it was my calling for a long time. There are so many things in life, and I have so many interests; who says this has to be the only thing that I do?” said Guffey. 

Oftentimes, the loss of teachers can leave an impact on the school and students that they leave behind. Many students build close relationships with their teachers, and it can be difficult to watch them leave. Sophomore Madison Singleton has built a strong connection to Guffey, and she finds it difficult to watch her leave. 

“When we’re at school, teachers are who we depend on and go to as mentors. They’re people that we can put our trust into, so it’s sad whenever teachers that we’re really close to leave. I got really close with Mrs. Guffey; she’s like a second mom to me. She’s really sweet and super helpful. I’m really sad that she’s leaving because she’s a great teacher,” said Singleton.

Like many careers, teaching/coaching is one that leaves room for growth and improvement. Sometimes this growth requires change, regardless of how difficult it may be. Football coach Anthony Sheppard is leaving Lake Ridge after 6 years, to explore and grow in his career. 

“I am going to a different school, and it’s very bittersweet. The part I’ve struggled with the most is leaving the students here; they’ve become family to me. I’ve also established several relationships here with teachers and staff. Lake Ridge is home to me; sometimes you have to leave home to go out, explore, and find yourself. In this profession, you have goals and aspirations, so sometimes when you want to obtain those goals and keep growing you have to leave your comfort zone,” said Sheppard. 

As teachers leave the doors of Lake Ridge with hope for the future, students are left with memories of the connections built throughout their high school years. Sheppard recognizes how leaving the school cannot break his connection with Lake Ridge and its students. 

“This is a great place, with great people, great students, and a great community. I’m always cheering for Lake Ridge, regardless of where I am,” stated Sheppard.