On Monday, I officially resigned from NHA, a company I have worked for for the last 8 years. NHA was my first “career job” just out of college, and I have worked in a variety of roles for them– paraprofessional, substitute Kindergarten teacher, middle school Social Studies teacher, and Curriculum Specialist.  I got a lot out of working there– more than just my professional classroom experience (although that was incredibly important).  NHA also gave me the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge on teaching, learning, and assessment through conferences, professional conversations, and supporting me while I got my Masters Degree and most of my PhD. They also helped shape my views on the role of charter schools in education reform, and taught me lessons on how to help teachers. Most importantly, working for NHA gave me an group of amazing lifelong friends that I met at Vanderbilt and the Service Center.

But in the end, what NHA couldn’t give me was time.  I have devoted 4 years to working on my PhD, and I can now see the finish. My biggest take-away from this year at MSU was that my attention was focused in too many places, and I needed to put all of my energy into finishing my degree. At one point, NHA was very connected to my doctoral work, but then over the last couple of years it had been slowly pulling away. Now it is time to let it go and give over this year to writing.

I told my parents I had quit my job, and I could tell they were happy for me. But my dad always has to get in his worries. He asked, “Doesn’t this mean you’re working without a net now?” It was true- after this year of writing, I don’t really know what is in store for me. For this year, I do have a job of writing and teaching (and I will get paid for it), but after that who knows? It’s part of what makes this year exciting and terrifying. When I told my dad that, he said “Yes, Annie. This is why most people don’t quit their jobs– because they don’t know what they would do after that.”

He has a point, but I am honestly not concerned about this decision. It’s part of what is going to make this year monumental for me. It had to be done.

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