Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is This Really Happening?

I can't process the enormity of my decision to take an indefinite leave from teaching. I have no words to explain the hours, days, weeks, months I've spent agonizing over this choice. But I've made the decision and somewhere deep, deep down I know this is right. I'm just very over-whelmed and consumed with sadness at the moment.  So while I don't have words to properly express my grief in leaving my profession, my colleagues, my students, and their families. I can share the letters that I composed informing them of my decision.

You can read the letter I sent to the staff at Long Meadow here.
You can read the letter I sent to the families of my students here.

Thank you for your kindness, love, and support.

Letter to Students' Families

February 8, 2013
Dear Fourth Grade Parents,
     It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. As you may know I suffered severe vision loss 2 ½ years ago during the birth of my daughter, Emeline. Through time, rehabilitation, and adaptations I was able to return to teaching part-time. I was overjoyed with the opportunity to continue the career that I love; hoping to impart a different perspective to the children at Long Meadow.  
Over the last year and a half I have attempted to meet the demands of teaching. However, the challenge my limited vision presents has forced me to realize that these demands are more than I can handle. Therefore, I will be taking an indefinite medical leave effective February 15, 2013.
My number one concern as a teacher has always been to provide children with a quality educational experience that ignites a love of learning and creates a passion for reading. Through all the challenges my limited vision created in regard to grading, assessing, and maintenance of day-to-day paperwork, this goal has never been compromised.
Making the decision to leave has been tremendously difficult for me and leaving mid-year is far from ideal. I love the relationship that I have built with your children and am truly saddened that I won’t be a part of their continued growth as a fourth-grader.  I am grateful for the time I have spent with your children. They are remarkable individuals. Despite all the challenges I have faced, they have made every day gratifying.
Katie Kilgore, Lucinda Salmon’s student teacher will be taking over my half of the job-share with Mrs. Reich.  Many of your children already have a relationship with Miss Kilgore, and I am confident in her abilities. Mrs. Reich will continue to be a consistent and supportive presence for your children and Miss Kilgore in this transition.
Thank you for your on-going support and understanding. Please know that I care very deeply about your children and am sincerely grateful to have been a part of their education.


Christy Landefeld

Letter to Staff

February 8, 2013
Dear Long Meadow Staff,
      It is with an extremely heavy heart that I write this letter. I have called Long Meadow my home and considered you all to be members of my family for over 9 years. You have supported me professionally and personally in ways that I could never begin to properly give thanks. I am so proud to be a part of a community of caring, dedicated educators. I am terribly saddened to announce that I will be taking an indefinite medical leave of absence due to my low-vision effective February 15, 2013.
Teaching has been, and always will be, my passion. I love learning and sharing my love of reading and writing with children. It is this passion that drove me back into the classroom 15 months after having Emeline. Unfortunately, as you all are very aware, teaching involves much more than that. Between assessments, record-keeping, planning, and day-to-day paperwork my eyes just can’t keep up.  I have tried numerous adaptations and accommodations but it is time for me to accept my disability and begin to put myself, my health, and my family ahead of my career.
Katie Kilgore will be taking over my half of the job-share position with Michelle Reich. I am confident that she will be welcomed into the Long Meadow family as warmly as I.
Thank you for your on-going well-wishes and support. I may be leaving Long Meadow but I am certainly not leaving the relationships we have built over the years.            
Much Love,  
Christy Landefeld