You two have managed to accomplish something together no one ever has: you surprised me.

Dean Hardscrabble – Monster’s U

After my forty-seven trips around the sun I have come to realize that one of the greatest joys in life is when you surprise yourself. You know the feeling when you take a leap into the unknown – step outside of your comfort zone, and stuff falls into place and feels right. Life just feels AMAZING.

That is what teaching has been for me. I surprised myself by even trying out substitute teaching back in January of 2022 during the peak of COVID. My wife, an elementary educator of 20+ years dared me as a joke to try it out! The photo above is me on my first day of teaching.

Later that year in March I was surprised to get a phone call from a principal asking if I would be willing to be a long-term Social Studies sub for the last quarter of that year.

I was surprised to find out that I loved teaching. I was so sad when the year ended. But was then surprised and freaked out to have the same principal offer me a job to teach full time!

I’m surprised that my first two years of teaching full time are coming to an end. And I’m surprised, and shocked still that I will no longer be able to do this thing I have grown to love in the Fall. I’m still surprised, sad, and angry that the State of Oregon doesn’t have a pathway for a career professional like myself to mentor and teach students full time in a classroom.

Granted, there is a pathway for me to become qualified in the eyes of Oregon law, but I have decided that the Masters of Art in Teaching isn’t something I’m willing to do to continue my role as an educator. I’m not willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars ( and maybe get some reimbursed ) when my own daughters are nearing the time when they might want to go to college. I’d rather save that money for them.

Beyond money, I’m not willing to sacrifice the time needed to complete a program like that. Time I could invest in my family before my daughters graduate and move on to hopefully surprise themselves. I also find it odd to have to invest that time when I have been successfully teaching for over 2 years now.

I can, and already have, managed classrooms. I can and have already crafted creative and engaging lesson plans. But most importantly, I can and do care deeply about all of my students. I care about building relationships with them and making them feel seen and heard.

Furthermore, I’m not willing to spend four months as a cadet teacher, unpaid, in a K-6 classroom so I can do a job that I have already been doing for over two years. While I don’t teach math, the above just simply does not add up to me.

I’m forever grateful for the past two years and the opportunity to surprise myself and feel the magic that can only be experienced as a full-time teacher. But still am so hurt and sad once again that the school year, and apparently my teaching career, is coming to an end.

Governor Kotek – I’m hoping that you and the lawmakers in the State of Oregon might surprise me someday. I’m hoping that you all can wake up and see how broken public education is on our state. How badly it needs proper funding. How we are letting down our young adults – the future of our state, and not equipping them properly for the changing world they are growing up into.

I’ve only been in the system two years now, but it is clear to me that change is needed. TSPC is broken and hard to work with, and the existing laws around licensure are not serving our state well. I would love to chat with you or any other lawmakers about what I have seen and experienced.

But until then, I will be back in the classroom as a substitute teacher. Contributing my time, energy, and love towards helping all of our students. All the while hoping, that someday, I might be surprised to find myself in my very own classroom again.

Timmy Crawford
May 4, 2024

Not sure how many people will stumble upon this blog post. I intend on mailing the letter above to Governor Kotek. I don’t anticipate her ever reading it or acknowledging it. But the process was cathartic for me and needed to happen.

I have left comments open on this post and hope that those of you that do read it might stop and share what brought you here, or how you know me. If you could take a moment to share anything about me as a teacher, that would mean so much to me. Many of my students have said so many kind things to me after I found out I will no longer be able to teach full time. This kindness is what has been keeping me going the past few months.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for letting me be your teacher. It was one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced in my life.

💜 Timmy

3 responses to “Surprised”

  1. Lisa Miner

    Tim-you have a lot of heart and the kind of charisma the classroom and the students need! Oregon os foolish to stick with the requirements when there is someone otherwise qualified, proven and willing to engage students. I support your stance and hope there will be a more attainable path soon.

    Keep being awesome, my friend!

  2. Becky

    Amazing what you do to support middle school youth.

  3. Josh

    You are wonderful, friend. I appreciate you very much, and I know I’m not alone in that.

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