It is my last term at an institution I have taught at for nearly seven years. I feel like I was a baby when I started working here (professionally speaking I suppose that I was).
I have already formally resigned and set a stop date, and that means that it wouldn't really make any sense to fire me. So what does this mean?
Well, it could mean that I could break all of the crazy arcane rules this place has about dress code and faculty behavior. But, instead, it means pretty much the same thing it meant the last time I quit a teaching job and new it was my "last term."
Over the years I've worked here our curriculum has grown stricter and stricter. More and more we have to grade the way we're told, rather than whatever way seems right. Consequently, the best thing about this term is knowing that I'm teaching without being reviewed, grading without consequences, and I can, quite honestly, shoot the curriculum to hell and back and nobody will care.
Maybe it would be in the spirit of this site to announce that I am therefore doing NOTHING in class this term, but that's not true. Instead, I'm teaching to the students' potential (quite high) instead of the curriculum (quite low). We're doing awesome fun projects. We're running all over the school really enjoying the subject and turning every spare corner of the place into classroom space.
In other words--I'm teaching the way I really want to. I imagine that this is what tenure is like (shut up, I'm sure it sucks too).
In the past few years I've seen many people resign from a number of different schools in many different fields and they nearly all do the same thing that last term--they teach the class they've wished they were teaching for years.
There is something terribly broken about our current views of standardized curriculum and assessment when every term can't be just like this. Is everyone a good teacher? No! But I bet many of us would be better teachers if given a little more leeway in what we teach. Standardized testing and curriculum has killed K-12 education (at least, most people seem to think it has). Why do we assume it's right for college?