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Some Insight
Old 03-04-2019, 09:53 PM
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I had to post because you sound somewhat like me 5 years ago!

I was in education and joined the military at the age cutoff (27). Teaching was my dream and passion. I had worked with children since I started my own babysitting business in high school. I did well during my student teaching in my MEd program and was told I was a natural. Unfortunately, I felt like nothing but a failure for quitting my first teaching job as a lead teacher. (let’s just say that my experience started with another teacher taking my students’ desks before school started and me having to search for random tables to use as well as zero curriculum so EVERYTHING needed to come from scratch, and getting -as the other teachers at the school said -all of the ELL with Special Needs students... I was a first year teacher without material or support.) In spite of that, I went on to be a very successful paraprofessional in a different district for two years and was always getting asked when I was going to get my own classroom. That initial experience left my confidence shattered though and I left teaching.

I had grown up in a military family and I missed those benefits as well as moving around. (I get restless staying in the same place for too long.) Also, I had always planned to at least serve in the Reserves, but I decided to go active duty.

I chose to go enlisted not officer right away because I felt like you should actually walk in the shoes of those you’re leading. (There are a lot of highly educated enlisted members these days.) You have opportunities to switch to officer too. Plus, some of the situations they put those poor junior officers in is crazy.

It was a really good decision for me. I had some adventures, traveled, and met the love of my life. I learned and did things I never could have dreamed I’d do. I chose to do a Human Resources specialty and was actually really good at it and advanced quickly. The benefits are like no other job you will ever have ...but there’s a very good reason for that. Like all jobs, there’s always “all that other stuff” The only difference is that no matter how bad the situation is (bad leadership is a huge one), YOU CANNOT SIMPLY QUIT or go to a different unit. In fact, you are under a completely different justice system than your fellow American citizens. You are under the United States Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ). You do not have the same rights.

While the decision to join the military was a good one, I am no longer active duty and am looking at returning to the classroom for the reasons below.

My husband and I were both active duty and have a one year old daughter. It was really hard having a family with both of us being active duty. (For example, overnight duty/or being gone for long periods of time) Also, even though I was in an office setting , it was a hostile work environment (very bad leadership and understaffed) ... most of the people in my office were in therapy it was so bad. I was not able to be my best self at home. The stress at work was leaving me very irritable at home with the two most important people in my life: my husband and my daughter. I was sooooo fortunate to be able to do a temporary separation. (I am in the Reserves and can return to my same pay grade in 6-24 months if I choose)

A big reason I want to return to the classroom is because I feel like teaching and being around children actually made me a better person. While in the military, I became a bitter and angry person because I was trapped in a bad situation with no voice and almost no way out. (Every unit is different and there are some really good ones out there, but this last one left me feeling like a prisoner.)

Another reason I want to get back into the classroom besides wanting to teach and return to being a kind human being is that I want to be on the same schedule as my daughter.

I hope this helps with your decision! Just remember , those that fight for your protection and freedom do not have the same freedom that you do! It is not just another job, but a huge commitment and you will have to make sacrifices. Also, since you are married , remember that your spouse will have to relocate and find a new job every time you move.
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