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Do You Ever Regret Becoming a Teacher?
Old 05-21-2020, 05:05 PM
 
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Do you ever regret becoming a teacher?


When I'm able to do my job and actually teach my students, and have those times when they are interested and invested in what we're doing, I enjoy being a teacher. When I see the light bulb go on for a student after working with them on a concept, I enjoy being a teacher. When I hear from students I had in previous years that appreciated my extra time or effort with them or they say that they learned a lot in my class, I enjoy being a teacher.

I didn't enter teaching because I didn't have any other prospects - although sometimes I feel like that was the case. From my second semester of college, I knew that I wanted to go into either teaching or journalism, and since real journalism was already dying, I knew it would be teaching. I've always enjoyed learning and wanted to pass that on to my students, and I knew from my time in the Boy Scouts that I liked taking on the leader/teacher role.



But there are times when I truly regret not applying myself more in middle school, high school, and college. I know that I'm intelligent enough and capable enough that many doors would have been opened. Instead, there are times - particularly when I hear about what a friend or relative is doing with their life (a high school friend who's now a major in the military, a cousin who didn't exactly apply himself in middle/high school either but is now a doctor)- when I truly feel like I'm "just a teacher".


Do you ever get these feelings of regret for your career choice, and if so, how do you get past them?


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Old 05-21-2020, 05:14 PM
 
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Yes, in the last few years Iíve had moments where Iíve regretted becoming a teacher due to admin issues and increasingly violent behaviors from kids.

But, Iíve wanted to be a teacher since 2nd grade. Growing up I never entertained the idea of doing anything else. Now, as I consider switching careers, I couldnít do anything else and make what I make teaching. Itís a double edged sword. And, most days, I still enjoy teaching.
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Teacher Profession
Old 05-21-2020, 05:35 PM
 
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Quote:
particularly when I hear about what a friend or relative is doing with their life (a high school friend who's now a major in the military, a cousin who didn't exactly apply himself in middle/high school either but is now a doctor)- when I truly feel like I'm "just a teacher".
I don’t compare myself, my life, and/or compete with anyone.

I find happiness by “doing me” & improving myself for myself.

No, I have never regretted becoming a teacher.

I have wanted to be a teacher since 1st grade.

I strive daily to excel in the teaching profession bc

I am more than “just a teacher“.

I have been teaching for 23 yrs now

I obtained my doctorate by 7th yr of teaching (& 3 other degrees prior)

I am a national, state, district & school level workshop creator & presenter.

I serve on the State teacher advisory council

I serve on many state, district & school initiatives & projects.

I am passionate about teaching my students.

For 23 yrs, I have proudly taught in a Title 1 school with 95% free lunch.

I make an excellent salary (due to my doctoral early in my career).

My Point—-Teaching is what you make it.

My teaching career & passion for teaching is admired by many of my friends & family

I am more than “just a teacher”...

I make a positive difference in education!

Most teachers are more than “just a teacher”—-Including you too.

Last edited by Dr. A; 05-22-2020 at 06:38 AM..
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:16 PM
 
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Iím new teaching and still wonder about my decision to teach. So Iíve enjoyed hearing about veteran teachers talk about their job.

In Ca there seems to be so much hoop to jump over! After I passed all my required test (CBEST, CSET, RICA) thereís still student teaching, EdTPA plus clear credential.... that takes time & more money! And then Covina 19 happened, so thereís talk about budget cuts etc. what about the so-called ďteacher shortageĒ? is it even worth it anymore?

Sorry didnít mean to hijack your thread. Anyhow Iíd like to read this poem whenever I feel doubtful about myself & my choices in life.

"A Prayer"

Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:16 PM
 
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Today I do. Today I regret it and Iím tired of people complaining-really Iím tired of other teachers complaining that I suck. You know what I do my very best and my parents and students are happy so everyone else can piss off😭


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Old 05-21-2020, 07:42 PM
 
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I am retired from teaching and my only regret is I didn't go to college after High School and become the teacher I always wanted to be. I started college in my 40s and became a teacher as a 2nd career. I loved teaching and wish I could physically teach even today.

Please don't call yourself "just" a teacher. You are so much more than "just" a teacher, especially as a male teacher.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:00 PM
 
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Yes, often. My big life regret is that I didn't remain a stay at home mom until my kids were in high school at least. My youngest turned 18 last week. . It doesn't help that teaching now a days is not what I signed up for. I will retire in 2-3 years, and I'm greatly looking forward to it.

Last edited by desert flower; 05-21-2020 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:35 PM
 
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Yes especially because it's been hard to find another job in my area. Sometimes there are a lot of cons besides pros. And even more being a solo mom.
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Regret
Old 05-21-2020, 10:07 PM
 
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Comparison is the thief of joy. Don't fall into the comparison trap. That said, I think it can be harder for a man to feel validated by becoming a teacher.

Years ago I mentored a young man who had graduated from a prestigious university. He loved teaching but felt it wasn't impressive enough so he left to successfully pursue other career options and advanced degrees. Some years later, he realized teaching was what he truly loved, and returned. He is happily teaching today, in the same grade level and high needs district he had left behind. He learned to be inner directed rather than outer directed.

Life is not a competition, it is a journey of discovery. You do you.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:52 PM
 
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I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in preschool or kindergarten. I don't regret it, but I have moved around in various educator positions over the years. Sometimes I wish I had taken a different (more lucrative) route, but I'm proud to be a teacher. I think it's truly one of the noblest professions. It's too bad it's also not valued as much as some others.


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Old 05-22-2020, 02:37 AM
 
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I studied civil engineering and environmental chemistry in college, and I have a Master's in that field. I had opportunities to work in the field while I was in college, and I actually thought I enjoyed the work. I wanted to make a difference in the area of water quality. After I graduated, I was offered several jobs with major companies. Every one of them seemed trivial. For example, one of them involved making improvements in fabric softener. I couldn't imagine that sort of thing making a substantive difference for anybody.

Fortunately I had applied to the Peace Corps and got an offer to teach chemistry in Ghana. I had hoped to work in village water supply, but teaching seemed preferable to improving fabric softener, so off I went to "get experience" that might help me get a better engineering job when I returned.

To my surprise, I loved teaching. And I realized that teaching is a way to make a real difference. In fact, teaching multiplies my ability to improve the world! My students have done amazing things, from being a fish and game warden, to finding alternatives to fluorocarbons (the things that destroy the ozone layer), to being an officer in the Sierra Club, to being a lawyer who won a major case related to Standing Rock, to teaching environmental science! This is how I make a difference in the world, and I am proud of it. I'm retired now, and every time I meet a former student and hear what they are doing, I am so glad I became a teacher.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:38 AM
 
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Hi mrteacher guy,

I am new to the forum, I joined because I want to learn more from the profession from those that are in it, I returned to college to complete a teaching credential- which is what I've always wanted to be since I was in elementary.

Quote:
Do you ever get these feelings of regret for your career choice, and if so, how do you get past them?
Dr. A posted a truly inspiring message, so I hope Dr. A doesn't mind that I piggy back on that post and suggest you create your own I am more than "just a teacher" list, poem or the like..to keep by your desk, to look at when those moments of regret creep in...to remind you that you are not "just another teacher"...

In Warren Buffet's words:

The most important things in life come from the inside, not the outside.
Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for unhappiness.
You can be anything but you can’t be everything.
There is one thing that you’re better at than other people: being you. This is the only game you can really win.
Compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
Much peace to you and everyone else here!
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:56 AM
 
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34 years in elementary here.

Do I ever regret it? No.

Do I like what it has turned into the last 10 years or so? Not really.

Am I hoping and glad to retire in the next few years? Absolutely!!

And I have NEVER considered myself "just a teacher".
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:35 AM
 
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Iím going to echo what Iím reading from most of the responses here. I am proud to be a teacher.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:24 AM
 
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Never

Being with the children, never!

The only thing I regret would be the times that I should speak up more when it needs to be done:

-the truth about a child during a parent conference
-to shut down a parent being rude
-the truth about wasted time in meetings, just to fulfill the required mins.
spent in meetings/ inservice
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Good question
Old 05-22-2020, 04:55 AM
 
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I was sort of a casualty of of the recession in 2008 as I student taught in the fall of 2008 and it took me years to get a full-time teaching job.

Given all the economic turmoil we are experiencing now and in the future, I am glad I got established in teaching and stuck with it.

I may complain a lot on PT, but unlike my previous career it is not teaching itself that really gets to me usually just certain situations that get to me.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:34 AM
 
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Lots of regret here.
I love teaching, but it's not a career that comes with much respect. Low pay, long hours. And people love to bash teachers.
I always imagined I'd be married, and my teacher hours would be great for raising kids. Summers off with them, and a husband who would have the additional income, so the lower income wouldn't be an issue.
But the reality is my husband has major health issues and can't work, so my crappy teacher pay has to be our family income. I wish I had a different job.
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Towards the end...
Old 05-22-2020, 05:47 AM
 
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Like many on here, I have wanted to be teacher since third or fourth grade. I remember playing school with my dolls, and lugging home books and workbooks just to have to use in my "classroom".

That being said, two years ago, I called it quits on my 42 year career. I loved it for the majority of years, but towards the end, the job had changed so much both in terms of the job description and the work hours, but also the benefits were diminished and affected salary significantly. Financially as well as emotionally, it wasn't worth it to continue.

I have no regrets about choosing teaching as a career, but I would not recommend it today. I feel very fortunate to have worked the bulk of my career at a very different time.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:56 AM
 
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Yes, I do. I loved teaching when I began my career. But I don't like what it has become. I chose to teach for the academics. I did not choose to be a babysitter or marriage counselor or referee. Children used to come to school with a sense of wonder and anxious to learn. Now they want to be entertained. Grades were earned by hard work. Not by who the parent knows or the athletic ability of the child.

And the focus on testing is ridiculous. Near the end of my career I served on the state committee to select schools for the Distinguished School program. Surprise! Most on the committee were not teachers. And many of them adhered to the concept that good teaching should be consistent. "When I leave one classroom hearing the beginning of the teacher's instructions, I should hear the end of the same sentence when I enter the classroom next door."
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:18 AM
 
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Sometimes I do. Many times I feel like I should have accomplished much more with my music and theatre. I attended Interlochen International Music Camp On a scholarship after high school and had such high hopes that I could become is highly respected performer, clinician, and educator.

The only thing I feel like I accomplished was teaching at a few small private schools, and running my own music education business for 13 years, and played somewhat professionally. I also did win an award for best supporting actress in an independent film I was in that the general public would not know about. Unfortunately, the business fizzled out in 2017, and since then I failed at running a travel agency business, started teaching online English, and most recently started working as a teaching assistant at a nearby public school.

I enjoy working with the kids, but feel like I could have accomplished much more. However, I made some mistakes in try8ing to get to that goal, and I did not know how to get there or who to ask for direction. Plus, I was trying to do too many things at once and my priorities were skewed.
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Not regret...
Old 05-22-2020, 08:31 AM
 
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I donít regret becoming a teacher, though there are often days I wish I hadnít taken so long to become one - I didnít get my teaching degree until I was 37. Had I done it 15 years earlier I would be thinking about retirement about now.

But if I had, I wouldnít have wound up where I am now, and I absolutely love my school, my fellow teachers, and my Principal.

And sometimes I miss working at a library, and I know I could have been content doing that job as well.

Or I think it would be nice to have a job that when I walked out the door in the afternoon or on weekends, that was it. One that didnít involve so much of my heart.

And I certainly wish we were paid in line with our education!
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I have taught 30 yrs now....
Old 05-22-2020, 09:21 AM
 
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and have had times that I wished I was doing something else. I love the joy kids bring and seeing light bulbs go on, and teaching, but have had a few yrs w/ a few truly psycho kids in a room w/ regular kids. In recent years, discipline has become a bad word. There have definitely been times I questioned what am I doing here?
There have been times that admin was a pain or a certain "new program" drove me crazy. I have dealt with psycho parents before and even weird teachers at times.
I never really wanted to be a teacher, but 2 years into college our school lost accreditation for my field of study and the advisor told me that I could get a degree in teaching easier with the credits I had. I could use my minor. I had never considered teaching! Obviously, that is how it worked out. From student teaching on to many years, I have been told I was just a natural born teacher. ( Except for a young, new P who considered me barely proficient after I'd taught successfully for many years.) I think he changed his mind after a few years. We had very different philosophies.
Anyways, looking back, yes! I'd do it again. It gave me holidays and summers with my kids. It gave more joy than stress when I look back over the years. ( The whole picture) I know that in all jobs that you deal with people, you have to deal with unreasonable ones at 1x or another. Programs and times change no matter what job you take.
The way I got past feelings of what am I doing here are 2 fold. I went back and got a MA in the field I had originally wanted to go into. I worked in that field for awhile and realized the problems were very similar in the 2 jobs. I had to fix the way I reacted or felt about certain things. The other career did not give good holidays or summers off either. It made me see you will have some annoying problems wherever you work. You'd think the career I went into would have been a lot easier, but it came with new challenges. I decided I wanted holidays and summers off and went back to teaching. As of this year, I am done. I live where teaching does pay better than most places too. I am not a money driven person, but I was able to buy a house and get what I needed in life. If you have regrets, go back and do what you have dreamed of and see if you like it. It may turn out better for you. It may turn out that you are dealing with other challenges. Then you can make up your mind and do which 1 is best for you. Good luck!
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Two Careers
Old 05-22-2020, 09:26 AM
 
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I worked as a social worker for about seven years before going back to school to become a teacher. I loved both jobs. The best part? I only had to teach for 26 years as my social work job was the same pension. I felt lucky to be able to teach for those 26 years, but it was perfect to only have to teach for that amount of time. I really loved being a social worker as well!
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:42 AM
 
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In 2014 I quit my teaching job. It was no longer a joy to go to work. My blood pressure was stroke quality. The administration openly discriminated against me. I was trapped. I quit mid year with threat of having my license taken away. I told the super to keep it. I never planned to return to the classroom again. I got a medical coding degree, but did not like sitting and filing data all day, so I went back as a sub. I am happy now, although I do regret not going into a different field such as nursing when I was in college 40 years ago.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:22 AM
 
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No, because when and where I grew up there were few acceptable jobs for women. You were more encouraged to work until you found a husband. I never had any big dreams for my life. When my dad died we just sort of went on autopilot. Again, where I'm from people just had jobs. Just put your time in and have your life/fun off the clock. I think that's why I made it so long. Teaching wasn't my life and I never mothered my students. I never spent my own money. If we couldn't make it, we did something else. Now, that I want out, I am able to leave.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:53 AM
 
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What in the heck? What are your coworkers saying?! Iím so sorry you have to deal with such unpleasant people.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:18 PM
 
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I just wish I had gotten a chance to teach full time since I graduated. The market hasnít been great since I graduated and now I think I probably wonít get a job this coming year. It was expensive and time consuming to renew my license on my own. Grad School was also way more expensive than it was worth. It also seems like teaching has gotten much harder in the few years since I finished school. So, I would definitely go back and get a degree in something else.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:47 AM
 
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I was lucky. I taught for forty years and retired in 2018. My experiences were 99% positive with children, parents, staff and bosses. I was allowed to teach math, reading, gifted, computer skills along with physical education. I think teachers are born and called to do this most important endeavor. I learned as much from kids as they learned from me. Of course I have some regrets about some things related to that job but we all have those. Sadly, non-educators have way TOO much influence on education now. You can read all about it in this forum at times. The bottom line is children need good teachers. Good teachers pay attention to their kids, listen to them, give guidance when needed and be honest and consistent with them. Before the politicians got involved it was the a wonderful vocation. It still can be in many schools.
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Regret is not the right word...
Old 05-23-2020, 11:27 AM
 
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I have doubts, concerns, triumphs--all sorts of words--but not necessarily regret. Regret is too negative. Too dismal. Too...

I don't love every minute. Like many here, I dreamt of being a teacher. I graduated with a double major with elem ed and certification as one of them. When I didn't get teaching right away, I became a Social Worker with the behavioral science degree. I did that for 10 years and came to Teaching as a second career.

It has always been about the kids--helping kids no matter what. I stayed with Social work despite misgivings. Folks said it would get better--it didn't.

When I came into teaching, I was 35. I love it more than I don't. I now teach SpEd and there are more good days than bad ones. I will remain until I retire--probably in the next 5 or 6 years.

But all that said, I would not recommend it to others. My own child expressed an interest and I talked her out of it. I said if she wanted to help kids, become a OT, PT, or speech therapist... At least in those fields, there are a lot of options outside education if they decide it is not for them.
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Old 05-23-2020, 03:14 PM
 
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Yes, I do. I was in a different career (PR and marketing) after college and while I liked it, I knew that to get to work in the industries I wanted, I would have to move to New York or LA area. I was in a place that revolved around tech clients.
So, I quit and took a job as an assistant while figuring what I wanted to do for grad school or maybe law school. I had always loved science and took lots of classes in college so I considered nursing and allied health fields. I also think law school would have been a good fit. I decided against law school because I was afraid of the debt and tight job market. In the mean time, I was enjoying being an assistant and was good at teaching. I think all the encouragement from coworkers influenced my decision to settle on an M.Ed. I would say I regretted my decision pretty early on after finishing grad school. The reason I stayed is mostly because I needed to pay back my grad school loans and certainly wan't about to take on more to retrain in another field.

Don't get me wrong, I have made the best of it. I get great reviews, references, and I have gotten recognition from admin and parents which I am truly grateful for. But, like someone said above, I feel like I would have been more fulfilled in a different career.
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:55 PM
 
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If I had been asked this 3 years ago, I'd have said "not really". I loved my classes and kids. The past two years though, I felt I could have gotten more respect working at Walmart. Awful acting kids, unfriendly admin, entitled acting parents. I don't feel like I've inspired anyone in the past 2 years when I barely could even teach over the talking/disrespect. The more creative I tried to be, the more I was ignored by students. I wanted to walk out many times.

I also regret that I could not have managed my dream of having a husband who gave a crap so that I could homeschool my child. Instead, I got a cheater whom I divorced and now share my daughter with every other week - so the more time that "teaching" sucks away from precious time I have with my kid, the more I resent it.
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Old 06-09-2020, 04:45 PM
 
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the major and the doctor have times of regret about their choices. Everyone is subject to institutions and regulations that control without helping. At this moment teachers are getting a lot of "how wonderful you are." I expect that won't last long after school starts and the kids are out from underfoot.

I've been retired for awhile and taught for about 40 years, so obviously I found it interesting and sufficiently rewarding. But I certainly saw changes both in the students and in what I was required or even allowed to teach. Teaching is not the creative, frequently-autonomous endeavor it once was. This can mean far less prep, but also not being able to fully address those you teach.

Do I regret? No. But I taught at a different time, starting in south-central L.A. in 1973 and ending in Northern Nevada teaching first grade for 19 years. Along the way, I taught community college, was a speech pathologist for autistic residents at a state hospital and for elementary schools. Being a teacher has opened many doors and allowed many experiences.

Truthfully, there have been times when I've been so stressed that even my hair follicles were tense. Deadlines, requirements, oversight, inept administration, testing, Common Core, Not Child Left Behind, billionaire dilettantes, non-educators dictating policy--all these and more create huge problems. But even when I was distressed by teaching, I didn't regret the choice; just damned those who made it so difficult.

I hope you find your peaceful place.
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