Sorry I have signed out for this one as I know some folks don't really like that feature, but you never know who is reading.
I have been teaching for about 10 years now. I still like working with children, and I do like planning, etc. But I just do not think I can do this for another 15 years. I am so tired of a work load that is insane. I am so tired of working 60+ hours a week and still have a number of students failing and them not even really caring about it. I am tired of meetings constantly, other teachers who don't do their part, parents who either communicate too much or not enough. I am tired of not having time to spend with my own children because I am too busy planning things for my class or grading papers all weekend long. I am tired of not being able to sleep at night because of worry that my students won't perform. I am tired of being given more than my fair share of the "special" kids because "you are good with them". Why am I overloaded because I do a good job? I am tired of waking up before the sun comes up and not getting home till after the sun sets most days because I am working extra hours.
I just feel burned out. I have changed grade levels and schools thinking it was the school, but I am realizing that it isn't the school--it is me. I really don't think I want to do this anymore, but I have no other experience, and I have 2 degrees in elementary ed. What else could I even consider?
Do you like curriculum? Maybe you could be a curriculum coach in your district. We have several teachers that transitioned to these types of positions for various subject areas and they love it.
Do you like mentoring new teachers? Maybe you could be a university supervisor for student teachers or help design mentoring programs for new teachers in your district.
Are you good with technology? Maybe you could help teachers learn how to integrate technology into the classroom.
There are probably lots of things you can do but I'm not sure how they would fly in this economy. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I sometimes wonder how I can continue. This is my 6th year and I definitely feel it too.
Friday morning there was meeting of 2nd year teachers with our academic coach (which I still haven't figure out what she does). She wanted our concerns voiced this year as opposed to last year.
A lot fo what your concerns are, is what I voiced on Friday. My largest concern is that I feel like I'm taking time away from my own children, working all weekend long for the next week. It's not fair to my children that I'm taking time away for them for someone else's children. Especially when you get no backup from the parents, administration, much less the children themselves.
I was told that "Maybe this isn't the right profession for you then. Maybe you need to re-evaluate your job and see if this is truly where you need to be." All because I was concerned that planning all weekend long for the next week isn't fair to my own children.
Honestly, how professional to tell a 2nd year teacher she might be doing the wrong thing! I had all EXCELLENT reviews last year, have already had my first one this year and it was excellent.
Just needed to get it off my chest. My husband can only listen to me complain so long before he gets tired of hearing it.
3rd Grd Tchr but you fell into the trap "We want you to tell us your concerns." I'm sorry you fell for this. They will not help you and they may even take the opportunity to put more pressure on you. Teaching isn't what it once was and it's getting worse all the time. Your so called "free time" is never free time. The wonderful long breaks we get are becoming more like the time we need just to recuperate from the endless stress during the school year: lack of sleep, lack of exercise, lack of family time.
After spending 13 years in this profession, I constantly look forward to early retirement. I really can't see any end to this constant barrage of test, plan, meeting, analyze data nonsense. Your asinine academic coach is just a toady for the administration. Tell her nothing about your personal feelings. She will use it against you.
to a second year teacher. I'm sorry she opened her big mouth and even said that to you.
I'm in my eighth year and I really, really hear you. My weekends are so busy! I have to clean house on the weekend and do all my errands, bill paying, laundry, etc., because the week is just too insane! I bring home work every single night. Today, during the Bronco game, I will be grading papers and planning next week. When summer rolls around, it takes me a month just to recover.
What chaps me, though, is what other people say about teachers. One of the districts here is having a terrible time reaching a contract settlement. You know how you can comment on the online news stories? Here's what people are saying about teachers when they find out they're unhappy with not getting a raise AGAIN:
I have every confidence I could walk in and do their job TODAY.
They have all summer off. What are they complaining about?
They work from 9-3 and they want a raise?!
Teachers are nothing but glorified babysitters.
It's the lack of respect from the public that hurts me a lot. I bend over backwards for these kids, spend thousands of dollars of my own money on my classroom (because my district has no money), do after-school clubs for free, tutor on my own time......
Sadly, I made the decision to resign from my teaching position this past week. There are many other factors involved in my decision (I have very little quality time with my 2 young children, my husband is deployed to Iraq, I have been having stress-related illnesses), but the work-load and stress really helped with my decision. I am almost finished with my Masters in Instructional Technology. I hope to be able to do something with that. I feel terrible about leaving my students and my school, but I think it is what is best for all of us. Had I realized just how much time and energy it would take for me to teach (this is my 7th year, but my first year in the district/school I am in now), I never would have interviewed for this job.
I am sorry I don't have words of wisdom for you. I may return to the classroom someday, but for right now, I am thinking that I will substitute part-time, finish my Masters and ENJOY my life with my children (and my husband whenever he finally gets home).
I've been out of the classroom for 12 years until my former position was cut from the budget...I was a technology teacher. I have an assistant principal that is riding my back about everything. My first evaluation was horrible! I've told her repeatedly that I'm am trying to become familiar with "guided reading, word study and balanced literacy." She reviewed my report card comments and didn't like any of them. The district I work for has literally kicked technology to the curb and as a result, I feel lost and have lost respect for the head administrators.
My doctor told me on Thursday, I need to take care of "me", so she is going to complete my medical forms so I can take a few weeks off to try to gain my confidence back. I cry before I go to work and when I come home. I stay up until 1-2 in the mornings trying to get materials/plans ready. The only position my district offered me was a position back in the classroom. I took it because I had no other offers. I feel I'm stuck! I really want another tech position and I've been searching but the economy isn't on my side right now. Should I call in sick tomorrow? I hate the job and need to do something else...I feel your pain.
I am tired of being given more than my fair share of the "special" kids because "you are good with them". Why am I overloaded because I do a good job?
I see what you mean. We try not to burden our GATE students becasue they are doing so well, be keep them engaged by offering new and different challenges and learning opportunity. Why do we not have the same respect as our students I'll never understand.
I was getting ready to go in to my classroom for a few hours just now on a beautiful day. Because of your post I've changed my mind and will just go pick up my manuals and come back home and work in my kitchen and pretend to have a Sunday to myself. It is outrageous. We are never done.
You have my sympathy! I just hope I live long enough to retire with all this stress I am not confident this will happen.
My heart goes out to all of you. I am a veteran teacher, 25+ years. I can relate to all that has been said. But I think the most stressful thing for me is to work with those who are not carrying their weight, not doing their part. The extra work on committees that we chair, the fact that we show up for duties when others do not, the fact that we manage our classrooms effectively, and it seems that the administration values those the most that do the least for their students.
So, I have come to the conclusion that the only people that can change the predicament of teachers and teaching, is the leadership of the school. Administration must have effective leadership skills. They must be fair, supportive of teachers, especially when discipline is an issue, respectful of our time, assertive enough to address those not doing their job, and knowledgeable enough to recognize a good teacher when they see one.
So, the solution ... try to truly enjoy your students. Really evaluate your grading practices. Grade only what is necessary. Set a time to leave everyday, and leave!! Don't worry about test scores, let the administration do that. If they have concerns, tell them you are concerned too and ask them for suggestions or assistance.
I understand how you feel. You're burning the candle at both ends. I am particularly sympathetic to feelings of resentment when you seem to spend more time and energy on other people's children than your own, above and beyond the regular school day.
Many of us have shared our system of cutting back on things that aren't absolutely necessary. I used to have an elaborate homework program, but I cut it way back so it is more manageable for both the students and me. I put students in charge of managing the papers and assignments for students who are absent. I have responsible former students (who are older now than my own students) do all of my filing during my lunch while I work. I work as often as I can during lunch so I can leave promptly when the bell rings. I know that I shouldn't have to work during long, but I still have plenty of energy so I can zip through at least one assignment and input the grades before the students return.
I also have not signed up for anything extra that I feel I can't handle this year. I do have adjunct duties that I enjoy so I continue to do them, however, I do not sign up for after school activities that involve regular and lengthy meetings. While I will do a tutoring session before an important test here and there, I set the time and only do it when I feel up to it. Other teachers stay late every day to tutor on their own dime, but I do not.
I had to let a lot of things go. I still feel like I'm an effective teacher and so far, my students' test scores and behavior are the best I've ever had. When I'm at work, I'm at WORK. When I leave, it all stays behind with rare exception.
TommysMommy (and others)---I really love your advice about letting go of the things that aren't necessary. I have been able to do that in every other school I have worked in...and there was a great balance between home and work. This time, there was no way to truly balance (I teach in a non-union state, so our system can require just about anything they want).
Mostly because I feel the same. I had two HORRIBLE years, back to back. I have been subbing for the past year, and I am slowly coming to the realization that I love kids, but I am so sad about what our schools have become. It means that so many GOOD teachers leave the profession, what will happen to all of the kids? The other question is what to do next, I only wish I knew. There are lots of jobs, but many of us in education are not considerered transitional. If someone finds the magic answer, please let me know.
I agree with Barclay, and quite often ask myself "What is going to happen to the children?". I don't have the answer either, but I think it's societal and the expectation that someone else will do the parent's job.
I trully understand how you feel, and if possible try to cut back and/or set a time you will leave school and try to limit the time you spend doing school stuff at home. Only do what is essential if possible. I know many things become essential, but set working hours at home.
Try to do something just for you on the weekend that will make you feel like the special person that I'm sure you are.
Thanks for your replies. I do love planning curriculum, etc, so I may go back to school to get into that. Money is an issue for that now, but I may be able to work something out. The next degree I could get is my doctoral, so I don't know....
The other day, I received this forwarded email from my principal. It is from a parent in my class. After I read it, I cried. I know I have balance things, but I am having a really hard time figuring out how.
Dear Mr. X,
I just wanted to write and tell you how lucky ****** is to have Mrs. W! She has been an excellent teacher to my child, little Johnny. He can be, at times, a very difficult child as far as behavior and responsibility issues are concerned and she has helped me tremendously keeping him on task and catching up when he gets behind. Having a teacher like Mrs. W makes having a child with ADHD so much more bearable. I know her days with little Johnny are sometimes trying and difficult, and although she does discipline him, as she should, it is nice to know he has a teacher actually willing to work with us on these issues rather than just send him to the office constantly. I truly believe she cares about his education and knows his abilities, as I am sure she does with all of her students. Little Johnny has always shown potential to do very good academically, but needs that extra push just to complete his work on some days.
The greatest thing of it all is that he loves going to school because he loves her class...this for Little Johnny is a big deal! I believe there are only a few teachers in each child's educational years that leave a mark on them and never be forgotten; for Little Johnny I'm sure she will be one of them.
I agree with many posts! I am a 3rd year teacher who was sooooo excited to teach not very long ago. With my current job, I am growing to dislike going to work. I am struggling with the question: is it the job I dislike, or the school? I would love to try out another school, but this economy makes that difficult. The more teachers I talk with and read what they write, the less faith I have in truly enjoying teaching in the public classroom.
This fall, I did the bare minimum, time-wise, to get by so that I could spend as much time with my dying mother as possible. Although this was a crappy way to learn this lesson, it put my time and how I choose to spend it into perspective. I found that I was still able to keep up with my teaching with so much less time spent on it, so I have not gone back to the crazy hours I used to spend on my job. I am still able to be a good teacher, but now I am also able to be a good friend, family member, etc. I am now able to spend time with friends during the week, making me happier and more well-balanced. I have had a very positive response from those I really care about. My job, as much as I care about it, is not worth losing sight of what's most important in life: the people you are able to be close to.
That is what I'm doing now while I figure out what my future options may be if another school doesn't work out.
I have been teaching for 21 years. I thought I had seen it all, and yet every year there was a surprise for me. This past year I had a group of students so wonderful that it reminded me of what teaching was like 20 years ago ---without high-stakes, data analysis, NCLB, DIBELS, whacked administrators, yes-men running and tattling their perceptions to the principal, and the super high workload and stress. This year was delightful. It refreshed me and I put 150% effort into everything. Parents, of course were great and helpful. All the parents could read this year, no one was abusing their child and no one was in jail or being jailed. What a refreshing change. It made me instantly forget the past mess I had experienced. But the past 17 years have been really bad. I've had ultra violent students and no admin. support almost every year. Administrators that bent the rules to get funding,and did things that were unspeakable. I probably was burnt out at year 5, but I really loved planning and teaching the kids. I kept thinking it would get better. Ive seen the pendulum swing from basals, to whole language back to integrated theme teaching to this test frenzy. I dont have a hope that education will swing back to a middle point now. I am 42 and have 21 years experience and a M.Ed. I have changed schools 4 times, but no matter where I go it is always the same. More work, wild students, no administrative support. It is true, when you help the wild ones, you have succeeded, but then you get ALL the wild ones. Other teachers get special treatment, special combinations of students with no learning problems or behavioral issues. This is what burns out good teachers. They keep trying to do the right thing, but get used. This year I think it was a mistake, the amazing class I got. It felt TOO easy to just teach. I am planning to take a job at a private school. I suggest you check out local private schools, while the pay is crap you will most likely find the pressure is just gone. Find a school which doesnt participate in the test mess. Private schools do not have to do this. They are usually smaller, and can accept and reject who they choose. Public schools have been given an impossible task to do---feed, clothe, med. check-ups, teach and emotional support all at once. Everyone, in large classes . It is not possible without sucking out the soul of the teacher. Try small private schools and feel yourself return to the happy person you once were.
I have been a primary school teacher for a number of years and we are just constantly jumping through hoops meeting new intiative after new inatiative. We are in the 4th week back after the summer holidays and already two teachers from my school are off on stress. The rest of us are all working 60+ hour weeks trying to mark books, meet assessment criteria, plan, attend meetings etc. etc.
I have a family at home and I find it very difficult to spend any time with them at all!
Wow, it's weirdly reassuring to read these posts and see that I am not alone. I have been in the classroom for almost 15 years, now, and up until a few months ago, I thought I could do 25-30 with ease. But I am not so sure anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my class and I love the process of teaching, from planning to execution. But the vibe around my school has grown bleaker and bleaker. It's no FUN anymore.
This used to be a great environment to work, with lots of collaboration and camaraderie amongst the faculty. But now, teachers are keeping more to themselves. It all started with a couple of surprising firings, an extension of the school day, and some real "nickel and diming" with salaries (we're non-union) that led to a couple of really solid, talented teachers choosing not to renew their contracts for next year. Now the faulty morale is dropping. The administration is sending the message that we're all expendable. It's hard to put all of this into a simple forum post in such a way that really drives home how toxic the work environment has become, but that's the best word to describe it. Toxic.
My problem is my experience. In my area, there is a "last hired, first fired" mentality that kind of holds me back from looking for a new job in a new school district. I'd hate to give up my seniority and salary to take a chance that a new school would be able to afford me in light of the budget cuts going on these days. But I am increasingly finding it hard to drag myself out of bed every day to go to work, and for someone who NEVER felt that way before, that's hard to swallow.
Oh well. This is a venting forum, and that's what I did. I don't suspect I'll actively try to make a move anytime soon. But knowing that there are so many fellow teachers out there who are just as frustrated as I am, even if their reasons are a little different, does help.
I feel the same way. I teacher kindergarten but my district wants 5 year olds to perform like 8 year olds. They took the common core standards and said they wanted more. There is no discipline in or out of the classroom. No responsibility for students or their parents. My principal told me that one out of control student who slapped me across the face (one of many times) did it b/c I was not loving him enough. Yet that child has more prizes and special treatments than the best kid in the room. I have paper work coming out my ears and I can't get caught up. They wan us assessing all the time, but give our full time assistants away to other teachers to assess their kids. I don't have time to teach what I am supposed to be assessing. AND when I do teach it is from a script. They took away our creativity! 5 years olds can't sit and listen to a robot talk and do worksheets. That's not how they learn.
All while I'm missing my own little girl grows up at a babysitters house. After 7 years I want out.
My wife is a first year elementary teacher and is heading for a meltdown. Let me explain.
She is only a couple of months into the school year and she's already questioning her career. I don't blame her either. I cannot believe the amount of work that is required of her! Part of it may be that she is a first year teacher, but I am not too sure. She wakes up at 4:30am everyday, is at school by 6:30am and does not get home until 7:00pm (mind you, we live 5 miles from her school, so her commute is minimal)! She goes to school early to lesson plan, tie loose ends, so forth and comes home and is working until 10:00-11:00pm trying to organize for the next day. On top of all of that, her lunch comes home half eaten everyday because she is so overwhelmed at school she is working when she should be eating.
The long hours and endless amount of work are not the only pressures she is facing. Administration has made it a priority to micromanage everything she does. Along with that comes zero support, no positive feedback and complete lack of communication. Student evaluation forms, profile cards, etc are given to her with zero instruction on how to complete them. She has been told by her superiors things such as, "You are here 12-13 hours a day, that is plenty of time to figure these forms out." That logic is flawed. She has voiced her opinion to her administration and "mentors" but none of them believe she needs to be supported and that she should be able to figure things out on her own. Unreal.
I just cannot relate to the pressures she is facing. Myself, I have been in sales for the past 7 years and currently hold an account executive position for a large Fortune 500 company. There have been nights that I am up until 1 or 2 in the morning completing paperwork for an account acquisition and I have had my share of stressful days/weeks, but it is nothing like my wife is having to endure. I am accountable for millions of dollars of annual revenue for my company and I am under a fraction of the pressure my wife is. It just doesn't make sense to me.
I have a great deal of emotion built up over this and I cannot seem to put it all into words. I find myself typing, backspacing, typing, backspacing. I will end it with this:
My wife is a teacher and it is starting to stress me out!
I am not even half way through my program and I feel so overwhelmed at what teachers face each day with planning, curriculum, standards and objectives. I cannot imagine the first day, week and year of teaching. Either piecing together a handed down classroom or starting from scratch...I just don't know if I am tough enough. I am such an emotional person. I know that every parent cannot be pleased, can I take being scrutinized?? For example, I have liked all of my own children's recent teachers greatly and their Dad has NOT!! He thinks one spoke to us like children, another one was too bouncy and loud, another one did not utilize the online grading posts enough. If one students, 2 parents see a teacher differently..oh boy.
After reading all of these posts I wonder if I should even apply after I am done. I just don't know what else I could do that seems to have child friendly hours, now that I am divorced. I don't want to leave at 8 and not get home until 6, I did that and was so unhappy and cried for what I was missing, wayyyy too much.
I guess it is quite rare for people, especially women to find that balance and feel content with work and the time they spend at home...and be able to financially support oneself.
While reading this message I felt like I had wrote it. I am also a kindergarten teacher and I hate to go to work. I don't want to do it anymore, but don't know what else to do. I would like to open a daycare, but I'm very scared to venture out.
I am so happy just knowing I was not the only teacher feeling this way. I don't know which direction to go, because job security is a huge issue right now. I certainly don't want to lose seniority in my district (for however long that matters), and I don't want to risk not working at all, which could have serious negative impacts on my family. I like the idea of curriculum development and tech, but I don't think those positions are abundant in the small district where I teach. Any other suggestions? Advice from those who left their district? Should I just go for it and look for another job? I've been teaching for 11 years now.
Teaching is my third career. In the beginning I believed I truly found where I was supposed to be. The problem now is I cannot find a job. I left my job for a family emergency and now the economy has made it impossible to find another one. I've been looking for months. Think long and hard about leaving your job before you do it. Yes, teaching has gotten harder and there is no end in sight to the pay cuts and increased demands on our time. But, my daughters work in other industries and they are having to deal with the same things. Right now for 2012, get in, sit down, hang on, and shut up. I truly believe things will get better eventually.
I can only imagine what you have gone through. I am halfway through my credential program, and I already feel like this. Cooperating teachers that I have been placed with seem to be unsupportive or don't care. ...there are some teachers around who do seem to care, but they seem to be few and far between. Most let politics get in the way of really helping the students...and most don't want to attempt the work it would take in order to (and those who do end up burned out because they are doing more than their fair share...which it seems as though a lot of people are mentioning in this thread)
Is it better just to get out of it now? I am thinking about graduating early and trying to apply to a different grad program. I love working with students and helping them to improve, but I don't think it's possible to really do what I am capable of while keeping a job or maintaining my sanity.
As I am reading the original post and all the replies, I cannot help but realise how frightening this situation is. I am also amazed at how universal the problem is. I teach in the UAE, and while the benefits are amazing, I can't help but wonder if the disadvantages cancel out the advantages. Teachers world-wide seem to be becoming more despondent with each passing year. As a profession, teaching has lost the status it once enjoyed. Through some obscure way, society can't seem to understand that teachers are in fact highly educated, capable people who are killing themselves to educate the doctors, lawyers and leaders of tomorrow. While it is true that teaching is a calling and that some people are born to be teachers, the career has become similar to slavery. We are slaves to education departments, administration, parents and even the children. In theory one should work to live and not live to work, but for teachers this has become impossible. It has become an all-consuming profession, it eats away at the very being of who teachers are as people. Because of this, most teachers (myself included) are grumpy, impatient and even indifferent when it comes to our interaction with children.
I hate going to school. I hate all the mindless paperwork and mostly mindless grudgery of grading and planning. I hate the pointless meetings and inspections. I hate hearing my colleagues, all capable teachers, complain about how they dislike the profession. Don't get me wrong. I do love standing in front of that class and teaching my kids, but that is it. When did experienced adults become nable to discipline a class because our hands are tied? When did we need to start apologising for learners who are performing poorly? I can go on and on, but now I feel like I need to have a good cry and a stiff drink!
Good luck and God bless to all of us, we sure as hell need it!
Wow, the OP could have been me two years ago! That's how I felt then, too.
I decided to retire early (after 18 years) rather than continue with the farce that education has become. Best thing I ever did. And everything in my life has improved, from my outlook to my health. I have never been happier than now. What I realized is that I was giving up my life in order to teach because I USED TO love teaching. I was like a heroin addict, having to do more every year to try to find that original high. I finally OD-ed.
Teaching is my third career. In the beginning I believed I truly found where I was supposed to be. The problem now is I cannot find a job.
...Think long and hard about leaving your job before you do it.... Right now for 2012, get in, sit down, hang on, and shut up.
I respectfully disagree with Gypsy55. Teaching was my third career as well. At my age I will probably not get another career with the same salary I had at the end of my teaching career, but I have already been offered 3 teaching positions (2 in private schools and 1 in the home schooling community), as well as 2 related to my previous careers. I decided against these job offers. Instead, I work on a consulting basis (part-time) at my old school, which is the ideal solution for me.
For anyone hesitating to leave teaching because of the job market, just do it. The writing is on the wall. Teaching in public schools will only get harder/worse, and you may as well get established in a different career sooner than later.
The only reason I am sticking it out, is I am so close to full retirement, and I have a pullout job that takes away much of the "testing" stress of a classroom teacher. If I were just a few years in, and had 10 or 15 years to retirement, I'd get out...
As to what else to consider, you'd be amazed how many people who do corporate training have told me they started with an education degree... trainers need to know how to "teach" and most business people don't... you can "sell yourself" on those teaching skills!!
My Google search was -I don't want to teach anymore- and I came across this forum.
I am burned out myself after 15 years but it has been in the makings for a while. Hope
is the last thing to die and I find it slowly seeping out of my heart. I love the kids. Period.
There is nothing else that I enjoy about teaching anymore. The politics of it are overwhelming. The only change is for the worse. I have witness several teacher friends die of cancer and other illnesses, several in the same school. I'm convinced a daily overload of stress caused this. Life is too short to live it holding your breath halfway and not realizing. Being able to exhale only after that last day of school. Mind you I'm so leery of making errors as I type. Always trying for my work to be the best reflection of who I am and what I stand for, but it's never enough. As soon as my house is paid off, in 6 years, I'm out of there and never looking back. I devote my daily work to God and it does make it bearable, reminding me constantly to keep my tongue in check. Otherwise I'd probably be labeled a "washed-out" teacher. I don't want to be remembered that way and yet there will probably come a time when even that won't matter.
It is nice to know I am not alone! I have also been teaching 10 years now in an elementary building and I am burned out for all the same reasons and then some! Stress, overworked, parents that give you zero support or do everything for their child to the point of enabling them to be totally dependent, no support, state testing, failed school levy, Race to the Top, legislatives that make laws regarding our profession when they have never spent a single day in the classroom!!!! My administrator, the school counselor and half the teachers in my building are on anti-depressants, so they come in each day higher than a kite and out of touch with reality! We have absolutely NO discipline in our building as a result of our principal being on happy pills and the fact that he's afraid of the parents! Those of us not on the happy pills feel like we are fighting a battle alone. I have just had enough! I am becoming depressed and I worry the stress will negatively effect my health. I am going back to school to change careers before I snap!
I just read all the comments on this article. It is so sad what has become of our jobs. Just tonight I was asking my daughter in law to look out for non teaching jobs for me. I love teaching but cannot take the stress of wondering every year if I will have a job and if I do what grade will they move me to now. I thought by this time in my career I would be settled and able to enjoy teaching...I guess not.
I feel exactly the same as the first person. it seems like there is no way out. I would love to write curriculum on be a mentor teacher or create materials for all grade levels, but that job does not REALLY exist for anyone who hasn't rubbed elbows with the "big boys" and played the political game to get offered such a position. It's all in who you know, not what you are qualified for or capable of even if you prove yourself able year after year. In my expererience, those you share your hard work with just end up claiming it for themselves then they slide right in to that mentor teacher/ curriculum writing position you wanted and earned in the first place.... What are the real options other than pick another profession and start fresh which requires going back to school all over again.
Teaching is also the number one profession related to divorce, just so you know. I highly advise you to convince you wife to quit unless she loves it too much. I too am a teacher of 7 years and while I worked similar hours my first year, I honestly love my first year. Every year after has progressively gotten worse and I have taught in 3 schools and moved grades 4 times (about to move a 5th time next year!) I am currently looking for a BS job in which I can truly be at work 9-5 but honestly have no more than a 3 hour work load. This I have concluded is what truly smart and HAPPY people do. My husband and I would both agree to advise you wife to do this! (At least now she can be comfortable home-schooling your kids should you have any---better that than the school system these days). Many a day my husband has offered to take matters into his own hands (i.e. come up to the school swinging if necessary). I pray it doesn't come to this and I find a new job (outside of teaching) SOON!
I am teacher of 7 years & felt it while still in my student teaching. Get out now while you can. Complete a degree combined with business, managerial skills, human resources, and technology if you can so you will be applicable to more jobs. It is VERY hard to get a job doing anything else once you begin teaching a earn a degree for teaching. Talk to ANY educator you will & they will all say the same. TEACHING IS WORSE THAN IT'S EVER BEEN AND IT IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE WITH TIME. It is not worth the years of your life it will surely take and it will not be changing for the better within the next 5-10 years, I promise!
I'm glad I found this thread. I graduated with a degree in elementary education 6 years ago and was unable to find a position. I have spent the last 6 years working as a library aide and library assistant (I help with youth services in a small public library). my wife and I have a growing family and I always thought that working as a teacher would pay me more, so I have continued to look. I have recently been offered multiple jobs as a teacher, but have not accepted one yet. Most recently I have been offered a classroom position in Colorado which does pay more than my current salary. Among my many worries though, is am I going to be trading a job that I actually love for one that pays more, but that I'll come to hate. I think I've found my answer to that. My family is my first priority and I won't sacrifice that for a few thousand dollars that I'll most likely spend on my classroom anyway.
Thank you to all the teachers who posted. Teaching can be very lonely, and as others have noted, you can only complain to your spouse so much. The comments here have helped me feel that I am not alone in feeling that I may need to look beyond education for my next career.
I've taught in public schools on and off for twelve years. Every year, I ask myself if I should continue teaching. I'm still looking for a school that's a perfect fit, not too far from home, with a supportive administration and intelligent yet easy going staff. I know such places exist, and I admit to being envious of those teachers who work at them.
Best wishes to all as this school year winds down.
Something has got to be done! I can relate to just about all of the posts. Here's what took me over the edge: One day last Spring, I was so spent after a long day, week, year with all of the demands placed on teachers and my youngest son asked to go outside to play catch(baseball). I was so out of my mind with the stress that I was bringing home from work that without thinking, I snapped at him a quick, "NO!" Minutes later, I heard uncontrollable weeping coming from his room. I was devastated. Here I was giving my all to other peoples children and I didn't have the energy to play with my own son for 15 - 30 minutes, I felt like a horrible parent. Needless to say, I mustered up some energy to go play catch with him. I will NEVER do that again to my children. They are only kids once. At this point, I would take a pay cut for the piece of mind. I want to leave work at work and enjoy my family.
I arrived here by doing a Google search of "what to do if you don't want to teach anymore." I'm not sure why I even bothered to search the Internet for such a thing since it's not like a computer's going to give me the answers I've been searching for, but then again, I feel like I'm at such a loss right now in my professional life that I don't know what else to do. I've been through the wringer too many times in just FIVE short years that I don't know if I really want to try finding a teaching job yet again.
To back up, I went to college set out to teach English/Language Arts at either the middle or high school level. When it came time to student teach, my college completely forgot I was even in the program. If I hadn't walked in to ask my adviser something else one fateful day in October, I would've had to stay in college for at least one more semester just because they didn't do their part in arranging for me to fulfill that student teaching requirement somewhere. Luckily, they were able to squeeze me in somewhere, but because of that, I was sent to an urban school a fair distance away from where I lived at the time, and I was sent there alone (as opposed to being able to carpool or whatnot with some of my fellow student teachers). That was my first baptism by fire experience in my career, for I was charged with the task of teaching English to a mixed class of juniors and seniors, some of whom had special needs that were not exactly identified and cared for, and some of whom English was not their first language. Needless to say, the system was just pushing them through because they had no idea what to do with them. I pulled out all the stops and did all I could to work with these teens using one of my favorite plays of all time (thank G-d they at least let me pick the material to use!), and in the end the kids were fantastic, but during the entire time, I was under immense pressure from my cooperating teacher and field supervisor to speed things up, and I resisted every step of the way because to do so would've been absolutely insane and criminal to these kids. I could not believe how these people either could not or would not understand how these kids were struggling with reading and writing ANYTHING and all they needed was a little extra time, guidance, and individual attention.
Following that intense experience, I applied all over the place near where I am from for an English teaching job, and despite having numerous interviews, I kept getting the same b.s. response, basically summed up as: "well, we can see that you're very passionate about what you do and about working with kids, and you're quite versatile/creative/etc, but you don't have any professional experience yet, so...screw you. There's the door." It wasn't until the end of that summer that a cousin of mine who once worked as a superintendent (may he now rest in peace) helped me realize that the letter of recommendation that my cooperating teacher wrote for me was dripping in backhanded compliments that made it seem like I required certain conditions to be met in order to be successful in the classroom. That, combined with the haphazard way I ended up going about completing testing for certification (since no one was able to tell me how to schedule them the right way, because apparently I am the first person on the planet to ever do such a thing) that resulted in me receiving my certs in two states too little too late is what left me up the creek without a paddle in that school year after I graduated college.
Luckily, I was able to find a full-time tutoring/subbing job in my hometown of all places. That job kept me on my toes because in addition to my daily schedule of working with small groups on math and reading, I could be summoned at a moment's notice to take over anybody in the whole school's class, and so I'd have to be prepared to deal with any subject and students of every age there. Little did I know that this would prepare me for where I ended up spending the next three years. Wanting to move on and be able to earn enough money to move out of my parents' house (because y'know, that'd be nice to do after graduating college, right? Thankfully unlike some of my high school friends, I LOVE my parents and have always had a good relationship with them, so living with them again was not torture, but we all obviously wanted me to move on with life), I applied once more all over the place and was handed back the same b.s. excuses, but one little school for kids with learning disabilities gave me a shot. I didn't even really know what LDs were at the time, and I still don't know the ins and outs of all of them, but the point is, apparently other schools saw me fit to teach "normal" kids/teens (whatever those are!), but I was perfectly qualified to work with kids/teens with special needs. Makes perfect sense, no?
Long story short (I know this is long already, but I digress), I ended up working for this school for 3 years while teaching religious school on the side, and while it was a terrifically fulfilling experience, I was under the gun every second. At this school, we all had to record feedback points students would earn in every class on the board all day long, and at the end of every quarter, we had to not just complete report cards with A-F grades and comments, but we had to complete IEP/WSP objective reports, and at the semester mark, we had to write full-length narrative reports for every kid in every class. Let me tell you, you don't even KNOW the meaning of "data-driven instruction" unless you've been through something like this. In the midst of it all, my position was in jeopardy in my very first year allegedly due to budget cuts, and it was saved only because another teacher decided to move out of state. My second year was a nail-biter, but they let me stay thanks to some miracle...only to then dump me with a non-renewal in year 3, along with three other content-area teachers (as opposed to being special ed teachers by cert).
That summer -- which was only LAST summer -- I searched high and low again for a new teaching job, this time branching out all over the place to places where I'd even faintly consider living. By this time, I had taken measures to get cross-certified in middle school math, and during my last year at that school, I had completed a master's in educational technology. I had more to offer than ever before, but STILL I ran into brick walls. More people had actually called me for interviews after I first graduated from college than at this point in time, which still makes no sense at all to me. Then, I caught the attention of another school out on the west coast of the US that was also built for kids/teens with LD. They hired me to teach both English and math, and so I took the big leap of faith out here...and it ended up being an even WORSE teaching experience than the last one. Dealing with the kids in all of these situations was tricky, but I always found a way to build rapport with them, challenge them, and push them to the limits of what they were truly capable of. No, what has made teaching difficult in ALL of these situations has been the administration my colleagues and I have had to deal with...but while that last school that I worked for had an admin that was iron-fisted and stubborn, THIS west coast school had an admin that was clueless, absent, and downright cruel to its faculty and staff. Teachers at this school told me time and time again that this place used to be a wonderful place where teachers were given the support they needed and students were held to some kind of legitimate standard, but over the past few years -- naturally, over the time that I come into the picture -- new board members and new admin came in and wrecked everything thanks to snap decisions based on NO educational background whatsoever. What made it cruel and inhumane to work there, though, was brought to light when a HUGE controversy broke out when a video was released of a key board member engaging in behavior that was CLEARLY racist...and long story short, the board gave him a pass!!! Then, when the head teacher that helped me get this new job in the first place took a stand and spoke up against it, she was "put on leave" and ultimately fired at the end of the year, spitting in the face of her 20+ years of service to the school.
Naturally, that horrible, HORRIBLE school laid me off too, but you better believe I would've quit anyways. Being without work is not great at all, but I sure as hell didn't want to work at a so-called "school" that inherently supports racism. Just wrap your heads around that for a moment. A school that stands for RACISM.
So...here I am now, in August 2012, wondering what the hell to do next. I love what I do, but no one wants to let me do it. I can tackle reading, writing, math, social studies, drama, and music, as well as help a school come to the 21st century in terms of learning how to utilize technology appropriately...but yet again, no one seems to want someone with that kind of skill-set. I don't want to give up on teaching, but I may have to if no one gives me a friggin' chance again -- and this last experience has scarred me so deeply since I took such a bold risk, only to get shot down yet again. I've thought about looking back home for a new teaching job, but why should I move all the way across the country AGAIN only to be laid off once more, knowing how it's usually first one in, first one out?
MysterWhy, I arrived here via Google search too and I had the same thoughts - I must be getting really desperate if I'm asking Google what to do! It sounds like you've had some really horrible teaching experiences and they are the stories are all too familiar. I have a lot of friends who are great teachers and yet can't hold a job because of the system, even though they are great at what they do.
My situation is a little different, but I've come to the same conclusions - that I don't like the working environment of education and I do not want to be a teacher anymore. I am actually a School Library Media Specialist but I large portion of my responsibilities is teaching. (In a lot of ways I have it easier than classroom teachers, but on the other hand I have 1900 students, grades 9-12, that I am responsible for teaching). Lucky for me my administrators are nice people, but unfortunately they are still disconnected. My supervisor is a great guy and tries to be supportive, but he really doesn't have a good idea of what I do. Really I am just tired of the politics that surround education - even within the school teachers turn on each other and are always gossipping or complaining. I don't feel a sense of camaraderie, but rather always feel anxious - I feel like I am being broken down by a toxic work environment.
Now it's August and I can't enjoy the rest of my summer because I'm already starting to feel anxious about going back. Last year before I went back my doctor prescribed me with an anti-anxiety med because my pulse rate was so high. I really want out, but I'm scared to be jobless - on the other hand I don't how to put in the effort to secure a job while I'm so stressed out at my current job. My only hope is that Google will give me some answers!
I hope each one of you find happiness and contentment.
Two years ago I lost my teaching job, the only full-time job I've ever had, due to budget cuts. I talked myself through being "OK" with it. But it broke my heart. After 6 years of studying, practicing, excelling, working my ass off only to be hired then told a few months later "Yeah, you're going to lose your job." Not to mention the fact that my Reading Supervisor was a mean person who told me that I should "wear make-up and fix my hair" and "take more pride in my profession." Not to mention she was going to give me an "unsatisfactory" because I was missing a "component" in my lesson plan. REALLY? You want me to differentiate for 7 different Reading classes and remember to put everything I am going to say or do in to my lesson plan? Teacher's need to be able to take advantage of teachable moments and should be given some leeway to add or subtract from a lesson depending on classroom and student variables!!!!
I know being terminated because of a budget isn't "personal" but it is to me. Since losing my job I've been subbing which is a thankless and stressful job. It makes me a miserable person. I've come to hate teaching, the one thing that I was ever totally passionate about. And I've come to lose respect for many administrators and stakeholders.
I went in to a teaching store the other day and CRIED when I got back to the parking lot. People were there buying things for their classrooms and I feel like a failure.
Well, it's good to know that I'm not alone although it doesn't help me figure out what to do or which way to turn which is what I need most of all. I'm pretty sure I may have some sort of emotional breakdown soon.
Best of luck to all of you unhappy teachers out there. I hope it turns around soon.
this is my 3rd year and tonight i just feel like i don't want to do this anymore. I hate waking up and having to go to work every morning. i hate coming home with tons of work loads. I hate giving everything and getting nothing in return. I hate being broke at the end of the month. I can never get anything i like. I can relate to all of the many things that had been said and it just seem like it not worth it but i have no choice. life suck.
I too did a search looking for answers to what do I do when I don't want to teach anymore. I love teaching
I hate the way EVERYONE in the world thinks it is the easiest job to do and anyone could do it. I am tired of jumping through hoops, but I might even be able to go on except my partner teacher is the absolute worse person in the world to work with. She has run off many teacjers and has never worked with anyone longer than two years. Lucky me i have lasted 4 very long years with her
The principal knows she has no social skills but she is tenured and got that way through the threat of a lawsuit. On the other hand, I will be tenured this year (if i can make it). I have taught longer than her and I have my master's. I often have to correct her on basic concepts and she is a glory hog. She actually gave me a paper I created and told me she made it for us. She forgot I made it and gave it to her. She fails to tell me ALL the information I need for our new assessments. She is on the curriculum committee. Between dealing with her and all the pressure about student scores and everyone dumping on education I doubted yself for the first time. I came to teaching as a third profession. I am a single parent of a autistic child and my son needs to stay in this school district because they are good to and for him. Feeling lost and hopeless. can't handle 10 more years with this woman next door, but I love what I do.
i could not agree more with these posts. what is going on in this world where a job like teaching, where passion is essential, is being hated by many who are in the profession and what do we do to get out because our degree is really just for this!? i am only a student teacher and i have hated and been miserable every day i wake up and put on my tie. sometimes i wish id get rear ended by some idiot driver so i had a reason not go in to school. I have only been teaching for 7 weeks and i feel this way i cannot imagine how it feels going any further. i've been wanting a way out but i've come this far and just hoped for the best because of economic and family pressure. truth be told i think im going to hate this. and its sad because i love talking about ideas and working with kids too. there is just so much other stuff involved with this job that you do not realize until you teach in a school and get out of the college education classes. nothing is what it seemed and im afraid ill be a crotchety old man if i dont get out now.
I said the exact same things to my husband about teaching over the course of this week! I know I am not going to make it until retirement as a teacher. There are aspects of teaching that I love, but I am absolutely done. Thank you for giving me the feeling that it is not just me.
I'm looking into occupational therapy school, school counselor, online teaching, an online business, or a government / state job that offers comperable benefits to teaching.
I came across this forum today because I am a seriously questioning my career choice. I am a first year high school English teacher. I have already talked to friends and family on this situation, but they cannot really understand so I will voice it to you. I have only been at this profession for almost 4 months. I was hired 2 weeks after the school year started, given no curriculum, no books, and was not allowed to pass out books for the first 3 weeks of school.What did I do? I invented curriculum, got the students started on a novel study as soon as possible. How did my Students respond? Well they didn't turn in half of their work cause they "Forgot" and consistently whined and said "I didn't know what I was doing" which I guess is fair enough as it was true. I don't have a mentor I was never assigned one. The faculty has helped me a great deal, but they have their own classes to worry about.
I constantly find myself having to create which takes a great amount of time. Meanwhile there is a pile of homework constantly looming in the background and I am almost an entire week behind because we are on our second principal in the school whom deemed it was necessary to to put up a whole bunch of stuff on the walls including: Instructional posters, graded work to be changed every two weeks, and a word wall. The other parts I understood as assisting with the classroom structure, but I was never told I had to do any of this before and, again, I have no mentor. I keep getting last minute projects thrown at me. I have been working twelve hours a day at least 3 days out of the week where I am in my room working, grading, planning. Then I still have more grading when I come home.
I was basically told that I cannot fail students because, unless I get a signature showing documentation that I told them and a parent they were failing, it is on me. Then half of my students don't turn in a major project that we worked on for 5 days and get F's know this and say to me "Well you can't fail all of us cause they will just fire you for being a bad teacher." I have had the kids write their work down on a sheet that has to be signed by a parent. I have called parents, but a lot of my kids just aren't turning their work in on time or at all. I can't fail them though because then it is my fault. I have done a lot to build a positive relationship with the students and it has gotten better, but not to the extent it needs to be for most who are failing. I have even been staying over an hour to assist students with make up work. All of which are cutting into the planning time for units that I have to develop alone.
Then I was given my first informal review from the Principal and it was awful. I have the students reading a short narrative and they had to pause after ever paragraph, do a short summary of the paragraph and come up with a question related to that paragraph. The Principal hated it. She though the students should have read the whole piece summarized then came up with a question. I responded that the students needed to do a close reading cause they were going to be writing a narrative like the one they were reading. She still didn't like that. Not to mention that part of my score had to do with whether or not all the stuff was hanging around my room and my graded work was current. Thankfully it was an informal review, but i am terrified of my first review.
I spend so much time freaking out that I get behind on what I need to get done. I have learned a lot out of necessity, but too much of it last minute.
It's not all bad though. My relationship with the kids is vastly better because I have adjusted to where they are at academically and have materials to use. My disciplinary problems and class room management have vastly improved and I am really starting to care for the kids. I want them to succeed.
However, the funniest thing to me is that we are supposed to be teaching "College Prep" curriculum. Half my kids don't turn anything in on time and, while I lower their grade for it, I don't think that is typical for college preparation programs.
I hope this vent will make me feel better. If it doesn't I think I will substitute after this year and go back to school.
I am so glad to read posts from other people who have been struggling with whether to continue teaching or start a new career. When I first started teaching I was so excited. I loved the thought of giving kids new things to think about, or giving someone a jump on their future. Now I am struggling to convince my dad and others that, although I still like kids, I don't want to return to teaching. I felt that I wasn't getting the students that needed my help as the Literacy specialist. I was getting the students that could do independant work. The English teachers were getting my esl students and low achievers because the higher-ups thought that giving them a workbook meant that ela teachers could do the job just as well. But the ela teachers were already overwhelmed with all their other work that they simply had the kids work in their workbooks and complete multiple choice questions. 2 months in to my second year and I was reevaluating life plan.
I have always been close to my dad, but he still has trouble believing I don't want to teach. His words were " but you pick up munchkins everywhere you go ". I may like children but perhaps I had romanticized teaching in my head. It's put a strain on our relationship because he thinks I am being illogicall. He argues that I put all that time into my education and am now wasting my degree. I even tried to tell him about all the current and former teachers I met while grading state exams. How I didn't feel alone now because other people could validate my thoughts. The former teachers were happy with their new careers and they had similar stories to mine. For two weeks out of the year we get together, grade tests, talk and share experiences. Now I paint murals and restore furniture. I never look back and think what could have been if I had continued teaching.
I am sooo encouraged to know that I am not alone! Teaching is a wonderful profession, but unfortunately there are many mean people/cretans who have come into the field through the back door. What kind of people? Evil, spiteful, deceitful, backstabbing, dishonest, arrogant and just downright hateful! I left teaching twice when I felt that I could not give my best. If you think that you can remain in a profession that is drying up your life, you are wrong!!! Life is precious! It is meant to be enjoyed. When the very thing that you prepared yourself to do becomes a thorn, it is time to move on. GOD will make a way! During my 20+ years of teaching, I have meant such wonderful people, but in the last 10 years, I have meant some of the cruelest people on earth...majority were adults, but some were also students. There is clearly a diminishing respect for teachers. Presently, I feel as though teaching is beginning to effect my health. There is so much that I would like to do, so what will I do? I'm not 100% certain, but I am 100% certain that I will not continue to be disrespected. I love myself and I know that I have much more to offer. I don't know what the future holds, but GOD does, so I will lean on Him and trust Him to provide me with all that I need to prosper!!!!!!!!! Step out on faith! You will not be alone!
Wow, I can't believe how many teachers feel this way. I am currently in my 11th year of teaching and I feel terrible because I don't want to do this anymore. I teach in a city where the school system is in chaos. There are only about 3 good public/charter schools, the rest are a mess. There is hardly any parental involvement and most homes are unstable. We have so many students with severe behavior disorders and many of the children have no desire to learn. I am hoping to switch schools (maybe private) to see if that makes a difference. I have even thought about relocating to another city to find a better school system. Like some of the other posters, I have young children of my own that don't get the attention from me that they need because I am overwhelmed and stressed out. I am so desperate to get out of teaching that I am willing to work a minimum wage job for a little while. I think what we are all seeking is peace in our minds and hearts and unfortunately we will not be able to have that with teaching. I don't know when or where the breakdown in education began, but it is very scary as I wonder what schools will be like in a few years for my own kids. I am feeling so stressed and unhappy.
I am not alone. I am glad that there are others out there felling the pain and stress that I feel everyday. Want to hear sad..... I have been in 10 years, laid off twice, 14 different schools as an art teacher, on a cart and still only making 39K a year! I am at three school currently, and have had to take off work a lot for a huge family crises that occurred this year that has been ongoing. So naturally, I am a target of the school administration. So what do they do when they can't get you in trouble for taking off sick.........I got written up three times today! THREE! By the same principal. I am at her school for only one class, once a week, one hour. And she managed to find three things that I did wrong. No warning! Three write ups. Nothing about me being a bad teacher, or a horrible report with my students...they love me. Nope, about dumb things that the district finds to be important. I want everyone who reads this to look up a video on the internet.....it will change your life. I am trying to change mine:
I spent the last 45 minutes or so deeply reading all of the posts I found on this forum in response to my Google search. I am 25 years old and am just more than half-way through my first year of teaching. I work in a small, pleasant district with great co-workers and administration that tries really hard. However, I wake up every morning feeling the same way everyone else who vented on this forum feels.
I've spent the last three years working full time and earning a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. This May, I'll graduate with that degree and not want to use it at all. The problem is, I don't know what else to do! I feel trapped in teaching because I have put so much time and effort into it (while earning my degree I worked as a lead pre-school teacher.) I even became dual endorsed in special education and secondary English education so I could work with a more diverse group of students and help those who needed it most. Do you know what I've learned? Working with special needs students (mostly LD and ED) basically means you have at least double the responsibilities of general education teachers, very little family support, AND are expected to perform miracles by getting all of your students to pass standardized tests.
My district does benchmark testing every 4.5 weeks. Let me repeat that...we test our students using standardized testing samples in EVERY SUBJECT every 4.5 weeks! This past month, our students came back from winter break and where expected to take midterm exams in every class, then turn around and take benchmarks in every class. They will be testing again a month from now! It's downright cruel and unnecessary. As a special education teacher, I am expected to collaboratively teach two subjects (English and Civics) and plan and teach my own self-contained English course. All of this while managing a case load of 10 students, preparing objective progress reports every 4.5 weeks, teaching an after school English remediation class, and planning enrichment activities for the students during their study hall block (think bully prevention, "clubs", etc.) Not to mention administer my own standardized achievement tests for each one of the 10 IEP's and 5 file reviews I must perform this year.
Well, besides keep me up later than I should be (I have to wake up at 5 to be at school on time tomorrow,) it does make me feel better to know I'm not alone. After this school year and my June wedding, my fiance and I will be moving 3 hours west. I'm considering attempting to find a new job in a new field and starting over. I guess we'll see!
Holy WOW! I also did a google search and landed here. I guess I was having one of those days,months, or should we says "years"? I am at a loss as to how to help you all. The sad state of our job most days makes it not what we bargained for. I, too, have been hanging in there like the rest of you. I am on my FOURTH year of substitute teaching because there are no openings in my town. I have had two long-term sub placements (currently covering a maternity leave at a private school). I have seen my worst day and It makes it hard to appreciate this job some days. I worked hard to fill in for the second half of the school year when an elementary teacher moved away and I was personally asked to fill in. I worked hard, cried, worked harder, and felt like I was flailing with no support. I put in countless hours and went above and beyond only to be seen as "sub" and not a true employee (and in fact was only paid as a sub...totally crappy). When the position opened up I interviewed for it (only after waiting hours and being asked, because they knew me, to come back at end of day when they could fit my interview in since they were running behind). I was stressed out to the max and didn't even get the job. I got an awful denial letter and not even one word from the principal who gave me no support. I felt like the world was crashing down and I told my husband I was not renewing my teaching license that was due. Ultimately, I dusted myself off and faked a smile to get through this year. I am enjoying subbing at the private school but it's not permanent. I am still just a SUB. I am tired of it and starting year five next year I don't know if I can put up with subbing again. I spent plenty of money, hours, sweat and tears to get into this profession. I originally graduated with a poli sci degree and found no great jobs so after a five years I went back to school for teaching. Now in my 30s I'm trying to start a new career but is this worth it???? I love working with the kids but not really digging the insane amount of planning and grading that keeps building. Anybody else who picked this a second profession or third think that maaaaybe it's not what you thought?
I graduated from a big-time University with my Master's degree in Middle Childhood Education. No experience besides student teaching and a long-term Sub job. When I married, I moved to a different state.
Not only did I have to re-take state exams and pay an enormous amount of money, but the town where I moved to seems to hire from a local University. I applied to 23 jobs, not one interview. I have been subbing for what seems like forever. It's miserable but I remember what I used to do to Subs when I was a student, so that is not the problem.
The problem is, even during my student teaching, I burned out fast. I dreaded going to school-I never had any time for myself and I cried almost every day. This is not the profession for me, even though it was tough to admit it. How could I have wasted all of that money and not have a job or even be making money?
Which brings about the original question: What other jobs can I apply for? They look at my degree and think, this is useless!
I'm terrified that I have made a grave mistake even thinking that teaching could be a fulfilling career.
If money were no object, I'd teach. I love it. I wish I could have my own classroom, but despite all my lovely and good credentials, I only make around 21K doing two jobs as a paraprofessional and site director for a before/after school program. I work 60+ hours with no benefits, but at least I can say that I love my jobs, I want to be a teacher, but people who just don't give a hoot are filling those jobs while I'm just the invisible candidate that is always applying but in my two years out of school, have only been given the dignity of an interview once. For all the teachers who don't like teaching, change your minds and do go for something else. Teachers who love teaching, would love to have the title and that "meager salary."
It will not get any better. I've been doing it for 7 years. I started thinking about leaving after year 6, but this last year finally convinced me. Every time I meet up with teachers from other schools, we bond by complaining about our jobs and we can instantly relate. That's a sign that something is wrong. I was afraid to leave because I had "tenure" at another school. I finally left, only to find out that it was just as bad at the next school. The education system is totally messed up. I am taking classes this summer and changing careers. I had planned to go back and get my master's degree in an education-related field this year, but it didn't work out due to my INSANE schedule! And I'm SO glad I didn't do it. I did the research and the cost of going back to school in an education major vs. the super minimal pay raise I would get afterwards makes it not even worth it. If I go back to school, it will be for something totally different. I have let my principal know I'm not returning and I feel such a sense of relief! Yes, it is scary, but I know I will figure something out. I have a bachelor's degree and lots of management experience. If I wanted to, I could be a manager of a store and make more money that what I was making teaching, and be happier! No work to take home!
And don't bother complaining to administration. They will always try to turn it around on you as if it is your fault. They will say that perhaps you need to choose a different career. And the truth is, they're right. But don't feel bad. That's not your fault, it's theirs! There is nothing wrong with you. Teaching is NOT good for your health. ANYONE put in our situation with insane pressure and demands would feel the same way. I am a very good teacher and hid my stress well, but at home I was having panic attacks on the weekends as the stress overcame me. I went to the doctor, who prescribed me antidepressants (surprise, surprise!). I never took them. Most of my coworkers are either taking Xanax, antidepressants, or some other form of coping mechanism. I have realized that this job is affecting my health so much that I need to get out. I hate it. I hate what we are doing to the kids and what it is doing to me. Any job that requires everyone to take antistress/antidepressants just to get through each day is not worth having! The fact is, there are a thousand more young teachers that will come and replace you in a second, and that's how they are able to get away with it. They will not even blink when you leave. No one will miss you because they do not care! So don't feel one bit bad about it. It won't be until we start telling younger people to STOP majoring in education that things will change.
Show them that you're too good to put up with being treated like this and walk away! Do it! The sooner the better! The longer you wait, the more years you will waste being miserable. Every year of your life is worth being happy, not stressed to the max. Go somewhere where people will appreciate you.
Another sad truth, most teachers are women and women are natural care-givers. We tend to feel guilty about not providing for children. We end up staying at work late, working long hours, volunteering (or being pressured to volunteer) for after school activities because we don't want the kids to "do without". But let me tell you, this is the worst reason to stay. The best way to help these kids is to refuse to be a part of a system that is abusive to and does not care about these children, which is what the SYSTEM of education has come down to. In any other male-dominated workplace, men would drop dead before they worked overtime without actually getting paid overtime! We have to stop letting them do this to us. Stop staying late or volunteering for carnivals. Don't feel guilty about wanting to have a life outside of work.
Anyway...that's my opinion!
Administration wants you to feel guilty, because that means you'll keep working for little to no pay. It is to their advantage. And sadly, most teachers aren't confident enough to leave and will stay in this career for years until they end up retiring early. I've seen it happen, as I have several teacher friends who are close to retirement age who ended up retiring early and sacrificing a big chunk of their pensions or retirement package because they just couldn't stand to stay another minute. Guess who benefits when that happens? Any corporation, public or private, that doesn't treat their employees well is not successful. It is only in the field of education, full of women who feel guilty about leaving the kids, or who feel like they have no other options due to majoring in education or whatever, can they get away with behavior like this. Ever heard the saying "You teach people how to treat you"? We are teaching them that it is okay by continuing to volunteer, work late hours, and come back year after year for more. It is the sad truth.
As you can see, I got stuck teaching a 4th/5th combination class this year. I was desperate to find a job close to where I lived after commuting 40 minutes for the past 6 years. So I took the first offer I got. All year they were pressuring me to hurry up and catch up with math, despite the fact that I had to split each grade level's math time in half already! See what I mean? The whole system is nuts. Administration can't change anything either. My principal was a nice guy, but he has standards and due dates set by the district/county that he has to meet as well.
Combination classes should be illegal, by the way. It shocks me that schools can even get away with some of this stuff!
I want out so badly. Kids just won't engage their minds anymore. They've learned they don't have to. They know we'll eventually give in and tell them what to do, because there is no accountability for them. If I fail too many kids, I get called in to my admin's office to discuss what I need to do differently. Meanwhile, I'm not allowed to count homework for even a small portion of their grades, so they don't do it. Those who do skip all but the most basic problems. They can fail everything, and retake it all when they get around to it in piecemeal. So the cram, regurgitate, cram regurgitate...and get A's - and that's the good students. Many still fail, because they procrastinate, thinking "I can just retake it" and then realize they can't cram that much in a month. Then it's my fault. We can't give real finals, because once the kids have demonstrated "mastery", they're done. So kids never really master anything, and some of my calculus students have the skills of a first year algebra student. I am held responsible for their learning, but my hands are tied by the grading system...And that's only the tip of the iceberg. When I question policies (which I always do from the point of view "please teach me why this is best, so I can understand"...because I have learned from experience that disagreeing with policies is political suicide) and I'm still seen as a "Negative Nelly" or "resistant to change." The truth is, I could quote volumes of research that proves that the policy makers in our district are idiots, but that will get me nowhere. My admin are smiling marionettes with swords to slice and dice any dissenters. Recently, I questioned an absurdly inequitable master schedule for next year (total haves and have nots - some have no high stakes tests to teach to and all relatively high classes, and others with several high stakes tests and all low level classes) and the admin asked "The real question is Are you happy here?, you seem to question a lot of decisions." Hell No!! And if you weren't such a head up your a$$ moron, you'd question the policies too!!
Sorry - I seriously considered walking out of the admin's office straight to my car, never to return...but I'm 48. Where would I go? My husband is 56, and we have to think about retirement. But after 20 years, I can't do another 19. I won't live that long in this environment.
I would tell all you internetters about my professional teaching experience, but you have all summed it up so much more succinctly and aptly than I ever could. Teaching has become a drag, plain and simple. I did the requisite What-Can-I-Do-Instead-of-Teaching Google search to stumble upon this thread, and you've all completely validated and reinforced my decision to leave the teaching career once and for all. I've astounded my parents, husband, and friends who have always thought I would be the perfect teacher and who have witnessed the extensive (and EXPENSIVE) Master's degree I have worked so hard to achieve. It really chaffs me to leave a profession I have barely begun...a profession which has cost me half a lifetime of debt, at that. But it makes no matter; you gotta' be happy.
I'm quitting teaching and applying at the Post Office. It's the only non-teaching job I have managed to interview for and feel positive about actually landing.
No job is perfect, but at least this one will pay the bills, provide a pension, and not require dragging around a veritable suitcase of work to do. When I leave my workplace, I want to leave the work there. I want to actually spend time with my husband without 30 papers to grade on my lap.
You might try working at a college in administration, but I haven't been able to garner an interview yet despite being ridiculously over-qualified for the secretarial work. (Seriously? What teacher CAN'T multitask, talk on the phone, and maintain organized files?) If you have years of veteran experience, know a lot of well-connected people, and wish upon a star; you might just get a cushy job at the teacher-prep colleges that churn out the enthusiastic, delusional hopefuls like myself.
It seems like most human-resource jobs and social-work positions require a degree in that field, and I am not up to the task of financing yet another college degree. Some of you might have more luck in applying than I have. I check the state job website where I live daily in hopes of another career. You might (ironically) try to find a job in a career-placement agency.
I wish I could be of more help in brainstorming careers, but if I was an expert at it, I would already be safely entrenched in a different career path. Hope to soon be on my way to happily selling stamps to the elderly for $15 an hour...!
I might not feel proud about it, but at least I will feel peace.
Well said everyone. I feel for all of you. Am in the same boat and am pretty much done with teaching, and have been. Some times jobs come up and I'm like no way. then these posts samck me back to reality. Yea its nice to have a job, but at what cost...your sanity, time, health? No thanks. If I was getting 6 figures, then absolutely, but the time and money put into it and the payoff, is not worth it to me. Good for you teachers that love all that teaching involves, but that in no way makes us less than you. We are all better than what we've put up with.
This is my second time stumbling across this thread. Last year I thought my misery was just due to my being a first year special education teacher and knowing absolutely nothing. Now that I'm in my second year and have a much better sense of what I'm doing, I'm slowly realizing that I'm just not in the right place. I never wanted to teach MS/HS but the teacher certification program I was accepted to only offered jobs and Masters degrees in those areas, and out of those, I could only do Special Ed. So I thought 'this can't be so bad' 'at least I'll be teaching' and said yes. I'm about six months away from graduating and I lie in bed at night DREADING having to wake up the next morning. I hate this job. I hate dealing with the endless paperwork and IEP meetings and trying to move kids who have been behind their entire lives. I hate feeling like I'm expected to work miracles and when I don't, my evaluation is on the line. This is my last year in this position. I need to make it to June somehow, but I can't imagine how.
I'm curious - are any of you pre-school teachers? That's what I would like to get certified in when I finish the program I'm currently in, but I don't want to find myself in a similar situation. Can anyone weigh in?
9 months until June. 9 months until June. 9 months until June...
I couldn't help but add my thoughts, if just to rant in a room where I won't be judged for disliking the profession I spent so much time and money preparing for. I was a stellar intern, I had awesome ideas, I was great with kids, my professors all pulled for me and gave excellent recommendations for the job I currently have. And now I am a stellar stress-freak, depressed and boring person. I feel no joy for life anymore. I couldn't even muster up the emotion to enjoy my wedding, or my honeymoon. I just see the days fading away and the moment coming when I have to go back to work.
I should not have taken this position, I do not have the mental fortitude to start a violin program from scratch teaching like the other specialists. I know of other people who have my teaching situation, and seem to do just fine. That kills me the most, knowing I'm just weak or stupid or something, and that's the reason why I feel I'm failing.
Well, life is far too short to be martyred for a paycheck, so somehow I'll gather the courage to take the leap into another profession, another degree when I can. I love the kids too much to fake teach anymore, I love my husband too much to waste my life for the bureaucracy, and I love myself too much to watch myself die everyday I get up.
My situation is different, I'm stress-prone and have perfectionism issues, but the underlying distress is the same. I think I just need to get a better system going and care less, as blasphemous as that is.
One thing a wise veteran teacher said to me was: when you die, when you retire, when you move on to better things, nobody is going to think to themselves "I remember that one teacher who did all of those wonderful things for this school." Nobody is going to remember who you are, because none of it matters. Do as little as you can, and don't give up your life for this job, because nobody notices.
She was right. Now every time I hear "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas, I think of my job. Because all we are is dust in the wind. :-(
I am a 28 year old who has been teaching for 7 years. The lack of appreciation, the constant disrespect from students, parents, and administration has burned me. I continue to look for a new profession, and will teach until I find something better. But I work my contracted hours, and go home and cry every night because I am miserable. I love to teach. I love when the kids do what they should do. But when I get zero support to help me teach 25 ten year olds, half of which have disabilities and are labeled ese, I give up. This becomes just a job at that point, and it is so sad. Sad for us, who get crapped on by the world, and sad for the children who are helpless victims in the middle of the s h i t storm. I hate what the teaching profession has done to me. Once I leave, I will not go back.
I agree with everything everyone has said. It is comforting to know that it is not just me or my department at school, but it also adds to the sadness. NO ONE except fellow teachers (and their families) understands how difficult this profession is and how much time we spend on our jobs. Like the rest of you, I work far past 3:00 every day and spend my weekends lesson planning and grading. I am a HS English teacher and just spent a recent snow day grading for 9 hours -no exaggeration- 9 hours spent reading and grading papers that my students couldn't care less about anything but the grade on the grading website. This was a second career for me after staying home with my children for a number of years. I always wanted to be a teacher, so I went back to school and got the necessary credentials. This is my 5th year and I am burnt out. Worse than that is the dread I feel for all the pressure coming down from the administration especially for the new standardized tests our state is adopting. My school is completely numbers driven and the English dept. takes the all the brunt of their anxiety. I also do not like the new teacher evaluation system we use where we are basically told exactly what to do without any sense of freedom to teach the way we believe is best for our kids. I am considering trying to get a job in a Catholic school where I think it is a "kinder gentler nation" but if I am going to take a big cut in pay, I am thinking I should just go back to the business world where I started after college and start as entry level position somewhere and have the potential to move up. I really want a job where I can have my life back- nights and weekends. Yes, I will be giving up the summers off, but it is a very sad commentary when the best part of teaching is June, July, and August.