Leaving teaching? - ProTeacher Community





melonjar melonjar is offline
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Leaving teaching?
Old 10-09-2006, 09:33 PM
 
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Hi. Maybe I'm just burned out, but for a while now I've considered leaving the teaching career. Honestly, I'm starting to lose interest. I enjoy the creativity side of teaching and come up with my own ideas alll the time. I enjoy teaching the children aside from discipline problems. I'm tired of taking my work home with me every night and on the weekends. The paper work is getting old. Behavior issues are tiring. Pressures to get my students to achieve a higher level is tiring. Constantly having school on my mind is tiring. There's no time for my own interests or hobbies.

So I began to wonder what other options I have with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Education? A career where I can leave my work at work, feel that I'm a valuable member of society and make as much or more as I am now.

Any ideas out there?

Thanks.


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I know how you feel
Old 10-10-2006, 02:18 PM
 
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You are not alone. We've had changes in our curriculum and have had to give up a lot of creativity. I have always enjoyed being able to make learning fun and having the freedom to be creative while getting the concepts across. Now there is no time to explore a topic in depth and I have begun to question how much children are really learning with this accelerated curriculum. Our curriculum is geard towards older kids. Really-how much fun is researching in science? Shouldn't third grade science be "doing" and not just researching? It's not high school!

I know exactly what you mean about pressure to get students to perform on such a high level. I have many conflicts about what and how our district wants us to teach and that is causing my burnout. Not to mention the paperwork and documentation that comes along with all of this! I am feeling the burnout too, and I can't help but wonder-are we burning out the kids?
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I'm there too
Old 10-10-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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I'm feeling the burn out and am looking at not going back next year. I want to work part time and stay home with my baby more. I'm sick of doing school work every waking minute. I hardly spend time with my son, no matter how hard I try. We are being checked by the "reading police" to see if everything is done correctly and our requirements grow each day. We have barely 6 hours in the school day and 90 min. is taken by reading, 60 for math, 30-45 for sci, 30-45 for writing, 25 for lunch, 30 for specials and of course a bathroom break here and there. I can't get it in, yet I'm supposed to. Any suggestions on a part time job where I can at least be with my son and family more??
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:38 PM
 
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I was wondering if you had thought about subbing as a part-time job? I was a full-time teacher at one time so I know where you are coming from. I sub now although not exactly by choice. It does not pay great and there are no benefits. However, depending on your area it works out to be about $12.00 a hour. I don't know of many part-time jobs that will pay that much. You could work two or three days a week if you want. There is basically no take home so your evenings and weekends are free. As your son gets older your work schedule will be very similiar to his school schedule. I am not a mom but I think subbing is a great job for someone needing a flexible schedule and wanting to work a little too.
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I'm getting there too!!
Old 10-16-2006, 11:27 AM
 
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I too am getting so tired. Emotionally, I am drained. I do like the kids,
but the lack of time wears on me, too. The mantra is DO MORE IN
LESS TIME. Sometimes I cry on my way to work in the morning. I feel
guilty because it seems that others find such joy and I can't find it
anymore. I feel so bad for young people starting out. I don't know
how a person with a family can do it. I am close to retirement, so
for me, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I can muster up the
energy and keep plugging because I know I can leave in a year or two.
I am considering a couple of things to do at that point.
Number One- I love to sew, so I would like to do that professionally.
Number Two- I think I would like tutoring or working at a place like
Sylvan. (Has anyone done that? Is is a good idea?).


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Just a few minutes ago...
Old 10-19-2006, 07:46 PM
 
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I was looking online for other jobs. I thought perhaps looking into a Children's hospital to see if they have jobs for educators for long term patients. I also would love to know what it takes to start a business. I know the perfect place for a children's book store and would love to own one. One other idea I had was for our newspaper. There is a section for kids every Wednesday and thought that might be cool.

I am getting burned out for all of the reasons I read in the posts before mine. I just am not loving my job anymore and I used to LOVE it! I need a change, but still feel like I need to work with kids!

Oh, perhaps at a museum coordinating tours for field trips.

Why can't someone hand the job to me?
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Leaving Teaching
Old 10-22-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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My passion for teaching is gone. To make a long story short, I feel like the rest of you. Too little time, too much to teach, not enough planning time, too many behavior issues, lack of support, etc.

I want to change profession as well, but looking for the advice and career guidance. I would like to see a resume of a former teacher who switched careers. And, I would like any advice as well.
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Old 10-29-2006, 07:21 PM
 
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Check out the post, "How has my profession help me to teach" or something like that. You can use it backwards.
I found this and several other things with a google search:
http://career.fsu.edu/ccis/matchmajor/match_alteach.htm

I'm just getting started myself. I've switch from healthcare admin to this and am really enjoying 2nd grade for now. What grade do you teach? Can you switch? Can you downgrade some of what you do but still exist for those kids as a compassionate beacon? I could understand though if that's a no - I try to give all or nothing.

Sorry you can't disconnect.
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im done
Old 11-03-2006, 08:17 AM
 
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Ive taught for 10 years and im done. Its very stressful to deal with kids all day. Probably the most stressful job ive had.
Its a constant "give", as kids "need"...especially at the elementary age where i teach. How can you not be drained at days end, everyday?
I know im just exhausted.
Im going into subbing, downsizing my entire life, not owning anything, and seeing if i can find that lost energy i once had.
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:57 PM
 
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"So I began to wonder what other options I have with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Education? A career where I can leave my work at work, feel that I'm a valuable member of society and make as much or more as I am now."

Let us know how it works out.
Just curious ----- how long have you been teaching?
Are you an experienced teacher who just doesn't want to keep doing this or are you a relatively new teacher (under 5 years) who just can't see yourself doing the job for another 25 or 30 years?
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I hear you all
Old 11-03-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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A few months ago, I ran into my daughter's second grade teacher in a store. My daughter is now 19, in college. Now, I volunteered a LOT at my daughter's and son's school for years, so I had a very good idea of what was going on. I never once walked into this woman's class when she did not have perfect control over the entire room. She had this little check system for behavior. She NEVER raised her voice. I sometimes had to stop in for different reasons during fundraisers, whatever. If she was reading a story, she had thirty little kids on the rug completely SILENT. The kids adored her. The parents fought to get their kids into her room.

So we chatted for a bit and then she said she had just retired. I said, "Do you miss teaching?" She laughed a bit and said, "Not really. Over the past few years, they changed so many things that I could no longer be creative. They just took all the fun out of it. I couldn't do the things I used to do with my classes because we were always on a deadline for some test or another." She looked SO sad. She put her head down and I could see she was trying to control her emotions. What an AWFUL way to end a stellar 30-some year career, thinking that someone had "taken all the fun out of teaching!" Any system that could discourage that incredible teacher is evil. Just my humble opinion!
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:23 PM
 
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After working fourteen years (ten of which were in grade 2), I knew I needed a change, but I also knew that I did not want to stop working with kids. What I did was make a grade change (I switched to kinder) and just the change alone sparked new creativity and a new excitement for teaching again. You might want to try that before giving up your teaching career. Besides, why would you want to work at a job where you only get two weeks off a year? Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks are pretty good deals when you consider the alternative!
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Sabbatical
Old 11-04-2006, 04:05 AM
 
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I'm thinking about taking a sabbatical and rest a while. Maybe that's what would help you if you're in a postition to do that as well.
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Revolution!
Old 11-04-2006, 06:03 AM
 
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This was one of the saddest threads I have read this morning...or the week for that matter! It sounds like wonderfully talented people are considering leaving a profession that needs them desperately.

C'mon folks! Let's help each other...let's start a REVOLT led by teachers for teachers who truly want to do right by our children (biological and class)! There are so many people making decisions for the classroom who haven't been in a classroom in years...if ever!

To begin, those of you who are feeling overwhelmed need to do a personal assessment to be sure it is only school creating the turmoil for you. I have been teaching since 1970 except for five years off while home with my infants/toddlers and I can honestly it is a great profession IF you have balance and a support system in place at home and at school. So before you actually leave, take a minute to see where you are struggling the most...home obligations? school obligations? both? Once there, determine if there is a way to solve the annoying, "yes, I can control this issue" stressors first. For example, paperwork...change the lesson/assessment to be done without using only paper and pencil activitites. Or if you have laundry piling up or sick of cooking every night, who or what can be altered to give you a break? Hold your significant other accountable for helping. Stop doing everything for your kids (age appropriate, of course). Sometimes little problems escalate before we realize it and fester into big problems that depresses us without us even noticing. I know I've been there.

Next, look at your school life. Avoid the Negative Naysayers and pair up with a Positive Person, even if not at the same grade level...for the emotional strength. Then become a question asker. My favorite question at a faculty meeting is "Why?" If I can understand the change I might be apt to do it with a better attitude. I also assess the administrator giving the directive. I can tell in a heart beat if this new directive is even understood by him/her and if it really is something he/she can monitor. It's a great help in how I structure my day! Like ELie Wiesel said, "QUESTION AUTHORITY." I do it with a good attitude but I do it.

I also utilize parents. I choose a few to help with a project, run off papers or simply chat with on a key issue. I built a trust so if need be, they can help get a stupid rule changed. This takes time but it is well worth the effort. I also keep a positive attitude in the darkest of days. I CHOOSE each day's attitude and keep my eye on the prize. I have a group of trusted school friends and we try to find the humor in some pretty stupid things. That's where your support system helps the most.

We need to elect people who are savvy with the workings of a school. We need to ask administrators to model or give specifics when they tell us to improve something in our teaching (most won't be able to because they don't know). I have even asked an administrator to come in and show me how to quiet the group while playing a learning game. (Can you believe that?! He thought they should play quietly while moving...I was new and said, "Wow, Please come in and help me. That would be a great skill to have and I would feel honored if you were the one to help me achieve that." He didn't, of course, and rarely bothered me again!)

We need to find the good in all of the children, parents and teachers so that we face the day from a productive vantage point. LOSE the complaining of things we cannot control and FOCUS on the ideas and talents we possess and can control. Have CONFIDENCE in yourself. Question your own motives before doing so to a colleague. Forgive yourself for not knowing all the answers. NO ONE is that smart. Get involved with your union even at some small level. Keep your strength by strengthening the group. Learn to say NO when need be BUT learn to say yes, as well.

If you cannot get past the idea of leaving then check out textbook publishers. See if they need a writer, marketing helper,or seller at conventions. Above all, don't let circumstance change who you are and who you want to be...be sure your physical, spiritual, and mental health are in order before changing the course of your life.

Last edited by CageyBee; 11-04-2006 at 06:08 AM..
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Leaving
Old 11-04-2006, 09:13 AM
 
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I'm a second career teacher, in my 7th year.
If I had known what I know now (ie. educational reform, underfunding), I would have never gone into this field.

My family and I love where we live, but there are very few employment opportunities. If I quit teaching, I will have to settle for a job that pays much less or move.

Believe me, I WANT TO QUIT!!!! From day one, it has not been a good match. I don't like the political climate. I disagree philosophically with what's going on, and I got more "thanks" and respect in the business world.

I have been thinking about working in the human service field, for a non-profit perhaps-- or perhaps retail. I enjoy being with people.

Less pay would be worth it to me if I have less stress in my life and a job I find more rewarding and appreciated. Good luck to all of us who are exploring our options!!!
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Old 11-04-2006, 09:16 AM
 
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Well said!!!
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:27 AM
 
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it happens..someone starts a thread and we forget to answer their specific question.

I think look at whats important to you. What do you enjoy? Boil it down to basics...re-examine.
Dont think in terms of your college degree.

Im at the same place. So, i thought...i need something more physical at work(but not too physical)...less stress(NOT managing 26 kids all day)...decent pay(although im downsizing considerably, so its easier not to rely on needing a lot of money), and good benefits for healthcare.

So, im applying for an airlines job as a provisional agent..stocking planes with items needed for the flight. it gets me what i want. ...Just the change i need right now from teaching too.
Life is change...Remember that.

Good luck.
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Sorry, Faffy,
Old 11-07-2006, 09:17 AM
 
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I disagree that the original question wasn't answered. Many posters identified with the origianl poster and told her/him that in order to let melonjar know that it is a common problem in teaching. Many posters gave insight how to be sure the change is what s/he needs. With a college degree at stake and possibly a dream that is not as fulfilling as melonjar had hoped, many posters wanted to give support to reexamine before leaving.

That being said many posters gave specific job ideas in their postings, such as Sixtiesbabe, Brigid, teacherdan (great website given), jenteach, act56, ChrisM, me, and your second posting also did.

When I read this thread I was saddened to read so many being so discouraged after not that many years(for some) in the profession. Sometimes reading another person's experience or perspective towards a problem helps another put his/her life back on track. The remaining posters gave personal stories to help melonjar keep it in perspective. Reexamining one's expectations and experiences through reflection surely helps one find an answer...sometimes on her/his own.

Everyone's posting here, when read in its entirety, is filled with ideas to consider.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:27 AM
 
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I'm a high school teacher. It's now my 5th year teaching, and I'm teaching three new subjects this year: AP Government, AP Economics and US History.

I totally understand the general nature of comments being posted on the board. I'm getting burned out with what I'm doing. It's just not very fun anymore, at least to a certain extent. I'm especially feeling it with the Seniors who simply don't make an effort to mentally be there with me. And to heighten this sense of dissatisfaction, my assistant principal decided today to walk into my classroom to observe and noted how the students simply weren't doing anything and how there was a lot of trash on the ground. So why am I so upset? Well, yes, some students weren't working on their assignment because I was individually assessing their notebooks, but I just don't appreciate how I am being judged on a Friday afternoon and I'm just at a point where I don't really care. It's hard for me to care about student learning when the student is not motivated at all. I'm just burned out. Not much more else to say, I suppose other than that I really wish I had more to give to the "lower-end" students. I'm the type of teacher, I suppose, that is more passionate about the subject matter than making sure no student is left behind. And in this type of school climate, then I suppose it's best for someone like me to leave teaching altogether.

But on the other hand, what job out there provides nearly 3 months off, pays $56,000 a year + coaching stipends that ups the total to $61,000 a year (not including summer school).

I probably won't leave teaching, but it's hard to envision staying in this profession 5 years from now. I don't want to be "stuck" teaching for the rest of my life. It's a noble profession, but it's so draining and if you're in your mid-thirties teaching, what else are you qualified to do should you decide to leave in your mid-thirties?

Not really providing much advice, just need to vent a little
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I can relate ...
Old 12-08-2006, 08:42 AM
 
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I feel the same way a lot of people on this board do. I always wanted to be a teacher, and I have been considered one of the best in my particular area for a very long time. I have always gone above and beyond to make my classroom beautiful, to make my lessons interesting, and to do everything I can for the kids while never saying no to the administration. I went in the bathroom yesterday afternoon, and a teacher was in there I've never met (since this is my very first year at this school). I asked him what he taught, and he teaches computers. I said, "The kids like computers. Do you like teaching that?" He said, "This is my 18th year, and I'm just so tired, I don't know if I will make it." It's terrible. Everyone I work with looks so old and tired (even the young ones). The system has beaten nearly all of them to death. No discipline, the politics, the testing, the paperwork, the extra duties, the professional development. Too much. Too much. I feel so tired that I think I'm going to have a heart attack sometimes. One thing that was posted above REALLY hit me. Someone said that they wondered if we were also burning out the kids. That was a eureka moment for me. I teach high school, and I have never seen so much APATHY in the kids.
They just don't care about anything. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the kids have been drilled and drilled over the standardized test for so many years that they just can't stomach it anymore. Maybe they have just been turned off by school. I, for one, can relate to that, but I teach in a school where we have to drill them and give departmental quizzes. It's so sad, but what do you do? I'm searching my soul trying to figure something out. I just think if I believed in what I was doing (and if the kids believed a little in what they were doing), things could be a whole lot better. I appreciate that this site makes me think and feel a little less alone. Thanks to all of you for being honest!
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Exhausted: Emotionally and Physically
Old 12-11-2006, 10:01 AM
 
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You hit the nail on the head! I too, am a high school teacher and the student apathy is overwhelming. The administration is continually unloading new duties on the staff. I just left a staff meeting where one of the main concerns was, "when do you expect us to teach?
I'm tired of the teacher being held responsible for all of the education "woes". The pressure for exemplary test scores is constant. Teacher acountability is measured by student performance, a nice concept in a "perfect" classroom. Unfortunately, I live in the real world.
The job is all-consuming. I witness the tired expressions of my peers. I have been at this for 14 years and I am constantly searching for a new career.
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At least I don't feel so all alone
Old 12-14-2006, 01:53 PM
 
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This is my 20th year teaching high school (Algebra 2, geometry, trig, calculus) and I can honestly say I'm not at all happy in teaching anymore. We have a new administration this year from the top down. My school was an enjoyable place to be. It felt like family. I spent so many hours at school attending games, planning class trips, fundraising, etc. Now, I don't feel like being here at all. There isn't any appreciation or communication, just request after request to do more in my already busy day.

I need to get out of teaching before I turn into my 12th grade math teacher (scary). I need to find another job that would be enjoyable, without the payscale of a Walmart greeter. My current plan is the California Lottery, but knowing the odds of winning I think I am open to suggestions of more lucrative ideas.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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I was recently out on a workshop day which let us go early. When I got home I did lots of things around the house and such. My husband got home and was drained/tired. That is the way I usually come home too. I thought what was different, why did I have all this energy when I have to get up before him. I realized because I wasn't at my school that day and I didn't feel any of the stress from being there. Have you ever just taken a day off to do what ever you want? I've heard them called mental health days. Just think, I go through weeks feeling all this stress and have all the energy zapped out of me. Over time this effects ones health. Its better to find something else than have your job be detrimental to your health.
We get memos at school that make me upset or worried. Can I get this done in time, etc. Yesterday we got a memo that stated teachers were responsible for breaking up fights or could face charges of neglect. I didn't go to college to be a police officer. They don't even give us anything to use if we would need to. I'm not about to break up fights. I could get hurt, but then they would provide us with some time off and cover our injuries. I could get diseases from the exposure to blood. They can't fix that. There is too much responsibility put on teachers. We have to do everything for these kids-more than their own parents. I can see why teachers are saying enough is enough. I felt great on my day off. I want to feel great everyday.
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Burnout
Old 12-24-2006, 04:36 PM
 
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Retired high school teacher here. Don't ever try to get between two fighting kids. You could get seriously injured. My husband made me promise not to try to physically break up high school kid fights and he is right. But my principal at the time ORDERED us to get in there and break up the fight. That's the most idiotic advice ever given me in my 27 yr. career. I am saddened to read all these messages about burnout, and totally agree with you about stress and pressure. In retirement, I mentor and supervise student teachers. A good job, less stress. What is going to become of this profession? I respect you all for the job you do.
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Year 11
Old 12-24-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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I'm burning the candle on both ends as well. Next year I'm planning to take a sabbatical and eat potted meat and Vienna sausages for dinner if I have to. I am spent! I'm looking forward to the break and will be making preparations for the next sabbatical when I return. Is it standard for every state or district that you can take a sabbatical every six years?
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:28 PM
 
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Quote:
But on the other hand, what job out there provides nearly 3 months off, pays $56,000 a year + coaching stipends that ups the total to $61,000 a year (not including summer school).
Since I'm making half that each year, it shouldn't be too hard to leave and find something comparable.
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Amen Bro. & Sis.
Old 01-08-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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I Am A First Year Teacher Am Already At This Point. I Went Through College Working Manual Jobs, And Taught My Teaching Career Was Going To Be My Saving Grace. I Honestly Have A Passion For Teaching And A Love For All Kids. I Believe That All Kids Can Learn. I Often Listened To Teacher With The Complaints And Said To Myself"they Say That Because...that Won't Be Me." Now It Is Me. I Have Come To See 95% Of Teacher Love Teacking,love Kds, And Love The Profession. What They Don't Love Is All The Other Bull&@#$ That Comes With It. The Demands Of The Job Want Teacherf To "turn Water Into Wine", The Demands Are Not Realistic.(except For Jesus) I Have Become Physically Ill With The Idea Of Going To Work. I Thought I Was That The Only One Feeling This Way. This Board Has Been Majorly Helpful. There Are 2 Things That I Need To Deal With Before I Can Leave The Profession. Maybe Other Former Teachers Can Help Me With These Concern.

1. How Do You Get Past The " She Is A Teacher And Working At _________________" This Degrading Prespective From Society Is "forcing" Me To Stay In A Profession That I Am Not Happy In.

2. What Other Jobs Are There For A Ba. In Elementary Education? I Am A Single Parent And Must Earn Enough To Pay The Bills.

Thanks Everyone For Being The "sholder To Cry On" Tonight & If Anyone Can Help Me With My 2 Issues, Reply! Reply! Reply!
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:41 AM
 
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I am so glad I found this site. This is my 14th year of teaching and I no longer enjoy what I am doing. NCLB has ruined education. The students are completely stressed out. I've never seen so many students on anxiety meds in my entire career.

When I was in school we all took the CAT (California Achievement Test). This was NOT a high stakes standardized test. Test results were NOT posted in the newspapers or on any type of school district report card. The CAT was simply a tool to see where we were at and what we needed from our teachers to be successful. I wish we would go back to those days.

It breaks my heart to see that students in my state are tested at the kindergarten level and labeled before even starting the first grade.

Enough venting, back to the thread starters question. I would look into private tutoring, companies that need teachers to create standardized tests, or your state's department of education.
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Old 01-24-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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I totally agree with everything about being burnt out. This is going to be my last year teaching (job or no job lined up). I always thought teaching would afford me so much time to work on my writing. Yeah, right. First of all, and no one mentioned this, I am sick 2 out of every 4 weeks, and I've been teaching high school for 8 years. I was never so physically ill and stressed since I started this job. I cannot deal with over 120 students per day (not to mention extra-curriculars). There are just too many kids to keep track of, motivate, etc. And the parents. And the paperwork, and the grading. It just never stops. I am an excellent teacher and pour as much passion as I can into my classes, but I end up sacrificing my outside relationships, writing, and health. And what for? To teach kids to be robots?

In any case, I don't make a lot of money because English in my area of the country is competitive and I am in a private school where you get treated even worse (no union) and then are told to thank Jesus all the time for your wonderful luck.

So, basically, I'd rather stuff envelopes all day than do this job for even one more day. I am losing my idealism, and before it's totally gone, I'll be gone!

I disagree with the idea that we teachers should try to make things better. Instead, I hope all the good teachers leave. Honestly, most parents view us as glorified babysitters. Maybe if we weren't there, then the PARENTS will start voting for better people and get more involved. No one cares what we teachers think; but if parents started boycotting all the testing and other crap maybe things would change.

So, I'm applying to every kind of job imaginable. I'll let you know what happens.
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:18 AM
 
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Hi,
I am a part time teacher who has had to tackle some of the same things you are going through. Since there are restrictions here for discussion of career options outside of teaching it might be best if you were to contact me direct. I won't post my e/m address here unless that will work for you. Let me know. I'll check back.

Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2007, 09:30 AM
 
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Hey! I'm interesed in hearing what other options there are. you can e-mail me @ haylaura@yahoo.com. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2007, 03:50 AM
 
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I am a Senior, an older student, your letter really touched me because I hear this a lot, and I too understand, were many may not. I have struggle sometimes I beleive of my age, but there is so much I want to do, not only do I want to teach but to write children books, something more personal in children lives something they can relate to, I suggest you take sometime to yourself and figure out what is it that will make you happy, what is it that will make you peaceful within, I have lost many friends young and old. Life is so short you should be happy at what ever you choose to do. I want to make a difference in what ever I do but I want to enjoy doing it, search within your heart you will find it there. I am here if you need to talk take care. Teresa M
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Changing career
Old 04-03-2007, 09:08 AM
 
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Hi,
I would really like to hear your opinions via email on changing careers. After a few months from teaching I have just secured a year 3 teaching job. However during my time out of teaching I did seriously consider changing my career, now I just feel a bit trapped as this job came up quicker than I expected! I just don't want to get back into the routine of coming home, having tea, working til 10pm and then after a busy week at school working my weekends too. I love teaching but I really didn't spend 3 years at university studying non eduation degree to do this amount of work and get so tired and stressed! Did I?

Some advice would be great.
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lots of money
Old 05-02-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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Where do you teach, making 56 a year? I am at 34 in my third year?
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Interested too...
Old 05-30-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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Here's my e-mail address. I would appreicate any information you can give me: windandrain9@yahoo.com Thanks.
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teaching problems
Old 07-20-2007, 01:50 PM
 
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That's the downside to teaching- all the extra work you do from home. Good luck finding a new job that you can enjoy!
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Get out while you can!
Old 07-31-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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I am leaving teaching after 14 years as soon as my home is paid off, luckily my wife and I bought a very modest place and I will move on and find something that I can enjoy again as soon as it is paid off. I loved teaching when I got into it and the "profession" has deteriorated into something I no longer recognize. Administrators that have totally lost any concept of student centered education and are only interested in lining their own pockets and reaching some level of retirement. The negativity is tremendous and overwhelming. I am getting out before it gets any worse. We lost a man in our department a few years ago to suicide and I will never forget the words of one of the adminstration: "there was just nothing we could do". Good luck in your teaching careers, for however long they last, I think public education is in it's last years - cyber schools and home schooling is the future.
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:20 PM
 
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I was getting reading to post an aggressive message, when I came upon yours. You left me speechless.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:23 AM
 
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Right ON! This "profession" has become a system for bullies. Those at the top (all the way to Washington) have lost touch. It is like being in the worst type of abusive relationship, ever. After giving it all you've got, all you can do, in the end, is walk out. And leaving is the hardest part. It takes courage.
The money and vacations keep us glued. Is it worth it? It would be interesting to see what would happen if the students and teachers, in every state of this United States revolted and just walked out, in unison. Or if we organized and moved in on Washington, D.C. What would we call it? The Billions Who Can't Stand It Anymore March?
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:08 AM
 
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HA!

My second observation as a FIRST year teacher was almost exactly the same as what you describe here. I had gone to great lengths to create an awesome project for my seniors. It had creative potential. It was Instruction By Design. It had a well-tailored rating scale for assessment. It employed Cooperative Learning. My Seniors even SAID was a good project... but it was May and they just didn't care to put any effort into it. I had been teased with "evaluation period" for almost TWO months. I was staying at work until seven making gorgeous lesson plans since MARCH and it wasn't until the last legal day possible that I was actually evaluated...and that was the day that my Seniors were supposed to be independently working while I went group to group assessing their progress...which was beneath expectations. So I got a low score on classroom management (which I probably deserved in my 6th period 9th graders--interesting bunch--but not that class).

By that time, I was already contemplating leaving teaching, and by the end of the year, I was sure it was the right thing, even though it was painful to come to that conclusion. I felt a little like a failure and still do, especially because I have always been "tops" at every job I have ever held before teaching. With teaching, no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't be "great," and sometimes not even "good." I have to say that it is the HARDEST thing to THINK you have yourself figured out and to have gone to great expense to achieve your "dream" only to be hit in the head with the realization that what you are doing makes you thoroughly unhappy. A got a lot of advice from veteran teachers, of course, and what they said was that the first 3-5 years was the learning curve and it gets easier after that, but the grading never goes away and there will always be long hours involved.

3-5 years? And STILL those long hours?

I do like kids. And I love my subject. And I work hard and love being creative and cooperative. I still like kids and I will probably continue to volunteer with kids in some way, but I'm not greatly fond of grading, and do hate discipline. I expect people to behave and do their best job because that's what I do and working with kids who will do everything in their power to derail having to learn just mystifies me. I DID have students tell me how much they were learning in my class and how great my presentations were and students who gave me gifts and would come to see me after class just because they liked talking to me, etc. but those "once in awhile" perks did NOT give me that "this is the best job in the world" feeling.

Instead, I looked at my Master Degree and my salary of 38,000.00 a year.

I looked at how little my work was appreciated on the whole.

I looked at how lonely I felt not being able to interact with other adults the way I had in offices while working my way through school.

I looked at teaching-to-test and mandated curriculum and how my student's scores were being compared to other teachers, other classes, other schools, other districts, etc. and so forth and how stressful that was as a new teacher still learning the ropes.

I looked at the 14 hour days I often worked and the weekends grading papers (which was decent when students really tried and miserable when they didn't).

I looked at the fact that I was a single, attractive, hardworking woman unlikely to meet anybody in teaching.

I looked at how I couldn't afford decent housing.

I looked at the lack of career growth opportunities.

I looked at the behavior problems I dealt with every period of every day (constant "putting out small fires") and how many times I felt stressed out, angered, or near tears when I am used to being a very composed and poised person.

I looked closely at the profession of teaching and evaluated myself as honestly and objectively as I could. I spent months assessing my personality type, making lists of the things I liked and wanted and the things I merely "put up with." I discovered that I had a lot to offer...but most of it was easily transferable to business, especially in office support or a creative field like marketing (with education and experience). I also looked at teaching for adults and schools that are privately owned businesses and found that to be a better fit as well.

Anyway, the point is that I AM making that career change. It's scary, but I think it is easier to do now when I don't have an expectation for a high salary and don't have a family to support. Besides, it's convenient because I was on leave/replacement anyway. In the meantime, I have signed up for subbing starting in September and will be doing temp work starting next week. On Monday I get to experience what it is like to be an assistant buyer for a corporation and if all goes well, I will land an office job that will make a "humble" salary that will start at 8K higher than what I made as a teacher. Sounds great. I will go to work at 8 or 9 and leave all the paperwork where I found it when I go home eight hours later. Losing vacation doesn't bother me either. My "time off" this summer has been spent job hunting anyway and I feel ansy not working. This is my first "summer off" in years and frankly, it feels weird. It's not like I have a family or friends to enjoy it with. I'd rather be working.

Other than things being a little unstable at the moment, I am vastly relieved. I feel like the horizon is beautiful again.

Anyway, best of luck to anyone else rethinking teaching. And to anyone who LOVES it and has a real passion for motivating students and regulating behavior and feeling like the hours you put in are worth every minute...bless you. Students need you.

But it's not me, at least not at this time in my life.
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:11 AM
 
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AMAZING post Stewy! You hit the nail on the head on all points! I'm going to have to save this when someone asks why I quit teaching. Thank you!
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:13 AM
 
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first for the person teaching two AP courses the college board definetly dicourages that. I teach at a Long term AEP and have been teacher of the year in the district but even that has not helped me being discouraged. We get kids for a semester at a time from grade 6-12 I teach all the social studies plus computer and keyboarding now so a toal of 11 preps. If I could find an equivelant pay job I would get out.
truthfully teaching is getting pretty competitve in wage.

any suggestions for all of us or great websites? someone should start a website for resources for places ex-teachers. Wait does anybody want to go into business with me doing that? *L*
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Troops to not treaching
Old 10-23-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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This is to all of you that have posted above.
WOW! If I only knew. First thing is, I commend and respect all of you that have taken on the teaching profession. I am a career Military Pilot I did Bosnia, Kosovo and two years of the last 4 1/2 fighting in Iraq. I do not mention this fact to gain any emotion directed to me but to all of you. I have had a great military career and found that I worked with America's finest other than School Teachers, Cops and other selfless service occupations. Recently I have been contemplating retirement from the military and going the Troops to Teachers route to start a second career. I enjoy my job and the pay is good enough but the recurring deployment lengths and time away from my wife is getting to be unfavorable. We miss each other terribly and saying goodbye for a year at a time or more is getting very difficult. I miss her evary day even when I am with her. That make sense, really it does. Enough about me already. It is likely that most of you know about the Troops to teachers program so I won't go into detail. I really thought teaching would be a great way to give back to the community and all those emotionally charged reasons for going that route after retirement. We are told that the school system needs role models and that male teachers are needed. Not my opinion just stating the sales pitch. My best role models were my teachers. I doubt that people have changed so much since then and that you are any different. As I read your postings above I can feel the stress, the anger, the doubt and all those emotions that wear on the body and mind. There was a time in my career at the 16 year mark that I was angry all the time. I can relate with going to bed angry to get up angry or upset. But to cry before going to work as I read in one of the postings above. There are no words that I can say to that. I hope all of you that are in this state of mind can continue just getting up and living everyday. If the school system is doing this to you then I belive that I am not even close to being able to choose teaching as a profession. I can see that all of you are passionate about the quality of care and education for the children you work with. Is the system really that broke? God bless you for all that you have done so far and I hope that you find another occupation in the educational field that will give you your emotional and physical self back. If you decide to stay in K through 12 teaching then I highly recommend looking into the DODDS system. The pay is great for teachers but you have to be willing to move overseas. I highly recommend Europe. The basic pay and housing allowance is very good. Far better than the pay that any of you have mentioned above. The application process is daunting but can be done. If you have never lived in another country for a while then you should give it a go. It will educate you far more than any degree. It will also give you a different outlook on the overall American way of life and your own as well. God bless all of you. When you have a quiet time in your day take a minute to at least smile once and know that 2 people in the world far away from you appreciate your dedication but I would not let it change your mind about getting out of any occupation that causes the anguish I have read above.
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me too
Old 11-13-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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I know how you feel. The only thing that keeps me in the field is my husband. He likes the steady money and decent retirement, but I am burned out. My burnout has to do with all the school cliches and politics between the board office, principal, other teachers, and parents. I do not mind the paper work or the kids. I just hate dealing with others.
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Tired, burnt out, need help!
Old 11-15-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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I would love to hear other career ideas!
kato44@hotmail.com
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Old 11-18-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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Wow! Where do you teach that you receive nearly 3 months off and 56K a year? Our "whole summer off" is now six weeks, due to two weeks of in-service sessions after students leave. We are also exteding our school day by one hour. Do we get paid more? Uh, no. Just think of this: it's always worse somewhere else:-)
I completely know how you feel when an administrator does a "drive-by-observation" at the worst possible moment. My last observation took place on Halloween at 3:30 in the afternoon. Suprisingly, my students were not wholly focused on our novel studies lesson. Shocker!
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I just made a good change
Old 11-18-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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I am going back to school to become a librarian. My school put me in a new position with K-3 through 6th graders and I have three years to get the add on certification. I love it. I had taught over 12 years and was getting burned out. This allows me to teach and read with the kids and not have all the "other stuff" going on. I leave the work at school and have no papers to grade. I didn't know how stressed I was until this year. I am so happy and stress free. I love my new position. Try something like this--THe goiing back to school is only 8 classes and well worth it.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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I know a year has passed since your original posting, but if you read this, I hope you have made your transition to another career by now. No one can tell you when it is the right time to leave teaching. All you can do is go for it. I am in the same position as you, this is my eighth year of teaching and I have decided it will be my last. Its terrifying leaving a profession you have invested so much in, but there are many careers out there that can use the skills you have aquired so far. Librarian is one choice, school counselor is another. Going for an advance degree and teaching at a University is also an option for you. If you are serious, the doors will open up. Take a step of faith. That is what I plan to do.

You don't have to justify leaving teaching. Anyone who has taught for any extended number of years can relate to what you are saying. It's just a matter of timing. Make sure this is the right time to make this step. You will know when you have had enough.
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I'm done!
Old 12-13-2007, 06:40 PM
 
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After 20 years of teaching I HAVE to leave this job before I get sick. I would really like to hear about alternatives for experienced teachers that don't require another costly degree. I'm a single mother of 2 and I need to make decent salary. How do I retrain and still provide for my kids? Any suggestions?

I send you all my deep respect and warm wishes!
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first look
Old 01-22-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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I am a high school science teacher in my 14th year here in Colorado and thinking about leaving.

I have changed grade levels, schools and districts and find the same stressor everywhere - PARENTS. How in the world can we ever please them? To me, this is what education has become about, doing what you can to stop the parental complaints.

Some teachers have gone to a system where they give nothing lower than a D. Should I sink to such a low level? I truly believe that some children (such as those who do not attend class) should fail, but the push in our state is "failure is not an option". This is a bunch of ^$*# if you ask me.

My pay, benefits and time off are not problematic. It is the parents and their constant complaints about absolutely everything.
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Old 01-27-2008, 06:06 PM
 
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It is encouraging in a way to hear fellow teachers going through the same things. And to know it is nation wide. I am in my 12th year teaching. I taught mainly in high school but have also have a couple of years in middle. Several of you hit it on the head --the fun and creativity of teaching is gone or happens few and far in between.

The person who said they have 3 months off must not be a teacher leader---I basically am busy year round--I really only have 1 month off and that is not counting the few hours I work from home to catch up on the latest project.

I am considering leaving K-12 and going into the university setting and then eventually back to school to work on a doctoral degree so I can switch careers---but I plan on staying in education.
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And Now - Full Inclusion!
Old 01-28-2008, 08:13 AM
 
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Like many others I feel that the educational system in our country is broken beyond repair. Those making the rules have not been in a classroom for years if ever. On top of all the unending testing and lack of support for discipline issues, now some know-it-all has deemed that children previously in a special ed unit because of severe mental/physical disabilities are now to be placed in the classroom without any paraprofessionals to help with such children. So now we are expected to create a special lesson plan and teach the disabled child along with the 18 to 20 other students in the room.

At the risk of being called insensitive, I believe that this is asking the impossible. Properly trained people can attempt to meet the needs of special needs students and properly trained people can attempt to meet the needs of what we might call "regular students." But I do not believe anyone short of God himself can do it for both types of students at the same time.

I am two years away from retirement so it is not a good idea for me to look somewhere else. But I am certainly ready to retire when that day arrives.
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Job agency for teachers making a switch?
Old 03-05-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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I have read through many of the complaints and factors that have plagued my teaching career.

But I need a solution.

Does anyone know of a group or agency who are good at helping teachers making the switch to a different career?

I feel a bit stuck. With my degree I can... well... teach. And any job strength/interest tests will probably tell me that I would make a great teacher. But I'm looking to get out of teaching.

So I need a job where I can make about the same or more money with my degree in secondary education. Am I dreaming? Are there jobs out there? Anyone know of success stories? Any job agencies that can help me?
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i hate this job
Old 05-01-2008, 01:46 AM
 
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Here's a bitter truth: Everyone tells you that teaching is rewarding and for a few years it probably is. I remember loving it, but I haven't loved it in a while. I loved it when I thought I was Gandhi and that I was a world changer. I loved it when I worked with kids more than I managed their parents. I loved it when I liked working with kids. But I don't really like dealing with children all day anymore. I hate their self involved, over entitled, neurotic parents and the administration is a hinderance when they aren't just ineffective. There's nothing to love here.

Here's the bitterer truth: If you'd put your energies into what you do well and that you have a real passion for.. rather than in helping others and trying to feel good about yourself for it... you'd right this minute be doing something that you'd do even if you had no money.

Here's the bitterest truth: When they say people who can, do and people who can't teach. What they really mean is that people WHO HAVE THE MONEY can do what they want and people WHO DON'T HAVE THE MONEY will teach in the area where they wanted to DO.

Sorry. Life sucks.
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That's the funniest post
Old 05-12-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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I've ever read! I just now saw your posts and everything you say is true. Teaching stinks! But what else can we do?
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Deciding to move or stay
Old 05-17-2008, 09:54 AM
 
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I hear what you all say and understand. Im trying to weigh my pros and cons about leaving teaching. I have taught high school math for 4 years and have also been coaching. I have never had any complaints with my admin. Ive been at schools with 1300 students and currently in one with 3400 students. Salary is 56,000 with the coaching stipend but i ran into some people that have offered me more than that. It would mean that i would have to do alot of traveling and relocate to houston a city that i have not heard very good things about my role would be an education consultant. Im 29, single, and no kids. I love to coach and im a good math teacher my evals have always been good. Im undecisive and have about two weeks to take or decline the offer. It is a life changing decision, but understand every post i have read and have talked to people in education and those not in education for advice but im still undecided. Going from teaching where we get christmas, spring break, and atleast six weeks off in the summer and jumping into a career where i constantly and dont have the time off like i used to. The plus is that i would work from home. What would do?
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What to do?
Old 05-17-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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I like what I read from you. I too have almost 10 years teaching experience behind me. I teach 8th grade math. I love the kids, most of the time, but I hate their lack of caring about learning. NOT JUST MATH. EVERYTHING. It's like they do not want to think....
Anyway... I seem very preoccupied with thoughts of leaving and finding a more self rewarding career. It seems that the administrators and board members are determined to make us hate our jobs. I just want to feel happy again. I have a math degree (BA) and computer science. I want respect for the job I do very well, from the students and community.

Any job/career suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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I must make a move
Old 06-12-2008, 05:35 AM
 
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Looking for a new career is such a scary proposition. I have been teching for 6 years. In that time I've married and committed to a sizeable mortgage. I have fears of financial nightmares if I were to leave the perceived stability of teaching.

But the everyday grind and blows to my self esteem, the pandering to students, parents and admin is UNBEARABLE. I am frustrated but unable to act on it at present.

I do not even have to speak about the specifics of why I feel this way, we all know as teachers what I am talking about. I have come to the realisation that there is NO HOPE. No matter where you may transfer to (Australian teacher here - QLD) you will never escape the BS. My kids are about to enter school and klindergarten, and I am turning 30 this year. I must summon the courage and to make the change. I these 6 years I have lost all my faith in the education system, worse still the stigma of being a male teacher in a primary school has slowly eroded my confidence like a cancer. I have to get out!

Yes there are some highs that you can experience in teaching. There have been students who I have impacted very positively, but as stewy mentioned earlier - these highs are sporadic and not worth the destruction of your confidence and self esteem.

Like Stewy I look at my qaulifications, a BBus economics/marketing and an education degree. I think about my naivete in high school and how a simple error of judgement (should have gone into engineering!!) led me down this woeful path. It scares me to think that this is my future. I look around and see the aged teachers who have taught for decades - I see the life beaten out of them, they walk like the living dead.

I just cannot take it anymore. I freakin hate this job and all it entails. I hate the politcs, the mind games, the social stigma, the constant game of PERCEPTION (my principal told me once that "all this is a perception game...wtf??), I hate the expectations of administrations, the backstabbing of the career climbers who will use you as a donkey to spice up their resumes, I hate the superficiality of the staffroom, the unspoken dialogue....damn I have grown to hate this job.


My children deserve better, they deserve a father that does not come home with his heart ripped out everyday.

Forgive me for being so direct, I wish all of you the best. There is no hope for change in this profession. I am just a teacher at the brink. I have HAD it and I am getting out!
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I'm so glad...
Old 06-12-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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I'm so glad I came across this thread. It's good to know that there are so mnay people out there that I can relate to. As teachers we got into this profession because we love the kids and wanted to teach them interesting things, we wanted it to be fun. I agree with those of you who said that the fun has been taken out of teaching. There are too many demands being made on our time. The job we never do is good enough for these administrators and politicians. In a way I do hope more and more teachers quit until the government and parents have no choice but to rethink the joke our educational system has become. This profession has changed, and not for the better. Like another poster said, as teachers we're forced to deal with children who don't give a crap about learning, they have no manners, they come to school acting the way they do at home. I didn't go into teaching to be this child's parent or voice of conscience, I wanted to teach. As a teacher I am appalled at the kind of behavior I see from kids today. It's not what I signed up for, and I shouldn't have to deal with it. Something needs to change, something's gotta give, enough is enough.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:33 AM
 
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I feel the pain. I am currently doing report cards as I have that plus all the end of year dealings to finish. YOu say you are part time?
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out of teaching
Old 06-26-2008, 06:10 AM
 
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I taught 2 years and encountered pretty much everything discussed on this site. 2 years was enough to determine the system is broken beyond repair. Turnover in my district is huge. There were 42 teachers in the high school where I was-- over 14 of them have left in the last 2 years (33% turnover) for various reasons.
I'm glad I taught for 2 years. I learned a lot about dealing with people. Many valuable lessons, but another 10 or 20 years of teaching would have probably resulted in me being placed somewhere with padded walls.
I admire anyone who can spend a 30 year career teaching. But, to be honest, I think I have a lot more rewarding ways to spend my time. Let's hope education can change for the better.
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Old 06-26-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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You be crazy for not taking up this job! Get the heck out while you still can.
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I understand!
Old 06-28-2008, 08:58 PM
 
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After 21 years as a high school Special Ed teacher, I hear you all! The paperwork is obscene and takes so much time away from students that it's a mess. One of my co-workers said to me this past May, "this place is a circus!" We have meetings about our meetings about our meetings....only another teacher understands. My friends and family in other professions think I'm nuts for doing this! Trouble is, I too, have a mortgage and am now making decent money after earing a Masters and National board Certification. I told my admin. I have to leave ESE because of the paperwork and am now embarking on getting certified in several different areas by taking the subject area tests. I am hoping this may infuse me with something new to look forward to. I love the kids, but hate the meetings, politics, and constant requests/demands that have nothing to do with teaching! Thanks for listening. My only advice to newbies is maybe try another school or subject before bailing; sometimes a new environ/administration can make a huge difference...I am hoping it will for me. thanks again all! How sad for what once was an ideal career in many aspects!
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:10 AM
 
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I am so sad for all of you...

My job isn't perfect, but I have NOWHERE NEAR the stress you all have. We do have state testing, but there really isn't any pressure put on us about it--maybe due to the fact that overall our kids are pretty strong?

I am curious to know how many of the people posting here are in California or in other "high stakes" states--if it's the politics you don't like, there are lots of places in the US where you can teach for the right reasons and enjoy it.

I am so so so sorry for all of you who are leaving or who have left the profession for all those factors beyond your control. I wish all of you the best. It is just so sad.
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It's good to be out
Old 07-07-2008, 05:04 AM
 
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I left teaching and found an industry position earning 2 what I was while teaching. I have to work summers, but rather than 20 more years of teaching, I have maybe 10 of working. If the economy holds, I'll be alright.
The district I was in was very short sighted. They couldn't hold onto teachers, so they minimize the amount they'll pay for continued education. Great cost saving idea. Except all it does is accelerate the number of teachers leaving. Why would I stay after I paid for my education and they provided little or no help?
I realize it is in the school board's interest to minimize costs, but I saw a lot of short-sightedness and poor management by the school board and administration. The departments had no budget and things were cut without having the teachers input. I probably spent $3000 on supplies last year since I had to by my own projector, lab equipment, etc.
I can see why people would be sad that teachers are leaving, but we really have to get priorities straight hear. Yes, teaching is a 'government position' not an industry position. But, I don't see how you can keep highly qualified teachers when you pay them poorly, you do not want to invest in them, you give them a difficult to nearly impossible enviroment to work in, you expect them to provide their own supplies, and you keep expecting more each year.
School boards jobs are to manage the school for the betterment of everyone. However, teachers have become a bottom line expense which they really don't care about. Even if you love your job, you cannot be expected to do it for free. Especially when the school board and administration are also the cause of lax discipline and many of the other issues facing education today.
The problem has to be fixed at the top. Leadership needs to get better and has to be responsible. Maybe then you will see a change and an improvement in education. The job is to educate and improve the lifes of everyone. Instead, we cater to a limited select group of individuals who have the ear of the board or who have IEP's to justify and enforce their improper behavior.
Enough. You will not see education improve without an improvement in the leadership. Expect more or we will continue to get less. That's why I left, don't feel sad for me. Feel sad for the future of America. We are failing because of the ineptness of our leaders.
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I understand
Old 07-11-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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I sometimes wonder how I can stand it another minute. Today was our first day back (year round school) and we had a meeting that lasted nearly all day (Aren't we supposed to be getting prepared for Monday?). The principal proceeded to read off all of these procedures that we could have read ourselves. Then she browbeat us for a while about how she had heard that teachers were talking about her behind her back! It was amazingly weird. I could not believe I was sitting there and taking this nonsense. You are so correct. The people chosen to be the leaders in our education system are some of the worst managers I have ever seen. Some border on insane. When I went into this profession I had no idea what I was getting into. I was older when I went to college. And I have been so disappointed and demoralized by the experience. I can't wait to leave but I'll get very little retirement because I'll only have 17 years in at age 60. Oh, and I also lost my social security when I stepped into the classroom because I teach in CA.
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so glad I found this post
Old 07-25-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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I am currently in a position to go back to the company I worked for for 5 years prior to entering teaching 3 years ago. I have been having so many questions about whether I should leave or not but Stewy's comments absolutely say what I am feeling.
I feel like a failure for not wanting to continue in education but it is making me so unhappy. I am sad that my "dream" of being a teacher is not what I always thought it would be. I will miss the kids...as individuals. I won't miss the kid's attitudes and how they act collectively though.
After much debate with myself and hearing your comments from around the country and different grade levels I am more convinced than ever that going back to this wonderful company with awesome benefits and an APPRECIATION for me and all that I did for them is the best decision. I think I would be stupid to let this opportunity go.
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I'd do the same
Old 07-28-2008, 02:55 AM
 
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burnedout
I'd do the same. There is no appreciate for teachers.
I recently met a retired superintendent and we talked about our education system. First thing he told me was "We are in a lot of trouble". I can't agree more.
My advice is to pursue all your options. Most people who are teaching have the ability to do a wide range of other things. You just need to be willing to go outside your comfort zone.
Good luck to all.
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Headed out...
Old 07-31-2008, 09:05 AM
 
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I have taught for the previous 13 years. Most of those years of been very, very good. I'm glad I became a teacher.

This will also be the first year in 13 years I'm not going back into a classroom. I don't need to rehash the reasons. If you've read this far, you already know.

I will says this. Some of the best people I've ever met in my life have been public school teachers.

I realized two years ago I was burning out. I had a wonderful class, terrific parents and was still ready to call it quits. Last year was just plan horrible.

I fought the same battle...giving up vacation and retirement. In the end I realzed that my "Pro's" list for staying in education only consisted of vacations. That's simply pathetic.

I've never actually taken a full summer off. Have to feed kiddoes and most of my breaks are spent in "recovery".

I LIKE teaching kids. I've always done great projects, took awesome trips and...over the past five years...have watched everything terrific about my classroom get taken away.

So, I figured I could turn into one of those mean, broken spirited burn-outs we've all met (or had as students...you remember!). Or I could quit.

Scary? Sure. But the fact is many companies LOVE hiring teachers. We know how to organize, plan, get stuff done despite not have the resources.

If you truly want to get out, it's simply a matter of deciding.
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Going back?
Old 08-15-2008, 02:44 AM
 
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I left teaching and found a good position in industry. I was offered by a different district a similar position to the one I left. Should I go back?
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im burned out!!!
Old 11-08-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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its my first year of teaching and yet i fell like giving up i dont like to teach anymore. There are lots of work aside from teaching that makes me crazy ( being the club moderator, lesson planning,visual aids etc...). Teaching is a 24-hour work that does not give me enough time for my family and friends. I no longer have time for myself. I work like a horse and yet no one dares to at least give me a pat on my shoulder. whoooaaa!!! i want to resign now!!!
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:12 AM
 
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I previously posted on this thread about making a career change. Here's an update. I am hoping to enroll in massage therapy school soon. I am tired of this job making me exhausted day in and day out. I am overworked and underpaid, and overstressed. I'm tired of the demands on my time, jumping through hoops, being stressed and anxious over observations, etc.. I just wanted to wish all of you on this thread good luck with whatever path you choose.
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What else can I do?
Old 11-26-2008, 04:52 PM
 
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Hi there,
I'm in the same boat...
Been teaching for 7 years. love to spend time with kids and make a difference, but everything else that comes with the tittle is overwhelming. Today I realize that my title is not only as a teacher, but a phychologist, doctor, mediator, planner, accountant, art and creative...don't even know what to call it... comic relief...and so on. My school used to be a great school, great rep, now I don't know what's happening...We don't have any paper for the photocopier, not because we don't have the money, but because the people in charged don't do their work...we order books and other teachers take the order, our principal delegates and doesn't really do his work. I'm teaching a combine bilingual class, with a few coded students. I am exhausted. I have to plan. 4 lessons all the time, plus the two other for my coded students. I am exhausted.
I have been teaching in a bilingual setting for 5 years now, I have to do this in order to get tenure, but then, teacher who do have tenure, don't do half of the things I do. They have their tenure...i still don't.
I'm contemplating another job, but wonder, is working with adults only so much better...what are my options?
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I'm so sorry
Old 11-26-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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you are going through this. How is it that you don't have tenure and you've been teaching 5 years? That doesn't sound right. Teaching has really become a terrible profession. I've been teaching for 12 years and I'm worn out too. There are so many things wrong with the education system now that I don't think that anyone could help it or make it better. There are just too many expectations on the backs of teachers now when there should be more expectations and accountability on the students and their parents. I'm just sick of being pushed around and having so little power to make a difference.
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send this thread to Obama
Old 11-27-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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This whole thread should be sent to Obama, congress and the new education secretary. If they truly are going to make some changes in education as they say they are, they should hear from some real teachers, not just administrators at the top and out of the classroom.

Teachers are very poor about advocating for themselves and their profession because it is a caring profession. Simply by the nature of the type of people that go into education, they tend to take whatever is piled because the dumpers justify the dump by saying it is good for children. What good educator wants to argue against something that is supposedly good for children? It makes us look uncaring!
And the answer is always that if you want to do what is right for children you will do this, or this, or this.
It is very frustrating that the people that have all the "what is good for education" directives are not in the classroom and don't listen to the people who are.

I have been teaching for a long time, (since 1974) and I have always loved my profession. However, the last 8 years have been the hardest because I have been forced into teaching in a way that goes against what I feel in my heart is the best for kids.

I am nearing retirement age, and I know there will soon be a mass exodus of the baby boomer generation out of education within the next 10 years.
It makes me so sad to see the young teachers also leaving out of frustration. I believe in public education, and I believe it is our nation's last best hope to carry on a democracy. An uneducated populace is unable to question and decipher truth from lies. Who will be left to carry on? Who will be left to teach our nation's children to think?

Our leaders need to listen to and value our most important resource in education, the teacher, before they find that there are too few that are willing to take on the job.
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i left teaching 6 months ago...
Old 01-03-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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I have been overwhelmingly happy. The skills I learned from 4 years of public school teaching are worth a million dollars. As a teacher you learn to be thoughtful, organize and anticipate others' actions. You can definitely go into ANY industry you choose.

The world is your oyster.

I left because it was time for me to move on. My life as a teacher was financially rewarding, but emotionally draining and cyclical. I have had time now to rejuvenate and plan what I want to do with my life. I know what my legacy is and I'm living it each day and building my businesses.

Good luck to y'all!
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Don't wait...
Old 02-06-2009, 09:31 AM
 
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This is in response to StressedOut's message.

If you've got 5 years in, but don't see yourself being there in 5 more, jump now. Don't wait for 5 more years.

I kept telling myself "I can make it another year or two" every year for a long time. I'm now in my 12th year and (in an attempt to recapture that "spark" that made me want to teach) have worked in 3 different school districts and numerous positions. By doing this, I've been "reset" on the pay scale two times, and am not earning nearly what I could have been.

I just received my statement of retirement benefits, and my retirement account changed in value by -18.46% between October 1 and January 1. Just those four months.

My wife is also in the professsion, and we've come to realize that the stress, anxiety, and frustration that we carry around with us 24/7 has been eroding our relationship. We rarely have the patience for each other that we should because we MUST be patient all day long with students and parents.

So now with 12 years in, a masters degree, coursework completed for a doctoral degree (always looking to figure out what might bring that spark back!), I want out in the worst way.

People who were looking to start a business - start a career service for people who want to leave teaching but have professional skills and advanced degrees. Talk about being able to retire early! Also, I'll be your first client.

Any suggestions on where to look? I feel like I've painted myself into a career corner.
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Which companies?
Old 02-06-2009, 09:38 AM
 
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Sailor41 mentioned:

"But the fact is many companies LOVE hiring teachers.... ....If you want to get out, it's simply a matter of deciding."

This is great news... could you (or anyone) tell me where you were looking? Or how? Or anything that might be useful in helping me figure out how to go about finding a new career?

I've spent so much time in education that while I know I would be an asset to a number of companies, I just have no idea how to let them know I'm looking (or where to look for postings that I'd be "qualified" for).

Thank you!
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so who has done it..and how?
Old 02-09-2009, 09:26 PM
 
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I have taught for 8 years..I agree with all that is here..but who has actually done it, and how? Does anyone have an example of an application/ resume etc written that details the insane amount of skills, etc we all have? That would be of great use to me!
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In the Same Boat. . .
Old 03-14-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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All the anguish, pain and frustration I see on these boards is exactly what I have been feeling. My first three years as a teacher were filled with passion. I felt I was actually serving humanity and that I fulfilled a higher calling. Then I came back down to earth. Or the bottom of the barrel. You choose.

I won't reiterate the challenges inherent in most classrooms. That has been poignantly rendered already. But after my second school closed, I fell into a job teaching high school online. It was a great experience. My supervisors were wonderful and I grew to love my co-workers like family. The only thing that made the job difficult were the parents. Surprise surprise. Don't they always?

After five years, the owner of the school decided to shut down and move operations to another state. Many people were laid off, including me. I worked at different jobs for about 8 months and started working at an online charter high school. I am in my 3rd year there (have taught for almost 11 years) and because our previous wonderful, caring, and compassionate principal left, have spent the past 2 years in hell. The current administration does not care how much stress and disrespect they heap on you. (This is what finally made the previous principal quit.) They will not support you if a parent launches a complaint---ever. They have so tightened up the school year (we teach year round) it is hard to even take a sick day. I have always known that if you do not have the backing of your principal, which I have had in 3 of the 4 schools I have worked in, you are lost.

Consequently, I have applied to another online school with much better management who I know personally. I am hoping that, if by God's grace I can survive in teaching another 11 years, I can retire in this school.

My suggestion to others who are burned out as classroom teachers but who still love teaching is to apply to online schools. Many state schools are adding online divisions and there are some online charters springing up all the time. You will have next to no discipline problems other than the typical student apathy, some plagiarism, little parental dissatisfaction, and no threats to your health or safety. Trust me, I would never go back to a brick and mortar after teaching online. The pay is better than I got in a b & s, $42,000, with vacation time, as well. Benefits will vary, of course, and you do need to know your way around a computer but it can be a lot of fun. Some schools even give you the option to work from home, a huge plus.
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Work at a University
Old 04-18-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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Wow! You stuck it out for 12 years! I am leaving after 9 years. Since you have a masters degree, have you ever thought about working at a university? You could supervise student teachers, teach education courses, tutor or work as an academic counselor.

Good Luck!
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Community College Burnout
Old 04-23-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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I teach at a community college and have done so for 6 years. I have similar complaints about teaching. I am considering a career change because I can't take the students. They're absolutely terrible. I attended a community college myself and thrived from the attention and support I received in that environment, so I always wanted to teach at one to make a difference, but I am feeling the burn. I find that adults are just as apathetic and disrespectful as high school age students. Actually, my dual credit high school students are much better than the twenty-something crowd. I really can't believe how the students treat faculty at the college level. They have a sense of entitlement. And they lack motivation. And some are downright mentally impaired, which I'm mentioning purely for the reason that most faculty members aren't trained at the college level to deal with so many severe "learning disabilities." There really isn't much support for faculty where I'm at. And on top of all this are the overloads, committees, politics, crappy pay. As a writer, I love having time off in summer, but I can't decide if it's worth the anxiety.
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Thats life
Old 05-08-2009, 08:19 AM
 
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Naners- I agree with what you are saying. But, why would you expect Community College students to be different that High School students? They are the same population only a few years older. They still expect to be given everything without having to work for it.
The problems that we are seeing in education reflect our society. Until society fundamentally changes, we will not see the education system get better. We will continue to see turnover and people not wanting to remain in the system as teachers. However, the economy is so bad that teachers will have to remain in jobs they no longer enjoy. It's not a good situation.
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leaving in 2 years
Old 05-21-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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This is my first year of teaching and I wish it was my last. I'm struggling with classroom management, I am almost always either planning or marking or worrying about work, I usually don't get enough sleep since I have to get up extremely early and come to school 2 hours before lessons begin so I'm ready to start the day. I've struggled with depression this year and with cutting- I would friggin harm myself because often the pain hurt less than the crap I was putting up with.

I work in a private school and made $22,000 this year. I was rehired for next year and only took the job because I need to teach for 2 more years before I make enough $ to go to college and become a nurse. I hate teaching with a passion, I don't hate my kids or my co-workers or principal but I hate this job. I should have never entered it or quit the Ed program but I was still in the mindset that I need to be a teacher because everyone else in university is going into it although the graduate teaching employment (not including subbing) rate currently stands at 40%- this includes those who are hired on both as full-time and part-time teachers.

Thanks for allowing me to vent.
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Enough already
Old 06-02-2009, 04:45 AM
 
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The last straw was when I had a student threaten to punch me in the face because I told him he could not wear his hat in class. The disciplinarian's response was to basically do nothing about it. So, every day I have to worry about my safety because I have ineffective leadership. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
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Burn out and stress overload.
Old 09-13-2009, 03:28 AM
 
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I am a teacher in the UK and I'm at "burn out" already. I am new to the profession and have a sick mother to care for also. I have clearly bitten off more than I can chew and need to speak to the head, but what if she won't release me from my contract? Someone advise please. Help! I have e-mailed my union rep. Will need to speak to the head tomorrow: just not coping with it all. Any ideas???
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I will be out in 6 weeks
Old 11-04-2009, 12:16 PM
 
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I'm in my first year of teaching (in the UK) and have handed in my resignation already - I leave at the end of term in 6 weeks.

An earlier post put it so perfectly, it is the hardest thing in the world to have worked so hard to finally achieve your dream only to realise it isn't for you.

I don't have a job lined up as yet, but will be happy with anything that pays the rent for the time being. I'd love to work for a charity or non-profit, and although it's quite hard to get into I have been told that employers see teachers as highly desirable with many transferable skills.

Good luck to everyone, remember - life is far too short!
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Leaving Teaching
Old 11-08-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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I am glad to have found this thread. It is comforting to know that I am not the only teacher out there who is not happy with my job. This is my fifth year teaching, and I am realizing that this is not what I signed up for. We focus so much on education reform, while parental responsibility is never addressed by political figures. I am tired of giving 110% effort, while there are parents out there who give 0 effort at all!
I have decided to leave at the end of this school year, and feel such peace about my decision. I am hoping to find a job with less stress (if there is such a thing) and focus on me and my family for a change.
I am not sure what I can do to spread the word about what is happening in our schools. Very talented teachers are leaving because of the direction that education in this country is going. Hopefully more people outside of the education community will read threads like this and help make a change!
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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Let me just say that your post helped me to not feel like I am the only other person in my profession that feels this way!

Unlike a majority of the other posters who have been teaching for 5+ years...I am in my 2nd year and, sadly, feeling the burn out and coming close to losing the passion for teaching. I feel terrible feeling this way after only being a teacher for such a short time, but I want to leave and get a 2nd degree in nursing. In fact I'm going over Spring Break to talk to an educational advisor because I am that serious about leaving. I know a lot of people will tell me "give it more time; the 1st 5 years are the toughest". This may be true, but I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I just cannot do this job for even another 5 years.

I am completely terrified at the same time, too! Leaving my job means possibly moving back in with the folks (not decided but may be an option haha), and losing that job security; but I HAVE to do it...I am truly unhappy. I also don't want to "stick it out" another year because just like you, I am young (24), single, and have no other financial responsibilities other than myself...why wouldn't I take advantage of that opportunity?

Anyway, your post gave me renewed hope! Good luck on the career change and I hope all works out for you!
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I'm in my 2nd year of teaching, and let me tell you that I have decided to leave after this year. I was in denial for the longest time, telling myself to give it more time and a couple of more years. NOPE! Not doin' it haha.

I totally relate to you and the stress and overwhelmingness of all the work they pile into our laps. I think about my job 24/7 and my life completely revolves around it...and I hate that. I can only wonder what it's going to be like for new teachers in the next 5 years...it's scary.

Hang in there, the 1st year is by far the toughest...but you'll manage to survive; I did! This year isn't any different, the only thing that has changed is that I've picked up a lot of organizational skills, grew up (haha), and learned to cope with all the b.s. Good luck to you!
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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I found the testimonials on this post very self-confirming. After teaching 7 years in Washington DC I have decided at age 38 to get off this sinking ship while I still have a chance. I definitely burned out over the last years as I was subjected to my school being "restructured" by Michelle Rhee. My last year teaching was spent at a Charter school. I moved out of desperation thinking that maybe, just maybe, that the politicians were right and this "new form" of education would be a better environment to teach in. Well, it was a cleaner environment at least. Unfortunately, I felt like I had to fear for my job survival every day and put on a show of cult-like support for the school's policies. The worst was that I was subjected to a team-teaching model were I had to deal with a neurotic team teacher every miserable day of the year. If you think you've seen overbearing parents in a public school environment, you haven't seen anything till you go charter. Believe me, I don't see how anybody could stand a full career in teaching these days. There is way too much negativity, bullying, finger pointing, and plain disrespect pointed towards teachers in the current climate, that it is hard to remain in the field. Most smart teachers figure a way to get a less demanding position out of the classroom. The classroom environment is being left for unexperienced, novice, and optimistic newbies who don't know what they are getting themselves into. I was one of them. Experience is not valued in this profession any more, only one's "attitude." If you smile and say that "anything is possible," they will love you - until you get tired and stop kissing the admins asses anymore (or at least as often). Ha. I do love teaching, and love kids, but the career has disrupted my life too much. So, I am going to great lengths to leave the profession. School, debt, and unemployment are all worth it in my opinion. I finally am pursuing an idea that has been brewing for a number of years (as I became more and more tired of what's happening in education today) - nursing. Like a war, I would not recommend getting into teaching these days unless you have a clear exit strategy planned, because the risk of getting stuck doing something that makes you miserable for life is just too high. Until politicians, administrators, and the public start treating teachers with respect, rather than pointing their fingers and assigning blame, the teaching profession is going to suffer in a big big way. Teaching will be listed as a growing field with opportunity. The truth is that it is a dying profession. If you are thinking about getting out, do it NOW before it is even more difficult. The advice to become a librarian is not bad either. If you are thinking about getting in, remember - exit strategy. Just my hard earned meager advise after teaching seven years of elementary and middle school. Good luck, really.
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In many ways
Old 12-15-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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I agree with what you say. I have felt for a long time that teaching, with a teacher teaching a group of kids in a classroom, was a dinosaur that will be left behind soon. With the way technology is moving, I can see learning centers where students can either go or plug into remotely. There would only have to be one teacher on video.
Schools and teachers these days spend more time trying to control behaviors than teaching. I'm sick of it too. I want out after 13 years.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:30 AM
 
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I have been teaching for 11 years, and for the past four years I end my school year looking for new career ideas. I am amazed that there are so many teachers who feel the way I do. I am also amazed that so many people have listed nursing as an alternative. I, too, have considered nursing as an alternative, but I don't think it is significantly less stressful. I have a friend who has been a nurse for 12 years, and she says that she is stressed and physically tired all the time. The physical demands are tremendous. I'm just saying that the grass isn't always greener in healthcare.

I, like many of you, am still groping for a career alternative. There are many things that I love about teaching, but the stress of the job is becoming unbearable. My biggest source of stress is the apathy among the children. i spend a lot of time preparing lessons that I think are fun and creative, but the kids just don't seem to care. The behavior of the kids in my school is a big issue, but we are expected to bring up test scores despite the disturbances. It's the impossible expectations that make me want to leave. You can't force a child to learn. And, when I think about it, there are some kids in my class who really do want to learn, but the behavior problems coming from the other kids prevents me from giving all the kids what they need. It is like trying to concentrate on juggling aa bunch of balls and having other things thrown at you at the same time. It's just too much.

I wish I could give a good suggestion for a career alternative here. I got a book for resumes for career changers, and found it amusing to see how many sample resumes were geared towards people in business wanting to get into teaching. So many people think that teaching is a piece of cake (which is another source of my frustration). I used to recruit teachers for my school, and i once got a call from someone who wanted to apply for our fourth grade position. This was when we could take a person with an emergency credential, so this person hadn't even been in a classroom before. We were looking for someone with strong classroom management skills, and her comment to me was that she had a kid in the fourth grade, so she knew what fourth graders were like, and if she could run meetings in the business world, she surely would be able to teach a fourth grade class. Too many people think that teaching is easy.

I have toyed with the idea of going into special education (as opposed to a general classroom setting), but I hear stories about unending paperwork for special education teachers. I am also thinking of becoming an orientation and mobility specialist so I can work with the blind. There is a shortage of people in the field, so the job outlook is good, but I am not sure about the pay. I would be able to work in the schools, or in other settings such as hospitals. I have been told that the skills you gain in teaching are highly marketable in the field of human resources. It has also been suggested that becoming a corporate trainer is quite lucrative. I don't know how to go about getting into that, though. I think that whatever I decide to do, I will have to go back to school to get some additional field-specific education. Think about it - people who leave the business world have to go back to school to get a credential, so it makes sense that we may have to do the same.

The bottom line is that if you are stressed out the majority of the time, or if you are no longer enjoying what you do, then it is time to think about doing something else, but make sure you really research the pros and cons of your alternative, because the grass is not always greener on the other side. It is worth it to take a pay cut if it means you get to enjoy life more.
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Don't even consider
Old 12-21-2009, 06:19 AM
 
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nursing. That job is even more horrible than teaching. At least we get holidays off. And then there's the dangers involved in nursing. My husband had to retire from nursing after almost 20 years due to both sholders being blown out (torn ligaments from lifting dead weight) and now we find out he has Hepatitis C. He is extremely ill and is in early stage liver failure. And as near as we can figure out, he was exposed early in his career due to a needle stick.
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I am not alone!
Old 01-04-2010, 09:23 AM
 
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I am so happy to have found this discussion! It is my first year teaching and I thought I was alone, going crazy, and feeling tremendous guilt for not enjoying something I expected to love (and did love a lot at the beginning). I only teach part-time and am already feeling and thinking what many of you have said here. It is so good to not feel alone! I absolutely love my students and will stick it out until the end of the school year for them but then I'm done. I have never been so broke and mentally burnt out. (I too need sleeping pills to go to sleep.) And, it isn't just the amount of work I bring home. It is also the dysfunctional environment. I work with teachers who are very burnt out, negative, controlling, and have been teaching for many years. I see how unhappy they are and feel horrible in this negative environment. I cried yesterday dreading returning back to school after the holiday break. No matter how enthusiastic or creative I am, I just feel beaten down. It is a real shame that this happens to us because I believe teachers really love making a difference for future generations and the unfortunate thing is that we do not get heard. If heard, perhaps things would change positively and good teachers would stay in the field.
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never even got started
Old 01-08-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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I am quite good at math (BS and MS) and decided that will all the talk of the
math teacher shortage I would try to help out. Took the certification exams which I passed
with flying colors...and then...went on several interviews and was shocked by them.

Interview 1: I was told that although this was a high school that I would be teaching at,
85% of the students were at the 4th grade level and I would be teaching something called
"Integrated Math" which was no more than "glorified arithmetic". The interviewer was concerned that I had done too well on the certification exam. I thought he should have been pleased. I left wondering why there was a requirement that I needed a master's degree for something I could have done in 5th grade.

Interview 2: Long-term sub described as a .6 position which meant teaching 3 and a half classes instead of 4. By my math that should be an .875 position. And the so-called half class was co-teaching a class. Also I was expected to be willing to answer 80 emails daily from what were described to me as 'entitled parents'.

Interview 3: Job I might have taken except that it would have been a commute on 75 minutes one-way and had a salary around $10000 less than the above two.

Interview 4: Went to a job fair entitled critical needs and observed how many hiring people were quite disrespectful of the applicants. A super intendant thinking that the 28 year old graduate of MIT was cute and spunky. Also, observing that 99% of the applicants weren't at all interested in working in underperforming schools.

Interview 5: 3 tracks changed to 2. Kids who probably missed honors due to numbers in the same class as kids with severe behavior problems and not even 1st or 2nd grade math skills.

And so I said "no thanks". Of course, I do advanced SAT tutoring and my students score in the high 700s which IS QUITE rewarding.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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I'm a first year teacher who found this thread through google. Mixed feelings prevail - 1. glad I'm not the only one who feels this way 2. crap, I wasn't just imagining my devastation. I saw someone write 56K... and I literally teared up. I make half that. And no, my cost of living isn't super low. I carpool 30 minutes each day to pay for gas.
But no pity parties for me!

Anyway, since day one of my internship I figured out that education was not what I'd been led to believe in all of my college courses. Since day one in my own classroom I figured out what "survival mode" really meant.

I couldn't help but chuckle one afternoon when the janitor walked up to me and said, "Glad I didn't make your career choice." I asked for a trade. lol

All of the above posts cover the monumental let down that is teaching in 2010. Race to the Top will be the end of all good teachers. My mother, who inspired me to teach, as been in elementary for 27 years. She found out that she was the only one in her grade level not to get a bonus because her students didn't test high enough. By the way, more than half of her class is special ed. because "she always brings them up." Way to appreciate.

Sorry if I'm adding to the gripe pool. If anyone does have any ideas on what you can change to with a Bachelors of Science let me know. Otherwise, I might be making that trade this June.
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Is it the job or is it me?
Old 02-06-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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I agree with all the things everyone here has said. The job is too stressful, the kids too apathetic, the admistration too incompetent, the parents too entitled and the societal reality too scary. I teach at one of the best high schools in the country, and it is still full of problems. I hate it there, most days. Our education system is just pitiful. All of that weighs on my conscience, and it is overwhelming.

But colleagues and friends will tell me that I'm the one who needs to change. "Don't let it bother you." "Don't care so much." "Don't listen to what other people think." That's not so easy. Especially when you are overly self-critical in the first place.

I am an excellent teacher. A natural. I keep wondering if that's a good reason to stick with it. Are we are meant to do something just because we're good at it?

Plus, all jobs are stressful. All jobs have their potential to make you crazy in one way or another. Is that enough reason to just "deal with it"? Or should we keep searching for a better career?
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I'm leaving...
Old 02-21-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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I teach high school math. Public high schools are broken and I'm leaving forever. I won't even step onto a public school campus after this year. I'd rather work for the grocery store. I felt like I was respected more as a professional in that job, stocking shelves. I felt like I was "had", being encouraged to teach and that it was a "noble" career. It's only "noble" because there are people who tolerate it and put up with the educational trends, administrative nonsense and lack of accountability on all levels. I'm never voting for an ed levy ever after seeing the waste and incompetence.

You can do it. I won't.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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I have always wanted to be a teacher and like a lot of you thought it would be the best profession imaginable. I thought I could make a difference.

I am now an emotional wreck with an eating disorder I managed to overcome years ago resurfacing. This is only my second year of teaching and I feel like I am continually stressed or rushed throughout my day - trying to organize within a time fame - trying to teach within a time frame - trying to please parents who seem to think little of me - trying to reflect and improve all the time but getting no where - trying to manage behavior within the class without being hated - trying to pull myself together at the end of a day with the little energy I have left - trying to be positive when I am so deeply unhappy - and trying not to take things out on others around me.

I feel so terrible at what I do and I am trying so hard.
I look around at other teachers and they make it all look so easy.
I don't know what to do.

I've never been in this for the money. I've always wanted to give back -
There just seems no point in continuing the dream that is no more. I never use to count down the days till the weekend or cry everyday. This is just no way to live.
I am just so scared to quit but know I need to for the sake of my health and happiness.
Me and my fiance are trying to save for our wedding at the moment and the last thing I want to do is disappoint him...I'm trying to work something out. Looking out for other jobs at the moment.

I hope the profession changes in the near future. In my opinion there needs to be 2 teachers per class so there is more authority and less 'rushed' / unrealistic time frames for lessons resulting from needing to have several different ability groups.
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If you are waiting...
Old 02-28-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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.. for the profession to drastically change.. you will be waiting a long time.
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JOJOw hit the nail on he head
Old 03-11-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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I could have written your message myself, JOJOw. I am in my second year and absolutely miserable. My first year was great; I taught 6th grade Language Arts at a pretty rough school. I did a pretty darn good job and liked the work. I was forced into 8th grade at the same school the following year, and things have deteriorated rapidly. I am not suited for 8th grade; my classrooms are a zoo much of the time. This has led to poor observations. My health has suffered, and my self esteem is at an all time low. I am a divorced mom with a mortgage and two young sons...it is a terrifying place to be. I guess I will look for a job back in 6th grade or get out of the profession. I feel like I need to put one more year in...to prove that I am not a failure (this is for ME and no one else). It will be soooo sad not to be with my kiddos in the summer and on breaks, but that is life.
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I'm there too
Old 03-12-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I've been teaching for 7 years, and I'm trying to get the courage to quit. It is nice to know I'm not the only one who likes the students, but hates everything else about the job.
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Three More Months
Old 04-11-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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Wow! I can't believe that I'm not alone! I'm a first year teacher at an urban public school. I'm getting clobbered every, and my classes are a complete zoo! I have been out of gas since March and am unsure how I will get through the next 3 months (really). Because we have the all-time state tests in a few weeks, there is a lot of pressure to perform and deliver results. I have NO TIME for myself and even for my school work. On top of my regular work, there constant test prepare obligations, and I feel completely drained.

It has come to a point where I dread Mondays and grind through the school days in order to get through the week. This is sad in so many ways. I was the type of student who loved school and loved going to school. I was the type of worker who loved to work and looked forward to Mondays in my previous career.

How can I (and other urban school teachers) get through the next 3 months? Any suggestions are welcome.

:|
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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After lots of thought I have decided to leave the teaching profession after two years of being in it. It is simply the fact that who I was six years ago when I decided to pursue this career, I am no longer today. Teaching has changed the person I am today. I have learned that teaching is simply not for me. It is physically, mentally and spiritually draining. I credit those who dedicate and sacrifice so much for this profession. Sacrifice..... in order to truly be an effective teacher you have to sacrifice so much...time with your family, friends and parts of yourself.

Teaching is no longer what it used to be, it has changed drastically over the years. Through it all I am at peace with my decision. Ten years down the line I don't want to be the crabby, mean person who I have become after a days work filled with stress and negativity. I am meant to be so much more...

I want to be the person who God intended me to be... and if that is not teaching then I am fine with that.

A friend of mine told me... perhaps this was God's way of saying I have other plans for you

For those out their in a similar position as I....make the decision that is BEST for you...and that you truly feel is right in your heart
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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I grew up in the inner-city. I went to public schools. After climbing the Everest that was (1) graduating from high school (2) without getting pregnant (3) making it though college and (4) getting into law school, I made the decision to become a teacher because I wanted to help other kids, who like me, came from disadvantaged backgrounds but wanted a better life. Six years and 2 masters degrees later, I cannot help but feel incredible sadness. Yes, yes, and yes...everything said in this post is true. It is impossible to sustain the energy, motivation and even belief required for teaching given the unreasonable expectations, lack of support and high-stakes testing environment. I stand in front of my students every day mandated to teach them how to answer basic comprehension questions when I know that to be successful in college requires one to be a critical thinker, intrinsically motivated and willing to work hard. Content area instruction is sacrificed at the altar of standardized testing. We teach reading and math but cannot offer students the chance to explore science, the humanities, art, etc. We must focus on fluency so our kids can "read" grade-level passages but they have absolutely no capacity for comprehension or analytical thinking. We aren't given the opportunity or time to teach our kids how to think logically, argue a point, research a topic because we are forced to offer direct instruction on what is covered by the test. I cannot continue to participate in this hypocrisy any longer. I cannot continue to think, "If I were just better at classroom management...If I try a different school...If I just work harder..." any longer.

At some point, it can't just be me and given the posts on this site, many, many of us are feeling the same. People, it's not us. I am a good teacher...in fact an excellent teacher. I have touched students and changed their lives. I know this because I have felt it and because my students have told me. At the end of the day, this is enough. For those of you who feel the same but also feel as though they have failed, know this...I walk away not a failure but with head held high, knowing that I did my best in an impossibly difficult situation.
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12 yr. Teacher has decided to get out
Old 07-11-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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Hi all,

I realize this thread is a few months old but I thought I'd post something. I can certainly understand and appreciate all who have been struggling and considering leaving teaching.
I just finished up my 12th year of high school and middle school teaching.

As some others have said, the pay and benefits are not the issue as they are quite
good in the northeast where I live. However, I feel like I am on a sinking ship year
after year. I love teaching computers but today's students have such horrible dispositions that I stand in front of the room and wonder what the heck I am doing there! My heart aches for the attentive students who have to endure the disrupters and have precious instructional time robbed from them.

My lesson plans, seating chart, homework assignments, classroom rules are all questioned on a daily basis from my students. Everything is a debate. I am the adult in the room and I find myself constantly having to defend why I am running my classroom the way that I am. Last year I taught 7th and 9th grade. This country is in serious trouble. If this is the future of our nation, I am genuinely scared. No respect for anything, not even themselves. I catch students cheating or doing some other misbehavior and they lie right to your face. Parents are contacted, and you know what? Most are as clueless as the children they send to school! Sad. If you can get a working phone number for a parent, often times I am met with this response--"I'll talk to my son/daughter and get THEIR side of the story." Speaks volumes about how teachers are held in contempt by parents.

I am looking for a way out...now. I don't want to go back to begin the new school year. I am online, sending resumes, interviewing, and leaving no stone unturned. I worked in the business/corporate world previously so hoping to get back into that arena again. Only problems now are the horrible economy and possibly my age...at 45 it's sometimes hard to get a job interview. I won't stop trying, and I sincerelyhope all you other unhappy teachers will do the same. Good luck and god bless you all!
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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Your posts were all quite consistent in the sense of feeling the burn out of public school education. As a former secondary instructor (4 years) and 9 years as an assistant principal, my building closed and I was unable to secure a teaching position due to relieving my tenure status as an administrator coupled with budgetary constraints from inadequate state funding. Boy, was I hit across the face with such a reality. Moreover, I recently comopleted my doctorate in education administration just as I was being furloughed. Wow! Talk about simultaneous ups and downs.

Intererestingly enough, I went on several job interviews this summer and found all interviews to be shrouded in politics, hidden agendas, etc.; many of which I had employed myself as an administrator. I had to come home and really assess my place in the world and reconsider my options. After spending over $100,000.00 of public funds on a master's degree, K-12 principal cert, superintendent's cert, and doctorate, here I was reconsidering my career path. Even more salient were the posts on this blog. All of the richly expressive statements made just illuminated my vision and purpose. It is true that public school education is rapidly changing and those with >5 years are considering a return to school or change in career. As a 41 year old who came into education at 29 years of age, I have lost
my interest in education as a whole. When I entered as a freshman teacher, I was filled with the idyllic passions of benevolent giving to a population that, otherwise, suffered under the stress and turmoil of status variables (bad neighborhood, abject poverty, race, gender, etc.). Although I knew that I was making a difference, I was losing more of myself with every year that I was in education. As a motivated go-getter, I quickly ascended into the ranks of site administration and spent the next 7 years pursuing upper level certifications and finally, a doctorate. I found that my vast interests had been reduced to dialogue about education and little else.

I thank you all for posting because I've felt that I wasted time and effort in the pursuit of something that I have now chosen to leave. I realize that I have always been a teacher, but politically savvy enough to navigate into the waters of administration. I finally hit the brick wall or the brick wall hit me. I feel like I've left the bride at the alter. However, at 41 and in relatively good shape and in possession of a healthy retirement , which I most recently pulled from the state retirement board, I'm reinvesting my time and efforts into me.

I've spent the last half of the summer evaluating what I like. Like you all, I've spent countless hours that made my instructional $25.00/hr actually translate into $13.00/hr due to grading, lesson plans, bs professional development binders, policy, etc. Moreover, I'm a male, so I got over the summers off thing by my third year. Once you hit the beach, grow a beard, spend your summer $$ by July 4th, you're left with empty pockets and a desire to return to work. But, I digress. As an administrator, the hourly rate was not much better when I received 4:00a phone calls from the head principal, arrived to work @ 6:30a and often remained until 5:00p. Couple that with mandatory attendance at weekend sporting events, both home and visiting, and working all summer attending out of town BS PD sessions away from my family--it truly sucked. In a weird way, I'm glad that I was let go. I'm now forced to reconsider my options but benefit because I have no student loans and have a doctorate in my back pocket.

With this, I have been arising at 5:30a and commit myself to a 2.5 mi run and exercise plan at the local high school track. Additionally, I've spent so much time with our beautiful 4 eyar old daughter that would have, otherwise, been forfeit due to work related commitments. I've decided to chase my dream from childhood--still in human service. I've recently applied to become a municipal police officer. The benefits are the best around, and only require 20 years for full benefits and retirement package. Moreover, the doctorate can be used in an office based administrative law enforcement capacity. Sometimes I think that this is what was meant to happen. At least that's what I fool myself into thinking.

As many of you have lost your passion, the simple fact that I'm up and running so early in the morning with thoughts of law enforcement driving me, I think this aging bird has found a renewed sense of living.

Good luck to you all and may God bless you as you seek to reinvorgate your passion. Be well. ~ Doc
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:17 AM
 
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I have to go back tomorrow. I entered teaching as a second career 16 years ago with the goal of making connections. During the 90s I was able to use my creativity and experience to make real-world connections. Now my curriculum is entirely scripted. We all teach the same thing, use the same words, show the same examples, use the same method, give the same tests and are evaluated on how homogeneous our delivery appears (checklist evaluations).

I hold an MBA and a Master of Education. I am unable to make even the most basic decision regarding my class anymore. We are micromanaged in every aspect of the school experience.

Like others, I'm tired of this routine and wish to re-enter the real world. The disrespect, unreasonable expectations (all children are going to college) as well as the isolation and lack of intellectual stimulation are taking a toll on my wellbeing.

In a good economy teachers often had opportunties to transfer into human resources and training at medium and large corporations. I have been scouring the employment opportunties and have now found that most view my teaching as irrelevant experience and my prior professional experience is now stale.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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Wow! Just look at the date this thread began and you can see things are not getting better. I, too, am burned out by the paperwork demanded to document all that I do. It is to the point that I feel like I am spending more time filling out forms than I do actually planning and presenting my lessons not to mention grading. At my school, we are now being asked to complete a two page lesson format - yes, I said TWO pages! It's like being back in college when we were just learning to write a plan. It was needed then but it is just jumping through the federal hoops now.
I love the students I have worked with for the past five or six years and do not want to give up on them. They know me and I know them and my discipline concerns are few and far between. However, it is no longer a joy to go to work. I'm just too tired.
BTW - None of us really ever answered the original post. Is there a viable economic option to teaching out there for us?
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Well,
Old 08-31-2010, 05:29 AM
 
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that is a relative question. It all depends on how much money we need to survive. And that is very individual. I know I don't need much, but I do know that I need more than $1300 a month, which is what I'd get if I left at the end of this year, and this is after 14 years of service.
I want to stay a couple more years, but I don't think I can take it. I'm 57 and I'm just exhausted. I could sub, I guess.
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Comforted, Validated, Still Just So TIRED!
Old 09-15-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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I'm in my twelfth year of teaching. I make about 36,000. I work an extra job to make ends meet; single parent and my daughter's in college.

It's very comforting to read what's been posted here - it does wear on me to have increasingly demanding standards for test performance. It crossed my mind today as I drove home from my second job that if I'm going to be exhausted by work, perhaps I should at least be exhausted and well-paid.

For the first ten years, I loved teaching. I'm not sure what's happened, but it's been sad to realize that my "spark" seems hard to find lately. For now, I'm just glad I'm not alone (which might equal crazy) and look forward to figuring it out.
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I love teaching....but something is wrong when paperwork takes over the time needed to work with your students. Teaching is knowledge but it is like being a doctor...no two patients are the same. No two students are the same. When we try to put all students in the same mold every student looses from the brightest to the not so bright...But ALL can learn something. All deserve that the passion that I have to teach them is not drowned out. When we think that each person should teach in just the same way...then the students that need us... loose. Research in global education has proved that consistency wins out over the standard norm that is being demanded by fale elitism. I want out.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:00 AM
 
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I feel compelled to add my voice to this long-standing discussion. I have literally wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten. My entire life, when others responded to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with answers like "the president," or "a firefighter," or even a shrug, I always said "a teacher." Unfailingly. I took classes in high school aimed at working with young children on campus; my AA was with an Emphasis on Education; I was President of the Teachers of Tomorrow Club in college. In short, my focus has been on becoming a teacher for so long, that I realize now I never really allowed myself the opportunity to explore ANYTHING else that mattered to me.

My first 2 years were spent at a theraputic private school for children severely impacted by social, emotional, and behavior disorders. I naively thought that I was running myself ragged (averaging 10-12 hour work days; working all day Sunday to prep for the week...you know the story) because of the unique needs of the student population. I would tell myself, "You're just new. It's just hard because you haven't learned all you need to know yet. It will get easier. You will enjoy this eventually." At the end of last year I made the move to a public high school thinking that the change in environment would be the key to finally finding happiness in the career that I had desired for so long. Since the move, I've realized all the horror stories of public education are true. The pressure is unimaginable; the students are SO rude...downright hurtful at times; and I'm not working any less hours, that's for sure. Furthermore, I don't see this cycle changing. I can not imagine - I have no picture in my mind - no hope for the possibility that this job will be any less impactful on my personal life and sense of well-being as time moves forward.

My husband and I have also started discussing our plans to have children. My sister-in-law just gave birth 3 days ago, and we babysat her 6 year old for a few days to give her time to recoup after the labor. This fell during a particularly stressful time at work, and I found that where I normally had all the patience in the world to be the "cool aunt," I barely had the energy to pay attention to her. Furthermore, as a woman, when I see the look in my sister-in-law's face when she looks at that beautiful new baby, I realize that's where I will get my true fulfillment in life.

If I stay in teaching, I find myself looking into a future in which I come home exhausted and hide in the office "catching up" on paper work every evening and on weekends. I see a future in which my children are raised by daycare workers, and a TV when they get home because mommy "has to do her work." I see a future in which my husband and our relationship is neglected because I'm just too overwhelmed to prioritize his needs either. Basically, I see a future that is NOT the dream I had when I was in kindergarten. I don't want this for myself.

I am going to finish out the remainder of this school year. I am going to try my best because the students I have now deserve to have someone try on their behalf (ungrateful as some of them may be). In the end, I plan to leave teaching behind and search for a new career that will make me happy, but that I can leave behind when I am home and with my family.

When I am very old and on my death-bed, I want to look back over the course of my life and remember full and happy times with my family; not countless, lonely hours dealing with the demands of a career that didn't live up to my idealistic dream.
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Even though your theme
Old 10-01-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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was sad, I enjoyed reading your post. I have taught for 14 years. Was it ever better or good, well, I have had about 3 classes since beginning teaching that I can say that I really enjoyed. I teach in the inner-city though (couldn't get hired in my own district even though I had worked for them as an aide before I got my credential).
It was never easy, but it is so much more difficult now. I entered the profession as an older teacher (44). I can't even imagine trying to do this job and having small children. You're right. You would never see them.
I think what is the most heartbreaking about this post is that you always felt you wanted to teach and the profession let you down. It simply wasn't what you thought it would be.
I work with several much younger teachers who are at the same place as you. They have young children, are still relatively young, and are feed up with the profession. They constantly ask me what they should do. Stay or leave? I tell them pretty much exactly what you said in your last paragraph.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:13 AM
 
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I've literally just read through all of these posts from 3 years ago and I feel so comforted, in a weird, weird way. This is my first year of teaching and I'm ready to get out now. I spent 5 years in college and tons of my parents money to be a special education teacher, and I'm pretty much a babysitter. Basically, I'm the last stop for these kids, and there's no where else for them to go. I really like the previous commenter's last statement, and I too feel that way. Part of me feels though that I should just stick it out for the year, but I simply don't want to. I don't know how to get out of this situation. Does anyone have any thoughts??
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Better to Know Now
Old 11-21-2010, 04:44 AM
 
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It's better to know now versus later whether or not teaching is for you. I'm am currently working on my exit plan and plan to return to my business roots. There are few decisions that I am actually able to make as a teacher anymore as my district has become very dictatorial with administrators in pursuit of their PhD constantly spouting off some "new" research that they have read in their educational leadership journals. There is no room for professional discussion as anyone who voices a concern or counterview is reprimanded verbally and/or via email as well as being subjected to increasing drop-in visits by administrators looking for policy noncompliance. There is little concern for the developmental appropriateness of the decisions being made or its relevance beyond the test.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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Just like everyone posting here, I became really dissatisfied with the education profession. I was a high school math teacher for 12 years, and for most of those years, I felt like leaving constantly. I stayed, at first, because I enjoyed the respectability of having a profession requiring a college degree and because I really had no idea what else I was going to do with myself. Later, I got married and had children and then it became more of a duty to my family, especially since my wife was staying home.

I've never been recognized as a particularly "good" teacher. Some of the smarter kids have privately told me they appreciated me and felt I helped them, but I think for the vast majority of the kids that have been in my classes, the everyday kids who don't like math and tune out easily, I think I wasn't a particularly good teacher for them. I probably understood the material too well for my own good; I could never understand how a kid couldn't "get" a concept after I'd explained it several times.

I've never been able to instill fear in kids; I never really had the class management thing down. At best, especially if the kids were smart and college-bound, my classes were only moderately unruly and I could manage to get some lessons in . At worst, which is how it was in 2 of my 3 classes at the end, there was complete bedlam every day and I couldn't
even hear myself talk; I had maybe 1 or 2 kids trying to hear what I was saying and everyone else was just doing whatever they wanted to do. I didn't know whom to discipline or send out; everyone was misbehaving. Being at work every day was beyond merely unpleasant; it felt like an absurdity to me. I didn't feel I was helping anyone.
I was warned to get things under control or else face unpleasant consequences; I was dreading my upcoming evaluations. Something had to give.

The last few years I taught in North Carolina. A law was passed recently in NC requiring a "Personalized Education Plan" to be written out for every student at risk of failing a class. It was illegal to fail a student without one of these plans written out, apparently. This for me was the straw that broke the camel's back. It came to a point in late October where I had three midterms exams to write for the following week plus a boatload of these plans for all the failing students I had, for which I'd had next to no training in writing them, and it was just too much work. I sort of quietly snapped, and to make a long story short,now I'm out on indefinite leave, figuring out what to do next.

I thank God every day I don't have to go back there. I have immense respect for all the teachers out there who manage to get their students to respect them and pass all their standardized tests, God knows how they do it, I certainly have no idea.
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Hello,
Old 01-03-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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I am so sorry for your experience in NC. But really, I think it could have happened anywhere in the US. Teaching has become a nightmare of misbehaving students, endless planning and paperwork, out and out disrespect and hatred from society, enabling parents and school administrators, and mental and physical exhaustion. Some may take exception with your statement "instill fear in kids," but not me. I understand. You know, I was scared to death of my 6th grade teacher, but he is the one teacher who I still remember that really taught me something.
I do wish you good luck and health in the future. Find what you love to do. Try to figure out a way to make a living at it (maybe not as much pay as teaching but just learn to live on less). You know what they say. When one door closes, another opens. I know this is trite but I feel there is some truth to it.
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who needs it
Old 01-03-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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I don't know who Ed Levy is, but I definitely hear you. I myself have actually considered working at a number of blue-collar type jobs rather than continue teaching. I have actually left to start a small business but will soon need to take some kind of job to make ends meet at least part time, and I am actually looking forward to doing something like working in a stockroom or unloading trucks or something like that. Anything but teaching.
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Thanks, lucky, for your message. I am indeed searching for what I love to do. I may have found it, too, but it's going to be tough going. Just glad to be moving on.

I just fear for my own kids and what their experience is going to be in school. I still work part time at a tutoring center and am fortunate enough to be able to bring my kindergarten-age daughter there for free. I feel I have to be vigilant in order to ensure my kids are going to receive an adequate education in public school. My wife wants a teaching credential so that she can work at a private school and have our kids attend for a reduced rate. Such is the trust we have in the public schools currently.
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I have taught in CA public
Old 01-04-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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schools for the last 14 years, mostly 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. When I first began teaching, I would have been fine with putting our daughter in public school, and this is where she went, with the exception of preschool, which was private. (she's 32 now)
But CA public schools went down the tubes with the advent of NCLB and many other things. You are in a unique position in that you can supply the extra education your children need and won't get from public schools due to the schools trying to fulfill all needs of all children, which in my opinion can't be done.
Also, I would NOT allow my child to go to public school these days simply because of the behaviors I encounter everyday. Even in 4th grade, which is what I teach now, these kids are just too dangerous. Most of the teacher's time is taken up modifying or redirecting these behaviors. The administration is of no help and neither are the parents, if you can even get them on the phone!
IMO, the schools went wrong when they tried to be surrogate parents. If I hear one more talk show host say, "Why can't the schools do something," I may go postal. My answer would be a question: Why can't parents do something?
I'm tired of trying to do it alone. I give up. I'm leaving in 2012 to find something that makes me happy and makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky
I would NOT allow my child to go to public school these days simply because of the behaviors I encounter everyday. ... Most of the teacher's time is taken up modifying or redirecting these behaviors. The administration is of no help...
This is a sad realization, but after my own experiences teaching in California public schools, I have to admit that if I had children of my own, there would be just a few school districts in the state where I would be comfortable sending them. And those districts are not near where I live.

I go back and forth about whether the school system is inadequate to manage the behaviors of modern kids, or whether contemporary U.S. society and culture produce kids whose behaviors are unmanageable. In the end, I feel that "system" solutions are doomed to fail, and that universal education is no longer an achievable goal. In any case, given the funding choices made by California voters over the past few decades, universal education can no longer be called a public priority. It is not hard to imagine a time when literacy and intellect will once again be the province of a small elite.

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Originally Posted by lucky
[T]he schools went wrong when they tried to be surrogate parents. If I hear one more talk show host say, "Why can't the schools do something," I may go postal. My answer would be a question: Why can't parents do something?
Well said! For example, I remember railing against "free and reduced-price" school lunches and 6 AM to 6 PM "after-school" programs in a philosophy of teaching paper years ago -- much to the horror of my professor. (I am not, of course, opposed to nutrition or after-school programs, just to their use by parents who have chosen to abdicate parental responsibility.) Once people make the decision to become parents, they should commit to meeting the basic physical and emotional needs of their children. Here again, no "system" can fully serve this responsibility. In my last week on the job, I called a parent to inform him that his son had been suspended from my class. He asked, "Honestly, what do you want me to do about it?" I wanted to plead with him, "This is your own son, your beautiful child," but all I could say was, "It's my legal obligation to inform you, that's all," before hanging up the phone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky
I'm tired of trying to do it alone. I give up. I'm leaving in 2012 to find something that makes me happy and makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.
These are precisely the reasons why I left in December. (I posted my story on the "Future Teachers" forum, in hopes of giving newcomers some food for thought.) Out of curiosity, what do you plan to do after you leave teaching?

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Hi,
Old 01-05-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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I enjoyed reading your post, especially the part about your professor not liking your comments about free lunches and after school care. It's so interesting how the people who were not really involved in elementary education fought so hard for these "free" things not realizing that absolutely nothing in this life is free. Someone has to pay for these things.
Oh well, I'm done with unwinnable (is this a word?) fights. Education will collapse under it's own weight. Of course, there will be Gates and Guggenheim and Oprah to help it along.
I'm going to spend my last year in the system helping as many kids as I can (and I'll ignore administration as much as possible).
I do plan on subbing maybe 3-4 days a month, but just for teachers I know. I will get a fairly low retirement due to only 15 years of service, but I don't need much because everything I own (house, cars) is paid off. I have to say that I am pretty much an expert at living on the cheap having grown up in an extremely poor family (never on the dole, by the way). I will probably look for part-time jobs too but only after I have rested for a while.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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Hi Everybody,
I was surprised by the name of this website (pro teacher) to see so many posts by people looking to get out of the profession. Well, I, like the rest of you feel completely the same. Please take a few minutes to hear me out and maybe even advise because I feel so sick lately.
I am 29 years old, in my 8th year of teaching Middle School and working in what many would consider a well-running suburban school district. If the salary weren't so good, I would have been out by now. I am making over 96k with all the time off and benefits that come with the job. The problem- like the rest of you is that I am so unfulfilled that its not even funny.
Back in HS, I excelled in languages and saw my teachers as role models and they were all telling me how easily I would find a job- especially if I had multiple certifications. So, thats what I did- I got certified in three subjects and at 21 even before finishing college I had my job offer and accepted it.
The first year wasn't pretty as the rest of you stated. Thankfully, I did receive a lot of help from colleagues- they shared materials, we worked together, etc. Trust me, I had a hard schedule though- 4 preps in my first year and split between buildings.
I do have to agree with many that things have gotten easier over the years- reusing plans, worksheets, developing systems that work, etc. My policy is never to bring any work home so I pretty much work non-stop during the day - grading/planning during lunch, not sitting and BS'ing in the faculty lounge, etc.
I can deal with working through lunch and all that. What has caused me to really lose my love for the subjects I teach is the behavior of the students. Having almost 130 8th graders a day is no walk in the park! Of course, there are those that care to learn, participate and help make the day better but the ones that don't can be completely draining. I mean ridiculous stuff- not bringing anything to write with, not copying notes, never doing HW, getting chatty, looking for any distraction to take time away from class, etc. It all gets under my skin! I am sick and tired of having to make up for the bad parenting that must be going on at home- which is the reason why there is so little respect and intrinsic motivation these days. I can't care for those that don't seem to care about themselves. I am sick and tired of kids and parents snowballing the system because they know they can get away with it- especially in middle school where no matter how much we lecture the kids, lets face it, there are no real consequences. They will still move up to HS no matter what they do. The lowest grade we are allowed to give in my building is a 55!!- and thats even if the kid failed miserably, didn't do HW, etc. It is all a bunch of BS geared towards appeasing parents (since they pay the tax dollars) and making the school district look good even though for quite a number of students, it seems like the school has become nothing more than a holding ground for them during the day. Everything is disguised by the administration in vague, flowery statements that don't actually mean anything and accomplish nothing. I couldn't believe how aggravated I got when I actually sat down and read the mission statement and goals on my district's website.. BS.
And don't we just love all the staff development which accomplishes NOTHING and is taught by administrators who lets face it- moved into administration to get out of the classroom and make more money. I blew through my MA at night while teaching full-time during the day and even earned a post-graduate degree in School Administration. Well, once I got my certification to be an administrator I knew right away it was a mistake. I don't have the nerve to parade around doing that kind of PR work to make it all look like a happy family when I don't even believe in the system anymore.
So, as you can see I am like many of you.. but lately, especially after coming back from this past vacation, my nerves are getting to me. I have always gotten excellent evaluations, have good management and I basically know how to play the game at making administration happy and appeasing parents when needed. I just can't take it anymore. The past two nights I had trouble sleeping and have been developing chest pains- like a sticking pain when taking deep breaths. My spouse says that I should learn to "leave my briefcase at work." As a teacher, that is not easy. We care. We take things personally. We want things to go smoothly, be appreciated, impart knowledge and make a difference. When that doesn't happen because of bad work ethics, bad behavior and out-of-touch administrators.. what can we do?
I would like to switch careers but in the terrible market everyone tells me I am nuts to leave a tenured job where I am almost in the six figures! I used to work in the back of a restaurant in HS and college and I got more satisfaction out of that! I know I am venting here and not sure what will come of it.. but let's stick together and share ideas on other career paths for burned out teachers. Ideas anyone?
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:24 AM
 
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lucky - I like your strategy of ignoring the administration and doing as much as you can for your kids in your final year. Isn't it sad that what's right for kids is often not what's right in the eyes of administrators? I am glad that you will be able to retire, and to substitute in classes that you like. Every time I walk by an elementary school, I think about volunteering, especially during the weeks that I'll be spending at home, searching for work.

MSTeach13 - It sounds as though, in spite of the excellent coping mechanisms that you have set up (like maximizing your work time during the day so that you don't have to take work home), your work is getting to you. Since you mention health symptoms, please, please immediately contact your doctor. Like you, I've gone through the exercise of reviewing my past jobs and realizing that they were more satisfying than K-12 teaching. Have you considered teaching at a community college or, dare I say it, in a private K-12 school (provided that academic work is valued there, and that whiny parents don't call the shots)? Other possibilities include writing or editing textbooks, providing curriculum training, or serving as a school turn-around consultant (especially with your administrative qualification). If you do have to take a cut in pay, at least initially, will you be able to manage? (My salary as a teacher was so low that practically any job -- let alone resuming the business/computer consulting work I used to do -- will be an improvement.)
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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I too have come to the conclusion that for my health and sanity I need to look into leaving teaching. But what next? Where can former teachers go to start a new career with the economy the way it is? I do not have the strong math or science background some of you have. My experience is in working with students who have disabilities. I feel trapped!
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Am I just ungrateful?
Old 01-16-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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I found this by doing a bing search, and I found so many of you echoing my inner thoughts about my teaching career. I'm in my 7th year as a Jr. High teacher, and while I genuinely love some aspects of it, I'm miserable a lot (hence my profile name). At the same time, maybe I'm just not counting my blessings, and maybe I need to adjust. I think this career fits me better than any others that I can imagine. Having breaks in the summer allows me to travel--sometimes I think that's what keeps me going. But I can't live for those two months out of the year.
I would like to hear from someone that has burned out but has somehow revived and continued teaching with renewed vigor and sense of purpose. Continuing on like I am now is bad for my health!
I love grammar/editing, expository writing, learning other languages...but those things won't necessarily help me find a viable career.
Any encouraging words?
I think what bothers me the most is seeing posts from other countries where you are experiencing the same thing we are (in the U.S). What has happened to Western society? I talked to a teacher in Germany this summer and she was expressing all the same complaints of a broken education system.

Last edited by misserable; 01-16-2011 at 02:34 PM.. Reason: Adding comments
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Boil in the pot or leap out of the water
Old 01-22-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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I have taught first grade for 11 years. I am fed up with so many things I don't even know where to begin. Parents who won't lift a finger to help their child learn ANYTHING and parents who think their child does no wrong is something I am tired of dealing with. Money for supplies/resources is going away quickly while standards are being raised. I am expected to differentiate instruction for every child in my classroom and complete a 6 page form for my low-achieving students in order to explain how I am going to get them on grade level. I assess students and document assessment data more than I teach. Then we get to have meetings with other teachers and administrators to discuss more data. I can tell you exactly why most of my low performing students are not on grade level- It's because their parents didn't see fit to so much as teach their child the colors before sending them to kindergarten, they do not help them with homework, don't read books at home, their child stays up til all hours and can barely stay awake during the school day, or they have ADHD and desperately need their medication but their older sibling is selling the ritalin to high school peers. The parents don't do these things for their child but see fit to buy the 6 year old a cell phone. I don't get it.
I am so tired of the absolute mountain of paperwork on my desk every day. I am tired of faculty meetings where the principal spends an hour describing more things we should be doing each day (of course we have more time to document things! we'll get right on it!) I am tired of workdays, that we teachers desperately need to spend working in our classrooms, being taken up by long, boring staff development that is relevant to no one. I am tired of the total lack of respect given to teachers by the media (look at all the evil teachers in almost every movie you see) and the general public. Parents get together at ballgames and other events and bash their child's teacher and compare notes with the other parents. People who have never been teachers have no idea what it is like to teach every day and juggle not only teaching what is on your detailed lesson plan, but also all of the other expectations placed on teachers by parents, administrators and the state. It's enough to push a normal person over the edge.
As I have said, I have taught 11 years. I love children and love to see them learn, but I feel the stress is taking a toll on my health. I have a family of my own and I am not the wife and mother I want to be because I am so TIRED and STRESSED all the time (and that is made worse because no one can understand why I am so tired and stressed). I know that no job is without problems and stress. I just don't feel that I am capable of putting up with the stress of teaching for another 19 years. I see a few teachers that still love their job and feel called to be in the classroom, but I feel I am just going through the motions. I feel like crying every day because I want to go home as soon as I enter the classroom. I really want to leave the profession altogether. I don't want to go into some other job in the education field. I am done teaching anyone anything. The only problem is I have no idea what to do now. The economy is awful and who is even hiring? And the funny thing is, my principal and colleagues think I am a great teacher and would be shocked to know how I really feel about my job.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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Amen. I feel the same way you do. I teach middle school mathematics and I'm sick of collecting data and discussing action plans for students who can't even be bothered to try and figure out the answer to 2 x 9. I'm supposed to be teaching them the skills they need to compete in a world that is increasingly more dependent on higher-level mathematical skills and understanding yet each year more and more of my students lack even 3rd-grade math skills. Homework completion in some of my classes is only 20 to 25%. I've made phone calls, written in planners, established check sheets, rewards programs, etc. It is largely a losing battle that often ends up coming back to bite you when after a year of interventions someone finally wakes up realizing that Johnny or Susie won't be passing for the year.
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Counting down to my exit from teaching
Old 01-28-2011, 11:49 PM
 
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These posts are so comforting. I have experienced most, if not all, of these in my six years teaching in an inner city middle school.

I detest those movies that portray teachers as saviors and continually fuel society's (not to mention admin) expectation that teachers should litereally sacrifice everything in their lives-family, health, money-to teach. Otherwise, we are somehow selfish or not thinking of the kids. I'm in my early thirties and started this career perfectly healthy. My health has started to deteriorate because of constant stress and anxiety. I try to focus on the successes and those kids who make it worthwhile, but I can't sustain this much longer.

I'm considering school psychology which has always interested me and because I would be rid of the discipline problems that so exhaust me. I could work one on one with students which I enjoy very much (better for my introvert personality) and have some adult interaction. No grading as well!
My only dilemma is that I would still be in a school with all the politics and system bureacracy.

I think that teachers who find that their top stressors, like mine, are the constant discipline issues, the drain of being needed every two seconds, and having to be "on" 24/7 despite intense apathy- should look at job within the field that takes you OUT of the classroom, but still utilizes skills you have built in education.

I am applying most likely to a school psychology program next Feb. Otherwise, I want to become a dog groomer. Not joking! My parents gasped when I seriously told them that I wished I could become a dog groomer, Master's of Education and all. Wish the pay was higher. It sounds like a dream job to me.
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Working in a Surreal Environment
Old 01-31-2011, 04:58 PM
 
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Discipline problems are definitely stressors and contribute to a high burnout factor. You're right that superman/superwoman expectations are unrealistic and add to the frustration teachers feel as they work hard to create quality lessons which receive a flat response from too many unmotivated, unruly, and apathetic students.

Today was another crazy day due to yet another impending snow storm. However, it doesn't really matter what the stimulus is as just about anything can fuel the room in some of my classes. I teach mathematics and too many of my students in middle school cannot even multiply 3 x 7, 6 x 4 or perform basic calculations. Many of these same students have had some excellent experienced teachers who have just about stood on their heads to make their lessons meaningful and engaging.

The fact of the matter is that a large portion of the students just don't care. They don't care about learning what they need to be successful, they don't care about grades, and many don't even care if they pass. They only seem to care about XBox, Rap/Pop/Hip Hop music, relationships, movies/television, parties, livin' large, fame, and EASY MONEY. For these students hard work and achievement are foreign concepts.

I am desperately seeking employment outside teaching as I see it as a life-limiting and consuming profession.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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WOW! I stumbled across this thread doing a web search for alternate careers in education.
I have spent the last hour reading these posts with the rest of my family clamoring to use the computer. (Yup...we are still a one computer family...and my teenage children don't have cell phones!!! (Gasp) ) Sadly, I think technology and entitlement also plays into this conundrum. The world is not the same world I grew up in and I'm not sure where it went.
The teaching world is also not the same world either. I knew when I was in third grade myself, that I wanted to be a teacher. It was all I ever wanted to do. Now it's all that I DON"T want to do.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE teaching....like all of you, it is all of the other "stuff" that makes it miserable. Somewhere along the way administrators and officials have forgotten who we are there for...the kids. I still love the kids and cherish the moments when I can just close the classroom door and be with my children and teach.

I have been teaching for 20 years and have taught junior high English, remedial reading,
been a Reading and Language Arts Consultant and now a 3rd grade teacher (I begged to go back into the classroom). I could go on for hours about all that I am feeling.

I just can't get away from the feeling that something about which I feel so passionate should not make me feel like this! Stress, ill health, feeling defeated and trapped, and reducing me to questioning...no vocalizing... the fact that I can't do this for 15 more years. I'm not sure that I can do this for the rest of the year! I'm sitting here, welling up as I type this. I can't afford to leave the field and I can't afford to stay in the field. I am betwixt and between. I just know that something has to give and it can't be me anymore. I too have thought of writing, going into administration, tutoring, starting my own school, and the list goes on. I just don't know what else to do and where to look. I know I haven't answered the initial question that started this thread and I'm sorry. After three years of people responding to that question, I wonder if there really is an answer. There certainly aren't any easy ones.
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Agree x100
Old 02-20-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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This IS comforting! Like some others, I came across this post while google-ing alternative jobs for teachers. I'm a 27 year old teacher, been teaching for 5 years. I work two jobs because I barely make 30,000, and I'm single and think that as a degreed, professional adult, I should be able to live on my own. I love my kids, and most days I love my job. I AM sick of those that don't care, of parents upset with ME that their child is failing, with the paper work, the observations, the standardized tests, I don't think the stuff that ISN'T teaching but such a large part of teaching. I'm attractive, young and single, and a HAPPY person (I'm usually called bubbly)... I shouldn't be so burned out that I fall asleep before 9 on a Friday night... with work, job 2, and the grad class that I'm forced to take for additional AIG certification, I don't want ot do it anymore.
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re: teacherdan
Old 02-22-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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Yes, you can disconnect.
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Return to Sanity
Old 03-22-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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Well I sincerely hope the original poster has found her way to peace and fulfillment in or out of the classroom. I myself found this thread in a desperate search for the "way out". Reading and relating to other dedicated educators, while powerful, cannot be enough for me anymore. After 12 1/2 years with my beloved primary students, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. It is truly like being in an abusive relationship (with several abusers at once). At this point, I have issues with my stomach, heart, jaw muscles (!), and have not slept soundly for 8 months. The last was the real tipping point for me. Of course, there was no one more idealistic and motivated than I was. And yes, every evaluation I get is still shining, my students love me, etc. Haha, I am nothing if not compliant. I literally pray every day for the strength to leave the public school internment camp. Most dogs are treated better than I am. WTF?

There is nothing to even add to this thread.

I don't know what is to become of me and my dream of helping kids, but the healthiest thing I can do is get OUT of the nightmare that public education is in the state of Florida. No one deserves this. Every minute I stay reinforces the low priority I myself have put on my own well-being. Ha I have even stayed in the PS system in order to not "abandon" my dear students! There are children to love, to help, to serve, always. I'll volunteer at a hospital if nothing else.

Hope to see everyone on the flip side! God bless teachers!
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Brought to Tears
Old 03-25-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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A half-hour ago when I began to research jobs I could take instead of teaching, I saw this blog. While reading through these threads I noticed that these discussions have been happening for well over four years...and I'm sure have been taken place through many other venues as long as teaching has been a career.

I am still paying off my post-graduate teacher certification and am thinking of leaving the career. This is my seventh year teaching. It is, I feel, one of the most difficult jobs. There are days when I love it and days that follow where I feel it's too much. I love my students and stay for them, but when is enough, enough? The school I transferred to this year (within the same district) doesn't allow me the time to teach my students PE, music, science, or social studies. I teach half-day kindergarten...how absurd! I find that I am panicking to keep up with the rigorous standard curriculum and am losing my fight. In order to keep my sanity and continue to get the kids involved and excited about learning, I am sneaking in science and social studies every which way. Of course, it is crucial to integrate everything, but when we're required to teach through different curricular materials it becomes difficult to continue the creativity.

The Federal Stimulus funds and Washington State have cut our budget by over $16,000,000 for the 2011-2012 school year. I am terrified! I was just taking a survey about if I would rather have Elementary music or PE completely cut out of the system, or cutting our hard-working custodial staff... it's disgusting. I didn't even finish the survey yet because I am too scared for what the outcome could be.

With all of this, my kids are young (3 and almost 1 year old). What am I going to do with them when they begin their school career? Should I put them into the public school system, which I am not sure if I believe it anymore, or what?
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xkl4nyn...i understand!
Old 04-14-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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"and I am actually looking forward to doing something like working in a stockroom or unloading trucks or something like that. "

***I have thought i would like a job like that too...anything except teaching. Shelving books at a library, receptionist at a dr. office, just to be somewhere quiet where I don't have to answer a million questions all day and have sooo many responsibilities. Ugh!
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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I am glad that I stumbled upon this site. I am home today nursing my emotional wounds after being told that I am not being recommended for rehire next year because I am not a good fit for SEI. I have worked within the same district: as a para, then as a long term substitute and now as an SEI Teacher over the past 9 years. My content area is ELA but I needed a position and my current Principal interviewed me for an ELA job but "suggested" that I teach SEI. As a first year full time teacher I could not have been dropped into a worse situation. I am in a school that has a completely new administration due to the inability of the previous administration to control the students. The DESE is labeling the school a "priority school" due to terrible MCAS scores, but I was willing to stick it out. I come in early, come in on vacations, stay late and have always gotten favorable evaluations from previous Principals. I teach both 7th and 8th grade. My seventh graders are great kids, but my 8th graders are very difficult and I am unable to communicate with the parents due to a language barrier. My Principal told me that they have "bad habits," deal with it. So, that is what I have been doing but apparently not up to her standards, not to mention another teacher with the same students not being recommended as well and still another teacher requiring two additional teachers to help her discipline this particular class. I am really discouraged, I am teaching a new content, my students are unruly, and my students were all switched at the end of November...Now, she is not recommending me. Any other teacher would have run out of there kicking and screaming. Now I just want to forget about it, put it behind me and find a job in a nice quiet office . I have been told by my union that if I decide to reapply I should explain my situation because everyone is well aware of the difficulties at this particular school. I am completely discouraged and disgusted...
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Planning to get out of teaching
Old 05-17-2011, 09:02 PM
 
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I did the NYC Teaching Fellows program 5 years ago now to get out of a boring office job. The Teaching Fellows was a load of b.s.! They said they needed us in hard to staff areas, but really they needed us to restructure the school system and to encourage older teachers to hit the road. I wanted to do something good for society, but never had any intentions of doing this forever. I gave a lot to my first class and I was proud of how far some of them got. I had a bad administrator in my third year who made my life hell, so I left without a plan in the fall of 2009. I worked at an hourly wage for an ESL school here in the city for about half of what I made doing public school. I continually searched for other opportunities but only got one in-person interview and one phone call for non-teaching jobs the whole year. I bit the bullet and went back to teaching in the public school system. I experienced the same stuff (minus bad administrators) that let me know that this couldn't be my life-long career: crazy kids who couldn't behave to save their lives , disorganization, school not following laws for required ESL services, etc. I am now in the process of researching MBA programs. It is a big leap but it is the most excited I've been in years. If that fails, I'm going to do accounting. The business world may have been boring to me back in '06, but I only gave it a chance for one year. I regret not staying longer. I really do. Instead, I was an impulsive 23 year old who jumped ship. Other people I know who stuck it out have had more fulfilling career opportunities and responsibilities, even if they too were bored at my old company. It probably was just that company that was lame. However, I know it's not just one school that's lame, because I've worked at three. Only one more year of teaching no matter what happens. May only the best come my way!
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I stumbled across your message, and I hope you haven't really given up after one year! I am about to complete my thirty-third year of teaching ... and I still enjoy the students, the intellectual stimulation, and the opportunity to learn for life. You need an inspiring mentor, like many I've had the privilege to know and emulate. Not all of us with experience are burned out and negative -- or unrealistic, either. I'm still proud of what I do, and I'm good at it. I'd love to help you, if you're still interested....
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It's no longer about the kids!
Old 05-22-2011, 05:48 PM