I really can not take it anymore. I guess I am a statistic. I am in my fourth year teaching and something this year has just snapped. I used to love teaching. I loved the kids, the practice, everything. I feel like I just woke up. I work my tail off daily, just to stress about the next day. There is always something to do. And I do it for pocket change. It is so weird because I was just sitting and waiting in a doctors office (plenty of time to think about anything) when I realized that I work my tail off, am regarded with little respect and I get paid pocket change. I feel under appreciated, noticed, etc. I feel like I have a blue collar job. I paid the same amount of money for my college education as a girlfriend of mine. The difference is that she is working less hours than I do and making 2.5X what I do. We both have a masters and went to school the exact same amount of time. The trade off...I have 4 vacations a year. BIG DEAL. I am so unhappy it is depressing me. It is effecting my family life. I hate to sound like a nagging Nelly, but where did all of this come from? Has anyone else thought about this? Am I crazy? But, why should I work so darn hard to make a difference, when I am not even noticed in the professional world? I almost feel like this would not be an issue if I was paid a lot more. When I say a lot more, I mean 50K easy before I would feel it is acceptable. I have no idea where all of this came from, but I am certain this is my final year teaching. I have to go back to school and start again. So....here I am a statistic. I will have left teaching prior to completing my fifth year. So just out of curiosity, where does the other half go? Where do all these teachers go before completing their fifth year? I am planning on going back to school to get another MA in another field when this year is completed. Thanks for listening and God Bless to those of you who stick around and make a difference. I just can not do it for the little amount of money.
but we knew that when we went through those years of college! The bottom line is the kids..they and their opinions are all that should matter. Do the children you teach respect you? Do your students appreciate you? Are you making a difference in the lives of your students? If you answered no to these questions then I say get out of teaching because your heart is not in the right place anymore. Somehow your love for the children has changed and that is what effects the love for teaching.
I remember thinking that I would never recommend teaching to anyone. I loved it, but how can you recommend a job where you work 24/7, get very little respect, and don't make much money? After teaching 15 years, I still love it, but I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone. You have to have a real desire in your heart to be a teacher to be able to put up with all the stuff. I'm so sorry that you have lost that desire. But I know teachers who have been in it a lot longer than you who are getting out because of all the red tape connected to NCLB. There's very little time to be the type of creative, exciting teacher you want to be anymore. We just teach from test to test. So sad...
I am only in my first year of teaching my own class (last year I was an assistant) and I am already sure it is not the right career for me. I know that every teacher who likes their job would say that it's because it is my first year and I should give it time, but the aspects of the job that I dislike are never going to change. Some of the reasons I want to leave are similar to yours, but I also just have this overwhelming feeling that I absolutely need a job that is just a job. I need to be able to leave my work at work. I am under constant feelings of stress and anxiety throughout the day and when I get home, dreading the next day. Weekends are difficult too. I can never just relax because I am thinking about school. I have come to the conclusion that you have to really LOVE teaching to be able to tolerate all the time, preparation, outside commitments, stress, and patience it takes to do the job. Don't feel bad that you are leaving. I am trying not to. Unfortunately, you never really know if you are meant to be in a profession until you are in the field. I ignored my better judgement when I felt this way both during student teaching and when I was an assistant. I knew this wasn't the job for me, but I decided to give myself at least one year with my own class to see if I would change my mind. All my suspicions are coming true. I am dreading tomorrow and every other day until this school year is over and I can find another job that will not make me feel this way. Life is too short and teaching is a job that you must put your all into. If you don't enjoy it, life will be pretty miserable.
I've been teaching since January 2003, and I just knew my entire life that I wanted to be a teacher. I'm starting to rethink things. Like you, I spend almost an entire day working and never feel appreciated or like I'm earning what my work is worth. Some days I just decide to quit, and other days I feel like it's worth it. If your heart is really not in it anymore, and you feel this way a lot, then I think you should consider something else. However, if you think it's only a temporary feeling, give it some time before leaving.
It really helps me to just stop working and do something else. There will always be work to do, but sometimes I just have to stop for the day. Spend time doing things you enjoy - shopping, hanging out with friends, something crafty, etc. It really does help.
I know what you mean too. Unfortunately, you will need to go back to school. But, as teachers, we need to go back and renew our licenses. You will probably get to use a lot of your courses in your new degree. Good for you, to see that its not worth it so soon. I've been in longer and feel its too late to get out now. I'm working on the side in our business. Someday, I'll be able to quit or just work part-time at teaching. It doesn't get any easier as you get older. What does your girlfriend do? Maybe you could take a sick or personal day off and tag along to see what its really like before you make a final decision. I think the teachers who quit go into getting a new degree too. Find out what you like, the job market for that job and the pay. Good luck I wish the best for you.
I won't preach to you and say things will get better, because they won't. Everyone, from President Bush (the dumbest one we've ever had) to the bum on the corner thinks they have the answers to improving education. Yes, we're underapaid, disrespected, underappreciated and all the things that beat into a person's soul. Parents treat us like babysitters. The ones in the suburbs think they own the teachers, while the ones in the cities could care less. There's more corruption in the education field, as industries associated with it consipire to make as much money as they can while offering the least.
There's only one reason to stay: TOMORROW!
Maybe tomorrow someone you teach will make one hell of a difference in life. Maybe that person will save a life. Maybe that person will discover the cure for the many cancers that cut our lives short. Maybe that person will find diplomatic solutions to the world's political ills. Maybe that person will devise the strategy for ending domestic violence. Who knows? With millions of kids in school there are millions of tomorrows possible for us in which to rejoice.
I feel like quitting myself at times, and I'm in my 11th year. I teach in a school where the roaches where sneakers, the rodents have their own lunch cards and hungry kids are refused seconds on lunches and breakfasts even though lunch workers regularly lug out bags and boxes of food to their homes.
I can't quit, because I'm praying that one of my kids will provide society with one of those special tomorrows I believe is possible.
If you are unhappy in the classroom, earning more money won't change how you feel completely. It may make you feel more financially appreciated, but the stress will still be there. I have been teaching over 20 years so I now make a decent salary. That doesn't change the stress inherent in the job.
There are other things that make it worthwhile and make us feel appreciated. The AHA! moment when a kid gets it, a note from a former student, a comment from a parent. These things might not happen every day, but when they do it makes the rest of it a little easier to deal with.
Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Ultimately, you have to do what is best for you. We can give you advice but only you can make the decision. It's a tough decision. Please let us know what you decide to do in the future.
I have been teaching for 8 years and I think this may be my last too. First, money: I'm teaching in a private school and the money sucks worse than public ($10,000 less than last year at public). Commute: over 2 hours a day. Stress: as you all have stated, constant work - always something to be done. Never having an actual full weekend, or an evening with the family.
Respect and appreciation: I am fortunate in this area. "My parents" all show their appreciation in many ways (but, again, I am in a private school), and the kids are well behaved (at least compared to public) and good kids who are there to learn.
But hubby and I have been having serious discussions about this. His career (which makes MUCH MUCH more than I ever will teaching) is taking us even farther away from my school. We need to decide to move there, or stay where we are and we both will have the commute from hell every day.
I am torn. I do enjoy being in my classroom when I finally get there. But the rest of the stuff is not worth it.
I, too, have thoughts about leaving teaching. Where I work the pay is decent; not great, but decent. The issues that cause me to question my future are:
1. What seems to be a deterioration in parenting, and
2. Legislative interference in education.
It seems I do more and more parenting each year. Students come to us not knowing simple manners. In addition, it seems parents don't hold their children accountable for their actions, so when we try to, we are "picking on my baby". Parents send children to school hungry, tired, and unprepared, then wonder why we aren't teaching them.
The government has so many requirements and restrictions that have very little to do with educating children that we have lost our ability to do that which we paid so much to be trained to do! I've often wondered if we could hire a class action attorney to get our tuition money back, since we aren't allowed to use the training they require us to pay for!
I have less than 10 years left before I retire, so I keep telling myself to hang in there. I'm trying to focus on the positives! There are some wonderful students who DO enjoy learning, and I work with the most dedicated and intelligent adults on the planet! I always tell myself that if I were to quit teaching to take on a different career, I'd end up working with my students' parents! That's enough to keep me going!
I wish you the best of luck as you find a more satisfying lifepath.
I have been teaching for 8 years and I can't imagine doing anything else. Even though I am stressed like the rest of you with testing, parents, behaviors,etc., I truly can't imagine having a job that would make me feel like I have a purpose in life the way teaching does. Dig deep down and look at the reason you are doing the job you are doing. If you don't feel like you are cut out for it, I say leave. It's not fair to students to have a teacher who isn't giving 100%.
I'm curious as to what student teaching was like for those of you who don't feel like you can continue teaching. I was made well aware of what life would be like as a teacher during my semester with 2 different teachers.
I was very well prepared from student teaching. I used to ask my CT, "How can you do it all in one day?" I knew what it was like, but I enjoyed it and thought it was fun. After spending several years doing it, the fun has worn off, and I am exhausted.
I've been teaching forever. (21 years) I call what you have the 4-year itch. After my fourth year, I did quit teaching & went to work in the airline industry. I worked on the phone lines making reservations, etc. The training was really tough, but once you got the job down, it was really boring! I used to pray for people to call me about lost luggage because it gave me a problem to solve. The airline wanted me to move up into management but the hours were crazy, swing shifts, etc. and we had just adopted our first child. I couldn't stop working because of finances, so I went back to teaching. Over the years, I often think of quitting (about every 4 years) but I haven't been able to find a job where I can leave at 3 or a part-time job that will pay me as much, which is really sad because I don't make anything since I teach in a private school. Financially, I can't stay home, my husband is a blue-collar worker. He also works long hours & can't get away to help with the kids. I need to be available at 3:00 everyday for picking up kids, driving them to practices, etc. Teaching has worked for me because it has allowed me to be home afterschool & in the summers with my kids. I also like my job and I'm good at it. I've found ways to save time over the years, & sometimes you just have to quit because you could always do more. But there are still days when I spend more time planning, grading, etc. than I would like too.
I would never recommend teaching to anybody either. My oldest daughter is making a higher salary her first year out of college with a business degree than I'm making after 21 years! I've told my daughters to go for it & make the big bucks. Both of my sisters-in-laws made big money for 10 years & saved enough that they could quit & stay home with their kids & never have to go back to work. I believe that the only people that say the money doesn't matter are people that have money. Money does make a difference, will it make you happy? NO, but it can relieve stress, and allow you to make choices in life that aren't based solely on finances. Did I know that teachers didn't make a lot of money when I went into teaching? Yes, but I didn't fully comprehend how much money it takes to live. I thought I would "get over" the money issue & learn to be happy with what I have but it is always a struggle. We live a nice middle class life, but we can't travel the way we would like to or help my parents out financially. We've been unable to go on vacations with my siblings because we couldn't afford it.
So, I say try something else, you can always come back to teaching if you miss it. Good luck!
I guess I went back to school for my 2nd degree (Elem. Ed.) with my eyes wide open. I knew I would be overworked, underpaid, and often not appreciated as I should be. Yet, I went in full throttle. I'm getting exactly what I expected...I'm tired, not making much money, and live for those "positive" moments that seem few and far between. Yet, I am happy as a clam and getting even more than I expected in other areas that can't truly be measured.
Maybe part of it is that I don't have to do this for a living. My husband makes good enough money that I don't feel like I'm stuck to a plow on this one. I made more money in my previous career, that's for sure. Yet, I love the art of teaching, I love seeing kids "get it" and make connections in places other than the classroom, I like watching them grow as individuals. I enjoy my colleagues and my students (most days).
I guess I get surprised at people who are a little older in life when they get into teaching (for whatever reason) and they suddenly realize teaching isn't for them. I expect that often with those in their early 20's, who really don't have a good grasp for what is required of a teacher, or even who they are as individuals. But for some I feel like "what were you thinking?" when they get into it, only to want out after a few years. Maybe some don't approach the profession with truly open eyes. I don't know. But, if someone really hates teaching and is miserable, then yes, they should get out. Not only for themselves, but for the kids. If a teacher is emotionally gone from their job, then they truly can't give 100% or what the kids deserve. Kids deserve teachers who want to be there to guide them, even when the teacher is dog tired. Good luck with your decision!
I am so sorry you are feeling that way. I think about quitting all the time especially last year when I was moved to Kindergarten from 3rd and then 12 weeks later moved back up to 3rd to the lowest class EVER! And now this year we have changed our curriculum and I feel like a 1st year teacher all over again!
If your heart is not into and you do not enjoy ANY part of it, then don't stay. The kids will notice and it will reflect on them. They will pick up your attitude.
On the days I feel like going home and never returning, I think about the reasons I signed up for this job. For example, when you have a C student who becomes an A/B student, the student who's home life is horrible and you are their safe haven and give them a safe place to go for a while, or the child who touches your heart and stays in contact with you for many years. Those thoughts of making a difference no matter how small, help me get up in the morning and start my day with little pay and respect.
Remember that money does not buy happiness. There are many pros and cons to every job and there is A LOT of stress in all jobs. Make sure you follow your heart and do what makes you happy.
While I certainly commiserate with each and every one of the replies given so far, I have to tell you what keeps me in this field after 25 years. A couple of days ago I had my class write for try-outs for our UIL creative writing competition. They were all given a prompt about a hero-what is a hero, who is yours and why. We did discuss a little at the beginning about who they could write about. I just said that it had to be a real person, living or dead, but no Spiderman or Supergirl, etc. A precious little boy that is new to our school this year wrote a great essay on his hero--ME! If I never accomplish anything else in my lifetime, I have made a positive impact on that one child. That makes it all worth it!
My husband is also a teacher, a band director to be exact. He makes much more than I, but he spends a lot of hours away from home for competitions, etc. He is back in the classroom after 3 years of being miserable out of it. It's just in his blood I guess.
We have never made a lot of money, but that is not really why we went into teaching. I guess we didn't make enough of a negative impact on our children because our oldest son is in his 1st year of teaching band and absolutely LOVES it. Our younger son is a freshman in college and also considering a career in teaching.
If your only concern is your salary, then perhaps you are in the wrong profession. I have said this before to posters such as you who had misgivings--teaching really is a calling. You have to be in it for the right reasons. Salary is not one of them.
For all of the teachers reading this who want to quit, I feel your pain! I was YOU last year. After six years of teaching every grade from 5-12 (i taught one year of middle school and five years of jr high/high school), I have finally quit. And I feel FANTASTIC! I look better than I ever have, and I actually sleep through the night without dreaming of myself standing at the overhead projector teaching. In fact, I actually enjoy Sundays now instead of dread them. I don't feel like crying all the time. My headaches have gone away. My evenings are my own again and I feel like I have re-discovered myself. I know there are a lot of people in teaching who are doing amazing work despite how difficult it is....and I commend each and every one of you. We need good teachers, but I would never recommend the profession to anyone. Like the last post by "Serious," I also couldn't justify all that work for blatant disrespect, a huge workload and low pay. Don't get me wrong....I am making the same now as I did teaching. But I don't care so much about the money as I do my health, my sanity and my DIGNITY!!!!
Just curious...what are you doing now? Did you have to go back to school? I too am thinking about quitting. This is only my 3rd year and I teach in a great community, making an above average salary ($50,000), but I'm starting to feel burned out. I lack the desire to plan or grade papers, I have anxiety attacks every Sunday, and I cry almost on a daily basis. Not to mention that I can't sleep. It scares me because I've wanted to be a teacher for as far as I can remember. Right now I feel as if I'm doing a disservice to my students because of my feelings. However, I don't want to break my contract. Sometimes I think that it could be better if I were teaching lower primary (k,1 as opposed to a 5/6 combo) since that is what I've always wanted and loved when student teaching. I'm not sure what I will do at the end of the school year, but I would like to know what my options are if I do decide to leave the profession altogether. Any advice that you can provide me with would be greatly appreciated.
I read what people have been saying here and I feel the way many of you do. This is my fourth year of teaching and when I started out I thought it would be great. Since then I have just got worn down by all the school politcs, the never ending issue of the school not been happy with our students performance (grades either too high or too low), and the federal and state mandates that to me just do not make any sense.
For me I never saw teaching as my calling but rather a stable career with little stress. How wrong I was!! Although I may leave school at 3pm I spend many hours at home planning and grading papers and spend time on the weekends planning too. Its gotten to the point were I too feel undervalued and unappreciated., although I make decent money ($50,000), I live in a high cost area. As a result I will never be able to afford a house or have a famliy and I am feeling very bitter and angry about teaching. I would love to just quit but I have student loans to pay and the careers I would like to move into would require me to get another degree byt right now finances are an issue. I am thinking of putting together a resume that stresses the skills I have learned in teaching and applying for jobs that would utilize those skills.
In the end I just cannot see myself teaching for 20 or 30 years. I walk up each day dreading having to go to school and it is affecting all parts of my life. I also want to be able to financallly afford the things I want in life and I feel that will never be possible if I stay in teaching.
I have been teaching math 5 years, and I keep telling myself that its a long term job, I'll be happy when I make 100,000 for this job.I look at the older teachers and they look worn out and never stop complaining. I changed schools and its the same thing, almost identical. When does it get better? How about I can move up quicker with the sanitation and make more money, retire 13 years earlier and need no education. I have a friend who dropped out of college, and will retire in 12 years and makes almost 80,000 with his overtime. That seems alot better than studying to become the math teacher. He has no student loans every month, nad night classes for his Masters. How did I mess up?
I also wish everyone would stop trying to sell this job to people with the special inside reward when one student comes back and thanks you. How about the myriad insults and degrading comments you hear before that one good one. Alot of jobs give thanks and alot of jobs affect people in special ways, without the feeling of anxiety and stress from this system and disrespectful kids who have more rights than the teachers who worked their tails off to get this job. God bless the martyrs I have to get out.
I wanted to thank you for your comments because I too am a first year teacher and everything you said was EXACTLY how I feel. I left my job as a banker to begin teaching because that is something I've wanted to do for a very long time. But who am I kidding, this is NOT a good fit for me. When I worked for the bank, I relaxed on the weekend and spent quality downtime with the family in the evening during the week. Now I am seriously regretting the career switch. I am constantly worrying about tomorrow and the weekends have seem to become nonexistant. I have frequent anxiety attacks, headaches, and stress related problems. It is mid year and I'll don't ever think I clearly get the lesson plans, state standards, high stakes testing preparations, and all the other requirements under control. I feel unappreciated, and although i kne unpaid its not worth it antmore. I feel I am doing a disservice to our students by remaining in a job where I am responsible for their success and I hate coming to work everyday. May I also add that I have three children of my own, and any advice would be helpful.
Hi, I'm working on a project about teachers who are on the fence about whether or not to quit their public school teaching job. If this sounds like you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 202-531-6322.
Thanks in advance,
Texas Ny couldn't have said it any better!
I fully agree that in my six years of teaching, I worked my butt off and yes, sure, I got compliments. But do you have any idea how many times I got the finger? Or was threatened by a student for taking their cell phone away while they tried to text message during class? How about threatening parents? Or how many times I've been told "F-you!" by a 15 year old 5' kid? FORGET IT! If the rest of you can go to bed at night and convince yourself at the end of the day that those thank you cards or emails or WHATEVER are enough, then that's awesome b/c you are sweet but foolish.
I used to make $34,500 teaching (That was in Kansas City, MO), and now I make about the same $36,000 as a corporate trainer. I don't work weekends anymore (or evenings) and I don't have constant headaches and worries about lesson plans/grades/papers, etc.
Like I said before....if you can hack teaching and all the CRAP that comes with it, great. But I'd never encourage anyone to go into this field.
I have been teaching high school for 6 years and I already had it. I have a handful of kids who keep in touch but for the rest I donít even exist. When I think of the times when I couldnít spend time with my family because I had to do school work I regret it so. I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference and touch peopleís lives but instead I have gotten emotionally drained, and for what? This year I lost a student in a car accident and this just put me over the edge. It was all I could do to get through the school year. Once school ended I started suffering from depression. I would love to find another job and never step foot into the classroom again but I canít afford to quit and I am not sure what other possibilities there are. On top of it, I am currently finishing my Masters in Education. I feel desperate. Do you have any suggestions?
I'm sorry you are feeling drained. I also taught for six years.....5 of high school and one year of middle school, at three different schools for two different districts. No matter the district, school or age group, I hated it. So I left and it's the best thing I ever did!
What subject/content area do you teach? I taught Spanish and so I got a job as a trainer with a company that has a Latin American division. What I love about it is that there's still all the rewarding and fun aspects of teaching without most of the B.S. No grading papers, you will never work another night in your life, not to mention most weekends you'll be free too. It's pretty much a Mon-Fri 9-5 job. Trainers are often the heartbeat of the company and a lot of the big-wigs cow-tow to us b/c we're important to them. If we do a good job, the company looks good. I think it also depends what size of training department you work for. Our department has 4 trainers, which is great b/c you aren't all alone, but there's not a slew of people you have to deal with either.
Maybe you might want to work in a museum as a curator if you taught history. Or if you were a PE teacher you could work for a YMCA as an aquatics director or sports director. (These are examples of fellow teachers I've known who have left). I know two French teachers who became admissions directors at a local community college. And a science teacher who edits science text books for Houghton-McMillan. There are tons of options, you just have to search them out!
If you are going to quit teaching, you need to be open to the possibility that you may have to start at an entry level job in order to work your way up.
What I mean by this is this: I applied to a call center working as a customer service agent. This sucked b/c I was on the phone listening to people complain. But four months after working there, one of the trainers was leaving to become a stay-at-home mom. I applied for the job and got it. Granted, I was lucky that there was an opening so soon, but the company knew me, knew my track-record as a good employee and with my degree and teaching background, I was a shoe-in. You might have to take a job making far less than you did teaching AT LEAST IN THE BEGINNING.....as long as you are with a company/organization that values promotion for within and has advancement potential, you will be fine!
After feeling so frustrated myself and reading your postings, I have been asking everyone I know, how do we change paths? I just spoke to an HR woman from a well known pharmaceutical company and she told me that many teachers move into corporate teaching. It does take some training but it pays off. I was looking at their salaries (around $70,000). I thought I should share with you.
Well, since I was inspired by my high school chorus teacher at 15, I dreamed and pursued aggressivly the life of a proud music teacher. and now, at 33, after 9 years of teaching, I can no longer do it. I have been lying to myself for 4 years soley on the rason that the kids like me, and that they find my class fun. Notice I did not state that Im a good teacher, only that Impopular. For this reason, I realise that all of this is quite a joke. I assumed ( you know what that spells) that other people would be interested in the beauty of msic as I was, and if they werent, i would show them all I knew......but instead, I speny my 20's living on the poverty line, suffering emotional distress, aging faster than my non teacher friends, and recieving than you notes instead of stipens or cash rewards. heck, a trip to Cape Cod would have done wonders for me. But instead, I walk away unsure of my future, with a degree in Music. I used to tell my self things were good, but as I realised I was a bit co-dependent from a tragic childhood, I could no lnger use my identity as the cool teacher to heal my past. I think things happen for a reason. I know now that I cannot see myself through the eyes of others and I wouldnt have learned that lesson if it wsnt for my teaching blues. where to? A long period of unemployment sounds cool but it sucks when i meet ladies. The 1st thing they judge you on seems to be your job. teaching never reeled 'em in, but jobless is even worse. Anyway, if I had it my way, we would teach more useful lifelong skills that would benefit eveyone. Not testing skills. I love kids, I really do, I just wish we could hangout together without the stress bearing down on us. On monday I will resign, and the town will be talking- admin. will cover up or even lie to avoid accountability. parents will call and ask where I went and why, and noone will tell them the truth. To all the people ou there who ae able to teach without the heartache..dont stop- you have the ability to ignore what I cant. Without you, we would have some really dumb people in this country. I respect you. Dont stop unless your miserable. To the rest of us who are leaving the job, I say.............YEEEEEEEEEHAWWWWW.
It is amazing how well you can articulate what I have been feeling. Two weeks from school starting and I am as confused and frustrated as I ever was. I want all those things that you mentioned but unfortunately they are not possible. I am thinking that cleaning houses would be better than going back as I find myself looking for a different job and I realize that I have little options. In the past I would have spent a lot of time planning and gathering materials during the summer. I used to look forward to meeting my students, it was kind of like having a baby. This year I don't even know what I will say the first day of class. I have prepared nothing and I don't even know if I will be able to make it through the year. Unfortunately, I feel extremely guilty because I just received tenure and I should be proud and happy but instead I just want to get the hell out.
I have been burnt by students left and right and I am hurt. I don't want to be an entertainer but a good influence. I am not sure where to go from here and this summer has been a living hell. I am no longer creative or resourceful.
I've been teaching 17 years. I can frankly say I've been the Mr. Keating or Mr. Holland at six high schools in three states (VA. CO. and UCSD Preuss School, CA.). I've had more success and abundant compliments than I deserve... from parents, students, administrators, and people who just hear my name mentioned in the grocery check-out line and say "Are you that teacher from xx high school?" I've taken kids to the Amazon, the Galapagos, sailing 40 foot yachts in the Bahamas, caving... I've taught Earth Science, Advanced Meteorology and Astronomy, and now Physics and Geospatial Technology (GIS). I've had a parent tell me I changed their childs life...I've been told "You need to get National Board certification". 90+% of my students pass the arbitrary SOL tests. And last year the senior class voted me "Most Valuable Teacher", a surprise award I received in front of 1600 students plus faculty during the senior awards ceremony. Now students are trying to switch in to my classes like never before....... I have become the "Super Teacher"...
So why do I want to quit? (for all the reasons listed by others)
That depresses me so. You are obviously a phenomenal teacher and just what our profession needs. Yet the "system" is chasing you out. We have a system that needs repair, and fast. We are losing the best of the best.
I was also in your space and quit just a few months ago. Taught for 14 years. Someone here said we knew what we were in for when we joined college, bull! This is an excuse teachers accept, brought on and championed by administration because it's one of the very few threads they have to hand on to. No one will do anything about the bad kids because there is nothing you or admin can do. I also don't need some nubie telling me that "they are just kids and that's what they do". My kids don't talk to me like that. Then there is the admin. , I have never met a group of people more disrespectful and unprofessional than administrators.
First I would like to say congrats to all of you who realized teaching isn't for you and were able to resign. I have been teaching math since 2001 and I just had enough. I teach ( I mean taught, thank God) in nyc and two days into the school year before the kids came in, I resigned. It was like i ran smack into a brick wall. As the summer vacation was coming to an end and I saw those back to school commercials I was just in agony. But I figured that i would toughen it out as i did each year prior. Boy was I wrong. As I sat through professional development, all I can say to myself is "I don't want to be here". It was so overwhelming that I knew I had reached my limit. Can anyone relate? Anyhow, I am not working and don't know exactly what I am going to do next, but I am so happy I made that decision. My question is as follows: How can we explain on an interview the reason behind leaving teaching without having another job lined up? It may give an implication to them that you could do the same with any job.
There's enough wrong with the teaching profession without people in it that don't want to do it. Please, stop trying to collect a paycheck and let someone who really wants to teach have your job. Unless we were paid a million dollars year, we will never get what we deserve.
Also, I feel like I make alot of money because I was previously a social worker. I was taking home 1300 per month! Let me tell you, it was alot more stressful than what I'm doing now.
You need to look inside yourself before you blame teaching for your misery. Making more money and having more things is not going to make you happy if you're not happy inside. If I could no longer teach, I would be sad, but because I am happy person, I know that I wouldn't be miserable.
After 8 years of teaching, no amount of unnecessary paperwork, insane administrators, spoiled brats, or clueless parents would ever steal my joy. That seems to be the issue. My pastor said to let no one and nothing steal your joy. After he said that (about 5 years ago), I stopped letting people and things steal my joy. I have a joy for life, a joy for my family, and a joy for teaching.
I am in my 18th year of teaching, 2nd year as an art teacher. While I love art, I don't love teaching, and really never did. Too much stress. Anyway, I would love to quit, but not only am I worried about making the same money ($65,000), I am worried about my retirement. Is there any way that I can continue within my retirement system and not have to deal with teaching???
To the people who say that the children "deserve" only the best teachers who don't complain and LOVE their job and give 100%... yeah, only in a perfect world! Why shouldn't teachers expect the same in return? That is, to have ONLY the best adminstrators, access to ONLY the best resources and technology, ONLY the best support of the parents who we are HELPING to raise the best children for our "society", not to mention ONLY THE BEST financial support from the community (businesses and taxpayers included). We cannot continue with the mentality of thinking that it's "okay" to only support the schools in which we own property and to hell with the others.
I know many altruistic teachers who HAVE dedicated their lives to teaching; who are veiwed by both students and their peers in their later years as a "fossil" who needs to retire but cannot afford to. Nobody is caring about that eldery teacher who has given EVERYTHING she has to give as they literally push her out the door.
Teachers are not as stupid as the people who like to treat us that way. Yes, we do know when we sign up how much work is involved as a teacher, and how little pay. But, there is no possible way that any one of you could have been prepared for all the changes in "best practices" that occur almost every year. Besides the point of "knowing" what teaching is like, why isn't it reasonable to expect that things would get better and easier at some point after your first 5-10 years? After NCLB gets changed to the new and latest politician's platform, we'll all be scrambling to meet those standards... Election year is here if you haven't noticed. Where do these know it all politicians send their children to become educated??? Public school??? Hmmmmm....
I don't care how "organized" or "decluttered" or "isolated from negativity" you become, this career choice, if done correctly, takes EVERYTHING from it's best teachers without regard from the teacher's humanity and dignity. In a capitalistic society in which we live, teacher's cannot compete in a free market, therefore, we are set up for failure. Children do suffer; b/c of the system, not b/c of teachers. But, I guess since they cannot vote, or pay taxes, no one REALLY cares about the kids (society). We'll except, for the atruistic teachers out there who are able to leave at 3 each day with a smile on your face, who didn't "allow" others to steal your joy! Good job to you, for finding a way to better manage your students to "keep them quiet" so you can get all your "teaching" done.
Kudos to you teachers who accept the system for what it is, and manage to "go with the flow", and hang in there until retirement. Hope it's all worth it! You are much better than I! I'm sure you are making a difference.
Thank you for your inspiration. It's just what I needed to hear today as I prepare myself to plan yet another week of lessons that I hope are going to be successful. It is also helpful to know that even as a teacher gains experience, that these feelings are normal and not a measure of how effective or ineffective we beleive we are. I am on my 13th year and struggle with my career choice, especially when I feel resentful of all the time it sucks away from my family. I just hope my daughters and husband never feel that my job is more important then spending time with them. Thank goodness for an extremly supportive husband who believes in the importance of what I do!
This is my first year teaching in a charter school. I knew teaching would be hard with a little salary but I thought that maybe things would get better. From reading all your posts that does not seem to be the case. I keep telling myself that this is my first year, that it is the hardest and that the next year and so on will be better. But I have a feeling that is not the case. I am going to quit now while I am still young (23). Going back to school feels better to me than staying in a job that makes me have anxiety attacks. I feel like I dont know what to do with my life. I have hit a road block and now I am lost. Any advice on what field I can go into? I would like to still work with children.
I'm so thankful for boards like this...I am in my second year of teaching, it's October, I've gotten an offer for a job in the admissions department at a HIGHLY respected business school, and I have to decide by tomorrow morning if I'm going to take it...I want to more than anything. My concerns: losing summer (I think I can get over this one), quitting mid-year...
anyone done this before? Does it totally take you out of the running for EVER teaching again?? What if I decide to come back to teaching? Would I ever be able to if I left a high-performing school district in the middle of OCTOBER??
I had to quit a teaching position mid year but it was for a different reason - my husband's job was relocated. I HATED quiting that way but it was unavoidable. There were no hard feeling toward me, but I don't know how they will react to your situation.
How did that affect your licsence, contract, etc.?
That's what I'm most scared of, I think...I don't really understand what happens when a teacher breaks a contract mid-year...and was it easy for you to find another teaching job? I just don't want to burn every single bridge I have! I'm so scared!
i found this thread by typing "i want to quit teaching" in google. i guess i just need to feel like i'm not alone. the original post was about a year ago, but it looks like it is still bringing people together. i've been reading Harry Wong's book "The First Days of School" even though it's a little too late in the year for it. i think we're in week 10. i had never read it before. it seems to have a lot of great stuff for taking the workload off the teacher and putting work back on the students, but the work that's left is still a lot more work than i will admit to wanting to do. i just plain don't want to do the work.
i don't enjoy teaching anymore. i don't think that i ever have. i teach in a place where the students are disrespectful, live in poverty, and some of them tell me i'm "too nice." it's crowd control. in fact, i'm not sure how much teaching of art i actually do. one teacher tells me "we're just planting seeds. we don't get to teach the way we want to, but we are planting seeds, watering them, praying for growth, etc." and i tell you, i don't think i'm strong enough to do that. i don't even want to teach in another district at this point. i'm considering teaching high school in a different district next year, if i can, and really getting myself prepared before the first days of school (as per Harry Wong) but right now i feel like i hate teaching and will hate it no matter where i go. i hate writing lessons. i've come to dislike the concept of teaching - the transfer of knowledge. i like the idea of teaching children how to learn.
oh, well. but i get to wear jeans tomorrow.
also: about breaking contract. i know that in my district you have to pay 1000 to break contract, but i've also heard that they can choose to make you stay even if you pay to break your contract. (i heard, as well, that they haven't ever made anybody stay.)
1000!!! Wow! I keep looking in my contract, but there are absolutely no provisions for what will happen in the event the contract is broken by _me_, not the district. Anything else says to refer to employment legislation; from what I understand, it requires 30 days notice to terminate the contract. However, I'm afraid of the "black mark" syndrome...anyone been in this situation/know anyone who has? What happened? (I have to decide in the next 10 hours! Eek!!)
I am thinking about quitting in the middle of my first year. I have not signed a contract so there is no problem there. I am preparing to go to grad school and want to get accepted by next fall. I need advice. Should I quit and concentrate on school or should I stick it out even though I really really dont enjoy it??
I am so glad I came across this board. I thought that it was me who felt like teaching was the hardest thing I ever did. I have been teaching for 6 years though I'm now on maternity leave. Before my child was born I knew I wanted to quit teaching for all the reasons listed by others on this board. I am a very good teacher. Too good in fact! I sacrificed myself so I wouldn't have to sacrifice a single child in my class. That meant working many many extra hours in order to be able to "differentiate' among children (One class for instance: 29 students with 15 spec. ed children in it with NO aid). Since I teach a foreign language, I get even less respect than teachers teaching other subjects. I developed an anxiety disorder which went away almost completely once I stopped teaching to have my baby. And having and raising a child is very challenging, but not as stressful as teaching. I now love my Sunday evenings, which I used to dread. Some of the students I had were very disrespectful although most were o.k. That handful of very disrespectful students were not worth my time and effort. I can't believe I cared so much! I'm done being a martyr. I can now put things in perspective, and I know that my heart and abilities can be put to different use. The problem I have is I don't know what to do! I mean, job wise.
Is there anyone who has a suggestion based on my circumstances? These are my circumstances: I have a baby at home. He is only 10 months old. I will not go back to working outside the house until he goes to school full time (1st grade). I need to stay in the education field because I need to be home when my son is home (My choice is to raise my child spending as much time with him as I possibly can). What else could I do in the field of ed. that wouldn't involve teaching and/or all the hassles that go along with it? I don't need a big salary as my husband does pretty well.
I was just wondering where you can make $50,000 after just 3 years? Do you have a doctorate? That is much more than a 3rd year teacher with their masters degree makes in my distict; one of the highest paying districts in the nation.
Do you know how to get into corporate teaching? I have never really heard of this before. I assume corporations need teachers from time to time, but I never really thought about this being a full time job. Any information on this would be appreciated. I, too, just left teaching and am looking for another career. Thanks
I totally agree with you. It's my 8th year though, 'cuz we're needing the money. What did you decide to do? That's what I can't figure out. What else can I do? I'm just so sick of all of it. Yes, the kids are great and all that other stuff, but it's not worth it.
When I left teaching, I tried REALLY HARD to break into anything. I wasn't certain what I wanted to do, but I knew I had a college degree so I applied for positions that I KNEW I was well qualified for. The problem is, after you teach a while (I taught for 6 years), society loses faith in you when you try to get a job in the "real world." I dont think anyone took me seriously.
I finally landed a training position by simply sucking it up and entering my company doing a peon-type job. I entered the company as a customer service rep answering phone calls. Totally entry-level, and slightly less than teaching---at first. I just worked really hard and showed that I was very organized, a multi-tasker with great people skills. I also made it well known to all my supervisors and team leaders that I had a degree in teaching and wanted to become a trainer at some point. There was a someone who left for mat leave and decided not to return. So that's my biggest piece of advice....put a bug in everyone's ear who's important. Let them know your goals and take advantage of EVERY opportunity to show leadership. They will remember your qualifications and initiative. Anyway, unlike teaching, in the corporate world you are rewarded for your hard work. Now that I've been in my position for over a year, I qualify for quarterly bonuses. Those are NICE.
Despite the extra bonus checks, the biggest and most important change has been my quality of life. It has improved by leaps and bounds. I am embrassed to admit this (pulling a bag over my head and turning red), but teaching was affecting my self-worth. Now I feel GOOD about my accomplishments because I feel I AM accomplishing something. I have so much extra free time to spend with my family and I don't feel like a ball of stress at the end of the day anymore. I feel appreciated, respected and valued---and that's more than what I can say for teaching.
Good luck to all you in your job searches.
I hope someday you all come to know the BLISS of being an EX-TEACHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )
Not to disagree with your assertion SOC, but I'm not so sure you're in one of the highest paying districts in the nation. A first year teacher in the NJ district where I teach will make $50,000 with a MA.
Having said that, we are run ragged for that money and it is in no way compensation for the ungrateful parents who pick at each and every little thing we do.
I am so relieved to find that I am not the only one who is going through this! It doesn't help that none of my freinds are teachers... and although thay are patient and listen, I know they get tired of me talking about school and my kids ALL the time. The problem is that I honestly can think of nothing else to talk about. THis is my first full year teaching, and I was thrilled when I was offered a Kindergarten class. I had done a 6th grade long term the year before and HATED it, but told myself it was because I am not an "upper grade" teacher. I have taught pre-school, been a nanny and did student teaching in 2nd grade... I was ready for the 5 year olds.
What I wasn't ready for was my lack of classroom management. I find myself rarely getting through a lesson, reading centers are a joke, and the times I actually do finish a lesson it's because I'm ignoring "my four". I have a child with ADHD who is not medicated... and I am in no way saying that I feel medication is the only answer, but with NO support at home, parents who literally let the TV baby-sit him because they "don't know what to do with him", it may help him. He has a friend that follows his every move. A girl who is just defiant to everyone- me, recess teachers, counselors... and another boy who "hear's voices" according to his aunt. He has frequent outbursts, and a dire need for attention 100% of the time. I recieve a lot of support from the counseling office, but I would be on the phone every 2 minutes if I called each time there was an incident.
The majority of my other students are so eager to learn it breaks my heart that they are suffering because of my lack of ability to "control" these 4 students. I feel I have to be doing something wrong... my room should not be the state of chaos it is on a daily basis. I haven't even been able to set up guided reading groups yet because during centers I am consatantly having to redirect children. I am so afraid as to how behind my class is...
I look at the other teachers at my school and I feel bad that my students are "stuck" with me. I am sure that if I was in a school where the parents were involved there would be complaint after complaint about me to the principal. I grew up playing school, even had my Dad mount a white board to my closet door... I have no idea what else I want to do, but I just don't feel I am cut out for this profession.
I am also trying to leave mid year. Mostly because I stayed in an area over a relationship that has left me with nothing. I now have no network of family or friends here. I am earning less then I could be elsewhere and I dislike my school I work at very much. The kids are fine. I am just so new to teaching I do not know what I am doing with 4th grade curriculum. I did horribly on my evaluation which was done very early on and I feel that I am not wanted at this school campus. I don't feel I would get a fair evaution from anyone and I have little to no energy to complete the required "growth plan" that I believe I have been unfairly put on. How can you expect a person with no experience except one year internship at Pre-K, to step into 4th grade and turn around a group of bilingual students who are years behind in academics around just like that?? Due to my personal cirucumstances I want to leave my contract and try to find work where I might have more support as a single parent. How would my teaching credentials be effected and what if I don't list this current employer on my applications since I have only been here a few months?? Thanks and god bless you all who have stuck with teaching for so long.
I softly chuckle while I read these posts because after 10 years of teaching, I feel all of your pain. I took this past summer to start sending out "feelers" to leave teaching. I connected with a career advisor, overhauled my resume, and went to job fairs.
I want to leave for all of the same reasons mentioned previously. The crux of the dilemma of what to do next is felt by any teacher. I have witnessed these as I attempt to break out of teaching. First, the business world (as does most of society) belittles you and sees you as having few valuable skills. The reality is that you all probably have better communication skills, multi-tasking abilities, and management skills than most business people do! Secondly, your teacher training did just what was supposed to do, train you to be a teacher - nothing more. There are not many other career paths that parallel teaching. You need to accentuate skills, not your teaching experience. Lastly, as mentioned in a previous post, you may need to accept a lower salary . . . at first. Short term pain for long term gain.
I haven't left teaching yet, but am working towards it. I am drawing the line in the sand, so I can delineate my self-preservation. The teaching job, if done well, will suck you dry like a vampire.
I have had many student teachers, and I hace a knack for picking out the ones I feel will succeed or not early on in their time with me. The fact that all of you are at home (I'm guessing you would't be doing this on a school computer) shows that you care. And I know that caring is the the number one quality that all good teachers need. The other's can be learned... if you give yourself time.
I quit during the last week of September. I was lucky enough to get myself out of the quicksand before it pulled me in. I was a career changer and taught for seven months. I just about had it because my school was disorganized, unsupportive and unrealistic with the deadlines for the mountain of paperwork, assessments, and bulletin board displays. I was always thinking about work, even in my dreams I was in the classroom. I was too tired to help my son with homework. I was heartbroken because I really enjoyed the teaching moments with the children. Once I quit and began interviewing, I actually told my potential employers the truth. Once employers hear you and notice your sincerity, you will increase your chances of obtaining a job. If you have a good work history and good references, you should not have a problem finding an employer that actually supports you and values your hard work.
I left my previous career to get a MA in Education and a teaching license so I could have a job where I was helping to "make the world a better place" instead of helping to make my employer rich. This summer I was excited about my new DREAM job; this fall I HATE my job! Like many of you, I can't relax and have nightmares, headaches, and constant stress. I am constantly worrying and planning and worrying about planning. I have always been an overachiever and, apparently, I can't take it when things don't work out - I feel like a loser everyday! I am a grumpy ##### and it's affecting my husband and children. I am thinking about quitting after Christmas and I feel guilty about that too! I'm a loser, I quit midyear - yep that'll soon be me.
SOC, i just saw your comment to the person about making $50,000.
well this is only my 4th year teaching..and I only have my masters degree, and I am making over $57,000..I am not even the highest paying bracket....there are two more levels above me with more collegecredits things...it really just depends on what state and what area of the country you live in I think. I make this much in CA.....and it is one of the higher paying counties in the state, in my opinion..but people say its a higercost of living here.
Well, after the first semester this year, I've changed my life plans. I've realized that the daily grind of teaching is not for me. I'm looking forward to freedom from this stress and hoping that I can make enough cash as a tutor to last out the academic year.
It's been nice to read everyone's impressions. I guess I don't have much to add, except, "yeah". I have felt guilty about leaving this school mid-year, but I'm getting over it. I mean, I didn't give them 2-weeks notice, I gave them 3 months notice! And they still can't find a replacement, qualified or unqualified! That tells you something.
It's not the pay that's the problem. It's the working conditions. Plain and simple. Why do subs sub? The days may be hellish, but at least they can enjoy the weekends.
The union is obviously fighting a losing battle. The high rate of new-teacher turnover and the national shortage of math & science teachers are indicators of the serious problems with the current organization. I'm not going to shoulder those shortcomings as my own. I'm not going to bust my ass so that the district can cut three more special-ed teachers and drop more high needs kids into my already over-crowded classes. Call me selfish.
I'm putting in a vote of no-confidence and I'm leaving. In 15 days, I, too, will become another burn-out statistic. I'm happy to become one. Who thinks it shouldn't be this way? Stand up and be counted.
I feel like I have been waiting for 4 and a half years for it to get easier, to become the teacher I thought I could be and to feel like I can balance work and a fulfilling personal life. None of this has come. I am still waiting. I wait for the weekend only to have to work more. I wait for summer just so that I can stop feel like I am drowning and so that I can feel like I can indulge in some time not thinking about work, in some time where I can regain strength, health and my center...only to have less and less of that time to myself. It seems the more time in the field the more they pile on your plate or expect you to pile on yourself "voluntarily."
I wait to have energy. I never have the energy to be the person in this life that I want to be for myself or as a role model for students. I donít want to pretend to students any more that I am living the life I want or want them to have or that I got an education so that I could have the opportunity to have this job that I so visibly am not happy with. I believe in myself and what the world has to offer me that I know there is more out there.
Hey everyone! I just found this thread and hope some of us can talk through this. I was a communications major and worked in public relations for 3 years. I was in the process of a job change when the 9/11 attacks happened, and my job was gone. I started substituting and it went from there. I did an alternate teaching program and starting teaching fall 02. This is my 6th year. In my 4th year I became special ed certified and taught spec ed last year and loved it. Then we moved to the hill country and now I am in a small district teaching 3rd grade for the first time (taught mostly 2nd before), dealing with TAKS and a very low class that was dumped on me because of my special ed experience.
I have wanted to leave teaching for 3 years but have not been brave enough. I am scared to give up my summers now - although I'm realizing that excuse is not cutting it anymore. We have a 3 year old daughter and I'm expecting again in april. I think I'm officially ready to leave teaching. I just can't handle the mental stress anymore. I am too much of a perfectionist - too hard on myself - and there aren't enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. I know I'm a great teacher, but the stress is too much. It's like you all say - between the grading, no resources, behavior problems, planning, etc, I just can't find joy in it anymore.
I resigned from my teaching position last week. I wish that I could have made it through the year, but I began to see that it would be impossible. I feel so guilty leaving my kids behind, but for my physical and emotional health I knew I had to move on. I was having panic attacks, my skin had broken out, and I cried constantly. I admire those who were made to teach. I had to come to terms with the fact that teaching just isn't my niche. Good luck to you all!
I am getting my masters in Education and also Administration, and my thesis deals with Teacher attrition, and I have been looking for additional reasons why teachers quit or want to quit. I wanted to thank everyone for the information stated here, and I hope to use it to influence a change in my district to help retain more teachers. In Southern CA, teachers at least make more upon starting at $36,000, and by now after teaching 6 years and taking classes, I am at $63,000 before even finishing my masters. However, CA has a very high cost of living (Houses start at $300,000 minimum and usually are around $500,000). I am finding that pay, student population, and administration appears to be the highest factors influencing teachers to quit teaching. Would others here agree with me? Any suggestions of changes that could be made to retain more teachers?
Any suggestions of changes that could be made to retain more teachers?
How about generally feeling out of any control? I don't mean classroom control, but control of what and how you are teaching. NCLB has caused a lot of teaching to the test, etc.
And not just low pay, but what we are paid in relation to how much work we put in. Which brings me to meeting the needs of 32 kids (I also teach in California) - planning and grading for at least 5 different subjects every day with no help (I have never had an aide) takes up most of my life and I have no personal life from mid August to mid June. And then much of summer is spent on Personal Development units. No life outside of teaching is what finally made me leave the profession - not pay.
I have to agree 100% with what Mrs. G said. I don't have much complain about the pay either, it's just that after you computer all the hours a teacher works in a give week (lesson planning, grading, contacting parents, meetings, workshops, IEP's etc), I'd say I was probably averaging $8/hr at best.
After a while, having little to no personal life was exhausting. I wasn't getting enough out of teaching compared to what I put into it.
Many principals treat you like you're a bother when you come in seeking guidance. Their either too busy, too jaded or too burned out to care. I had excellent classroom control and my lessons were creative and inspiring. But that came at such a high personal price that it just wasn't worth it anymore.
I left after 5 years (and so have most of my teacher friends). Now when I come home from work, I can really be *at home* and enjoy my friends and family. As soon as I left teaching it's like a huge weight was lifted and I started feeling happy, like myself again. I enjoy my life so much more now! : )
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these posts...I searched for "quit+teaching" on google and ended up here. I have found myself laughing out loud and sharing some posts with my husband because I feel so similar to many people who have posted! I am in my 6th year of teaching and am feeling confident that it will be my last.
I teach in a high achieving public school in a wealthy suburb. I fully understand that teaching in a poorer district has huge challenges, but at times I wish that is where I taught! The parents' demands, students' "I've never heard no" attitudes, parents not believing that their child can do anything wrong, constant parent phone calls/e-mails, and parents' over involvement at school frustrates me so much. (I know that may sound ridiculous, but please believe me! It's a whole other world at my school!) I have enough stories to write a book about the ridiculous things that have gone on at my school. I have suffered from anxiety attacks and general anxiety about going to work each day.
I have noticed lately that most teachers I talk to are not happy with their job. Even those who do not realize it complain about it on a regular basis. We just had a week and a half off for winter break and I had a great time, but I couldn't help from thinking each day that I was one day closer to having to go back.
I am now looking into going back to school for some variety of a business degree (I'm 28 and have a Master's in Education.) I have applied for corporate trainer positions, but have never even gotten an interview...it seems that you do have to first get into the company doing an entry-level job and then work up to a training position.
It is so refreshing to think as I file activities away for next year, that I will not be the teacher dealing with it in a year!
I've been teaching for 8 years. In our district, parents are always right, no matter how outrageous their accusations or demands. I get up in the morning feeling terribly conflicted. I know my kids love me and learn from me. At the same time, I always know that the administration is going to take the side of any complaining parent who is dysfunctional, alcoholic, abusive, etc., and who is in search of someone (besides him- or herself) to blame for his/her child's problems. For example, I was physically assaulted by a parent in my first year of teaching (her daughter failed my class, had a history of failing, every number I had for mom was disconnected, letters I mailed home were returned as undeliverable). Of course, the mother didn't bother to come to the school to try to get help for her daugther until after the daughter had already failed the semester. Then, somehow, it was my fault. After the parent put her hands on me, I terminated the meeting by running away, getting in my car and going to the police station. Our superintendent's response? "This is not how we treat parents who are trying to stay involved in their children's lives." Verbatim. As recently as two days ago, a parent who has not returned any of my emails, letters, or phone calls called me and left a long abusive message on my voicemail, threatening my job, etc. I don't know why I've stayed. I guess I really did love many parts of it, in spite of the craziness and abuse. Now I just wake up in the morning with a sick feeling in my gut. I can't ever seem to relax and enjoy the kids. I'm always waiting for some angry, crazy parent to come storming in my classroom and abuse me in some way, and to have the administration tell me I deserve it. I can't take it anymore.
Hey everyone...these posts have been insightful and kind of make me feel better. I am a student teacher who just got done with the first week. This is completely awkward and random but hear me out. About three years ago, while still in college, my thumb nails started breaking out in a strange yellow tinge. I went to countless doctors and specialists but they either had no idea what it was or would give me meds that never helped. Progressively the yellowish tint got worse and started spreading to more finger nails (I currently have one nail that is healthy and without yellowish grossness). I am so self conscious about these and have been since it started. I have been depressed the last 4 months knowing I would be put in a social situation (teaching) that would no doubt involve the intricate use of my hands (passing out papers, emphasizing points, etc.), an action that I am very self conscious about. I mean, this week I did anything and everything to avoid a student getting a glimpse of my hands and 9 fingers. This is psychologically distressing for me and countless people have said stick with it....face your fear. Well, I can't, and I don't plan on putting myself thru a mental torture test just to say I persevered. I can't believe I've waited this long, I told myself I could get thru it....I feel cursed and I know I shouldn't. Guys coming back from Iraq with their legs blown off, now thats a problem. 99% of people have no idea where I'm coming from though. I have literally hidden my nails from my own family at times...the people I'm most comfortable in the world with, so how can I be open about this with students I don't even know yet? I think I'm going to get out while its still early. I've been embarressed to even have my own teacher see them. This is crazy, I went to school and worked so hard to get to this point, but there is just no way I can function properly in a school setting. It would not be good for my mental and emotional health if I went thru this, nor for the kids. They don't deserve a teacher who is not comfortable in his own skin. I need help. Any advice is welcome.
I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like (and this is just my opinion) maybe the nail disease has become kind of a metaphor for something else you're feeling uncomfortable about. I saw a hypnotherapist a few times for a similar problem, and she really helped me. That's not to say that a hypnotherapist could cure your nails, but maybe a counselor or someone like that could help you deal with your anxiety.
I don't know! The only thing I can think of is be a classroom assistant. I can't believe I actually just typed that. What else is there for me? I won't teach because of the huge responsibility that it is. So huge in fact that to do it right you have to spend almost 100% of your life devoted to it. That's no life I want or can live anymore. I know for sure I won't go back to teaching, but I need to be in the education field so I can be home when my son is. My husband cannot believe that his wife who holds 3 teaching certificates wants to work as an assistant. My baby is only 13 months old, and I don't plan to go back to work until he goes to school full-time (1st grade). So, I have time to think about it. However, I don't see what else I could do. What do you think? Does it sound crazy to you? Do be candid, after all this is the Internet! : )
My teaching partner quit last year to become an teaching aide. She was a wonderful teacher, but it is just so difficult as you know. She is working as a teacher in a school library 5 days a week, three hours a day. She teaches mini-lessons to the kids & does other library tasks. There is also a full-time librarian. She loves it!!!! She gets to teach kids but doesn't have to deal with grades & parents.
I thought about being a librarian but I dismissed the idea because I know you need to get a Media Specialist degree/certificate. At least in the state where I live you need it. Also, the only librarian I know worked in the school I taught and her schedule was crazy.
I'm sick of it all too, and I agree with everything you said. I say amen, amen, amen! Unforunately, because of my husband's good job in this rural area, I don't really have any other employment options. I have two masters already, and I just can't bear going back to school for another. I am so tired, and I've only been teaching 2/1/2 years!
I whole-heartedly agree with all of the above posts. Teaching, it seems from all of my years of teaching, is a self-imposed vicious cycle. The education and training you receive as a teacher creates a narrowly focused, limiting career option. It is not transferrable to other careers. Yes, we all have desirable skills needed in business and industry (decision-making, planning, communicating, etc.).
However, after months of trying to break out of teaching, interviewers surmise that I am "just a teacher" with no "real" skills. All of the "professional development" meetings and workshops I have ever attended have not been of significant value. The few morsels I learn are not worth the condescending, mind-numbing hours they consume. I have never been trained in cutting-edge strategies or technology. Most of the time it is recycled concepts you learned about back in college. I do not want to go back and get a Master's in Education. Why do I need to spend tens of thousands of dollars so more students whine and parents can ridicule me? This is called "degree inflation".
Like the rest of you, I used to be an energetic, excellent teacher. Now my health is declining, and my soul is slumping.
I have not been teaching all of this year (quiting at the end of last school year in June), and while my personal life has improved a thousand percent - I am not working around the clock, career-wise has been tough. People see "teacher" and all the teaching education I have on my resume, and they dismiss me. I actually have lots of other non-teaching experience, but that is overshadowed by teaching. I've actually just removed all the references to teaching and am beginning to send out my revised resume. We'll see how that goes.
It has been so great to read the posts of new and seasoned teachers who are getting out of education. This is my first year of teaching. I teach Family and Consumer Science (FACS) in grades 6-8 in a small suburban school district. I have decided not to continue my teaching career; the anxiety attacks on Sunday nights and the long hours during the workweek and weekend in exchange for "nice" breaks in the winter and summer are no longer compatible. I had been feeling guilty about leaving after my first year because I have been doing some great activities with the kids and am doing a generally good job. But my heart just isn't in it, and I get depressed thinking about doing this for years on end. Both of my parents are teachers (Mom has taught 27 years and Dad is in his 19th year), and they have been very supportive of me on the days I have needed advice. But I just know that teaching is not the job for me. I signed up for a career assessment class at the local community college so that I can try and get a feel for the next direction I should go. But even as I type this, I feel a great relief in my heart that I am making the right decision for me. Best of luck to those of you who are still undecided....your answer will come in time.
The small rewards that come with teaching are far overshadowed by the numerous negatives. It truly amazes me that a few people exist who can take teaching in stride and appear chipper as can be. I, on the other hand, can do without the anxiety, the tears, the depression. After three years of teaching in public school, I've had enough. It's sad because I know I am a good teacher and can only improve with time. However, TIME is the issue at stake. I can't see myself working 60-70 hours a week for the next 25 years. I'm married, 31 years old, but with no kids. How do people with kids handle this job? I only decided to teach after going through a great graduate program. The composition courses I taught at a university were awesome, and truly represenative of teaching a realistic writing process. I loved it. If I become an adjunct professor, I will make diddly. I want to write, but I also need to live. Oh, to be the cliche who has a husband with a job that will allow us to get by. For the few students I have impacted, I simply don't give a fig anymore. I plan creative lessons, blah, blah, blah. Then I cry at might when the stress gets to me. Life is too short. TIME's a wasting. I've discovered that while I am be a good educator, I work within a system that will never allow true education to take place. Our society does not value education, so of course it is not surprising that teachers are not treated as professionals.
This is an interesting board, I like everybody's candor. After 9 years I have had it. Chronic absences, learned helplessness, knee-jerk defensiveness, wow have some kids been raised wrong. Like anybody who loves teaching, I've been throwing my heart and soul into it, but I can not do it any more. I think the thing that gets me most is a growing epidemic of tardiness/truancy. It is a rare kid who makes it 5 days a week, 7 classes a day. Why are parents permitting such obscene attendance rates?
I dont need a huge paycheck. Ive been teaching for 10 years, but i would like enough money to purchase a house someday, raise a family. Hell, i would rather have money for my classroom!! THAT would make my life easier. I would like buses to be available for field trips, nothing big. Personally, i dont buy into the whole "working after 5" i just dont do it. the papers will be graded when i have time in school. End of story. If the kids dont like it, tough, if the parents dont like it tough. Im just not gonna stress out or bust my ass to be underappreciated. I've thought about leaving teaching every year, but for as many times and ive had those thoughts, ive also told myself that this is the best job anyone could have. As for the scumbag, pain in the butt kids, it's called evolution, the apple does fall far from the tree. Ive have plenty of great kids that try their best (reguardless of homelife) have a smile on their face and are respectful. they're the ones that will save this profession.
I dont need a huge paycheck. Ive been teaching for 10 years, but i would like enough money to purchase a house someday, raise a family. Hell, i would rather have money for my classroom!! THAT would make my life easier. I would like buses to be available for field trips, nothing big. Personally, i dont buy into the whole "working after 5" i just dont do it. the papers will be graded when i have time in school. End of story. If the kids dont like it, tough, if the parents dont like it tough. Im just not gonna stress out or bust my ass to be underappreciated. I've thought about leaving teaching every year, but for as many times and ive had those thoughts, ive also told myself that this is the best job anyone could have. As for the scumbag, pain in the butt kids, it's called evolution, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Ive have plenty of great kids that try their best (reguardless of homelife) have a smile on their face and are respectful. they're the ones that will save this profession.
My large school district annually hires 900-1,000 new teachers every year. This is not done because of retirements, but resignations. School districts just don't get it. "The system" we use to educate our children is antiquated and riddled with faulty loopholes. I am sure most readers can recognize the problems quickly. In order to deflect the glaring problems of our schools, society finds an easier, submissive scapegoat - teachers. Some well-meaning, but naiive teachers keep believing we need to "stick it out and fight". But alas, you are fighting for change when you have almost no authority to bring it about within the current system's framework.
My boyfriend convinced me to join the illustrious program that gives you a free master's degree when you teach in the inner city for a few years. He told me that he quit after the first hellish year where brutality and criminal acts were committed by students every hour of every day within his school. He got an unsatisfactory rating for using picture books for a 5th grade class who were near illiterate, but found a new teaching job in the suburbs where he constantly wins awards for teaching, getting grants, and bringing up test scores. He makes teaching seem like fun! Never wants to leave his job, pushed me to do it, "don't worry! Everyone has to pay their dues before you get a better teaching job!" and wants me to complete this awful program...the same one he couldn't manage to do!
I wasn't sure it was for me but it seemed better than my social work job, it paid more, read books with kids and a master's degree could be obtained for free. I never questioned why the hell I wanted the master's degree or why I thought teaching would give my life meaning but I think it was something that appealed to my ego that longed for the coveted title: TEACHER (and the summer vacations).
Two and a half years later: Student curses, threats, thefts, pressures, standardized tests and those Kaplan books...every...year...tardiness, general destruction of chairs and tables, pencils thrown, and unresponsive parents and friggin bulletin board requirements...the gossipers (every school has 'em)and I'm tired. I'm about to get my degree and for what? no ego left. marginally educated. burned out. wishing I had pursued art because then the suffering could be creatively expressed. Bulletin boards? Did I miss the class on bulletin board anxiety and excessive coverages for new teachers? Did they happen to mention how new teachers in this program get all the behavior issue kids in their classrooms or how obtaining photocopies of a worksheet involves administrative permission and a 3 day wait? No security around, no detentions for the emotional behavior kids who will knock you over in order to punch out one of their friends and pick everyone's locks as the chaos ensues. I feel like I joined the army without realizing it and fear the post traumatic stress syndrome that could hit me some day of this very, long, drawn-out war of the wills.
Don't get me wrong. I've had some incredibly great moments in teaching and my lesson plans don't usually fall flat but the energy needed for all this. The psychic drain, the exhaustion...and all I wonder about is, how will my boyfriend ever let me out of this cause he won't. Arguments ensue about job security, saving for a house one day, keeping regular hours...followed by, "I don't care what you do but good luck trying to find a different job outside of teaching." Wow, the encouragement, the man of my dreams, who is this guy that convinced me to be a teacher? Perhaps he's living this out through me, hoping I'll finish for him.
Point being, I have 3.5 months left in this school year and the 3 year program. Getting through tomorrow without a fight breaking out in my classroom? Priceless. The 3 o'clock bell is my one comfort...oh, and this email chain that allows me to vent, that judges not the disillusioned, and allows me to live vicariously through the adventurous life do-overs that many of you have managed to create. I may continue to teach but I always want to feel that I have that option to simply lock my door and walk away...for good.
You DO have the option to lock your door and walk away for good, if YOU want. Don't do ANYTHING for someone else---it will just breed resentment.
Teaching requies way more than the average job, as anyone who has ever taught already knows.
As an ex-prisonmate myself (oops! meant ex-teacher....funny how they're so similar, isn't it?), I can tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I KNEW I was in the wrong profession when I had one year of coursework left. I convinced myself to finish up the year of classes and semester of student teaching. While I don't want to say that I "regret" it (as I learned A LOT about life, parenting, social work and how strong I really am emotionally), I can say looking back that my interests would have been better served with a business degree.
I don't want to speak for other teachers or ex-teachers, but in my experience, the teacher education program gave me a lot of USELESS soft-skills, and not the real skills needed for a job outside of teaching.
I was lucky and got in with a great company and a group of trainers that believed in me and helped me learn computer skills. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to break out, and I know the same is there for you.