I'm almost halfway through my third year teaching, it's my worst year yet, and I would love your insights. I've gone from teaching 11th grade chemistry to 9th grade environmental science and people warned me I was in for a hard year but I had no idea how bad it would be. Nearly all of my students either were socially promoted from middle school so aren't actually 9th graders or are repeating the class. They've had academic and/or behavioral struggles for years and it shows. I've always struggled with classroom management because I find crowd control really challenging and though I've come a long way in terms of being able to confront students and contact their parents, my classes are still wildly out of control. I teach at a high poverty, high trauma school and my students bring so much baggage that they're always on edge and picking fights with each other (in addition to just pretending but I never know how serious they are). They refuse to stop talking and literally run around the classroom and tackle each other to get chips and scream at me on a daily basis, in addition to lower volume disrespect (them telling me what I'd better do, how horrible I am, that they're going to report me, etc). I have learned not to take any of this personally but I'm worried because my body is reacting badly to all this stress. I spend a few hours a day feeling like I'm buzzing because there's so much chaos, my heart rate goes way up, I can't think clearly, I trip over my words, etc. It's at a point where it takes very little for me to react this way and it's really hard for me to shut it off. Additionally, in the past week, I've realized that I'm starting to get depressed. It's getting so much harder for me to force myself to do work prepping after hours when none of it seems to make a difference. This past week, I ended up taking a sick day because I couldn't handle the thought of going in and being so disrespected all day (and simultaneously having the kids blame me for their poor grades). In just the past couple days, I'm realizing that my motivation to engage in hobbies is declining and that really concerns me. I had a horrible experience in grad school previously that left me anxious and depressed and it took me months to recover and I'm terrified of going through that again. There's no way I'll make it to summer at this rate. I saw a therapist for the first time yesterday and she's going to help me find some coping strategies to try (as well as explore other careers) but I wanted your help exploring my options if I just CAN'T stay. FWIW, I wasn't very happy at this school last year (it's not a good fit for me philosophically, racist co-workers that I don't feel comfortable voicing my disagreement to, overall very low morale) and I tried to transfer out but I was unsuccessful. There are a couple of issues with outright quitting. One, I'm worried I'd never get a teaching job again. I really want to try teaching somewhere else before I give up entirely. I think working somewhere where I clicked with my colleagues could make a huge difference. At the same time, I think classroom teaching might just be too much being "on" at 110% for an introvert like myself; honestly I see classroom teaching as my springboard to a different job in education, such as curriculum development or helping kids get into college. I'd love to spend more of my day at a desk and work with people in smaller groups or one on one. Do you think medical leave might be an option? The therapist sounded pretty concerned when I told her how this job was affecting me. The second hurdle is that after this semester finishes, I'm a single semester of teaching internship away from having my MAT. I've worked my TAIL off for this degree and I really want to complete the program. I haven't talked to them but maybe I'd be able to take next semester off and then do my final internship in the fall or even do traditional student teaching instead. I think I might really benefit from working so closely with a mentor. At the same time, I don't want to stick out the year in order to finish my degree and be SO traumatized and burned out by teaching that I run far from education (which is what happened after I finished my previous masters in a different field). I have some days where things go well and it's so wonderful and then the next day will be awful. What do you think? I really don't want to quit midyear but at the rate I'm going mentally, I will reach a point where I'm no longer functional. I'm thinking of setting myself a firm deadline (like maybe January) to evaluate if things have gotten any better and to leave if they haven't. It doesn't help that the school year started the first week of August and we've only had 4 days off since then. So many thanks for reading!! I really appreciate it!