Has anyone left teaching? What do you do now?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by HorseLover, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Nov 11, 2014

    Some days I don't know if I can handle this job :( I'm tired of the near constant stress and the ever present work load, and the "everything is always the teacher's fault" mentality from kids, parents, and admin. I just don't know what else I can do? I can't really re-locate right now. My degree is IN education. :dizzy: I just want to have a life. :unsure:
     
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  3. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I've considered it, but each year I teach my expectation of myself gets higher, but my stress level gets less.
    To be honest, I had it so bad a few years ago I was in therapy. My therapist basically helped me create 'work kellzy' and 'home kellzy.'

    I became a teaching minimalist. I canned bulletin boards. If anything goes up, it's class made posters that I had to put minimal preparation into. I work 30 or so minutes before school, through my recesses, and about an hour after school. If it doesn't get done within my time limits, it doesn't get done. If it's still not done by the end of the week, I file it in the garbage can or delegate the responsibility to someone else.

    I don't take work home, ever, and I haven't since my second year. Thanks to these strategies that my therapist helped me create, I go home and I don't think about work again until I get in my car the next morning.
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I did. I took a job in administration in a community college. I love love love my job now. I actually look forward to going to work every day, which is a change. I make over double what I did as a teacher, with much better benefits. I feel like I am respected by my boss, my cabinet, and the community as a whole.

    Having said all that, there are times when I miss teaching. NOT the day to day blah blah BS, but the fun stuff-thinking of interesting lessons that actually motivate kids to learn. I will be looking on Pinterest and see an idea that makes me think of the good ol' days. My replacement at school, who is my daughter's teacher right now, does absolutely ZERO hands on activities. All notes, notes, notes. It makes me crazy. I think about how much time and effort I put into developing multiple intelligence methods of teaching slope and solving equations and graphing, and then I look at my daughter's notebook that is just full of example after example, not to mention I see her developing a hatred toward math, and it makes me sad.

    Not sad enough to go back, though. It is what it is, and you can't save the world. Since I left teaching, I have come to realize that life is WAY too short to be miserable every day. I'm a good teacher. A **** good teacher.

    But I was not a good person when I was a teacher.

    I was grumpy and resentful and a terrible mom who never had enough time to spend with my kids. I'm still incredibly busy and I work really hard, but what is important to me is my own family. Not someone else's. Today, my kids sang in the Veteran's Day program. I left work, told my assistant to take messages for me, and left. Later, my dog needed to go to the vet, so I took her. No questions, no sub, no issues. At 5:00, I shut my computer off and left. Just so easy.

    I'm not anti-teaching. Really, I'm not. I am so thankful for those who teach my kids and for those who can handle the pressure and stress and still do a great job teaching them how to multiply. It just wasn't for me anymore, and realizing that has made all the difference.
     
  5. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I really liked your perspective, kcjo. Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I totally wish that I could have been kcjo13 the day before yesterday. My daughter is sick. She has asthma. Right in the middle of her breathing treatment that morning her tubing broke for her nebulizer. Could I go get a new one right away. NO, because we had parents coming in for bring your parent to school morning. She had to wait until 10:30 before I could get away from school to get her another tubing. Even then while I was gone I was feeling like I was a criminal because I wan't at school. I even got "caught" by one of my parents and felt the need to explain. UGHHHHHH
     
  7. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 12, 2014

    Despite my avatar, the grass isn't always greener. Someone may leave teaching and HATE their job-we've seen it here. Some may leave and come back (Jem?). My mantra in life is always do what you need to do to be satisfied. If teaching is it, then do it, and do it well. But you have to take the good with the bad too. If it's not satisfying you, then don't do it. Life is too short to be unhappy for 1/3 of your day.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 12, 2014

    This. So much this.
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I've been having many of the same thoughts and feelings. I love the idea of what teaching could be, but hate the reality of what it is. Since starting grad school last spring, I feel like I have become that "minimalist" teacher. I create fun, engaging, hands-on lessons, but I don't go all-out crazy with big, elaborate things. I've learned to let go a bit. With that being said, I'm still working 50+ hours a week, and super stressed. And it's not just me. It's the expectations and the workload. A teacher on my team is retiring after this year, and she said that last few years have been the most stressful of her career. And she taught full-time while raising 3 kids!

    I'm in survival mode until my baby is born in March. I hope I can make it without a nervous breakdown. :(
     
  10. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I've left for love and came back to teaching and left again to get perspective.

    The first round, I was engaged to be married to someone who I felt I could not live without and her family whom she relied on for medical reasons decided to move 2600 miles away. At the time, it didn't seem like a choice. I went back to what I did to pay my way through school, construction and remodeling for a bed and breakfast. That ended for various reasons, too little money, not enough downtime, the relationship stagnated at 'maybe' rather than 'I Do'. So I went back to teaching 2600 miles away where my license and certs were easily valid. I could have sought reciprocity but there were family health issues back home to consider so home again it was and teaching again.

    My second time out, I left mainly because I needed to understand why I was a teacher. My then admin put the nail in my final decision by behaving poorly while I was away for the summer. They called meetings and played funny business with paychecks. That was after I had given a formal notice that I would be traveling the entire summer. I can't work for inconsiderate people, I'll say something without biting my tongue. It's helped more than a few times and it's hurt more than a few times as well.

    Now, I'm back to remodeling. Life is completely upside down right now in more ways than I care to discuss. Some great and some not so great. A clue, you tell me who has one because I sure don't at the moment. I'm not down on myself and am looking for the thing that would be most beneficial to my new small little family. I really hope I do not have to compromise my sanity too much but I expect that at some point really soon, I'll have to pick a direction and strike out.

    All that to say, good luck!
     
  11. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Nov 12, 2014

    This right here. Some people let teaching consume their entire lives, but I'm not one of them. I know it might offend the sensibilities of many, but to me teaching is simply a job, much like many other jobs. I leave it at school.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I left the classroom, but am still in education. I love what I do. Some days are stressful and there are days where I wonder why I'm doing what I do, but I would never go back into the classroom.
     
  13. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I go back and forth. I taught for two years, had babies and stayed home with them for 3 years, and I went back to teaching two years ago. Going back to work was the right thing for me (I was going stir-crazy as a SAHM). That being said, I am completely overwhelmed this year. We just made the switch to Common Core, and my district is pushing about a million different programs and initiatives... Stressful! We're moving this summer for my husband's job, and I go back and forth about whether I should teach, or start fresh with something else.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 12, 2014

    I have to agree with your teacher friend. The years I was teaching while raising my three children (One with VERY special needs) were some of my favorite teaching years. The last few years I spent in public school were absolutely the worst in my career...not the students, just everything else!
     
  15. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Nov 13, 2014

    So there with all of this. It's so unrealistic every thing that's on our plate. This year has been so bad and I'm so tire already. I do often hear from seasoned teacher how education has changed for the worst. My partner has figured out that she has 4 years to be eligible to retire and she is counting down. It's just too much.

    I'm thinking I'll be leaving after this year. I just don't know what I'll be doing.
     
  16. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I've also been toying with this idea for a couple years. I commute an hour each way, which I really don't want to do whenever our next child comes...yet I'm at a private school with a co-teaching model, and I absolutely love who I work with. I've been trying to find other options for me that are more flexible but my hands are a bit tied as my husband is finishing up his schooling. No advice really, just in the same boat, and feel ya!!
     
  17. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I just recently left and am now a SAHM. I absolutely loved my first 2 years teaching. :wub: They were everything I dreamed teaching would be when I was in college. Then gradually over the next 8 years things got a little worse each year. I was never good at leaving work at work. I was known to stay the latest at school every night, take work home, etc. I had finally made progress with that and felt like I had a handle on teaching once again (though it wasn't as enjoyable and rewarding as those first 2 years) and along came a new (let's just say, not very nice) boss and Common Core and I was back at square one and miserable. I am so grateful that after my daughter was born we couldn't find childcare that we were comfortable with because I know I would have forced myself to go back otherwise.

    In my old school alone three teachers have quit mid-year and I would not be the tiniest bit surprised if there were more to come. And I can't even imagine what those numbers are district wide. I feel so horribly for my friends that are still teaching because what they're going through is just too much. :( Not only are there unreasonable expectations from their bosses but also from parents, the community, politicians, etc. They have no support from administration and teachers are turning on one another to try to become the "favorite" and get better evaluations. I honestly don't know how they come home at night and still have an ounce of energy left to be good wives, mothers, friends, etc. I know without one shred of doubt that I absolutely could not have. Those mothers and fathers who can are superheroes to me.

    I know that there are pockets across the country where teachers are still allowed to teacher. Where they are trusted as professionals and still enjoy their jobs. I also know there are teachers who are just so passionate about teacher that they will deal with any burden to continue to do it. Those things do not describe my district or me. I love teaching when it is actually teaching. But when it becomes...I don't honestly even know what to describe it as anymore...I have to put myself and my family above my job. I have honestly never been happier. I continue to hope that the pendulum will swing back the other way and the teaching profession will become bearable again. I would love to go back when my daughter is in first grade but there is no way I will even consider it if things are still as they are now.

    No real advice other than do what you need to do to be happy. You only live once and life is too short to be miserable. If that means continuing to teach because you want to make a difference then do it and try to enjoy it. If it means continuing to teach because you need the paycheck, then find a way to make your workload reasonable. It sounds like other people have figured out ways to do that. And if it means you're done with teaching, then start taking the necessary steps to get out.
     
  18. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2014

    :agreed:

    I'm about 80% sure that I won't be returning next year. I switched from sped back to regular ed this year to give it one last shot, but every day wears me down just a little bit more than the day before. I'm not sure what I'll be doing next year, but I don't think I can keep doing this to myself. I've finally become that minimalist teacher, and I honestly don't think I'm any less effective than when I put in early mornings, late evenings, and weekends at home. I just don't have the passion for the job anymore, which makes putting in any extra effort next to unbearable. I love working with students and planning and teaching lessons, and I can't imagine loving any other career nearly as much. I just hate the day-to-day drag though. There has to be something else out there that allows me financial stability, at least minimal enjoyment, and sanity. Teaching just isn't it. I love reading stories of others who have left and found successful new careers. It gives me hope that there is something else out there.
     
  19. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 16, 2014

    I sometimes wonder whether that is the goal (to break you). What with planning, teaching, grading, expectations from parents/admin, in-services, BTSA, social functions, etc.

    I'm curious what others who feel worn down, take particular offense to... To me (with all the "officialness" of observations, meetings, presentations, trainings), what they are doing for me is SUCKING THE FUN OUT OF TEACHING.

    I love that comment about not taking work home... I'm not at that point yet, but once I am, I think I will begin to feel less stress. Right now, as I said, I'm bombarded. I feel pressure, I feel anxiety, I don't feel in-control (not of my class, just of "it all"), etc.
     
  20. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    :agreed: Bella! "There has to be something else out there that allows me financial stability, at least minimal enjoyment, and sanity. Teaching just isn't it. I love reading stories of others who have left and found successful new careers. It gives me hope that there is something else out there."

    It gives me hope too! As a matter of fact, a teacher who was in my team a couple of years ago did it. She now works for a web based company that is in the business of making education applications for school systems. Given my background along with my years as a teacher, this type of job would be ideal for me too. I offer this as an example that we have more we can offer and link with education, outside the classroom.

    We need an additional thread for those of us who are seriously thinking about leaving the classroom to support each other by sharing ideas and sources that will help us make the transition. :2cents:
     
  21. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2014

    I think the thing that worries me the most is that I really truly love teaching. It's definitely my passion, and what I'm meant to do with my life. I wish I could be a 2nd grade teacher for the rest of my life, but the other BS isn't even manageable anymore. It's so time-consuming and stressful that I just can't do it much longer.

    A few weeks ago I had nine meetings AND two nights of parent-teacher conferences. I added up lost prep time from the meetings alone, and it was around 6 hours, which would have been more than enough time to get my lesson plans done for the next week. Instead, I spent 6 hours at school that Sunday.
     
  22. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Nov 16, 2014

    That's kind of how I feel, the thought of leaving makes me so sad, but then I get admin nit picking everything and the district adding more and more to our plates and more and more testing to the kids' plates :dizzy:
     
  23. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2014

    The other morning, I got out of my car, walked to the office door and thought, "My goodness--I don't want to be here!" It was a super stressful week, though.

    Today, my BF & I went to Costco. I was approached (greeted, hugged, and chatted) several times by former students & their parents. BF said, "My goodness...you're popular!" :blush:

    Despite all the **** that upper management (district office) puts us (site administrators) through, I really can't imagine myself doing anything else.
     
  24. NewTeacherNJ

    NewTeacherNJ Rookie

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    This sounds great in theory but in reality of the current teaching climate incredibly impossible. I would LOVE to not spend my weekends and nights grading and lesson planning, but if I didn't then it wouldn't get done. Admin has basically said if you are not spending extra time on your job you aren't doing your job. (before you all pounce lol i'm not saying i agree)

    Common core and the shift for difficulty and testing testing testing - how anyone can be done at 3:30 everyday I have no idea! I could say "this is when i will leave whether its done or not" but I feel then i would just have so much work unfinished. My admin does not really care about excuses or something like "mental sanity" lol his position is suck it up or quit and he has stress too.

    In summary - yes original poster i think everyday how the hell i can get out. But I have no idea how or what i would do. At all.
     
  25. NewTeacherNJ

    NewTeacherNJ Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2014

    Also more importantly what exactly are job positions people have done when they left teaching? I have no idea how to begin to search options either. Especially for those where going back to spend 50k on tuition isn't a possibility.
     
  26. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree. I'm actually sitting here doing some job searching right now. I'm not planning to quit mid-year, but I would like to start thinking about which new career field I may enter next summer. I'm trying to revise my resume, but it's proving difficult to do when I don't even know what field/job to tailor it to.

    I'm also so torn. While I'm searching for non-teaching jobs, I'm also straying to a few teaching jobs too. I'm planning a geographical move, and this seems like the perfect time to leave education, but it's such a tough decision to make. Maybe teaching in another school in another city would be the much needed difference... but, sadly, I doubt it. :unsure:
     
  27. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Nov 17, 2014

    Yep, and then THEY leave on time :mad:
     
  28. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 17, 2014

    A friend of mine left teaching to work for PBS. She works in curriculum development, and production. She creates lesson plan to go with the TV shows, and then visits classrooms to see the teachers use the lessons. She actually just won an Emmy. :) She did have to re-locate to Madison, but she went to UW-Madison, so it wasn't a big deal.

    She left mid-year, and it was really tough, but she was fed up with all of the extra garbage we have to deal with. She started off making $18,000 more per year (not sure how much she makes now) with only 2 years teaching experience. Her boss will not let her work more than 40 hours per week, and she has tons of cool job perks.
     
  29. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 17, 2014

    Non Profits
    Higher education (admissions, advising, recruiting, financial aid, etc)
    Grant writing
    Training and Development (my sister makes well over 6 figures in training for the public sector for a major software company-and she has exactly 6 weeks of college education-ask me if that makes me jealous)
    Textbook development
    Human Resources
     
  30. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2014


    Does that make you jealous? :lol:
     
  31. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 18, 2014

    It does make me jealous, and thank you for asking!!

    :rofl:
     
  32. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Nov 18, 2014

    ICAM. This describes me to the T. During the school day, I make sure to get what needs to be done completed by the time it needs to be finished. Everything else can just wait.

    Now, I usually have to do some work at home on Sundays because I leave right at contract time EVERY DAY (unless I am contractually obligated to stay) and I can barely make it in on time. Also, I never, EVER bring any grading home - I refuse to - and grade everything during class/lunch/plan.

    This model has also helped me cut down on the stress of planning and all of the paper work, although the stress of dealing with the children is still there.
     
  33. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2014

    You are so welcome!! That would make me jealous too!
     
  34. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Nov 18, 2014

    I am in school to be a school psychologist after ten years experience teaching Special Ed. It is costing me plenty, but I needed a tweak if I am to make it 20+ years to retirement. I was worn out!
     
  35. MissBee06

    MissBee06 Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2014

    I left after eight years in the classroom. The last couple of years I had a new principal who just sucked all the joy out the classroom and was so inconsistent that I was just burned out. In August, I actually started teaching inside the prison working on getting the guys GED ready. I did that for a few weeks and then applied to be a school counselor inside the prison, got it, and I really like it. It's only been a few weeks, but I'm so much happier, and so much less stressed. I wouldn't go back into the classroom now, even if my school could match my much better salary.
     
  36. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2014

    It is so refreshing to read this. I am a first-year teacher doing the same thing and I feel so much better!
     

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