THIS WILL BE LONG I have been an observer on this forum for years. I frequently cheer and freak out with most of you going through the daily emotional rollercoaster known as teaching. I am a "later in life" career changer. I finished up my certs in 2012, got my first long term sub assignment in 2014, and just finished another year (14-15, 15-16, 16-17) part time w/ no benefits in a rough public school system about 40 minutes from my house. I have never been tenured, I was RIFed before in my last district and before I got this last job was told it could eventually be RIFed again due to budget. I was also told my position would never go full-time with benefits. I have resuméd and applied like crazy this spring. Today I accepted my first full time assignment in a private Quaker school 10 minutes from my house and 15 from my own kid's school. The pay is surprisingly 3% more than I was making but I know it will probably freeze about that for several years (as private pay goes). There are also benefits for the first time. I like the staff and the respectful kids and it will be nice to teach a few different courses and get some experience. My concern now is if I decide to head back to public schools eventually (I don't foresee myself becoming the Head or Dean of school), they will view my private experience as something less than meaningful or the state (NJ) won't count it as "real". I can see teaching here for 4 or 5 years before I need to try to climb up into that public salary pool. I am not ungrateful, I just don't have 30 years left to teach like younger folks do. Has anybody ever gone through this before? Am I making a mistake leaving public for private? Thank you for reading this.