I've really struggled towards the end of last school year up until now about my future in the teaching profession. Unlike many others who make these kind of posts, I genuinely do LOVE teaching. I think I'm good at it and despite all the hard work I find it very rewarding. As some of you may know from previous posts I moved down to NC from NY four years ago to find a teaching job. I had been subbing for over three years in NY and the job prospects were grim. I had hoped that by moving down to NC and securing a stable job, I would make enough money to really finally get my life in gear. Within these past 4 years the education system in NC has turned upside down. For the past 4 years I've been working without a raise. Insurance, gas, groceries etc. have continued to increase, but my paycheck has stayed the same. I had hoped to someday when I got on my feet to complete my Masters for extra pay. NC voted to cut Masters pay to any teacher who does not already have their Masters by the end of the school year. I'd be up for tenure at the end of this school year, but NC cut teacher tenure as well. I'd like to in the future go for my National Boards, but I unfortunately forsee that incentive going away too and even if it doesn't I don't know where I'd find the extra money to finance it. I definitely did not get into teaching for the money. I knew I was never going to be making a six figure a year salary. What I was not prepared for was only making just enough money to pay my bills each month. Having to worry that if one thing broke down or if one emergency popped up, I'd be screwed. I went to college to get a degree so that I could find a job where I could live comfortably. Where I could afford the occasional vacation or occasional luxury item. Now I can barely find the money to get a haircut. The stress of living like this is eating me up. I live in constant fear of not being able to afford the essentials. Living in a rural area, there aren't very many job opportunities for additional employment and I am stuck at school most days from 7:15am-5:00pm. The expectations and amount of work being thrown at us is insane especially considering that our paychecks have less and less value. I've been going back and forth now for months trying to decide if I should A) Keep teaching and just grin and bear it or B) Move back home to NY with my parents, find another job (most likely in a different sector) and try to get myself back on my feet. As I said, I love teaching, but I just can't afford to keep doing it. Finally, today after reading some articles online and seeing that things really are not going to get better within the next two years, I think I've finally reached a decision. With a heavy heart, I've decided that this will be my last school year. Come June I'm going to move back home. It's really going to suck being 30 and back at home living with Mom and Dad, but if I really feel like I'm going to have to take a step back in order to ultimately move forward. I don't know what I'm going to do once I get there. Maybe try to find a retail job or become a TA while I look at unemployment offices, maybe take some civil service tests... I'm hoping another opportunity will present itself. This is probably the toughest decision I've ever had to make in my life, but in the end teaching is just a job. Teaching is all I have down here. I'm single and the few friends I do have here are already married. At least in NY I'll have my family and friends and I'd rather have my family than some job anyway. I don't regret these four years at all. In fact, I think that they have made me who I am today. I've learned so much about responsibilty and independence and just life. I never went away to college so in a sense maybe these 4 years have been my "college experience." My heart belongs to NY though and although I've loved the south, it's just way too different from NY. I never really felt completely comfortable here. My plan is to try as hard as I can to stick out this school year because I think that it would be a unprofessional to quit halfway through and would send a bad message to my students. I'm just praying that I can get through this year without any major disasters. Sorry for the long post and thanks for listening to me vent.