Hi! First of all, thanks in advance for advice and honest feedback. This is a long saga, but hopefully someone will read and give me some help deciding what to do. Background info: I taught for 11 years in what I thought was a "tough" school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, seventh grade language arts. It was considered the "worst" school in Albuquerque for the usual reasons, but I ignored all that and loved it. I loved my students and the people (most of them) I worked with. But around year 10, I started to get burned out by the move away from actually teaching to running a classroom in order to keep your job. Teaching scripted material, emphasis on test scores, etc. You guys know the story. I had ignored it for years, but it began to really get to me. Our family moved to Chicago, and I decided to take a break from teaching. So for a year, I worked in a hospital and thought about being a nurse. But I missed teaching. A lot. I had been subbing on the side since moving to Chicago, and worked in a lot of special ed classrooms. i discovered I loved it. So over the summer I worked on sped endorsement for middle and high school. Sooo, this year when schools started I went into the year in the mindset of returning to the profession I missed. The second day of school, i subbed at a school on the far south side of Chicago. Now, this was a TOUGH school. The kids ALL on some level were going through some trauma, Almost ALL had obvious signs of needing the basics -- clothes, food, hygiene. Because of this, and for reasons no one coming from my background could fully comprehend, they were pretty wild. It made my old school seem like a private school. I did okay, and the principal came up and talked to me after the day was out. She asked me if I was a certified teacher in SPED. I said I had one more class to finish up. Then she asked if I wanted to continue subbing in what was a vacancy until I was endorsed. I was reluctant. I really didn't feel I could really do well in this school. But she was convinced. I said I would think about it. Later, she emailed me my schedule and it seemed manageable. Two pull outs and the co taught. It was tough from the start. But I was pushing through. Then another SPED teacher quit. The rest of us had to take on those extra students. Now I pulling three groups, and co teaching two. My caseload went up to 42 kids. Then the doozy really happened. The math teacher quit. The students that probably pushed him over the edge included 12 of my pull outs kids. Even veteran teachers struggled to maintain any kind of control. a month passed and they still can't find a teacher. So in the hallway, just passing by me, the principal tells me that I am going to take my pull out kids and bring them in the math class, and teach math. Yeah, I am not certified in math. I am not good at math, PLUS these kids are gone. They haven't had a teacher in a month, and they were tough from the start. So now my schedule is one pull out two co-taught and two math classes. And I am doing all this on sub pay. My husband is telling me to leave. Many teachers at the school are telling me to leave. It's crazy. But I stay. I still have another few weeks of my final class and for some reason I feel completely committed to these kids, even though they basically ignore me through the entire class (math class). My other pull out and co taught are fine. My breaking point comes in the middle of one of the math classes I am "teaching". One of my pull out kids is crying. I ask him why. He says because he can't learn anymore. Because he is stuck in there, instead of being pulled out with me. I see tears on his paper. My heart sinks, and I feel tears coming from my eyes. The kids, who most of the the time basically ignore they fact that I am there, suddenly sense I have lost it and go crazy. They are gathered around me, either confused or seemingly enjoying the fact that I am quietly crying. I talk to the principal and tell her it isn't working. She says that she would rather have me teach 50 kids and not just my 18. I tell her that I am not the person for this job. I can't turn these math classes around. She says it will take time and following through, but it can be done. Over the next few weeks, up to now, I see changes happening for the better. Tiny ones. But the overall situation is the same, and the toll it is taking me and who I am at home is crazy. NOW: I have my endorsement. I told the principal I would think over xmas break (coming up in a week) whether I would take the job. I don't think my job description would change, but there is a chance they may find a math teacher, as one did a demo lesson yesterday. But I feel broken at this point. Even if I got my kids back... I wonder if I will have anything left to actually teach them. I am going on a couple of interviews over the next two days. They are at schools closer to home, with less intense populations. But part of me feels pulled to stay at this school. Why? I have no idea. NO idea. I was the veteran teacher at my old school in Albuquerque. People left in the middle of the year there all the time. Even two weeks in. Most maybe made it a year or two. So I guess after all this writing, my question is... should I take the job at this school where I have been subbing or move on? I know this is an intensely personal decision but maybe what are some steps I could take to make a rational decision? If you took out the kids I would be gone in second. Last year she gave EVERYONE in the school developing (sub proficient) on their evaluations. That makes me nervous. And getting thrown into situations I can't teach in make me nervous (i.e. the math class). But I feel terrible and heartbroken at the thought of "leaving" the kids. HELP!