Thoughts from One Year After I Quit Teaching High School

Last year I wrote about how I felt the day after leaving my job as a High School English teacher. It’s currently one year later, it’s the first day of school, and the bell has just sounded …

A few weeks ago I found myself in Michael’s looking at the planners. The one that caught my eye read “Teaching is the profession that creates all other professions,” and for a moment I felt a pang of sadness that I was no longer in a public school. It didn’t last long. It’s been a year since I left my High School teaching job, and it was the best decision I could have possibly made. This post is for all the teachers still struggling: I don’t know what the best path for you is, but here’s how I feel now, one year after leaving. Please understand that I am now an adjunct at a community college, so I’m not out of the profession yet, just public High School.

Earlier in the summer my dad asked me how I felt about not being in the classroom anymore. I thought for a moment and said, “Well, no one’s called me a b***h in a year, so I feel great.” I wasn’t picked on when I was in High School, if anything I picked on other people (sorry, all); however, as a High School teacher you can’t really fight back that much, and the kids know it. I was called a b****h, I was called ugly regularly, I was told I had a big nose, and I felt the full force of being the less popular member of a teaching couple. My partner is the fun teacher, the cool teacher, the guitar playing teacher,┬áthe one who tells the kids he hates them and they all laugh. One girl said to me, “Why is Mr. S- with you when he’s so fun and you’re so boring?” Some of it rolls off your back, some of it cuts down to the bone, and none of it concerned the administration.

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The Side Effects of Being Vegetarian

I’ve been vegetarian full time for three years this December, and if you decide to transition to being a vegetarian, there are some things to look out for that no one really tells you. I have not seen this list on the internet, but this is all from my own experience. For the record, I’m not judging anyone who isn’t vegetarian, or saying you have to be vegetarian, etc. I’m also not a dietician, so don’t confuse this with medical advice, which it ain’t. Also, I’m going to talk about poop now, so you’ve been warned.

Immediately

Everybody poops, we know this, but when you first become vegetarian your body might mildly freak out. A lot of people take this as a sign that being vegetarian is not for them, but it’s really your body re-calibrating. You will have to tough it out on the toilet for a bit, I’m sorry to say. Things should stabilize within 6 months to a year as all the rotten meat gumming up your guts finally leaves your system. As a vegetarian you will poop more often, once to twice a day, and the poops with be bigger. When you eat meat you can have those horrid rabbit poops, you know that I’m talking about, but being veg will pretty much eliminate that. Gentlemen: I don’t know why the hell it takes you 20 minutes to poop, but as a vegetarian you will poop as fast as women do. Maybe you’re all just playing on your phones in there, I have never been able to crack that particular code.

3-6 Months

Within three months your craving for meat will stop completely. Around this time your will also have the worst breakout of your life. The meat nasties that have been stored in your flesh are finally seeping out, and it ain’t pretty. I had a second horrible breakout around six months as well, and after that they ended. Happily, your poops should start to stabilize around this time too.

6-12 Months

Something really strange happens when you stop eating meat, and it takes a while. Meat starts to stink. We’ve all walked into restaurants and smelled all the yummy smells, our bellies grumbling. As you get into vegetarianism as a lifestyle (not just something you’re trying out) meat will start to smell bad. What does it smell like? To me it smells sweaty, specifically like body odor. It smells putrid and rotten, truly vile, and it makes going to restaurants pretty unpleasant. Once you get to this stage your body really had acclimated and processed all the old meat out of your intestines. I can’t tell if my cat’s food is spoiled or not because of this; I just check the date on the can and hope the cat won’t eat spoiled meat like an idiot.

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The Teachers I Remember

With a new school year about to start in Florida I have decided to post some writing that has languished in the draft bin for a bit. This post is from a year ago when I was seriously considering leaving my public school job (which I then did).

When you have around 150 students a year, that’s a lot of lives teachers impact, and the good are just as good as the bad are bad. In High School I had 23 different teachers, here are the ones that I remember and why.

Mr. K – I was in his regular History class and he only wanted to teach AP so we just did definitions from the textbook and read the chapter (silently!) while he sat at his desk. He also left a lot for no reason, so we went through his desk and found “paraphernalia,” which we never told anyone about.

Freshman English – Some guy who was a coach and kept saying “Your ass is grass and I’m a lawnmower” which, for some reason, upset me a lot. He made us do quizzes every day, but we graded with ourselves. I think he wanted us to cheat?

Ms. K – My Junior English (AP Language) teacher was obviously talented at one time, but by the time we came around she was completely burnt out on teaching and hated us. However, as much as she hated us, she hated our affectionate nicknames even more (sorry, Kern-dawg). Once my friend wrote a paper – not on the topic assigned mind you – but about how another student (an athlete) was paying someone else to do his papers. Ms. K just wrote “I know” on her paper and drew a frown face; my friend got an A.

Physics Teacher – She was so awesome and weird and I can’t remember her name. She looked perpetually disheveled with her coke bottle glasses and mop of dark hair thrown into a ponytail that she slept on. Then she came to a play at the school, on her motorcycle, wearing red lipstick, and was easily the prettiest teacher there. Refusing to put on makeup at 5 AM was something I would identify with once I taught High School. In class when she got bored she would get a chicken from the farm class and let it run around. I was terrible at Physics, but she would give me extra credit for my doodles. I got an F, but she still invited me to be in AP Physics (back when you had to apply) because she liked having me around.

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Thoughts from the Day After I Quit Teaching High School

Get Me Otter Here by Look Human

This post was written in August 2016, the morning after I walked out of my public High School teaching job. I’m publishing it now that the dust has settled, just in case other teachers are wondering what to do, or how it feels, when you walk out of a teaching job.

I’m not sure where to begin, but I feel the need to write something down because I’ve been walking around sick to my stomach for half of a day, and it’s not getting better. Almost a year ago (11 months ago) I posted that I was thinking about leaving teaching … and I did. Today is the first day of school and I’m not there. I feel both relieved and incredibly guilty, I feel like I abandoned my team, my students, my school. These are emotions that I need to process. I am posting them here because, maybe, just maybe, you are going though this, too.

Last year Ms. L said to me, “You are nothing but a number to administration. You need to take care of you. Nobody else is going to.” A few days ago my dad told me this story: “There’s a parable about a man, trapped on a roof during a flood. He cries out to God, ‘Help me, God, I’m trapped! Save me!’ and as he does a tree drifts by. ‘Well, I’m not diving in after that tree,’ the man says, ‘it looks too dangerous.’ Just then, someone in a canoe goes by, ‘I am not getting into that leaky canoe,’ the man says, ‘it will probably sink.’ Soon after a rowboat comes by, ‘That rowboat doesn’t look much more safe┬áthan the canoe did,’ the man says. Finally, a horse swims by, ‘A horse? There’s no way I’m getting on a horse,’ the man says. Then he cries out again, ‘God, why aren’t you saving me!’ and God replies, ‘I sent a tree, a canoe, a rowboat, and a horse. Now you’re on your own, buddy!'”

Those two stories helped me make my decision, which I doubted up to the last moment, which I doubt even today, because I had seen my tree and my canoe go by already. I had turned them down, waited, not understanding, and finally, when I worked up the courage to look at my student roster, I cried. I knew that I didn’t want to teach High School anymore, that I couldn’t. Class sizes were overstuffed, a huge influx of students meant 30+ kids in every class, and I knew I couldn’t control them. I told the Universe that I wanted to keep teaching more than anything in the world, please Universe, send me a job. And the Universe did.

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