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, the 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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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 than 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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