Tag Archives: quitting teaching

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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Teacher Confession: I’m Contemplating Huge Life Changes

How to Quit Your Job

How to Quit Your Job

Note: Below is a very personal article about some struggles that I’m having as a public High School teacher. If you don’t teach High School this will probably not be interesting at all. Stop back later for our regularly scheduled programming.

I am contemplating some huge life changes. Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I found myself doing a newly familiar Google search: “teaching sucks.” Hilarious because a lot comes up. Turns out that teaching public school is incredibly grueling, barely rewarding, and stressful beyond belief.

When I worked at a corporate job years ago (why did I ever leave) we had personality profile tests that we had to complete. It was fun actually, my chatty office bestie had to socialize to be productive, others have to innovate and experiment in a safe environment, and I, I have to be right. Sounds strange, but basically what the profile said was that I have to know exactly what my job is and I have to be able to execute is perfectly every time, otherwise I get recalcitrant. It’s completely accurate. My house is a mess, but at work, I’m an organized, obsessive perfectionist.

When you teach public school (any maybe this is only for Florida, which is as specific as I’m going to get for fear of retaliation) you have no real, specific things to do and no perfect, accurate way to execute it. “Do a Marzano scale board configuration,” they say three days before students return after a summer of silence, not giving us an example. “Do we add it to our standard board configuration and essential questions?” “Yes.” Except I have three different class preps that each needs two dry erase boards full of space, I only have two boards, and it has to change at least weekly? Only I have about 20 minutes before work to work, during which kids want to socialize, and 30 after work, during which kids want to socialize, so I have about zero minutes a day to change my board. Is my board right? Is it wrong? Someone came in, photographed it, and left silently. What is that? I can’t care about something I can’t do right, but I’m not apathetic, I’m pissed.

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