How long have you been teaching? This is my eleventh year.
Have you ever thought of leaving the profession? I have. The feeling comes and goes. Some years (like last year, for example) it is really, really strong. Like, updating my resume and actively searching for jobs strong. Other years, like this year, it is less so.
When I do think about changing careers, I have so many mixed emotions.
First, I think there are so many things I could do. I could be a corporate trainer, or a curriculum designer. I could be a consultant or a writer. These are all basically pipe dreams. But I mean, maybe they’re possible. Ugh.
But then I think about if I were to leave teaching, and it totally freaks me out. It’s a huge risk–and I am NOT a risk-taker. I imagine telling my kiddos and taking things off the walls. Ugh.
If I were to leave, I might not wake up in the middle of the night and think about so-and-so’s missing work or whatever, so that’s a plus. Or maybe I would still wake up but now think of XYZ as it applies to my new job. Maybe I’m just an anxious person. Ugh.
Maybe I would really miss summer and other breaks. Maybe I’d miss the opportunity to be creative like I can be in the classroom. Ugh.
Perhaps I’d love not worrying about 100+ different kids, and whether or not they are better readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers when they leave my classroom. I know I wouldn’t miss the constant fear of being evaluated on my students’ test scores, despite the obvious factors that may affect performance. I definitely would have no problem giving up standardized testing and data analysis. I wouldn’t mind not having to try every new fad that comes along that might help our kids, even though we know what they really need. I wouldn’t miss the lack of respect from so many parents and the general public. Ugh.
I would miss the kids. I would miss creating lesson plans, helping kids become better writers, introducing them to The Great Gatsby and other great works of literature. I would miss my students coming back to visit and sharing their triumphs. I would miss the opportunity to share with my colleagues, teach them technology, and learn from them. Ugh.
What if I don’t miss it at all? Or what if I regret leaving? Ugh.
I feel like now, 11 years in, age 34, I have decisions to make. I don’t want to wait too long–I still need to be marketable. But I’m scared to make a decision.
So, for now, I’ll stay–I’m having an awesome year, after all–but I’ll keep my eye out, just in case.