Conflicted (#sol17 13/31)

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.



9 thoughts on “Conflicted (#sol17 13/31)

  1. I am in year 35 (!)…and I totally get it. I often crave a job that I didn’t bring home with me. One I could leave at the end of the day and have the evening and weekends to do only what my heart desires. And then I think of not being a part of a classroom community that loves learning and I sign up for another year. It’s a tough job–truer words were never spoken. But it’s also an amazingly rewarding one. You will make the right decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 13 years in and I feel lots of the same things. In fact, I am strongly considering leaving and just staying home. Many reasons are health related but some of it is burn out. It’s hard. But it’s good. When I think of not being a music teacher any more…ever…it scares me. It’s been part of who I am for so long. But at the same time, I have many reasons for moving on.

    I wish you a good rest of your year and hope that you can make your decision without too much stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hear you. I’m ten years in – a little older than you as I was a “career changer” and I’m having these thoughts today, as well. I’m so tired all the time, but I love working with kids and each day being filled with unexpected surprises. At the same time, I find the politics and testing of it all so demoralizing and detrimental. I’m not really sure what else I would do, however.


  4. I’m in year 20, and somethings have these same thoughts.. What we do is really hard, and sometimes not appreciated or rewarded. Something keeps me coming back, and it always seems that I get a really good year after a really bad, I don’t want to do this anymore year. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for writing this piece. I felt like it was my voice talking. I am also at year 11, and I took this year off from teaching. I am applying for teaching jobs after relocating to a new area, and I am wondering if I am making the right decision. I miss it for all the reasons you stated, but I am also less stressed. Is it time for me to try something new or play it safe by teaching? It is kinda like a breakup from a long-term relationship, and now you are second guessing your decision and thinking about getting back together… But were you just with them because you really loved them or it was just comfortable and safe and you didn’t dare to do anything else?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t tell you how much I could relate to this post. I am in year 20 and for the past few years have had the same thoughts. I am having a fantastic year this year, but I am tired. But the thought of leaving freaks me out. Partly because I don’t know any difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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