Let’s face it, it’s been a tough couple of years! Nothing has been “normal” because of the pandemic. Veteran teachers have been challenged like never before and new teachers have faced a learning curve of epic proportions.
It’s not unusual for teachers to think they’re “done” many times during the school year because they’re tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Those feelings typically pass and teaching is still the only thing they see themselves doing.
If you find yourself at the end of the school year really considering walking away from the classroom, take some time to rest and think about why you feel the way you do and what your driving force is. Here are some things to ponder.
- Retirement – This is a key consideration for veteran teachers. How close are you to full benefits? You’ve worked hard and made a difference, is it worth it to walk away with a year or two for full retirement? If you just know in your heart it’s time to move on, then follow that and hang up your badge.
- Is the “fire” still burning? – Even though you’re tired and sometimes overwhelmed, do you still get excited about teaching new things, or does your heart just leap when a student has a light bulb moment?
- Are you in the right “spot”? – Your commute is long and stressful which makes your day even longer. Perhaps you signed on to teach fourth grade but there weren’t enough students at that level to support another classroom so you were moved to first grade and you realize that you really aren’t suited for young scholars. Maybe you realize that you just don’t see eye to eye with campus administration or district policy. Would changing grade levels or districts make a difference?
- Salary – Teaching is a demanding job with long hours. Is the salary adequate for the amount of work you put in? More importantly, is it enough for you to meet your financial obligations without taking a second job? While some enjoy the change of pace a second job might afford, it can be an additional burden that makes teaching untenable.
- Has your “why” become “why am I doing this?” – Check your attitude. Have you gone from, I get to go to school to I have to go to school? Do you dread everything about it and truly believe there is no satisfaction? Is this a temporary state that happens when you’re most tired or have a lot going on at home and school? Or is this a persistent feeling?
- Next moves – Look at what other careers you would transition to. Do you stay in a job related to education or do you move into a totally different career? Give yourself some time to explore your options.
Before you walk away from your career in teaching, take some time to consider all these things and more. Rest, recharge, reflect and look at teaching from many different angles. Make a pro and con list. Talk to a colleague, trusted friend, and your family. Weigh all your options and do what’s best for you.
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.