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Thread: Anyone a former teacher who's changed careers?

  1. #1
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    Anyone a former teacher who's changed careers?

    For lots of reasons--probably already well-known to any current or former teachers--I'm thinking of leaving my chosen profession after six years. This is gut-wrenching, but I'm starting to feel that teaching is like being in an abusive marriage. I make excuses for my job and blame myself for the stress I'm under. I do teach tough kids (English at our alternative high school), and I've always taught tough kids. I'm sure that's part of the stress, but I have no desire to go teach the already-motivated. After another 6:00 a.m. to midnight day on Friday, I've reached my limit. Ultimately, though, I've realized that all the strengths I brought to the classroom are worthless in our current educational climate in Arizona. I just don't think I can stand it any more.

    I think I need to go back for one more year to take time to explore all my options. Has anyone else made this switch? If you did, what did you do after you left teaching? Staying home and cooking all day isn't an option although I would love to be a homemaker again. However, no income isn't an option.

    So often, you guys as a group have such good advice and insight. Anyone have any thoughts?
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

  2. #2
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    Tami- sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with your job. Is there a colleague you can talk to? Are you married? Have you discussed options with your spouse, SO or family? I know politics and administration can be difficult to deal with and you sometimes/often feel powerless, but because of that you can't blame yourself solely for all of your job stress. I think taking a year to rethink and reconsider may help you sort things through. It is a drastic change that shouldn't be entered into lightly.

    I wish I could be a bigger help, but I actually made the switch TO teaching from another profession that I found unsatisfying professionally and personally. I am in somewhat of a different situation- I teach 5th grade- but teaching in NY is not without its pressure and politics.

    While I sometimes feel guilty about going to school for one career and changing paths after about 6 years, I don't regret my original intentions and experiences. I had some great experiences on which I can still build, but ultimately I am very happy where I am now. Whatever path you choose, may it be the right one and may it lead you to happiness, satisfaction and opportunity!
    "Life is a cookie."
    Alan Arkin, Grosse Pointe Blank

  3. #3
    Oh, boy, this is not good to hear - I am getting ready to go teach at the Alternative High School level, doing an internship this month. Can you tell me why you are so stressed out?

    I'm not help, sweetie, I too and switching TO teaching from government.

    Debie
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

  4. #4
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    I understand completely your feelings about teaching right now. I have felt that way before and did leave teaching for a while. I'm back however because nothing else was as satisfying as teaching. Maybe you are tired because it has been a long school year. Talk about your feelings with someone you think of as a mentor, talk with your principal see if there is another assignment within the school. Or another assignment in another school in the district.Try another grade. Sometimes just being away from school for a month or two helps alot. Hang in there.

    Lisa

  5. #5
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    I have been teaching for 10 years. I know how you feel. I think I felt that way around year 6, 7, or 8. It is a thankless profession. I do know that if you talk to your fellow teachers that are more experienced, they might tell you about their "7 year itch" as well.

    I know that it is not much help or consolation, but maybe a geographical change.....(meaning different school, district, or whatever it takes)....can knock you back into the joy of the profession. It helped me. I love my job right now......even amidst all of the arizona school budget crisis. I teach in Scottsdale.

    Lorena

  6. #6
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    Tami,
    My best friend quit teaching about 1 year ago. She taught 7th grade (I think she had been teaching around 7 years). She is working hard to break into the freelance writing world. She is also supplementing by teaching part-time at the community college. She has sold a couple of pieces, and won a couple of writing contests. She really has faith that she can make this work. Her husband, while worried about $$, is supportive.

    Hope this helps,
    Terri

  7. #7
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    Tami,
    I have been a Special Ed teacher for 26 years and I understand your frustration and feelings in your present situation. I have had many student teachers and been a mentor for new teachers. My basic feeling is that it is important to follow your heart. I have had many friends leave teaching....some may go back to it, but others have built successful careers in many fields(investment management, sales, chiropractor). I think you are wise to look at this factor over the next year. We have an adult learning organization that runs a variety of workshops and some are career changing options. I know many people who are miserable in their jobs...and it effects so many areas of their life. I think it really helps to talk to people who really know you....

    Good luck on your journey!!
    Sally

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Chefzhat
    Can you tell me why you are so stressed out?
    Debie
    That's a fair question, Debie. I didn't go into details in the first post because I didn't want to sound whiny. This is a distillation (probably incomplete) of hours of conversation and soul searching with DH, my best friend (and co-teacher), my principal, and others who know me well. It's long--sorry.

    1. I have no life except in the summer. I pour my heart and soul into other people's children, and have no time for those that I love. My children are grown, and I have one granddaughter (and I still like to see my grown kids, too). DH keeps saying, "You couldn't do this if you had kids at home." The unspoken part is..."but what about me?" My parents are elderly, and not in great health. I don't get to see them and spend time with them nearly as much as I want to. And I don't buy the "you make time for what you want to" argument. There are too many DEMANDS on my time for me to have much choice in how I spend it. Eighty-hour workweeks are my norm. If I could work 60 hours a week, I'd feel like I was on vacation. I'm tired, exhausted, and my life is completely out of balance.

    2. Warning: Brutal honesty ahead. I can't stand the way my students are screwing up their lives. Drugs are rampant, and they're so good at hiding them, we can't catch them (especially with limitations for search and seizure put on educational institutions). There are several kids out of our 90 we know are dealing to others. We've even seen the money exchange hands, but we search them and find no drugs. They're having sex right and left, giving away their self-respect and, in some cases, their futures.

    3. I'm tired of their pride in under (or non) achievement. The "I dare you to teach me something" is getting really, really old. I'm a good teacher, and I can jump through lots of hoops, but it seems that every year, the kids get more cynical and hard to engage. Of course, they're high all the time, so what can you expect? This goes hand-in-hand with the proud statement I hear from almost all of them, "Don't ever tell me what to do. I have problems with authority." WHAT!?! Good luck in life, kid. Let me know when you find a job that doesn't involve a BOSS! This also goes with the attitude of, "I know I'm not supposed to that, but I'm going to unless you find a way to make me STOP!" I didn't spend four years in college and acquire 45 hours of graduate credit to be a police officer.

    4. I'm tired of parents who refuse to force their children to take responsibility for their own actions. They make excuses for them, and threaten to sue us if we enforce any consequences. Of course, these parents like to keep me on the phone for an hour at a time to tell me how wonderful they are at parenting, and just don't know why their kids are defiant, disrespectful, and lazy!

    5. I'm tired of bureaucractic decisions that don't make sense. For instance, last year our district cut out middle school teaming so they could raise class sizes and stretch teachers even further. That move is how I ended up at the alternative program--our whole team was cut due to lack of seniority on our campus. This year, they are moving multiple administrators, some back into the classroom, but hiring someone from out of the state to fill one of the administrative positions. One of the administrators they are moving is our principal--the one who started our alternative program last year. He wasn't given a choice and didn't want to go. In his place, we're getting someone who seems very nice, but had absolutely no idea what the alternative program was or what we do there. The need for consistent leadership, especially within our program, has fallen to the whims of someone "higher up."

    6. I'm fed up with the lack of professionalism I see in my coworkers. Everything from the way they dress (Winnie the Pooh sweats, anyone?) to the inappropriate things they say to students ("I dare you to come back when you're 21, and I'll drink you under the table.") They walk in at starting time and walk out at quitting time, leaving those of us who take our jobs seriously and feel a commitment to helping our students be successful to do all the global things that keep our school running.

    7. I don't want to keep spending $2,000 - $3,000 every year for materials to keep my classroom running smoothly and education I need to stay current in my field. I especially resent it when my raise was frozen, and I had to take a $4,000 paycut to change districts 3 years ago. I haven't broken even yet.

    8. No Child Left Behind and other federal and state-mandated programs put more responsibility on me as a teacher than they do on my students and their parents. I'm the one who can lose my job if little Jimmy is stoned the day he takes the AIMS test, or if Susie decides the whole thing is a joke and bubbles in "A" for every answer and refuses to answer written questions. Add to that the additional hours I have to spend outside of my regular classroom time to do test-administration activities, and it's rubbing salt in the wound. I've spent over 40 hours in the last 2 weeks just doing all the paperwork necessary to submit my students' district assessments. And AIMS is next week. Yippee!!!


    There are things I like about my job, too. I still like to believe that I can make a difference in some kids' lives. Many of my students love me (after they figure out I'm really NOT the big stupid meanie-head, and I push them because I care) and produce behavior and work for me they don't produce for anyone else. They come to me with their problems, and tell me their deepest hurts and secrets. I have files full of notes, letters, and pictures from them. Parents request me for siblings of prior students. I AM good at what I do, although I'm always wracked with insecurity because I know I can never be good enough to give them everything they need. I like having the autonomy to decide how to approach problems and solve them (although when I'm this exhausted, my creativity is nowhere to be found).

    Moving to another school at this time isn't an option. With budget cuts and other district maneuverings, there just aren't any positions out there that I want. I was doing what I really wanted to do last year--teaching middle school. This is the second year in a row the screws have come down tighter throughout our district. I understand that our whole state is in a budget mess, but it's making an almost-impossible job even harder.

    DH wants me to leave in a big way. He remembers that I was making this much in 1989 when I left my job as a legal secretary to stay home with our kids. He's convinced I could double my salary if I'd make the move into the private sector doing something. He doesn't know what. Neither do I.

    Okay. This is long. I'm really not a self-centered baby; I just sound like it right now. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

  9. #9
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    Tami,

    ((HUGS))!!! I can totally empathize with your situation and if it's any consolation I do feel your pain. From all that you have written I can tell that you are an incredible teacher. Dedicated and caring to the end. You are also underpaid, unappreciated and overworked.

    I left a successful career as a hospital pharmacist/administrator 6 years ago to return to school to get my teaching credential and Masters in Education. I felt I was at a point in my life where my profession did not provide enough personal meaning and fulfillment. I had always wanted to teach children and finally was in a financial position that was strong enough to make my dream come true. For the past four years I have balanced working part-time as a pharmacist in my husband's business and part-time as a teacher. Since I could only teach part-time (because of my commitment to my husband's business) I took a job with a Charter School that works with parents home schooling their children. I have had some fulfilling moments, and many discouraging ones, as many of my student's are at-risk high school students that couldn't survive in the traditional school setting. This past year has been particularly challenging and after many hours of soul searching and discussion with my DH, I have decided not to renew my contract at the end of June (for many of the reasons you have mentioned in your post). This have been a difficult decision for me to make, but I feel I must take some time to distance myself from the teaching profession to determine where and how I want to spend the rest of my "professional" life.

    Ironically, my DH is also having a "professional" crisis. I won't go into the details but he is considering taking a year off also, to rest and explore other options. We have talked about buying an R.V. and touring the U.S. and all of the National Parks or doing a home-exchange and going to live in a foreign country. I don't know what we are going to do exactly, or where we will end up. I just know that things are going to have to change dramatically and I trust that they will.

    I'm afraid I haven't been of much help. I don't have any profound insights or advice to offer. Just empathy and a listening ear. If at all possible, perhaps taking a year off (if it is possible for you) might help you regain some prospective and clarify what you want in life. I know my heart will break when I have to tell my collegues and "families" that I won't be working with them again next year. But, I'm to the point that I don't have any more to give. I'm calling this my mid-life crisis, even thought I refuse to admit that I have hit middle-age!!

    Good luck to you and please know that someone understands!

    Peggy

    P.S. You are NOT a self-centered baby!!!! You are just exhausted... and so am I.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by TamiKnight

    4. I'm tired of parents who refuse to force their children to take responsibility for their own actions. They make excuses for them, and threaten to sue us if we enforce any consequences. Of course, these parents like to keep me on the phone for an hour at a time to tell me how wonderful they are at parenting, and just don't know why their kids are defiant, disrespectful, and lazy!

    5. I'm tired of bureaucractic decisions that don't make sense.

    7. I don't want to keep spending $2,000 - $3,000 every year for materials to keep my classroom running smoothly and education I need to stay current in my field.

    8. No Child Left Behind and other federal and state-mandated programs put more responsibility on me as a teacher than they do on my students and their parents. I'm the one who can lose my job if little Jimmy is stoned the day he takes the AIMS test, or if Susie decides the whole thing is a joke and bubbles in "A" for every answer and refuses to answer written questions.

    I want to sympathise with you! These 4 are my main gripes about the profession I LOVE....especially the parent issues. It can really get you down when you put your heart and soul into the children and then are accused ofhorrible things because you enforce rules. I dont have trouble with some of your other issues because I teach 1st grade, so at this point no drugs etc. I frequently think I cant stans to spend another year being looked-down on and not being repected for what I do, but I also dont know what else I would do!!!

    Keep up posted on your choices!
    ps I agree with Peggy, this time of the year especially, EXHAUSTION!!!!
    ~Kim~

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
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    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
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  11. #11
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    Tami,
    After reading your last post,I can totally understand your frustration. I have changed populations (within Special Education) and the nature of my job has changed over the years. I definitely see the trends you are seeing too. I also have had to work at balance in my life...I worked part time teaching graduate level education courses at Providence College...when my dad was sick I needed to "just do one job". I haven't gone back to that job..and although I miss it, I know it would be too much with the amount of pressure I feel on this job I've been doing for years!! Your description of your frustration was very well stated...it made me cry. I know this profession needs people like you...and not the 9 to 3 crew who really don't care.
    Hang in there...and work out what is best for you and your family. Life is too short!!
    Keep us posted.
    Sally

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the input, guys. Peggy, I have been calling this my mid-life crisis, too. Maybe it is, but I really can't see myself doing this when I'm sixty. Just as if this were a bad marriage, I feel like I owe my career a big dose of "counseling" and effort. Unless something perfect falls into my lap (not likely) I'll go back next year. I had already toyed with the idea of taking a leave of absence for a year to try something else, which I may try to arrange for the year after next. I also know this is the time of year when ALL teachers are at the end of their ropes. After all, we all just filed our taxes and saw EXACTLY how much of our own money we spent last year! Yikes!! These problems, although exacerbated right now, don't seem to get any better no matter what time of year it is.

    Thanks for the support. This may get me through the day.
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

  13. #13
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    Tami, my heart goes out to you. I don't think you are selfish at all... in fact, you are probably one of the least selfish people your students may ever meet.

    I was an elementary school counselor in a situation similar to yours, and I didn't even last 6 years. I couldn't bear to watch my 3rd and 5th graders on the path to self destruction, I hated seeing precious potential in my kindergarten and first graders squandered. The paperwork was insane. The teachers had given up, and woudl send their problem kids to my office when they were sick of dealing with them so that someone else could "babysit" (their word, not mine. I'd try to use the time I was given, but if the kids weren't in a classroom then they weren't learning, so they couldn't stay with me all day). Those kids broke my heart (actually, most of the time it was their family circumstances, the kids had nothing to do with it), and I hated feeling that I wasn't strong enough to be there for them. But like you, my soul was being sucked out.

    I actually do have a couple of suggestions for you in the private sector. Your teaching skills could be put to good use as a professional trainer. My company, for instance, uses trainers to teach customers how to use their products. Some companies outsource training in "hard skills" like Siebel, Oracle, etc... or in "soft skills" like conflict resolution, writing memos, etc. Many of the listings I see for such positions list teaching as a prerequisite.

    Educational software companies may also like someone with your experience to consult with the schools on the use of their products. Also along those lines, educational consulting firms that do inservices for teachers might be something to look into.

    (((Tami))) You'll make the right decision, the right one for you. Bless you for staying with it as long as you have.
    We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.

    - H.I. McDunnough, "Raising Arizona"
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  14. #14
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    Tami,
    I'm a former teacher (5 years in bilingual elementary education) and I can totally sympathize with what you are going through. I spent all my time teaching (or preparing to teach, or grading) and not one moment living. I loved my kids and still miss my daily contact with "little folk" but wouldn't go back into the classroom for a million dollars. Getting out was the best thing I ever did for myself.

    I wanted to quit after my 4th year, but,like you, spent a year figuring out what I wanted to do. While I was ready to get out of the classroom, I wanted to continue working in education in some way.

    I went to work for our state's department of education in their assessment division. After about a year and a half there I was hired away by one of their contractors.

    I work for a small company that provides custom test design for states and publishing companies. What we do is write the test questions that are eventually used in assessments (either statewide or in textbooks). I love it.

    You might want to try a career counselor. I think a lot of people who are ready to quit teaching stay because they assume that none of their skills will transfer to another industry. That isn't true and I think a career counselor might have some good suggestions for you.

    If you like to write, you could try your hand at freelancing in educational publishing (textbooks, workbooks, assessments). I have a lot of friends who freelance and I can send you some information about that option, if you like.


    Best wishes to you. I know that it is difficult to change courses, but if you are unhappy (and you were unhappy at the beginning of the school year) then you should do what is best for you and your family.
    Sara

  15. #15
    Well, I hope that you can find something that is satisfying to you and takes some stress out of your life. Stress does awful things to the body and mind. A sabbatical might be just the thing for you.

    This probably should be on another thread altogether, but here goes: As someone who is going into teaching, I am hearing from lots of teachers the amount of stress, work, devaluation, lack of money the profession is comprised of. As a parent of two elementary children, I see teachers that are not responsive to my concerns, are too eager to throw labels at kids in order to get them out of their classrooms, administrators that make sure they get "theirs" before the teachers and students get "theirs", state and federal educational offices being funded appropriately while schools are not, and unions enforcing restrictive bidding/hiring practices while reaping huge monetary rewards. It seems in education the business is not of first teaching kids, it's more about power, career, and haggling over funding.

    Here's the $60 million dollar question - why can't schools be funded appropriately? It seems to me that there is enough money out there, it just get funnelled through so many places before it gets to the classroom. What am I not seeing?

    Please don't anyone take offense, I really would like just to discuss this issue. I love teachers, and want to be one. I just need to coordinate my "parent" head with my "education" head.

    Debie
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

  16. #16
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    Tami - I don't think your dilemma is limited to just the teaching field. I know a lot of people who have changed careers after several years (the honeymoon period, so to speak) because they find out that the reality doesn't match their idea of it going in. I'm going back into teaching after several years out because the corporate world was absolutely awful for me. I got paid even less than I did teaching, worked my butt of, and got no recognition what-so-ever (I got very little teaching, but there was that occassional hug from a kid that made it all worthwhile). I know I have to work overtime teaching, but I also don't expect to be able to relax anytime except summers. I used to work 60+ hours per week and had 2 weeks of vacation a year, which I usually ended up taking mid-week, so I'd work Monday -Tuesday, take Wednesday, and work Friday and Sunday. I worked every holiday imaginable, including a midnight shift on Christmas and New Years. Yes, I got time and a half, but was it worth it to be away from my family for an extra $6/hour? I don't think so. I don't know. Weigh your options. You may only have summers to relax, but you have summers to relax. You will never have to work on Christmas (OK, really only important if you are Christian) or Thanksgiving or New Years, or Easter (again, the Christian thing) or 4 July or or or....
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  17. #17
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    Dear Tami---

    I am so sorry that things are so awful for you at this time. We used to have a picture posted in the teachers' room. Over the word "September" was a sleek, fat cat. Next to it and over the word "June" was a scraggly cat whose hair was standing straight up, looking as though he had just stuck a claw into the nearest electrical outlet.

    I don't know if these ideas will be useful or not, but I have some thoughts to share. By way of background, my husband and I retired two years ago at the age of 56 after 33 and 32 years of teaching respectively. I worked as an elementary classroom teacher first, then as a reading specialist, and finally as a classroom teacher again.

    1. First off, you are not crazy. Teaching can be EXTREMELY stressful, and your assignment in a continuation school is one of the most stressful there is.

    2. I think you are very wise to explore your alternatives.

    3. You MUST find a way to reduce the hours you are spending. Look for every possible way to get a task done in the least amount of time. I finally had to set a limit and sixty hours was it. I also almost always took Saturday completely off. You may say that you will not be able to do the job you know needs to be done. That's true. However, from what you describe, your curtailed job will still be better for the students than not having you. If you have grandchildren, you are also running up against the inexorable loss of energy of not being 35. People talk disparagingly about the futility of "throwing money" at problems, but it can be extremely helpful, both at home and at school. Hopefully you have a house cleaner. Some of the older teachers in my district hired private aides -- I did!

    4. Lack of energy is a big issue. This summer when you have time, consider getting into a good (but not overly time-consuming!) program of physical exercise, if you are not already doing so, and continuing it the best you can during the school year. The hours you spend will earn the dividends of you feeling better and having greater concentration which will allow you to work more quickly with less fatigue.

    5. My husband (a high school teacher) once had a very wise vice principal, who told him that it takes three years to master a course. (As an experienced teacher it is very humbling to feel like a beginner in a new assignment. I know -- I've been there!) A particular job often becomes easier with time.

    6. If you are as unhappy next year, but want to continue in teaching, you may well need to be in a different school with different types of students. No matter how talented, some teachers work better with one type of student than others. That's just the way it is. My husband loved his high pressure school with extremely demanding parents. I found that type of student and parent irritating, with senses of entitlement matched only by their egos.

    7. It was helpful to me to have some distance between myself and my high need students. I figured out pretty early that the ONLY way I could serve these students was to maintain this distance. I knew I had the skills to teach them well, but I would not be able to help them if I let myself become extremely emotionally distraught over their problems.

    8. A few years ago, my husband and I came to peace with the notion that teachers need to spend personal funds for materials. We have a dear friend who recently retired from his job as an auto mechanic, working for a dealership. By the time he retired he was on his third set of tools, which cost about $25,000- $35,000 per set. When we looked around, we found that many workers (craftspeople obviously, but many others as well) supply their own equipment. When we saw it that way, we decided that we might as well have good tools, and we did!

    9. As I read over this post, most of it seems oriented toward offering suggestions to make your job more manageable. If it is best for you to move on, I would not discourage you. See how next year goes, explore your options at the same time, and follow your gut.

    Good luck!

    Editing Tuesday morning---

    10. After sleeping on it, I think that if you are anything like as unhappy next year as you are now, you almost certainly need to get out. One factor may be how long you intend to work. Two years? Ten to fifteen years? It might well make a difference.

    11. Everyone has different "high enery" times. For me, it was in the morning and I got to school at six. The two hours before school were worth four after school for me. I also usually did my work at school, so my evenings were mine.

    Last thought: E-mail me if you'd like to discuss these or any other issues now or (more likely when you have time!) this summer.
    Last edited by Kay Henderson; 04-29-2003 at 07:41 AM.

  18. #18
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    Kay - wow. As a person who is starting her master's in teaching in one week (eek!) thank you. I think this applies to anyone starting a new job. I think a lot of your tips (setting a time limit, for example) can be applied to someone that works for, say, the phone company as much as for a teacher. All jobs become easier with time. I also find it easier to separate my home and work lives by doing all work at the office, and keeping it there. When I was teaching originally, I wouldn't leave the office until my papers were graded and my lessons planned, but when I got home, I didn't give it another thought. No grading papers in front of the TV. When I worked in a corporate setting, I set the same limit. No bringing home productivity reports to do at my laptop on the kitchen table while watching sports at 10pm. If I had to put in overtime, so be it. But my home time is MY home time. It makes me wonder if teaching is really all that different than other careers....
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  19. #19
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    Jan 2001
    Location
    San Ramon, CA 94583
    Posts
    1,291
    I haven't, but my aunt recently retired from teaching and is working in HR for a hospital. I'd be glad to put the two of you in touch if you're interested.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    744
    Kay, thanks for the good advice. You're affirming for me some of the things I've been thinking. And Badunnin, you're right, too. The corporate world (which I've worked in) can also be very demanding. I KNOW I wouldn't switch careers if I couldn't make substantially more money and feel relatively sure that I could be satisfied. It would be hard to give up summers and holidays off for the same amount of money. I wouldn't do it--period. Ultimately, I'd prefer to salvage what I have, and Kay, your input may help me do that. I'm not a quitter, and switching careers says, "I couldn't do this." I haven't been to the gym more than 3 times since August. I had lost 35 pounds, and have put 30 back on. One issue is DH's schedule. His job starts at 4:00 a.m., so if I stay at school until my work is finished, there's some friction about what time I get home and fix dinner, etc. For the remainder of the school year, I'm walking out the door at 2:00, working out, fixing dinner, then going back to school after spending some time with DH. I don't like to bring work home, either, Badunnin. That's why I'm often at work until midnight on Fridays, and late into the evening on other nights.

    Kay, how did you like working as a Reading Specialist? I have almost all my hours for certification in that area, and wonder if I would like it better. I see you went back into the classroom after your Reading Specialist days. I also agree firmly that it takes three years to get comfortable with something. I totally agree. I would be in my 3rd year teaching 8th grade had my district not decided they needed to move everyone around.

    Rebecca, you mentioned some areas of potential employment that I've considered. I guess my best bet is to talk with a career counselor and see what jobs I qualify for that I could get a decent starting salary to boot. I KNOW my skills carry over. I could be the CEO of a large company! As teachers, we're managers, counselors, trainers, cheerleaders, social workers, liaisons, etc. We should be considered highly qualified candidates for ANYTHING.

    Thank you all so much for the input. I'm open to any and all thoughts. You can probably tell that I'm not committed to leaving; I just need to give myself permission to do so if I can't "fix" myself and the position I'm in. In the meantime, I need to explore other possibilities. You're making me feel better, and possibly more hopeful. In many cases, you are mirrors, reflecting back my own thought processes. Hearing it from other people whom I consider sane and healthy helps me know that I'm really NOT loony!
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hockeytown!
    Posts
    9,564
    Originally posted by TamiKnight
    I'm not a quitter, and switching careers says, "I couldn't do this."
    Tami - it doesn't mean you are a quitter if you leave teaching, and it doesn't mean that you can't do it. It means it isn't for you, that you may enjoy it and find it very rewarding, but that on other levels (financial, sanity, etc) it isn't the best thing for you at this time in your life.

    Right now I'm facing the whole "you're so smart! why do you want to go into teaching!" thing, and I'm getting really fed up with it. Apparently, bilingual women who have an affinity for math and science shouldn't be "wasting their talents" in teaching.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    South Beach, FL
    Posts
    110
    Tami,

    I feel for you! I left teaching after 6 years for the same reasons that you listed. It took much soul searching and lots of courage to make that decision.

    Since I liked helping people, I decided to go to law school. It was a difficult time and very stressful, too. However, I would do it all over again in a heart beat. I now run my own law firm. I still work many hours, but I really enjoy it. I finally found something that I am passionate about!

    You have so many options. The hard part is finding what will work for you. Do you have any hobbies that could turn into a business? How about becoming a personal chef or something like that? Others have also given great suggestions. Whatever you choose, it should be something that you look forward to doing. Life is way too short to be unhappy.

    Good luck in your search! Lots of positive thoughts coming your way

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    744
    Okay, I've taken this step:

    There is a position open for a reading teacher at the school I was surplussed from last year. Still not a GREAT situation--there's a new principal there and he's struggling. However, it would put me back in middle school, and teaching only one or two different classes instead of six different classes a day, which I'm doing now. Also, I love to teach the reading part of Language Arts, and I'm not so crazy about teaching writing. If the job doesn't require a reading endorsement (I don't know yet) I might very well take it. I don't relish the thought of starting over again, but I also don't relish the thought of staying here! I might've mentioned THAT part already. Thanks again for your positive thoughts and support. I'll let you know what happens. In the meantime, I'm still open for ideas.
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    7,842
    I don't have any great words of advice but just anted to say that I really feel for you.
    Both my husband and I have BEds. My DH got the only job available in Vancouver when he graduated-he was that highly regarded. Well he quit at Xmas. He was a terrific teacher but he knew the system would kill him. He wanted the kids to really think for themselves and his class was alive with creativity! But he was exhausted every day and dreaded going by November. It took alot of guts to quit-the principal begged him to stay. He took a job as a security guard and is now a successful artist.
    I have never taught full time. Love children but I know the stress of parents, administration would kill me.I admire teachers so much-what a demading job!

    I hope you find what makes you happy. All I can say is-don't be afraid to take a chance. Yes maybe you will have less money and security but I truly believe all things work out when you follow your heart. Of course I don't know if you have a family to support so I could be way off base. Good luck-let us know what you decide to do.
    You think you're not ever going to be able to eat another thing, but alas, you will find yourself feeling strangely peckish around teatime. The more you eat, the more you want. That's the way it goes."

    Nigella Lawson

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    Posts
    3,256
    Tami--

    I very much enjoyed my work as a reading specialist, which I did for seventeen years. For me, it was a good fit, for literacy was something I was and still am passionate about.

    I worked with high need students but in small groups. In my district, the model also had reading specialists working with classroom teachers sharing techniques and strategies.

    Given the things you care about, I think you should consider it. You may qualify for the job you are considering if you are involved in the certificate program and going to complete it soon. You should probably talk to other reading specialists in your district, particularly at the middle school level to see what the role involves.

    If you are hired for the job, I have a couple of suggestions:

    1. If you don't already subscribe to The Reading Teacher and Journal of Adolescent & Adult literacy, do so.

    2. Attending one conference this summer will give you lots of ideas.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    744
    I just want to thank all of you again for your support and advice. It helped me step outside the moment and take a look at what I'm doing. This is what I've done:

    1. Sent off my transcripts for evaluation to see EXACTLY what I need for my Reading Endorsement.

    2. Contacted a career counselor to begin evaluating options.

    3. Gone on two interviews (and received two offers)--both today. I think I'll be returning to the school I was surplussed from last year. They want me back. However, I will be teaching two sections of accelerated students and three regular sections. That will allow me to get my feet wet with more advanced students to see if that's something I like or not. I'll be "back in the arms of family," as I was very close to the staff on that campus. Also, my best friend and co-teacher (who made this move with me) is moving back there also. I plan to lay low as far as extra "jobs" this next year, lick my wounds, and see if I can regroup for teaching.

    4. I've done a lot of soul searching, and realized that I AM good at what I do, and I do make a difference. I needed that, because I had lost my vision. I spent an afternoon looking through my portfolio, with pictures of my students, notes and letters from students and parents, letters of recommendation, and evaluations. It helped recenter me.

    I'm not sure I could've faced another year. I was in a very ugly, dark place. You all shared the light of your single candles to light my way back. Thank you.
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

  27. #27
    Glad you resolved your concerns and have new opportunities opening up for you. Enjoy!

    Debie
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Lone Star State
    Posts
    20,759
    I got tingles reading your last post Tami. Hope it all works out for you, and it sounds like a wise way to go. A new turn or a new place might make all the difference in the world.

    I wanted to post earlier but I didn't know what to say. It breaks my heart to see the world lose a dedicated teacher. They are such gifts, and I encourage every parent to support their teachers and schools. For the cost of a private school application fee or just a few hours of your time, at the schools or with your kids, you can make a real difference.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Nashville TN
    Posts
    7,377
    Originally posted by Beth
    or just a few hours of your time, at the schools or with your kids, you can make a real difference.
    This is so true...we are having an "argument" with a mother right now because she doesnt seem to think she should read with her 7 year old at night...."let him read at recess to get that extra reading time in" is her attitude...
    ~Kim~

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
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    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
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  30. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    744
    Originally posted by kwormann


    This is so true...we are having an "argument" with a mother right now because she doesnt seem to think she should read with her 7 year old at night...."let him read at recess to get that extra reading time in" is her attitude...
    It's these kinds of things that sometimes make me say I'd rather teach in an orphanage. Of course, I'm just kidding when I say it. I think. Two years ago, the mom of one of our resource kids was in for an IEP meeting. We talked about how the child (8th grade) needed just some "drill and skill" on her multiplication tables, and even basic addition and subtraction. We suggested the mother work with her at home. Mom's response? "You do it. That's what you're PAID for." Nice. Our math teacher was hoping to teach something a little bit beyond 2 x 2. Maybe I could've done it in language arts, though!
    If this is the worst thing that happens all year, I think I can deal with it!

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