View Full Version : Teachers and quitting mid-year


demfabbones
10-15-16, 06:29 PM
This will probably be a long post so bear with me (or you know... don't read this! lol.)

I am a 5th grade teacher and have been at my current school just this year. This is my 5th year teaching although I've had other jobs in between. Teaching has changed so much in just since I started in 2009. This isn't supposed to be a rant about the sorry state of education, but if you don't know how bad things have gotten, please, ask a teacher you respect some time. You will be shocked and saddened.

I work at a school where 20% of our teachers have quit since the year started in August. The ones I've talked to have quit because of stress. Clearly I'm not alone in having these thoughts. I work every single Saturday and work about 60 hours a week. I wouldn't mind doing this if I felt like I was scaling a mountain, but it's an avalanche. Every time I dedicate myself to understanding something or making something work in my classroom, our administrators change their expectations, or add new/different ones. I am constantly behind. Having ADD clearly doesn't help. My weekends are constantly ruined by having to do last-minute things which are either my fault but are more often than not something we are assigned Friday afternoon. If I made more money, maybe I could justify how much I'm missing out on my personal life because I could be saving for a better future. But I make what you'd expect a teacher to make and I have no benefits, and I spend at least $20 a week on classroom supplies.

This weekend I have missed not one but two out of town day trips I was supposed to take with my boyfriend and our friend because of work stuff that came up last-minute, despite me getting things done so I could have a good weekend. I get so resentful about these kinds of things. I give so much of myself emotionally at work that I need to be able to take SOME time to recharge in the evenings/weekends.

Anyway, the ONLY thing stopping me from quitting is my students. I truly love them. I enjoy my daily interactions with them. I believe that I make their lives better. Some of them come from bad family situations and don't need one more adult in their lives quitting on them. With 20% of our teachers leaving, and only 9 teachers from last year who chose to return this year, they have gotten the message that teachers quit on them. It's what they're used to and it's really sad.

But, how much is too much? I am having panic attacks, daily crying fits, and my boyfriend is understandably perplexed and doesn't understand why I don't just quit. (There are plenty of other teaching jobs out there right now - quitting mid-year used to be career suicide but the nationwide teacher shortage put at end to that.)

And you know, re-reading my post, I thought of something else - a lot of people at my school have quit and I see myself as NOT a quitter. It's like I have this stubborn desire to "win" by not being one of the quitters when people around me are dropping like flies. It feels good to be one of the last people standing when the odds are against you. So there's that going on with me, too. That's a less noble reason that my dedication to my kiddos.

TL;DR: My job as a teacher is ruining my life and my relationship but I feel deeply committed to my students. I don't know if I can make it 7 more months but I don't want to let them down.

Little Missy
10-15-16, 06:31 PM
Take care of your self first. :)

namazu
10-15-16, 09:35 PM
How much of the stuff you're doing is administrative busywork, vs. lesson-planning or grading or helping students?

If a lot of it is administrative busywork, could you get away with letting some of it slide so that you can reclaim some of your non-work time, while still being a stable and supportive and educational presence for your students? (And grading can be fungible...)

(If the school is already hurting for teachers, they may be reluctant to fire you for something like failing to write up how your lesson plans align with state-wide learning objectives or whatever...but you know your situation better, and maybe just getting out would be better.)

demfabbones
10-16-16, 01:49 AM
Those are both good points.

Namazu; some of it is a combo of both - for ex., lesson plans that have to be done in an exact format (which I don't like because it's a "one size fits all" procedure for every class/teacher/lesson.) I could let some of it slide but it's hard for me to focus because so much is thrown at us at once. Maybe I need to make a list of what my top priorities should be for the kids' benefit and then forget the rest. You are correct that there's no way they'd fire me at this point unless I did something AWFUL. (Not being cocky - they're just desperate and have bigger fish to fry.)

I'm realizing too that the larger issue that bothers me is all this bogs me down and makes me feel like I'm not good at my job. I can't get a career going because all the teaching jobs I'm finding are like this lately. (Focus on administrative stuff rather than teaching.) I want to find a place where I fit in and it doesn't seem to happen for me. I feel like my boyfriend must secretly think I'm a flake or lazy because I'm constantly freaking out about my job. It makes me think he'll never want to settle down with me bc I'm too much of a mess. He had never said these things, but he's very settled and successful in his career, and also I'm just an anxiety-riddled worry wart.

Ugh.

Tetrahedra
10-16-16, 01:56 AM
Have you considered teaching at a private school?

Also, is there someone you can complain to either in administration at your school or the next level up? They obviously aren't putting the kids first if they're willing to stress out the teachers to the point where they up and quit.

TygerSan
10-16-16, 07:30 AM
I feel like a total hypocrite agreeing with the posters above because I have a very hard time following my own advice in practice, but, pick your battles. I know it's terribly hard to figure out what stuff can slide and what stuff can't. I'm a perfectionist and I have a really hard time figuring out what "quick and dirty" means with regards to work, but sometimes it's true that you have to half-*** the less important things.

I feel for you. It's a really hard time to be a teacher. Private schools have their own politics, and often times don't pay as well or have as many benefits as working in the school system. On the other hand, you wouldn't have to deal with as much overhead and shifting goal posts (which is only partially administration, and is also partially changing guidelines).

If you can stick it out, I would. It's much nicer to quit in June than it is to quit now. But you already know that :(

finallyfound10
10-19-16, 04:02 PM
I was a public school teacher and stayed at one job where I probably should've quit. I feel good for my students that I stayed but it did nothing for me professionally or personally. Actually, it made my self-esteem worse. It was many years ago and wasn't part of anything that put me over the edge.

Only you can decide what is best for you. Don't try to be a hero and let your mental health and relationships fail. The kids won't care what happens most likely.

Did you say that you DON'T have benefits?? That can be tough to manage!! This isn't a public school, right?

sarahsweets
10-20-16, 04:14 AM
I could rant forever on teachers and how they are either overworked, not supported by their schools, and not compensated properly for their time. Anyhow....
I get it that you are so committed to your kids. Its admirable and an amazing quality to have and there will be kids that remember your efforts and they will tell their kids about this one awesome fifth grade teacher they had....

BUT, your life is not your job. No matter what, if your personal life is affected by your job like this, its not healthy.
Swap out teacher for nurse, or janitor or any other job and no one would tell those people to stick with it and not be a quitter...

I think you need to see if laying it out for admin does anything to help. You dont have much to lose if plan be is to quit.
Without support from your district, admin and coworkers, the strain of carrying the load on your own can break you.