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UPDATE! I quit my job!! (Originally: Have I made the worst decision of my life?)

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Update: I gave my 30 days notice 2 weeks ago and they found someone quickly! Today is my second day home and I'm so happy again! I feel like I've been traumatized by the experience and I've reacted physically - I haven't had a gout flareup in years and naturally it's rearing it's ugly head again... Anyway, I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support and suggestions! Now I need to start a thread about frugal living, because are we ever going to be poor! My folks are going to pay for COBRA insurance, which helps tremendously... I know there aren't many people who would even have a choice and would simply have to work. I feel so blessed. I learned a major lesson about what is truly "valuable".

Your insights have been wonderful...

I just started alternative licensure to teach high school biology, and I think I may have made the worst decision of my life!

If you teach, please tell me things get better if they do, but be honest because I need to make a decision.

I really want to be able to work for a couple of years at least because we're trying to build a house on our property, but I'm wondering if I'll make it even til Xmas!!

I teach at a low income school. I came from a much different situation - I was teaching at a university part-time so I only went in for an hour every other day, taught my class, and left. I never even went to a public high school, I attended a private boarding school. SO, I had no idea what to expect.

The kids are awful, I'm pretty tough but I can hardly teach anything! I teach a college track class (biology 1) and a vocational type class that still requires students to pass the gateway to graduate. It's supposed to be more hands-on, but I can't get any experiments done because there are major behavioral issues with some kids. Many of them are special ed kids with specific requirements - I really don't have a problem meeting those requirements. It does take a bit of extra work, though, and many of them can't seem to settle down in class. Actually, I like teaching them the best because they're often so humble and many of them are downright sweet.

I coach, also. We're in the early part of our season. I went from basically being a SAHM to leaving my house by 6:20 a.m. and not returning until after 9:00 p.m. 3 days a week. The other 2 days I get home at 6. I miss my babies (3 and 1) so much I could just about die. DS is still breastfed but of course that has become much reduced. My DD is panicky every time I get near the door! I've seen them for a total of 4 hours this WEEK! That is really killing me. Whenever I see a baby at a game or at school, I want to cry, once I almost did cry in front of everyone.

I'm sure things will be better once the season is over. I never have time to be with my family because even on the weekend I have to work on my lesson for the next week. I have to get everything done at once since I can't do it during the week due to my coaching obligations, and on Monday morning I try to get to school before 6 am so I can photocopy things for the week. I actually like coaching because I get to work with some good girls, but teaching those classes really challenges me almost beyond my ability. I've been told that the kids are just testing me but I'm at my limit.

Also, the other faculty (with a few wonderful exceptions) just aren't very nice. My mentor teacher actually seems threatened by me since I have much more education than her and she's always making "you'll get fired if you do this or that" statements. She keeps telling me I'm going too fast because she has only done 1 chapter in the 3 weeks school has been in session. I'm in line with the other bio teacher who is going the same route as myself and also was a "real" biologist. My mentor teacher has a shockingly small amount of knowledge about biology, and she knows it. And frankly, she's really annoying.

Is administration always standoffish? At the university level, I'm accustomed to people treating each other with professional friendliness and courtesy at the very least, but here I can barely get anyone to even look at me when I'm asking a question. Everyone - faculty and administration - act like they never left high school themselves or something - everyone in their own gossipy little clique. I feel like I'm going to another planet every day. I wonder if I shouldn't try to get on with another school, but I don't have anything to compare this to so that's why I'm looking for your advice. Does this seem normal?

Oh, and this week a kid brought a huge gun to school so he could kill another student. Fortunately he was caught quickly, but it's really scary. The building was identified as being overrun with black mold, but they may renovate in a couple years. There are no windows in the classroom, and the school smells bad. It's so unpleasant!

Sorry to write so much - I went from posting on MDC everyday to not even logging on. This is my first time back in weeks! I miss you mamas.

Please help me keep going or let me know if I'm being unreasonable! I need the job but not at the cost of my family's happiness! I haven't even been given a contract yet, so I still have time to get out... but I want to try to stick it out for a couple years. Will it really get better with time, or does my school sound atypical????

post #2 of 46
I'm a teacher too, and I'll help you in whatever way I can. Feel free to PM me whenever if you need to.

Let's see, I teach Science also, and I am also alternative cert. with a Chemistry/Physics degree. I am also often appalled at the lack of knowledge required to be a teacher, but I have learned over the years (I'm in my 8th year) that those big ideals we start teaching with just aren't realistic in the average classroom.

I taught in a couple of low income schools in Oklahoma City, one middle school for one year, and one high school for two years. I learned that it takes a tough attitude to earn the kids respect. Once you have that, you find that the kids really WANT to keep you happy. In my opinion in dealing with those little gangsters, it only takes one punch at me and they are out of my school, so when they give me mouth, I give it right back, telling them that when and if they diss me, I will give it right back to them, and I do. I have made more than one kid cry after treating them the way they treated me, and now, I usually end up with kids who know by reputation that I won't put up with it, and I have a ball teaching. It's rough and hard to be mean sometimes, but the reality is that the patience and understanding that you learn in your teaching classes just doesn't always cut it with kids who would rather be roaming the streets because frankly, they don't think they will live past 25 anyhow.

I used to have a schedule like yours, when I taught AP classes. I understand that it is rough. Now, I am happily teaching 9th grade, and things are a little calmer. I though, like you, am feeling overwhelmed right now, since starting back, my dd is only 4mo, and I am pumping at work, which is a nightmare. I was moved into the library for construction on my classroom, and have to pump in a closet. People bang on the door wanting in for whatever reason, and I have to just ignore them. I spend over half my plan, and all of my lunch pumping, so I rarely get to eat at work, and seem to be getting swamped in paperwork. I recently emailed my principals, and told them I was about to lose it, that I was having a hard time balancing everything, and wasn't sure I could do this, and asked for advice.

They told me to sacrifice a little bit of my teaching ideals to make things easier for me. Only teach 1/2 the hour, then have them working on something so I can grade during class and not have to take things home. They suggested I cut out all the nonessential activities, and try to relax and enjoy my home time when I am not at school. They also offered to handle discipline for me if I had any trouble, so that I wouldn't have to deal with that also, but so far things are fine there. I also use overheads a lot, with the assignment on there instead of a worksheet, that way, I don't have to copy things. Then, the next day, we grade together, so that the kids get a chance to explain their answers, and then I don't have 150 papers to grade every day, I just have to put them in the gradebook. Yes, some kids cheat, but not super badly, and most of the ones who cheat fail the tests, so it doesn't make their grades that different.

I am working on a ton of other strategies, and will be happy to share any that work or don't work with you, just let me know how I can help.
post #3 of 46
to both of you. THanks for trying to make the students life better.

daekini : I remember starting school as athlete it was tough but slowed down after we go into a routine. As a techer i understand your frustration and feel for you. As a mom my heart breaks for you having to leave your little ones. I don't know if this helps but here is an thought. Could you go back to the unversity and teach online for one of the online tutoring companies. I would highly recommand Sylvan Online. It's all done from home. This is the link to apply.


You also can view a demo at www.sylvanonline.com This examples the classroom and how it works. I have worked for them almost 4 years and love them. If you have questions you can PM me. I hope you fine some piece. Life is to short to not enjoy what your doing.

post #4 of 46
Though it sounds like you are a good person who can make a difference in these kids' lives, I'm sure you are exhausted and do think your children need to be with you more often while they are so young.
I think the sylvan learning centers idea was good, I also know that our state has a online public school that a friend of mine works for (from home). Maybe your state has a similar school?
post #5 of 46
Well if you really want honesty: Our experience is that DH was a public high school biology teacher but the kids were so horrible he quit after 3 (or 4?) years and now is a SAHD. It wasn't just the kids but the other teachers were miserable and gossipy so it wasn't a good working enviornment. And the administration was very ANTI-teacher -- Admin was so worried about disciplining kids or even giving bad grades because of the No Child Left Behind nonsense that they just let the kids do whatever they wanted. And Admin told the teachers that the teachers would be reviewed (so possibly fired) if they gave too many F's because of No Child Left Behind, but they all diserved F's because there actually were 23 year old SOPHOMORES at the school and lots of the kids were completely illeterate! So it was impossible to really teach and DH eventually came to realize that he was just being paid to be a babysitter from 8-3 M-F. And of course like you said the job doesn't end at 3 because you have to do lesson plans at home till all hours so you never have time for your own family. We're much happier now that he's not working, and that's the honest to God truth.
post #6 of 46
It sounds like way too much, too soon. If you have the option to back out, as you have not signed a contract, and can afford to do so, I would do it. I don't see how this can work. I had situations like this as a teacher before I had kids, and I was completely depressed and burnt out.

I returned to work last week, and while last week was full time due to trainings and workshops (and it was really hard to adjust to), my assignment is part time.

My school has mostly low-income, low achieving students, and classroom management is crucial (crucial in any school, really). Have you had any training in classroom management? Most teachers have not, and have had to learn by trial by fire, and that is why many of them are a little pissy.

Teaching can be a great profession, with many amazing moments and disappointments along the way. But a no-win situation is a no-win situation.

I feel for you. You can still be a great teacher, but maybe not now, not there.

post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 

I'm just going to try to stick this out for this year, if I possibly can. Hearing your stories really helps me feel less alone. If I can stick it out for a year or 2 then we can build a house and I can be a SAHM.

DH is doing his student teaching this semester for his Master's degree to teach elementary school - no insurance or income without my job... otherwise I'd be out the door right this instant!

I just don't think I'm cut out for HS teaching. I'll try to go back to teaching part time at a community college or something once I'm done with this place....
post #8 of 46

I always said that teaching is the hardest thing to do next to parenting. Good luck with your decision this year - it's not an easy one, for sure.
post #9 of 46
I am in the process of getting my license, so I'm not there yet. It does sound like you've bitten off more than you care to chew ... those hours! It would kill me too, to be away from my kids for that long. As soon as you possibly can, see what you can do to make things easier for you. Don't assign as much homework so you have less grading. Reuse lesson plans from other people - grub from your colleagues or search online for plans. Assign in-class projects and group work the kids can work on while you grade and plan for tomorrow. DON'T coach anything once this fall season is over, and consider taking next year off from coaching - your kids are only so young once!

I don't have any good advice on classroom management and dealing with your peers... I'm sure I'll end up struggling with the same things when I get out there!

It is hard... with my student schedule, I can tell my DD is really needing mommy time when the weekend comes. I empathize.
post #10 of 46
If you are staying, I would definitely try to find an ally or allies at the school. A friendly face will do wonders for you on a bad day.

Moneeleann had some really good suggestions. Come back here for more support. I am not a high school teacher, but I am a special education teacher (school starts tomorrow), and I can tell it will be crazy the first two weeks at least.

post #11 of 46
I taught in a situation like this. Horribly behaved kids with problems that should have been addressed years ago. Disrespect, cussing me out, burned-out teachers and cover-their-butts admin. I went on to a better school eventually, but though I enjoyed teaching somewhat, I ended up leaving the profession because I just didn't have a passion for it.

And this was pre-kid. I cannot even begin to imagine how teachers with kids do it. I was spending every evening and a good part of the weekend lesson planning and correcting essays. I had no life.

I would say that unless you have a real fire under you to TEACH and a mission to do what it takes to be in the profession, get out while you can.
post #12 of 46
s to you! It just sounds so overwhelming. Praying that you come to the right decision for you and your family.

Just a thought--Is there anyway you can go back to teaching at the college level? I am a teacher, but I teach at a university. I know what you mean when you talk about what you are use to. Its like night and day.
post #13 of 46

Another teacher here.
I started teaching 13 years ago in inner city Oakland on an emergency credential with no training before hand (Teach For America).
WhooooBoy, was that ever hard.
In fact, teaching is unbelievably emotionally and physically draining in the best of circumstances.
I am currently working 1/2 contract and even that has got me beat with two young kids at home and APing.
I am beyond exhuasted right now, but wanted to jump in to say BTDT and offer a .
Hopefully I will have some coherant thoughts this weekend as someone who's stuck with it for over a decade now.
post #14 of 46
I teach in a pretty rough school. I don't give it right back to them. I am probably the calmest teacher they have all day. I have very consistent consequences and I am very matter of fact, unemotional about it. Two discipline books I use are Fred Jones and Time to Teach (our whole school does this). I think classroom management comes first. Also, this guy Scott Purdy has books called Tomorrow starts at 3:00 and Time Mangement for Teachers that are awesome. He shows you how to streamline assignments for yourself. He is an incredible teacher (he was my 8th grade english teacher) and he only devotes 1 hour a day to school outside of his contract times (efficient!). I say that my teaching creditial program taught me class room management and I think you can't get very far without that. Do I understand correctly that you have done an alternate credential program? Did you have that student teaching/class management courses? If not, you will need it now! I k now you don't have time, but those books will really help. Is the coaching necessary? without that, you would probably be doing ok.

Each year is easier. Also, they give the newest teachers the worst classes. The teachers at my school have stood together and put a stop to this. For example, we have this "Quest" program for the worst students. When I first started, that was my class: the worst 12 kids in the school, all day. This year, the department heads decided they would each take 1 period with those kids. This is the way it should be everywhere. But, teachers feel like once they have "done their time" they should get the easy classes.

I have worked at highschooly, cliquish schools, and warm, supportive schools (all middle schools, BTW) depends on the administration and the make up of the teachers. Each school is going to be VERY different.

For the last few years, I went to work each morning at 7 and left the school at 3:30. I work my butt off through my prep so that I have just a few things (maybe 45 min) to do when the kids go to bed. This year, I am working partime!!! I get to work at 7 (school starts at 8:20) and leave at 12:15. I teach 3 classes and have I prep period. It is perfect, except we are broke!
post #15 of 46
Yes, teaching is very hard. (But sometimes it can be rewarding, too.) Next year get out of coaching, if you can. That will make a huge difference for you.
post #16 of 46
Thread Starter 
I was just gone for 2 days to a tournament - the longest I've ever been away from my kids. I'm dying inside. I can't do this, but I'm not a quitter. Right now I think I'll stick it out to the end of the year then I'm done. Maybe something will happen to change my mind? but right now that's how I feel.

Sorry to be so negative... I miss my babies.

My pump quit working and I had to hand-express the whole trip. I know my supply is down right now so I'm nursing all day long today to bring it back up. Miles is 1 year old so it's not a crisis - just depressing.
post #17 of 46
I have been teaching 12 years - I have days when I cry HARD and days when I smile. It is draining and the administration expects more out of you than is possible (at least where I am). Hang in there. I think the bottom line is that my students are learning - they are why I do it, they are why I go to work everyday.
post #18 of 46
From reading these posts (and from being a former teacher myself) I am beginning to think that the education system relies on women's guilt feelings and the expectation that we will be selfless nurturers in order to keep us at a job that leaves us with nothing left, emotionally, and very little financially. We are told how "noble" teaching is, but the truth is that in many cases, it takes extreme advantage of the teacher, leaving her drained with no life and nothing left to give for her family. Not nearly as many men go into teaching ad do women, especially with the younger grades, as do men. Is that because most men would never settle for a job with so much stress, an unsupportive working environment, lack of respect, and LOW PAY? Probably. Men in general would not put up with that.

But maybe it depends on the school system. I left teaching and am so much happier for it. I would never go back to the type of system I left, but maybe if a much more teacher-supportive job came up, I would go back some day. But I will never take a teaching job that drains me again. Life is too short and my kids will only be young once. You know how the say "the cobbler's children never have shoes"? Well, "the teacher's children never had their mother", was my experience.
post #19 of 46
Wow, this is scary. Because of what my baby will have to deal with in public school and what our country will have to deal with regarding people who can't read, etc. No Child Left Behind is doing scary things.
post #20 of 46
I am feeling you today.....very hard day, and that is just dealing with bureaucracy, administrators and paperwork (Special Education teacher) - no kids yet. I definitely had a "did I just make a huge mistake" moment or two today.
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