Monday, March 30, 2015

Throwing in the Towel

It was with a very heavy heart today that I stepped into my Principal's office and submitted my letter of resignation for the 2015-2016 school year. Many of you have left comments and encouraging words, on this blog and on Facebook.  I can't tell you how much those comments have meant to me. I read each and every one multiple times, and I took every comment to heart. So many of you poured out your hearts and shared your own frustrations with your teaching jobs. Many of you have left for the same reasons I have given.

Several of you have asked how I've been managing, and I really wish I could be a good example of a teacher sticking it out. I tried. I really did. I gave this job everything I had and then a little bit more.

I was doing okay for at least six weeks, leaving by 5:30 and not bringing work home. The only exception is Sundays. Sundays are still filled with planning for the week ahead, and often it's done at school, away from my family. I find myself feeling more and more resentment towards the time I spend on the weekends preparing for the week ahead. The time I spend away from or disconnected from my family.

I suppose I could just not do it, sure. Except, I know myself, and I'm not the type of person that flies by the seat of her pants. I'm a control freak. I need to feel prepared before I stand in front of a classroom of students on Monday morning. I'm not comfortable with not having my ducks in a row.

So as much as I tried to turn it around and make a positive change, I've decided to let go. I'm going to finish out this year and enjoy everything I love about my job for the next ten weeks. I'm going to savor every moment I have left with my students.

That might creep them out, but hey, what fun, right?

I want to focus on the good. I don't want to leave my profession with bitterness, although I'm not going to lie, I have felt bitter at times.

I will miss the kids. This awkward age group especially. They are caught between childhood and adulthood, awkwardly navigating friendships and crushes. Their personalities are so varied and amazing. I marvel at the things they do and say every day. For those of you that are parents, you should know that teachers really do appreciate and love their students very much like you do. We notice them. We appreciate their uniqueness. And yes, we are proud of them. When the year is over and they move on, we miss them.

I will miss my teacher friends and everyone else I work with. As adults in a middle school, so many of us are immature ourselves, and I love that. We joke around every day. We laugh until we wet ourselves and make snorty noises. We scare our students when we behave strangely and that makes it even funnier.

I will miss the school supplies. I have always had a special place in my heart for brand new school supplies.

I will miss hearing students say "Oh, I get it now!" Even if sometimes it is closely followed by "Nope. Gone now."

I will miss bossing people around who are taller than me. I'm not gonna lie. Some days it makes me feel powerful to give a six foot tall basketball player a tongue lashing and then have him give me a sincere apology. I know it's wrong, but it does feel good. Even though these kids are at a very self-centered age, most of them really do not want to disappoint us.

I will miss writing on my beautiful, gleaming white, whiteboards with chisel tip dry erase markers.

I will miss watching my students grow from the first day I see them in September to the last day I see them in June. Academically, socially, and vertically. It's very rewarding.

I will miss trolling for new foldables, curriculum, lessons, and classroom decorations.

I will miss setting up my classroom every year.

I will miss reading teacher blogs and getting ideas and inspiration from them. I don't think I will be able to continue reading teacher blogs because I'm afraid it will hurt too much.

I will miss meeting my students' parents and seeing their features and mannerisms mirrored in adult-sized, responsible citizens.

I know there is so much more I will miss, and I'm going to be looking for the things I will miss over these last ten weeks. I thought about making a list of the things I will not miss, but that just sounds like such a gigantic buzz kill, so I'll decline.

There are still a lot of teacher related things I have wanted to share, so I'll try and get those posted before the end of the school year. A "What Has Worked for Me" post of sorts.

For those of you sticking it out and hanging in there, my thoughts are with you. I love, appreciate, and admire all of you. I hope you will be able to hold the frustration and discouragement at bay, like I have not been able to do.

Thank you all for your comments and good wishes. I appreciate them more than words can express. As we drag our gnarly carcasses through these last weeks of school, May the Force be With You.


  1. Jill,
    So sorry to hear that you feel the need to give up the good fight, but I get it. I so so get it! This is my 25th year of teaching and it has changed so much over the years, some for the good and lots for the not so good. We always joke about how teaching used to be "fun" and God forbid you do anything fun nowadays. I still have fun in my classroom with my students, but the outside pressures are just beyond ridiculous and sometime unsustainable. I wish you lots of peace, love, and happiness as you start your new "afterteachinglife".

    1. Thank you, Sherrie. I can't imagine teaching for 25 years. I have known for several years that I would not be able to make it long enough to retire. It is the hardest job I've ever had and it sucks the life out of me. You are an amazing woman, and you have clearly figured out how to do it. I know there are lots of good teachers that ARE able to do it. It makes me sad, and yes I feel a little inadequate, knowing that I cannot. That is me though. I wish you the best of luck however long you continue teaching. Thank you for your comment. :)

  2. I'm sorry to hear that you will be leaving your job as teacher at the end of the year. Sorry to hear it, but unfortunately not surprised. Good for you for recognizing that this isn't something that you can sustain and lead a somewhat normal life. I wish you peace with your decision and the ability to savor all that you love about your job. Hugs.

  3. I know this was a difficult decision to make. You have the heart and soul of a true teacher. Just remember there are other opportunities to teach and inspire children through community programs, as a substitute teacher, a classroom aide, or as a parent volunteer. None of those are the same as being a teacher in the classroom (but maybe that's a good thing!) You can always go back to teaching in a few years if you decide to do that, too. I hope the last weeks of the school year go smoothly and best wishes for the year ahead!

  4. Ok... so I've been MIA for awhile... a loooong while. I thought I'd come back & check up on you & see how things were going... and OH MY!! I am sending you a HUGE HUG! My goodness, such a hard decision to make. Enjoy these last 10 weeks (we have 12 left). Soak up all the good things & rejoice in not having to do the crap things again. Breathe, breathe, breathe!!

    1. Yes, Sue, it was a very hard decision to make, but once I submitted my resignation all I felt was relief. I know it was the right thing to do for me and I'm pretty much at peace with it. I'm looking forward to what the future holds, whatever that is. :)

  5. You've done what is right for you and for your family and that is - and will always be - the right decision.

  6. So sorry to hear that Teaching is losing you...but I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from! I felt like that and had some time away......then I got the chance to work at a different school - a very challenging one - as part of a job share. I now work 3 days a week and LOVE my job again!
    OK, at times I STILL work all the hours that are available, but mostly I can do my school work and planning while my own kids are at I get the weekends "free" to be with them.
    Only twice in the last 3 years have I had that "Sunday evening" feeling!
    I hope you get to chill now and have fun!
    .....Will there be more fabulous posts about your family now?....I love hearing about how you make your girls cringe! I do it to mine too! Lol!

    1. Yes, there will be more posts about my family. I have missed blogging and I'm looking forward to getting back to it. Your job sounds ideal. I'm glad you found a teaching job that is manageable for you. It is so important to have time for ourselves, isn't it?

  7. What a difficult decision to make. I am not a teacher but a mom to five kids, they are grown now, but while in school I could tell the great dedication their teachers had toward their students, school and co-workers, and reading your blog and seeing the hard work and time you put just preparing your classroom I know you are the teacher every parent hopes their child gets, Enjoy your final weeks of teaching.

    1. Thank you, Bernice. That is so sweet for you to notice and acknowledge. Teachers appreciate parents like you. :)

  8. I'm a little late replying here, I only check in during Winter and Spring breaks because...I'm too busy at school in between. I've been teaching for 22 years. I took 8 years off during that time to have children and get a divorce, so I've been in education for about 30 years. Wow, has it changed. I've always felt teaching was my calling, I've wanted to teach since I was in second grade! The early years cannot even compare to the past 10 years. Government and district mandates have been escalating to the point of insanity. I teach middle school math, a government/district testable subject, which I'm sorry, it's more stressful than other subjects that are not tested. We are expected to be on committees and work unpaid after contracted school hours. I won't even get into how Common Core and PARCC have compounded the stress! I'm one of those teachers who puts in 14 hours a day, six days a week and the summer months are spent taking classes and developing my curriculum even more. In addition, throughout the past 15 years I've earned two master's degrees in the evenings. With all of my years of educational investment, if I could walk away from teaching and into something I knew was secure financially, I'd do it in a heart beat. So, bravo to you for getting out. Sadly, a teacher like you is the exception to the rule. Most teachers follow the textbook page by page; they have the book teach the lesson and kids fill in the blanks. There is no creativity, individualization, or differentiation and so those people walk out the door at 2:30pm empty handed. I could never teach like that, it sounds like you are not one of those teachers either. The educational world will miss having someone like you. Have you thought about what you will do once you are out of the classroom? Maybe you don't have to walk away from education entirely. You have great talent in classroom organization, presentation, and differentiation. Consider developing yourself into a sales package, you could be an independent consultant. Schools are always looking for quality inservice presentations. You know teachers only give presenters respect if they've been in the field, so you'd have a responsive audience! You could also work for a textbook company or Scholastic or some other educationally based entity. Or, get on your local school board, they have a big say in district policy and expenditures - the teachers in your district would be very fortunate if they had someone like you sitting on their board of education. Don't let what you know go to waste. You can still influence the educational world. Best of luck to you....what does all of this mean for your blog?

    1. Debbie, thank you for your comment. I agree with you about math being more stressful. We have intense pressure on us and we represent our entire school. At times I resent that. I think for now at least, I need to get out of education completely. I need to distance myself from it for awhile. I am going to try to go back into an office setting--ideally something in accounting since I gravitate towards numbers. You gave some great suggestions that I hadn't considered before, and I will definitely keep them in mind. What all of this means for my blog is that I will be able to blog more. I have missed blogging and I am so sad that I've neglected it for so long. I'm really looking forward to getting back into it.

  9. I'm catching up on the last few weeks and didn't realize you had resigned. I taught for 28 years, the last 10 in middle school math, and I understand your frustration. I think only other teachers can really understand what it's like in the classroom today. My daughter is the room mother for her first grade daughter's class. She was complaining about everything she had to do for Teacher Appreciation Week next week, saying her customers didn't give her presents and breakfasts, etc. (She's a pharmacist.) I was surprised at her vehement complaints, since she had grown up in a house where her mother was always busy with school stuff and underpaid, etc. It really is a different time now and I feel sorry for the teachers and students alike. Good luck to you.