I became a public school teacher 6 years ago. It has been a hard 6 years. To tell you the truth, I think I’m a decent teacher. I build real, trusting relationships with my students, work tirelessly to differentiated my lessons and have produced great test scores. But am I happy teaching? No.
I am expected to take students that are mostly below grade level and get them to grade level in 8 months. It’s exhausting. Being the shoulder to cry on for a student whose parents are getting a divorce is exhausting. Telling students over and over the importance of respecting one another is exhausting. Planning lessons that are “exciting” enough is exhausting. Coming home to my two very active kids after having managed 85 6th graders all day is exhausting. Feeling like teachers don’t get the respect or pay they deserve is exhausting.
I constantly question whether or not I have the heart, strength, and patience to continue with teaching. When it comes down to it, I need to take a step back and re-evaluate. Is this truly what I want to do? Is having a career that pushes me down rather than pulls me up healthy for me? More often than not, my answer is no.
When I’m left with the no’s, I feel disappointed. I feel like I’ve failed my students. I feel like I’ve failed myself. But I have to remind myself that even though it feels like a failure, it’s not. It’s me being honest. It’s me realizing that teaching AND being a mom of two young kids is not what I want to do at this time in my life. Even though it feels selfish moving away from teaching, I know I’ll be a happier, kinder, and more optimistic mom, wife and friend.
So, after this school year, what am I going to do? I don’t know. I’m still going to be a working mom because I love to be busy and daycare is the best money I’ve ever spent. (Not an exaggeration.) While I hate the uncertainty, I feel comfort in knowing that I’m finally being honest with myself.