It’s been exactly one year since I asked Rose, a former high school biology teacher, to share why she’s better off after leaving teaching. On its first day, the post had seven “likes” and comments on Facebook.
Today, the post has nearly 300 Facebook shares and 60 comments from readers.
How the heck did this happen?
To answer this question, I looked at the top searches that lead to my blog:
1. life after teaching
2. leaving teaching
3. jobs after teaching
If you enter any of these searches in Google, this blog is currently among the first two results.
Yeah, I’m surprised, too!
And based on the comments the post has gotten, I’ve learned that most of my readers are looking for positive stories about leaving teaching, and specific advice about how to make the transition themselves.
Here are some other things I’ve learned from readers of my most popular post:
Some college teachers have it hard, too — especially adjuncts.
When I was teaching high school English, sometimes I would daydream about being a professor. I imagined that all my students would be responsible and eager to learn because they actually wanted to be there, and that I wouldn’t have to deal with many of the issues that made teaching high school exhausting.
Not so much, according to these community college professors:
Martha Kennedy: “…In the past five years, I’ve endured near-physical assaults, open insults, complaints, acting out in the middle of class, argument after argument…More and more I feel that I’m chasing after my students (with Blackboard, with social media, with emails) almost BEGGING them to learn, to get their work in on time, to give me something to grade — no WONDER they feel like they do me a favor when they turn in their homework. I never thought I would feel this way and a little part of my heart is broken because I do feel this way…“
madmav7492: “…My students are resistant to learning, resistant to working, and generally believe they deserve an ‘A’ for no other reason than they exist. While I don’t deal with the bureaucratic b.s, I have to deal with people who believe the course should be catered to them and what they want to do, when they want to do it…“
Some teachers in other countries have problems similar to the ones American teachers have.
MakaOku, a teacher from South Africa, wrote: “…There are 50 students cramped in a single class, no resources, discipline is impossible,parents are also impossible…”
Steven, a teacher in the UK, wrote: “...I’ve taught maths for the last eight years but have decided enough is enough. Poorly thought through government initiatives, lack of resources, poor student behaviour and lack of sympathy from management have led to this decision…“
And the stress of the job is taking an alarming toll on teachers’ health.
A few of the conditions that readers reported:
– stress-induced migraines
– abdominal pains
– cold sweats
But perhaps the most heartbreaking story came from Jack Smith, Latin:
“…I love teaching, but lately I hate being a teacher. Things really changed for me after a fight in my classroom left me with a broken spine and partially paralyzed. I underwent 13 procedures, and I can walk again, but I’m in constant pain. My sons were just 4 and 6, and I’ve never had the chance to even play sports with them because of it. At any rate, after my injury, the school system basically punished me, and now 5 years later, they’re saying that my performance isn’t what it should be…“
So what’s going on here? Isn’t teaching supposed to reward, not punish, those who sacrifice so much for their students? What’s driving this growing search for Life After Teaching?
I think Poodlepal gets at the root of the problem. A veteran teacher at both public and private schools, she writes:
“…Teachers are the villains; no bad grade is ever earned, no disciplinary action is ever warranted. It is the parents, kids and administrators against you. I no longer have the will to fight a three-enemy war…“
Teachers, does this struggle sound familiar? If you are still happy with teaching, how do you stay motivated? And what do you do to take care of yourself?
Check out the original post for the full conversation.
How to Keep Teachers Happy (this blog)
Milestones and Mohammed’s Radio (Martha Kennedy)
Why I Quit Teaching to Become a Bartender (Patrick Anderson, Jr.)
How to Break a Teacher (21st Century Cynic)