“I Hate Teaching”: My Most Popular Search Term in 2015

I would not have guessed before today that “I hate teaching” would be the top search leading readers to my blog this year. I’ve never tagged a post with that phrase, nor have I uttered it in any of my posts (until now, of course).

But have I had the thought? Have I, out of frustration and fatigue, said “I hate teaching” in conversations with my husband or close friends?

You betcha.

Which is why I was surprised, but not shocked, that “I hate teaching” had grown from barely a whisper in the blog’s search terms in 2012-2013, to a solemn declaration (fifth place) in 2014, and finally, to an anguished cry as this year’s most popular search.

As 2015 draws to a close, this blog is currently the first Google result for “I hate teaching.” 

i hate teaching search Screen Shot

A bit more digging shows that a comment left by Ex-teacher back in June 2014 was the hook:

“…. I used to google the sentence ‘I hate teaching’ or ‘teaching is ruining my life’ pretty much every day. I felt like a loser for not being more motivated about the job. I felt guilty and scared to move on to another type of job. I quit because of my health but I should have quit way sooner when I started feeling miserable every day about going to work and I lost my ability to sleep and eat well because of stress….”  

“I hate teaching” is not something you’re supposed to say — not in public, and certainly not to other teachers, even if you feel similarly disheartened. 

You’re supposed to focus on the rewards of teaching, the needs of the students and the greater mission of educating our youth. And you’re supposed to be grateful to have summers off.

But Ex-teacher said what many of us have only thought or shared in private. By breaking the taboo, this reader has helped others, myself included, feel less alone. The comment ends by encouraging others to protect their own well-being:

“I know many discouraged teachers will end up on this forum trying to decide what to do and being afraid of ruining their career. My opinion is the following: if your heart races like crazy and you get a sick feeling in your stomach every time you walk into that classroom and it keeps getting worse every day, it’s probably time to walk out. There is life after teaching and it’s not bad at all. I now buy less things because I have less money but I also have a lot less stress and that is worth more than money can buy.”

In 2015, my second year away from the classroom, I’ve come to a similar conclusion. Life After Teaching may not be an automatic ticket to fortune or professional fulfillment, but it can offer a better work-life balance that will help you take care of yourself and your loved ones.

With those rewards in mind, I wish you the best in the New Year. Whether you’re searching for Life After Teaching or a better way to live with teaching, I hope 2016 finds you healthier, happier — and Googling the things you love. 


32 thoughts on ““I Hate Teaching”: My Most Popular Search Term in 2015

  1. I think that is how I found your blog! Haha. I googled it because I was like, “Am I alone in this guilty, embarrassing thought or are there others out there who secretly agree?” For what it’s worth, your blog was a huge source of inspiration to me and helped me get to the happy place I’m in now. So now I google things I love, like cake designs – a hobby I’ve been able to find the time to enjoy again! Happy New Year!

    • Hooray! Glad you have more time to do what you love — and honored that this blog helped you get there. I have a newfound appreciation for cake decorating after watching “The Great British Baking Show”!

      I’m also relieved, once again, to know I’m not alone in having that guilty thought. 🙂

      Happy New Year and happy decorating!

  2. Thank you for this blog. Happy New Year!

    I worked one year in a private school after getting my certificates and degree. Then the school closed and I had many interviews in the public schools but only offers to substitute. I love teaching but have school loans to pay and minimum life to live. After I finally get another job that will pay the bills, I hope to still substitute.

    • Happy New Year! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      It’s great that you want to keep teaching part-time. That could be just as, if not more, satisfying than teaching full time, e.g. helping students without nearly as much paperwork. Best of luck with your search!

  3. I’m tired of all the public announcements about “Why I Left Teaching” It’s never clear to me who is served by them. Is it to expose the underbelly of education? Scare or guilt parents or administrators? A cry for “likes” and sympathy?

    • They are meant both to vent and encourage others. Teachers are often told we have a noble, holy calling to be teachers. We are lucky to be teachers. When we want to leave, or can no longer support our families on the dwindling wages, made up for of course by ever increasing workloads, and a precipitous erosion of any trappings of respect or professionalism for out profession, we still feel guilty. These announcements show us kindred spirits who have arrived in a similar place, and are struggling with the same sense of moral failure, and devastation we feel when we finally feel it may be time to leave.

      • So this made me want to respond, but maybe best done via apost. I did start one for you, but it got lost. I have 2 big presentation next week that I am prepping and the spring semester starts the following week BUT I will (eventually) write that post! Perhaps my busyness is part of the story.

        Ken Ronkowitz

        On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 12:02 AM, Those Who Teach wrote:

        > ncscienceteacher commented: “They are meant both to vent and encourage > others. Teachers are often told we have a noble, holy calling to be > teachers. We are lucky to be teachers. When we want to leave, or can no > longer support our families on the dwindling wages, made up for of course” >

      • NCscienceteacher, thank you for chiming in. The many stories that have been shared on this blog have certainly helped me deal with the guilt and sense of failure you describe. While it’s not my goal to encourage teachers to leave the profession — and I didn’t start the blog with that intention — I do hope that it can help those who want to move on come to terms with, and pursue, that desire.

  4. I love reading your blog, and this resonated with me last December 2014 when I resigned as Head of department in I school I hated. Your blog always has two sides to the story and this really helped me along my path. I became a supply teacher while I tried to decide what to do next. By the summer term I had been offered 4 jobs in two weeks. I realised that actually it was the school I hated and not the job. I am in a much better place, enjoying teaching no longer a head of department so I can concentrate on what I love and that is teaching!

    • Hi Helen,
      Thanks for reading and sharing, and congrats on finding a position and school that better suit you! I’m not sure if the world needs more administrators, but it certainly needs more teachers who love being in the classroom. All the best to you!

  5. Though this may be my own district currently, it’s not teaching I have grown dispondent about (I enjoy the kids and even the parents because I understand where they are coming from-good/bad/indifferent about their kids), it’s the demands by administrators – with an agenda – due to the mix of pressures they are now under with state scores/money issues, etc. and their willingness to push along kids with reading and math deficts (enough to drive a truck through) that have me disillusioned about the field of education.
    It’s sad really. Yet I’ve found tutoring rewards to be wonderful and so that will continue for me. No wonder home-schooling and charter school choices have grown.

    • Hi Andy,
      It’s not just your district. I can definitely relate to the issues you describe, and I know many readers feel your pain, too. I’m glad you can focus on what you love best about teaching through tutoring, and hope that you are able to find more opportunities that let you just teach!

  6. Thank you for this blog. I’m in middle of the crossroads at this very moment- a place that terrifies me. This is my 12th year of teaching. Many have been wonderful- but all have been hard. I’ve had many measurable successes in the last few years. Now I can barely get out of bed to go in. I went from a top ten Teacher of the Year in my state in 2013 to a crumbling mess in just 3 years. I know it’s time to move on but the fear of destroying my career at age 54 frightens me greatly. Every Google search of “jobs for ex-teachers” only brings up “teaching” jobs and frankly, I don’t want to walk onto that stage anymore- no matter who is in those seats.

    Anyhow, that you for the candor in your blogs. I learn that I am not alone after all. Just unhappy

    • Hi David,

      Something is deeply wrong when a veteran teacher like you — who’s been recognized for exemplary teaching — is made to feel this way.

      To start, don’t think of leaving teaching as “destroying your career” — think of it as making a change for your well-being, and figuring out how to apply all the expertise you’ve gained in a new way.

      If you haven’t yet, please check out my career change advice posts:


      I hope they will help you feel more optimistic and find new options to pursue.

      • Thanks again for this blog. I am still struggling with the decision to leave. Unfortunately it seems to be getting clearer and easier rather than the other way around. Knowing the you found something new that you like doing is immeasurably helpful. How is your job going, by the way? You mentioned in an earlier post something about perhaps moving on to more challenging work at some point.

  7. That’s exactly how I found this blog. I googled that exact phrase, “I hate teaching.”

    Even in so doing, I made sure my iPhone screen was obscured from view as I left the campus but I couldn’t wait. I needed to know, as soon as I left that class, that I wasn’t alone in simply being done.

    • NYC dev-English,
      I hope finding out that you’re not alone — not by a long shot — gave you some relief. I invite you to come on back to this post and others here whenever you need to be reminded again.

  8. I quit teaching to stay home with my kids this year, and I feel like I have woken up from a bad dream. I worked in great schools with good teachers and better than average pay. I got top marks on my evaluations every time. I do have a few good memories. It was probably a surprise to some that I quit the profession. But transferring to a new school due to seniority combined with a new curriculum, a poorly structured new special program, maternity leave, postpartum anxiety and a two hour a day commute was too much to take. The parents were brutal because, though I was a much requested teacher before, this community did not know me. They met me during the worst year of my adult life. It became clear that, no matter how hard I worked or how good I had been, if I ever really needed help, the only thing I would get is a, “We expect you to do this perfectly all on your own. After all, you knew what you were getting into.” And then you drown. There are too many people to please in teaching, and you are not allowed to let a single one down. At this point, I feel that I have payed a debt to society by teaching for a few years and will no go forth to live in and enjoy the real world. Right now I’m looking at bookkeeping or admin work for when my kids are older. Small dreams for someone who spent a full ride academic scholarship on a teaching degree. Should of done research science.

    • Hi Joy, you certainly have repaid your debt to society — many times more than what you owe. And I can relate all too well to your frustration over having too many “customers” to please. I wish you the best in finding a new gig that lets you take care of yourself and enjoy life!

  9. I walked out of my teaching job today. I’m young, and was only in the second year of teaching but I knew I couldn’t carry on living a life filled with stress and anxiety over a job. I’m glad to see and read your posts; it feels like you get me. Thanks.

    • You have found a place filled with people who understand. If you need to talk more we are here. I am still in the classroom, but I do not know for how long. I have been teaching for over 20 years. When I started it was a very very different job than it is now. Do you have plans for what to do next? I completely understand how you feel. Hang in there.

    • Jim, good on you for taking that leap. Too many of us endure the stress and anxiety for longer than we should. Hope you are feeling better and more energized to figure out what’s next.

  10. This is very interesting indeed. I do think that the antiquated thinking about what role a teacher has, leads to teachers using more extreme language when we seek for kindred spirits or other alternatives.

    I was quickly approaching burnout from dealing with the politics of education and administrators and becoming disillusioned when I realized how little agency I had as an educator. Not that I didn’t proactively fight for support as new teacher and tried to improve myself, but the more I showed this side of me the more my administrator saw that I had too much initiative and wanted me out. However, I did feel rather alone as I tried to figure out what I could do besides teaching as my only work experience was teaching. There were people that would make me feel guilty for even wanting to leave teaching as though it was my duty to stay in the profession. Or worse they assumed that I didn’t have the fortitude to stay in teaching. How was it logical for me to stay in a work climate dominated by people like my administrator? I would be asked if I wouldn’t try another district while they themselves were hopping from job to job and switching industries. I constantly thought, why can’t I do something else like other people do? Why can’t I try something new? I found your blog by search something about careers after teaching, but I was starting to feel cornered and could see myself using “I hate teaching” in a search.

    • Hi Michelle, I always appreciate your thoughtful reflections. And I agree that the lack of agency that is now commonplace in teaching, coupled with the administrator turnover that has accompanied the “corporate” model of education, may be feeding much of the discontent. Thanks for chiming in!

  11. Thank you so much for this entry, and this blog in general. I have been teaching special education for 12 years, 10 in my current district. I have spent countless hours over the past 2-3 years filled with anxiety and misery over my job. I’m totally burntout, and in desperate need for a change!

  12. Folks – Fellow current and past educators – I need your input. Though I tried to get out of teaching completely several years ago, I apparently have no transferrable skills. I ended up in a nontraditional school for credit recovery and accelerated learning, nontraditional students, you know the drill. I no longer have to stand in front of kids and try to get them to listen. Rather, the curric is online; I monitor their progress, step in to guide them, help them, move them along; grade their written assignments; and do a lot of administrative stuff related to attendance, etc. I don’t hate it; generally I’m much happier…

    BUT the amount of what I deem cheating (by googling quiz questions or using a find-the-answer app) allowed by fellow teachers and especially our administrators on everything from quizzes to projects and papers eats away at me every day. Our leader doesn’t seem to care; he’s not an educator, it’s all about the numbers to him. And since he doesn’t care, many of my peers follow his lead. But to me it’s wrong.

    Am I stuck in the pre-digital age? Is looking it up rather than learning the new route to a diploma? Sometimes I consider taking the issue to the county or otherwise. My efforts to sway admin and my peers have had little effect. What would you do?

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