I Quit Teaching and Won’t Go Back

“I Quit Teaching and Won’t Go Back” is the second of a three-part series written by Dan Laird, a teacher of 17 years who left education to work in private industry. Part one, “Why I Quit Teaching After 17 Successful Years” can be read here. Part three, “The Teacher’s Guide to Changing Careers,” can be found here.

Dan Laird

It has been almost ten months since I started my new career giving me a chance to see the world from a set of non-teacher eyes. Each day, I’m happier I left. Each day, I want to lead everyone I left in the classroom on a revolt. The grass on the other side is greener. I’ve seen it.

Let’s “yada yada yada” our way through the obvious reasons why: the pay is better, the benefits are better, my retirement savings now grow three times as fast, I have an hour for lunch which gives me enough time to eat at home if I’d like, I can use the bathroom at any time without needing to find someone to sit at my desk while I’m gone, and my office building is modern and doesn’t smell like a gym locker. But you already expected that.

The real reason I will never go back to education is the culture. I discovered that teachers have been conditioned to believe that everything must be harder than it actually has to be. We are trained to think that the reasonable is unreasonable, that anything we are afforded should be considered a favor, that guilt should accompany permission for the most basic accommodations.

As it turns out, the professional world does not operate like it does inside the walls of a school. In the first month of my new job, three events solidified my departure from education as one of the best events that ever happened to me:

1.  Part of my job description includes the creation of digital interactive tutorials and the monitoring of the company’s learning management system. As if being paid to be creative every day isn’t monumental enough, that isn’t the most incredible part. When I asked my manager if I would have access to the designing software at home to continue working when needed, her response was, “The short answer is ‘yes,’ but we don’t expect you to take work home.” She went on to tell me that the company feels family is important and that an employee shouldn’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t have deadlines or that I still haven’t brought my laptop home from time to time. But I find that I accomplish more at work because I’m allowed to do my job uninterrupted, unlike teaching, where classroom instruction is the least respected part of the job.

As teachers, there is an expectation that large parts of your required duties are to be performed on your own personal time. Not only are you expected to teach during classroom hours, you are expected to give up your lunch and planning hour if a student requests it. The request never seems unreasonable to anyone other than the teacher. Saying “no” is a guaranteed PR nightmare because, once again, not being willing to sacrifice on command clearly means you don’t care about kids.

As teachers lose their planning time, their 25 minutes to shovel down a microwave meal, and their early mornings and afternoons in order to spend more time working with students, the other half of the job awaits them during their personal time, their time with family, their time to unwind. There is no such thing as “off duty” when you are a teacher. What you do to go above and beyond as a teacher quickly becomes the norm, which means you then have to figure out a new way to go above and beyond.

First, it was important to have your grades prepared for report cards at the end of the trimester, then it was important to have your grades prepared for progress reports in the middle of the trimester, then we were required to send grade notices home to give parents a heads up regarding what they will be seeing on the progress report. Now all of a sudden, you’re unable to work on long-term projects because you won’t have a grade in time for the next update and we all know that if you don’t have grades, then clearly it’s because you’re lazy.

The same thing happens with parent communication. You update a website regularly with daily class information and downloadable materials? How am I supposed to know when it’s updated each day? Oh, you’ve added a class Twitter account to announce updates to the website? But I prefer text messages. Oh, you have a website, a Twitter account, and a Remind texting account? Well, we didn’t have time to check it. Can you just send home everything my child is missing?

My work hours are a little longer now. Instead of 8 to 3, I work 8 to 5. But I wouldn’t say that my work day is longer. As a teacher, 8 am was the time work started but it wasn’t the time I started working. I was usually at school by 7 am at the latest (earlier if I didn’t have to take my kids to school or daycare) in order to get everything ready. And when 3 pm rolled around, I was packing multiple hours worth of work into my bag to take to my other office, also known as my dining room table.

At my new job, an 8 am start means I leave my house at 7:40. And at 5 pm, my bag returns home as light as it left. Again, this doesn’t mean that my new colleagues and I aren’t working hard, or that we don’t bust our asses to go above and beyond expectations, or that we don’t still take work home with us. In fact, right now my work hours are a blur because of the extra time being put in to plan the company’s annual national conference in Orlando. (Did I mention my job includes an all-expenses-paid trip to Florida?) But in the world outside education, we sacrifice our time when needed as opposed to being expected to sacrifice our time as a matter of course.

2.  In the year before I left teaching, my daughter started pre-school, so I enrolled her in the district where I taught. Of course, this meant that I dropped her off and picked her up from school. This created a problem when I had a staff meeting after school. The problem wasn’t picking her up. It was where to take her during my meeting. I asked if she could just sit at my desk since the meeting was in my room fully expecting a “no problem.” Instead, I was made to feel like the request was unreasonable, that an institution for teaching children was no place for a child. Instead, I had to find a student to babysit her in another room. Perhaps it was for the best. Who knows what could have happened had my 4-year-old daughter been privy to Homecoming planning details and SAT data.

When I started my new job, I was faced with a similarly difficult situation when our after-school care provider called in sick. My now five-year-old daughter couldn’t just stay at school for another two hours and she certainly wasn’t going to walk home by herself. I expected an awkward conversation with my manager. Instead, my manager and my team were practically giddy with excitement. They told me that I could work from home for the rest of the afternoon but that they would love it if I brought my daughter back to work with me.

“Are you serious?” I asked cautiously, as if this were a setup for being so gullible. I assumed the answer was “yes” since they immediately began planning activities for her. When I returned with my daughter, she was greeted by everyone with coloring pages, candy, and even a toy car with the company logo on it from the president of the company. Now my daughter always wants to know when she can come back to work with me. In that moment, I learned that respect for people’s lives outside of work exists. Way too often in teaching, teachers are treated as if caring for their own families means they are neglecting their students and that their job is putting everyone else’s children ahead of their own. It doesn’t have to be like that.

3.  I’m not going to lie and tell you that a part of me doesn’t feel guilty about leaving. Public education is currently waging a huge battle for its survival and I walked away. Despite the way teachers are perceived and disrespected in a social context, it’s a little bit easier to stand up tall and declare you are a teacher when someone asks what you do for a living than it is with a job title that requires explaining. However, I don’t regret leaving for a single moment and I have the rest of my teaching colleagues to thank for it.

When I made my departure official and announced it to the world, I was humbled by the response of kind words and expressions of sadness for losing what I had to offer the classroom. But I was also alarmed by the number of responses I received from teachers asking how I managed to do it. I received texts, emails, and phone calls from teachers all over the national network I had been a part of declaring that they wanted out, too. These messages weren’t coming from young teachers who decided they couldn’t hack it for the long haul. These were established teachers, leaders in their field, authors of respected educational research. Many, like me, could even see the finish line of a retirement from education within the next decade but decided that it wasn’t worth it. The requests for information started spreading. I began receiving messages from friends of friends and even a few strangers. I had somehow become the exodus guru. I still receive these messages, with the most recent just last week from a woman I once met at a conference who found me on LinkedIn and wondered if I could give her friend some advice.

With so many wanting out, my guilty feelings quickly subsided. However, I’m left with a fear for our education system. In my state of Michigan alone, enrollment in college teacher programs has declined drastically to the point where schools are hard pressed to find someone who will even be a substitute. For the last decade, teachers in my state have seen repeated attacks on their paychecks, their credibility, their voice, and the profession in general. We’ve reached an era where parents don’t have to dissuade their children from becoming teachers. Their kids no longer see any appeal. Pretty soon, the fight for public education might have to come from the outside because there will be no one left to throw punches on the inside.

I will continue to be one of those fighters on the outside, but I will also enjoy a well-deserved life outside of the trenches. Instead of phone calls to parents or stacks of papers to grade, my evenings are filled with time to play with my daughters. I use some of my new extra income to pay for those subscription home meal delivery kits and I’m learning to cook. I take a Florida vacation in the middle of winter at a time of my own choosing. I go to bed at a decent hour and have time to read a book before I go to sleep. It truly is amazing how stress-free my life has become. Part of me is pretty sure that my grey hair is getting its color back. While that might be a slight exaggeration, I do truly believe that I have drastically increased my odds of seeing my future grandkids grow up.

Whatever you decide to do with your future, whether it is holding strong in the trenches or seeking a more peaceful life, remember the most important point that I’ve gathered through this whole experience: You have worth outside of the classroom. In my case, I found a job that respects my professional accomplishments as a teacher more than those who employed me as one. You have not locked yourself into a career you can’t get out of. There are options. You just have to discover what they are. You may use this discovery to begin planning your exit. Or you may use this discovery to strengthen your resolve to fight for what is right in your school because now you know your school needs you more than you need it. For the sake of my children, one of which started kindergarten this year, I hope there are enough of you that choose the latter. But if you choose the former, I seriously doubt you’ll regret it.


In part three of this series, Dan shares the lessons he learned when he quit teaching and started searching for a new job. You can read it here.

You can also follow Dan on Twitter at @DanDanLaird and if you’d like to contact him directly his email is [email protected]



I am, once again, partnering with Angela Watson to help promote her 40-Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s an online professional development program that has already helped more than 32,000 teachers take control of their time and stay focused on what matters most. The next cohort is starting this summer, and the Club has been updated to cover emerging best practices for the changes ahead. Click here to receive a reminder email to sign up for Early Bird Access on June 8.

42 Replies to “I Quit Teaching and Won’t Go Back”

  1. Amen!!!! Great read. I’m a veteran teacher looking to get out too. In addition to everything that was stated in the article, I’m tired of having a job that makes me feel bad when I go home. I’m a hard working, loving, giving and fair teacher, but I am so tired of being attacked by parents for the necessity of discipling their children so that I can teach. I just want to hand over my stack of books to a complaining parent, and just say here- you do it. You teach 160 students a day with seven different preparations, morning and after school duties, 20 minute lunches, and battle each and every day with the constant disciplining that is necessary with small children to middle school (I teach K-6) to create a class atmosphere conducive to learning. Come and take over for me!!! Thanks for listening!

  2. I am busy with my daily school works, still it tempted me to complete reading your article. Really interesting and I am experienced of more than a couple of decades in teaching! This made me to re-think my decision. Yes you are right 🙂

  3. Thank you. I made the decision to leave this week after 21 years in classroom. I have no idea what I will be doing. Not even sure what I’m qualified for at this point. All I know is I have 2 small children to care for (just adopted my 2 grandsons) and I need to be around for years to come to provide them the loving, supportive home they so very much need and deserve. I can’t do that and continue to work in a profession that comes with this much stress and anxiety.

  4. I left teaching after 21 years and I wouldn’t go back. All that politics and nonsense- and not putting the child first- only the system! Having so much fun outside of the classroom. A great move, highly recommended.
    And don’t get me wrong – I love children and teaching, but that did not feel like the main focus of the job anymore. Apart from all the excellent points mentioned here.

  5. I retired in 2016 after 27 years. I work part time now for an airline and have more energy for my OWN kids 9 & 12. It was the best decision I could have made!! Thank you for your insightful article!! It was right on point!

  6. After teaching for 9 years I decided to walk away. I became a real estate agent and it’s the best decision I have made! I highly recommend you commit to making a change. I am filled with enjoyment now and love what I do! If you’re a teacher and are not enjoying it commit to making a change. Everything you want is on the other side of fear! Learn more about becoming an agent if you are interested. If you want to know more reach out to me!

    1. I quit teaching after 22 years. It’s just impossible to do everything that the profession demands. Would appreciate any information on real estate or other less stressful careers.

    2. Tiffany, can you please email me? I’m interested in learning more about real estate. This is my 8th year teaching and I’m looking for a change. Thank you!

  7. New teachers that leave early-on aren’t necessarily people that “can’t hack it for the long haul”. As you’ve pointed out, no one should have to tolerate this nonsense – some new teachers just realize once they’ve been hired (before they have a marriage and family and responsibilities that make leaving a job impossible) that at this very moment when they have seen the many teachers that have 10-20+ years in and 15+ to go to retirement all of which are telling them nothing will change except to possibly get worse that if they plan to get out now is the time. They are people that love kids & love teaching but have been taught they are worthy of respect and are unwilling to trade their sanity and dignity for a paycheck. And, no paycheck – regardless of the size – makes up for dealing with the current landscape of education.

  8. Dan, thank you for this post. I turned in my resignation last week. I have been teaching for 21 years and I’m within 5 years of being able to retire but cannot do it any more. I have NO idea what my next step will be but my health is already improving…..

  9. I resigned two weeks ago and this Friday, after 9+ years, I am leaving the teaching world to become a project manager for a scientific research company. The emotions I’ve felt in the last two weeks are nothing short of the biggest, longest, highest, and steepest roller coaster in the world. I am scared beyond belief, but most of all, I am excited to share my skills and knowledge in a brand new arena. Teachers have some of the most diverse range of skill sets and we are pigeonholed in to one small niche, when in reality we can use our expertise to help and improve an innumerable amount of businesses, corporations, and nonprofits (many of whom will value us in ways our school districts did or could). Thank you for finding the words I’ve wanted to these past two weeks…I am even more excited for my new journey knowing I have people who are in my boat!

    1. Hi Lindsay! I’m very intrigued by your plan. I am a high school teacher looking to leave and I have my PhD in biochemistry. I’d love to work in a scientific context again without being a researcher. Did you have to do any additional training to be hired as a project manager? What advice do you have? Thanks!

    2. How do I even go about finding a job or showing I’m qualified for anything else than teaching 🙁 I don’t even know where to begin. My 4 year old is high needs, my health is suffering and so is my family. I switched schools and this school I am at now is just as bad if not worse than my previous one. My observation scores are awful and I’ve never had issues before. Heck I even got awards at my old school! Every thing is micromanaged. I come home and work 2-3 more hours each night and the attitude is that is just what is expected of us. I feel like Im about to have a nervous breakdown. I like to do well and used to think I was a good teacher but now I feel like I’m failing no matter what I do. Any direction would be much appreciated.

      1. Ugghhh… I am there also.
        I never thought seriously or perhaps so easily about the thought of quitting before today. To clarify, many times I have in a rage and out of exhaustion “I’m quitting”. However, today as I walked into my classroom I instead thought to myself, “Why the he’ll am I even doing this? What’s the point? I love teaching my students, but not in the way that I am being forced to. I am constantly disrespected by my superiors and dome fellow teachers… As well as students! Why the he’ll would I be unhappy on purpose?! And for the amount I am getting paid! What if I look for a career change and after this year never to back?!” I realized with that last question instead of feeling like a failure as I have in the past, I felt so much relief. This epiphany that my life is mine to live… And in my opinion, public education kind of sucks. I realized regardless of what my career ended up being, it would be a lot better than teaching.
        Honestly, I love teaching… But all of the evaluations, ridicule, the outrageous expectations, being called a bitch by some of my students. Seriously… No thank you.

        Either something in teaching is going to have to proove itself to me in the next 4 months or I will be switching careers.

      2. I wpuld also like to let you know, I feel your pain to the fullest.

        I am a single mother. I went through a terrible divorce. Both my kids have behavior issues due to their fathers emotional and physical abuse. I have PTSD. My youngest has autism. I am in debt. I cant make my bills and monthly debt I have to pay off. Therefore, on top of all of this I have to teach music lessons. I work all the time and it seems I am never good enough for admin. I stick out like a sore thumb as far as teachers go. I’m unique and quirky. I definitely dont blend in.

        I always find it strange and appalling how teachers are expected to completely neglect their own children. Like the ones I gave birth to. I’m sorry… They are number one. I dont see how anyone could not see that including a boss.

    3. Hi Lindsay,
      Would you be able to help me with the transition process? I’m interested in being a project manager as well. Thank you!

  10. For those that are leaving, what are the ramifications on your retirement? Did you keep your money in the teacher retirement system with the intent of drawing from it when you reach the appropriate years + service number and contributing separately to a new retirement account? Or did you withdraw all of your contributions and move into a new account?

  11. I truly believe that cell phones will be the downfall of our current system. They don’t know how to put it down. When teachers take their phones away, they “hate” the teacher then just try to cause trouble to a point where teachers wonder if its worth taking them away. Keep in mind, it us 30 students obsessed with their phone simultaneously during class; not one. I predict that online school is the future because teachers will be in shortage because of the abuse from kids, and lack of respect from kids AND parents. The only way students will bother with learning is if they are alone in their room and classes are on their cellphone. Let’s wait and see.

    1. I agree. In fact, online activities are beginning to take over from traditional instruction already. In my last few schools, there were Latin teachers teaching from France and another state via Skype, pressure to do a “flipped” classroom where students got lecture notes via the web, math classes spent doing ALEKS and Khan Academy more than getting regular instruction.

      Unfortunately, the students will not stay on the prescribed website unless the teacher sits right next to them, or they are terrified of him/her. The minute the teacher’s back is turned, they will play games or watch videos. Before, a kid who didn’t like a subject might do the work just because there was nothing else to do. Now, there always is. And it is 100% the teacher’s fault if a student finds a rap video more interesting than your lecture, according to the administration. Your evaluation is based on students being on fire with love of your subject.

  12. I feel the same way. After 28 years teaching I moved to a new school. The system is the same all over! I am totally burnt out and looking for a new start in a different field. I have only two years to retirement but can’t see myself putting in the time.
    Good luck to those who choose to leave the “system” and find happiness elsewhere!

  13. I spent fourteen years in the classroom. There is no way I want to go back. Teaching is taxing on your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s not worth it, in my opinion.

    The amount of duties required of a teacher is to absurd levels. The amount of work they expect far supersedes most professions. Plus, you’re often dealing with disrespectful, misbehaving students and this puts a lot of stress on a person.

    After initially wanting to go back, after working in another field, there is no way I would want to subject my mind and body to those stresses again. My health has improved immensely since I stopped teaching.

  14. Hi I agree with the he article more than anyone you will know! I retired in May of 2018 with 31 years as a teacher, counselor, and administrator. I came back in the Fall to do what they call a transition year to help the school and make a double salary! Merry thought it would be great. Well it was awful! My mother-in-law passed school n October and I was gone 7 days. When I came back they gave me the worst job ever as a counselor. I was now looking n charge of all the suicide assessments and 504’s. The head counselor blamed me for being gone at the funeral and they gave my job as a college counselor to a young counselor with no experience. None of the counselors had experience! Hi decided that was the end of my 31 years! I was sad for the students, but tired of the disrespectful attitude and the lack of empathy they had for my family just dealing with a very tragic death. It was ridiculous. I have watched things change and it is not improving but declining. I miss my students but I do not miss the outrageous behavior of the administrators! I found a job working as a consultant to help people lose weight! Hi feel good that my skills are being used for the greater good! The people I work with are very nice and positive! I went from one extreme to another. I didn’t understand why the counseling department was so mean to the teachers and students! I even had an intern who left because I left too! The behavior of the adults was so unprofessional I really don’t know how they got away with it!

  15. Everything in this article. Everyone counts on us feeling guilty. They pile more and more on our shoulders all while saying, “they’ll just do it because it’s for the kids.” And then if we can’t and raise our voices they act as though we don’t care for kids. I am so tired. I can’t keep up and I’m tired of sacrificing my own time with my family for a system that abuses me. I am not a bad teacher because I refuse to be taken advantage of. And this push for data is insane. It’s to the point where I have to do a running record (reading test) with a child, write all over that, then record everything I’ve written into a summary sheet. THEN I have to fill in a bubble sheet for all of that information and rewrite all the comments on another sheet so it can be scanned into the computer. So I am writing the same information three times! All so we can say we use data and that anyone can pull it up anywhere to look at it. Who is going to look at it? I’m the one working with the child. I don’t need it on the computer. I don’t need to look at what last year’s teacher put on the computer. I just need to work with the child. I can assess and make judgements. It’s insane. That time could be spent actually improving my instruction. I am scared for the direction we are all headed. We already don’t have enough time. With all this data entry our instruction and the kids will suffer.

  16. After 17 years,I’m done. I will always have love for teaching, but it’s just too stressful for me right now. Teaching is a job that requires your entire *soul*; we’re supposed to pull on all these endless reserves of creativity, patience, organization, compassion and strategy on a DAILY basis…and at this point in my life, I can honestly say my reserves are in short supply lol. Why? Because being a parent requires me to–again–pull on those very same reserves. After being understanding and compassionate with students all day, I find that I’m less patient with my own children. That’s not fair to them.
    I’ve also realized that with teaching, there is ALWAYS a monkey wrench….just when you think you’ve figured it out, there’s a new curriculum, or a new administrator who wants things done differently, or a new lesson plan format. There’s literally ALWAYS.SOMETHING. It’s frustrating, exhausting and makes teaching unfulfilling at times. Teaching is such important work that I know that if I can’t give my best, I’d rather walk away–whether temporarily or permanently.

  17. This article was spot on! I have taught for 30 years and I also see the decline in the school culture. The lack of respect for teachers, unrealistic demands, lack of support, cell phones, and rarely any appreciation is making this job impossible. I stay after school every night three hours for the past 5 years and not once has an administrator ever noticed or cared or said one nice thing to me about my dedication. Our pay has been stangnant for years and my health is deteriorating because of the high demands of the job. The students don’t care about learning and they will barely complete any work. I am enjoying the job less and less every day. I have three years left until I can retire and I am not sure if I can hang on any longer, but I am not sure what else to do?

  18. I made the decision this year at 57 to leave. I have been teaching since I was 24. I’ll miss some of the kids but don’t see the same motivation that I used to see. I’m tired of inservice, feeling like I am never doing enough even though I’m usually overwhelmed. After all of these years, you would think that I’d have it down, but new instructional methods keep popping up. I’m going to continue to work, but not in education. The drama, the disrespect and sleepless nights will hopefully vanish too.:)

  19. It’s sad, but after 26 years I would give anything to be able to quit. It’s just too much of my personal time taken. I am tired of being blamed for kids having learning problems, behavioral problems, and even brain damage. There are so many children who were not talked to and interacted with as babies. Their beginning years in school are so hard, because they literally know nothing when they arrive. I have had some not know how to hold a pencil, and some who don’t even know their last names. The administrators have no clue how hard it is to teach these kids who come in YEARS behind. They set unrealistic goals and blame the teachers when they don’t reach them. When you ask a student a question, “Where did the story take place?” and they reply with “Story take place,” then they have severe problems. They literally don’t know what you are saying to them. It’s hard to overcome that! I have had students not even be able to RECOGNIZE their names so we have to put stickers where their backpacks hang and on their cubbies. I promise you my own children came out of the womb knowing their colors!!!! We have so many who come in not even knowing that. When you are having to do remedial groups on identifying triangles and squares you have a SEVERE PROBLEM. They tell us that the parents are doing the best that they can do. Well if that’s their best then they need boarding schools, because these kids are severely neglected. Oh and don’t even get me started on the handful of kids who are on or above level and how I struggle to have time to challenge them because the rest of the class has to look at the alphabet chart to know if it is a b or a d! “Oh, that’s developmentally expected,” they say. Okay, we how about you count how many words have b’s and d’s in them and then try to get them to read INDEPENDENTLY on Level I before the end of the year. You can’t say that is developmentally normal and then expect me to get them to a level that is waaaaay beyond that. I could go on and on…….

  20. I can totally relate to everything you wrote about. Teachers are expected to totally sacrifice their entire lives for the job and if you don’t, then you are considered odd. This is especially true of administration who consistently overworks teachers to the point of total abuse. I resigned today giving notice that I will leave before the end of the school year. I need a life again and teaching is not it.

  21. I wonder how many of you have children and what you want for your children? Perhaps, you can all afford private school. I hope that your children are all geniuses that are well-behaved and that will never need a teacher to have lunch with them. Being a teacher is about people not paper or computer programs so it does require you give a little more. Not to the point you are abused or unappreciated but building relationships is essential. It is a give a take. Of course writing a computer program is easier than teaching someone to read and write and preparing a HUMAN BEING for the world. The best teachers collaborate and work together to share the load. They have boundaries but they ALL go ABOVE and BEYOND. This is the business of humans and it makes me really sad that people think changing lives is such a burden.

    1. Unless the current culture changes, good teachers will leave for other jobs. The stress is unmanageable., and unless you have experienced it for yourself, you have no idea. By the way, I do the same job that I did when I was a teacher- except with adults .

    2. This kind of guilt tripping was addressed in the article. This post perpetuates it.

      We ALL know you have to strive to excel in this career. We ALL know you need to build relationships. We ALL know what good teaching and good, non-canned curricula look like. At the same time, teachers are not automatons and need breaks, like at least some lunches or work-free evenings, without feeling guilty about it. Just like most other professions. We know where the boundaries should be, but those boundaries are continually disregarded by parents, colleagues, and supervisors in the name of “what’s good for kids”.

  22. I had originally planned to teach for two years in order to save up for grad school and then after that come back. I took a job at a charter school that calls itself a STEM Academy but in reality is a special populations school. 1/3 of our kids are sped or 504, 1/3 are regular Ed and a portion of them have been expelled from the local district, & the last 1/3 is GT/High Achieveing. Its a place where I had to deal with 4 preps and 5 times more red tape/paperwork than my teaching friends from surrounding districts saw. And yet I love teaching but I want to have a family and be a great husband and wonderful & present father. This will not happen if I were to return to the public teaching field. I’ve become so dissatisfied with public education that my future children will either be enrolled in a classical school or homeschooled. I submitted my resignation to finish out the year 1 month ago and it was one the most freeing decisions I made in a long time.

  23. After 15 years of teaching, I, too, left my teaching position about three weeks before you wrote this post. I now work as a Training Specialist for my company’s Professional Development Department. I agree with everything you wrote about in your article, and I have never been happier. I LOVE my job! I cannot say that enough! My health has improved, and I mange my stress much better. I now get to do what I love; i.e., teach with enthusiasm and be well planned and well prepared for my training classes. It’s also not uncommon to hear a “thank you” at the end of training as the participants leave the session! In addition, I love having time to design course curriculum, learn new technologies, and also develop myself professionally without having to pay for it. For those teachers that are at their wits end- there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  24. Amber, the stress can be so difficult, but there is hope. I quit public ed. last year and my anxiety decreased so much. Talk with a licensed counselor who can help you transition into a different job. It seems overwhelming, but you can do it. You deserve to be happy. Thinking of you and wishing you well.

  25. 17 Years Teaching Overseas! Loved it!
    I loved calling myself a teacher! Well. . . that was until I came back to the U.S. That expression turned from love to, not hate, but transformed into the phrase I despise teaching.

    I grew up in the States and always wanted to travel. Once opportunity arrived to take that road, I was blessed having had the opportunity. Our world is beautiful and magnificent. Summers off. Snorkeling and Diving. Hanging out with others teachers after work playing volleyball. Not at places like EF, but a real accredited school where students left to enter college in Australia, Europe and the U.S.

    Then, I came back to U.S.

    Took a year off to visit family, re acclimate myself to the U.S. Started job hunting for other professions. Teaching was the only doors opening, so I found out about alternative certification. Started with a program that would also include a Master’s degree with the certification program. Fantastic.

    Started as a teacher’s aide in 2017 with my teacher certification program. Then the next year 2018-2019 as a full time teacher at a charter school.

    One year as a full time teacher in the U.S. is overwhelmingly horrible! It has nothing to do with “those first year teachers don’t just need to toughen up.”
    No, it is not about that. I speak with 17 years of experience at real certified schools, private and public, teaching K-12 and adults! Plus, I have experience with Montessori, IB, Cambridge, Korean academy and public schools, European methodology, Singaporean, Japanese . . .

    Well, I assure you that one year in the classroom in the U.S. is all it takes for you to HATE teaching. I will not walk back into the classroom since learning and teaching is not what school is about in the U.S. Nor is respect or life skills taught for that matter – (sorry, teachers do teach that, but get yelled at for teaching such things if longer than 5-10 minute lesson or outside of character building time. Absolutely no place for such things during MATH or ELAR time).

    After teaching in South Africa, Europe, and Asia, seeing place like Norway and Sweden, the U.S. education is FAR, FAR behind the rest of the world. No place is at all perfect, but everywhere is better than the data, assessments, and all the other junk that exist here.

    3rd world countries basic public education is better than the U.S. Again, I was born and raised here in the States and love my country, but we have other examples to learn and grow from.

    So, right now I am leaving the education industry to enter the Health and Fitness Industry. I am becoming a group fitness instructor and a personal trainer. I taught Zumba this past year and thought I could do that full time. Turns out I can and I am pursing that avenue.

    Affordable and similar pay. Benefits, not a good as public school I am finding, but neither was private schools and many are going that route. So would rather save my sanity, health, mental care, and emotions for helping the world around me.

    If I am no good to myself, I am no good to anyway.

    Check out this expensive app that was presented at an education conference last month during our keynote message. It is free for educators.
    Check out calm.com. New app of the year in 2017 or 2018. It is the #1 App for meditation and sleep. Celebrities like Matthew Mcconaughey are in it. Didn’t think much of it until I saw it first hand.

    Go in peace.

  26. I’m very happy I found your article. Everything said is spot on to what I’m feeling. I’m going into my 11th year of teaching, and this year will be my last year. I know 11 year doesnt seem like a lot, but I am over-stressed and where I work the kids are very disrespectful swearing and calling me names all the time. A constant battle. Teachers are asked to explain every action they take, including removing a disrespectful disruptive student from the classroom has to be supported with some “legitimate” reason other than the simple fact of I dont deserve to be talked to like that. And the kids (not all but some) feel they CAN talk to us however they want. And the parents are either helicopter or absent or in denial. For this, and other reasons including my health and lack of time with my daughter, I plan to leave the profession (if only for just one year) to take a break. I think the teachers like us that really go above and beyond, burn out fast. And it does worry me about what my next step would be. And what I would even do outside of teaching.

  27. A Saudi teacher here. 19 years in the profession. I was going through my usual morning routine and having coffee in my 1st hour; which is usually free. Google suggested this article. I started to think of my life as a teacher. Reading tge article and the comments I realized that we as Saudi teachers have the same difficulties, fears and anxieties and always feel unappreciated. We start at around 7 am and finish at 2. After that, I no longer present myself as a teacher. I have absolutely nothing to do with the school or the students after hours. That is why I don’t think about it too much. Nonetheless, I think my teaching days are almost over, and its time for me to explore something new

  28. Hey there,
    I have been teaching for 3 years, substitute teaching for about 5yrs and I am ready to leave teaching once and for all and never look back. I’m just afraid of not being able to find a good paying job to support my family. I’m interested in real estate, and selling insurance. Any ideas on where to start?

  29. Grad student here… I’m 6 months away from graduating. I couldn’t sleep, I got anxiety and started doubting if I want to go into education. I’m in debt and I can’t quit school now. I got interested in becoming a teacher when I was working as a paraprofessional, I enjoyed working with the students and because I thought it would be a great career if I wanted to raise a family (because of the holidays and having summers off). Little did I know of all the planning and work a teacher is required to do. After reading all the above comments makes me have bigger regrets. Maybe I should’ve listen to my family and chosen a career in the medical field (i.e. nurse, sonographer, dental hygienist; It’s stressful and long hours but the pay is better and you come home free of work.

    My husband has supported me enough but now I need to contribute and find a job.
    So many emotions and anxiety I’m already experiencing, not sleeping at night. Having suicidal thoughts as a way out.
    1) I feel like school is not preparing me. 2) I feel scared of starting my first year as a teacher and not doing a good job. Feeling lost not knowing what to do. 3) I want to come home and not bring work with me have weekends off. I’ve spent my weekends doing homework and not enjoying my summers because of school. I thought when I started working I could come home and be stress free from school and work. Have time to enjoy life and family. But it seems this profession is the opposite.

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