I’m approaching my last few weeks in teaching as I have handed my notice in. I was just wondering whether you have had any regrets leaving teaching? Also what is life like for you after teaching?
-S in UK
Hey there S.,
Thanks for reaching out! This is a great question, but I want to preface it by saying that this process is unique to everyone. The things I miss (or don’t miss 😉 ) about teaching may be the same as for you, or it may be entirely different! What matters is retaining that sense of optimism that you’re making the best choice for you right now and for your future.
Personally, I don’t miss a thing about teaching. I had good days, for sure, but overall my experience was so negative that every day since I’ve left has been a blessing. And I wasn’t even at an “awful” school!
The best thing has been being able to decide what kind of environment I am in when I work. As a teacher, my day-to-day environment would radically change with every class period. Four shifts a day, and they could be “okay” or “awful” or “nightmarish” and then everything would change again with the semester. I had no control over how negative the students would be, how they would react to the assignments or mandated tests, or how parents would react to the school’s rules. I felt powerless and hopeless.
But in the real world, you have more rights in your work place. Bad things still happen, and there are certainly toxic workplace environments, but overall I’ve received much more respect, consideration, and calmness from even my worst workplace than from my best class as a teacher. The world places much higher expectations on coworkers than on students, so the bar of expectation is much higher in the workplace.
As for life now, I’m in a very unique situation. I’ve been able to start my own business and write for a living. It comes with its own troubles, like securing my own health insurance and having a variable income, but I feel so free that it’s unreal sometimes. And of course all of my “teacher skills” still help me on a daily basis — from planning my workload to interacting politely with everyone I meet to providing feedback and commentary on assignments and projects. Those skills never leave you, and they make you an incredibly valuable employee (or business-owner)!
My worst fear is that my family won’t adapt well to my change. Especially my husband. I feel that he identifies me as a teacher, (I’ve been a teacher since before we got married) and each time I discuss with him my anxieties and decision to pursue a new career, he discourages me.
It’s hard when you are in a marriage and you don’t get the support on something like this that you need. Honestly, I would have left long ago, if I were single, not childless, just single.
Most importantly, I have to do what I must for me.
Maybe someone can communicate this need for me to leave this profession for my mental health better than me. Thanks for listening.
Sarah G says
Hi Donna — So sorry to hear that you’re feeling stressed from a lot of different angles!
My first thought is that it sounds like both you and your husband have a lot to be worried about with this change. I feel strongly that there is a way to approach this with him that will validate his fears and give him the freedom to freely support you in something you desire so strongly. For me, at least, talking things through with my husband always makes everything better!
I received your email and I plan to write back today. I’ll share my thoughts there!
I am glad I bumped into your website. Here I am hesitating to leave after 21 years of teaching English, E.S.O.L., and reading. I can hardly find the energy to write the next lesson plan.
It is comforting to realize that other people opinionate that teaching consumes time, brain power and patience. I have had a great run and need to admit my much needed turning point.
The main challenge will be to stop telling myself that no businesses will be interested in a 50 yr. old who doesn’t like computers and technology all that much. I will have to be my best cheerleader for the transition to materialize. Thanks!
Sarah G says
Thank you for your comment, Vivian! Teaching and communicating are incredibly valuable skills… especially in the ESOL industry! I am sure with a little fooling around you’ll enjoy working with computers and technology a little more, too :-).