I should have left sooner. I wasted months… years, even, when I could have left sooner. It just seemed like every time I got to the point where I was ready to leave, my mind would fall into one of the biggest traps I see so many fall into during this life after teaching journey… the “it’s so hard mentality.”
Being aware of this habit
For the longest time, I don’t think I was even aware of this habit. My “it’s so hard” mentality. However, responding in that mentality kept me stuck in a cycle. The cycle would look like this… I’d be overwhelmed and frustrated during the first month of teaching of the year. I’d feel like I needed to move on from teaching to another career. But, when I’d sit down to start creating a plan to leave, I’d become overwhelmed with so many thoughts, that it was too hard to move forward with anything concrete, so I’d resign myself to doing something over winter break.
The Cycle Continues
The next few months would add even more stress and unhappiness to my life. This led to procrastination until December. Then, I’d sit down over winter break to create a plan. Again, I’d never actually take step 1 in the plan because it was too hard to use the time over the break since I needed to rest and recharge to move forward.
When my spring break would roll around, I’d try again. I would actually be so ready to move forward that I’d get the plan made, even though I was so exhausted. But, I put off starting until the summer. My summer would be spent doing the first few steps of my plan. Figuring out what career I wanted. Joining groups to learn more. Purchasing courses/help guides, etc. But then, it’d become too hard to actually use my summer vacation to do anything more than that. So, I’d resign myself to another year of teaching. And the cycle would start over.
I sometimes actually got to the point of applying for jobs. Inevitably, something would trigger that mentality in my mind that it’s too hard to actually move forward to a life after teaching, so I continued down the same path.
Do you have this mentality?
Maybe you find yourself in the same situation mentally that I was in. I constantly fell into one of the biggest traps in my life after teaching journey that stopped my progress:
- I’d leave teaching, but it’s so hard to find another career.
- I’d start another career, but it’s so hard to know what to do.
- I’d apply for that job, but it’s so hard to re-format my resume for specific non-teaching jobs (this resource is perfect for that, btw).
- I’d go to that interview, but it’s so hard to think anyone wants to hire just a teacher.
- I’d take another job, but it’s so hard to find a new job with the right pay, benefits, and hours.
So many instances of the “it’s so hard” mentality in my life where this habit just left me staying stuck in a job when I should’ve moved on. Does anybody else feel the same? Anybody? Bueller?
How I avoid this trap Now
How did I fix it? Once I realized the “it’s so hard” mentality was a trap I was falling into, I took steps to correct it. Honestly, it’s still something I work on every day. The best advice I received is this: Choose your hard.
We have a choice every day in our actions. I can choose to see stumbling blocks or stepping stones. Obstacles or opportunities. So, choose your hard. Yes, creating a plan, or sending out a quality resume, or going for interviews, or building confidence is hard, BUT staying in teaching when you are meant to move on is hard. Being in a classroom every day when you feel overwhelmed with never-ending demands is hard. Your health suffering because of stress from school is hard. So, choose your hard.
Once I wrapped my mind around that concept, I decided that I’d take action every day to “choose the hard” that was going to get me one step closer to creating the life I wanted for myself and my family. I learned to say, “Yes, this is hard, and I can do it.” I wanted to acknowledge the difficulty while setting my mind to take action to accomplish that goal. You can have that same mentality. That’s how you’ll finally make the leap!
It’s your turn
Do you ever find yourself doing this? Falling into one of the biggest traps to avoid in your life after teaching journey? What are you telling yourself that is keeping you from moving forward? If you’ve stayed stuck for too long because getting started is too hard, take the first step by creating a plan. Check out our teacher’s toolkit as a great resource for helping you plan your next move in this journey.
For more career options, check out our article of the Top 12 legit jobs for ELA teachers that would be a good fit for you.