If you are not familiar with the world of education, I am going to do everything I can to make this post applicable.
The truth is, most people look at teaching as a noble profession with it’s share of difficulties like any other job. However, those hardships are deemed to be “well worth it” when considering those three little things called Thanksgiving, Christmas and Summer Vacation.
If you are one of those individuals, I guess a proper alternate title for this post could be “Why I Decided Four Months of Vacation Per Year was Not Good Enough”.
Either way, you are still reading this post because you are interested to know why I left teaching, so let’s get to dishing out the good stuff.
Reason #1 – Time
I know, I know. What a dumb, overtly general reason. But here is why this was a factor in my decision. Education requires large amounts of your time, both personal and professional. If you haven’t read any articles or blog posts by current or former teachers breaking down their pay into actual hourly wages based upon the amount of time they spend in and out of the classroom (I think it ends up being like $4.50 per hour), then do a Google search sometime with the phrase Why Teachers Hate Their Jobs and browse a few of the 15 million results. It’s not pretty.
I don’t like wasting my time or the time of others, but the way our current system is set up, it’s basically unavoidable. Between meetings, trainings, grading, planning and any “volunteer” extra-curricular service, actual classroom teaching time tends to be minimal in comparison. Who wants to take a job doing one thing and spend half their time only talking about it? Answer: Politicians. <insert rimshot here>
Reason #2 – Unqualified/Insane Administrators
Yep, there are unqualified upper level people in education too. It’s not just your job. In my seven years of teaching, these are a few of the things I had to deal with:
- An assistant principal attempted to convince a parent to take her fight for her son’s grade to the school board because he was a track star and would be ineligible for state after failing my class.
- One of my principals didn’t like that I might be interviewing at other schools so he attempted to fire me. Kind of a “I quit, No…you’re fired” scenario. Fun stuff.
- Multiple administrators demonstrated discriminatory treatment based on race. And if you’re thinking, “It’s about time you had to deal with that stuff honky/gringo”, then just know that my jokes are at the equal expense of all races and ethnicities. God made us different and unique for a reason…so we can all laugh at each other.
Reason #3 – Bathroom Privileges
You know when you are sitting at your desk and you get that familiar tingle from your bladder (or possibly back door – you know what I’m saying). What do you do when that happens? Get up and go to the bathroom, right? Well, for teachers, we suppress the urge to the point of causing infections in the name of student safety.
I have a teacher friend that would say he is open to any other career if it allows him the opportunity to pee when he wants.
Reason #4 – Teaching is NOT Challenging Enough
Sure, many of my teacher friends reading this will think that I left teaching because it was too hard. But honestly, the actual teaching part of education is easy. After a few years of teaching the same thing over and over again, you get pretty good at anticipating every conceivable barrier to learning a concept and begin to diversify your instruction to adapt to the various learning styles that occupy your classes. I was lucky in that all of my students were smart (except for that one kid), but it was hard to escape the feeling that I was going to be stuck in this endless loop of education when preparations for the new school year would start back up each August.
Reason #5 – Family > Everything
Ultimately, I had the opportunity to work in a job that has given me LOADS of time with my family. The fact that it also includes one of my closest friends, is mentally challenging and encourages spiritual growth has just been an amazing benefit. It was always difficult to scarf down my lunch like I was in a Marine Corp boot camp each day while attempting to grade papers, set up for the next class and push students out of my room until the bell rang. But my last few years also included the knowledge that my wife and daughter were at home bonding without me and I was being mentally and physically drained to the point where I would have little to offer them once I returned. This just became too much to handle and I made the jump, because when it all comes down to it, my family means the world to me and I wouldn’t sacrifice time with them for anything.