Should I Quit Teaching? Who quits on the kids? But this is what I went to school for? My family needs the money? Its all I know what to do? These were the thoughts moving in my head the months and months of choosing to quit my teaching job.
I am a good teacher. Sometimes I forget how good of a teacher I am. I enjoy it too. I love creating relationships with my students and getting to know them on a personal level and being able to love on them. I love the progress I see from the beginning of the year til the end.
I love knowing that I TAUGHT THEM TO READ and developed their love of being a writer.
I love that students didn’t want to misbehave because they knew I would be disappointed.
There is definitely a special role that a teacher plays in each of their student’s lives. I know this because I see the look in their eyes when I come to see them at school. They tell me they still have my picture in their room, or give me lots of tight hugs, scream my name as I pass by and sneak a peak across the school yard and wave.
But I still quit. There are so many reasons why and I can’t even begin to tell you all the reasons. I am going to start with the first one.
I am a mom to 3 young kids. I love my kids more than anything. But when I am a teacher my love for my own kids gets split. I have this passion for teaching that I want to be the very best for my students. I want to be prepared daily for them, so I will spend hours preparing just the right lessons for my students. I differentiate EVERYTHING.
I want school to be fun, interactive and an experience to make them love learning. I have this drive in me that will not go away til my students have met the goal that I want. I can’t stand showing up on a Monday morning not prepared. It just sets my entire week off. Being prepared meant a lot of outside planning. Especially if it was a week that we had conferences, or character report cards, or academic report cards. These instances were 16 weeks out of the year. I take 2 weeks to get these accomplished between testing, extra grading, comments and preparing all the materials. That is almost half the school year. They are also teacher tasks that I dread to work on.
I lay awake at night going through lessons that didn’t go well and planning for the next time, I come up with new ideas as I am in the shower and quickly jump out and write them down as the shower water drips onto my phone.
I have dreams about these kids, I want to take some home to just feed them a good meal, I buy clothes for them when they wear the same pair of blood stained pants day after day.
Yet, my own 3 kids get the absolute worst of me when I come home after teaching 22 first graders. They get a tired, worn out, emotionally drained and sleep deprived mommy. I am not my best for them. I get stressed and yell at them for things that aren’t worth yelling at them for. I am easily frustrated and the last thing I want is to cuddle with them at night. I am hugged out and don’t want to be touched. My own kids don’t deserve this. My students shouldn’t get the best of me, but yet, I can’t seem to figure out how to give less to my students when there is such a great need.
I have been a stay at home mom, a part time work at home mom and a full time working mom and they have all their ups and downs. I went back to teaching a several years ago. It has been a road of survival to say the least. I am lucky to have 3 beautiful children and a very supportive husband that helps out a ton.
I wrote this post below 2 years ago, but never had the courage to post it. I remember writing it. I sat in church, alone, surrounded by strangers who didn’t know I existed. I obviously wasn’t listening to the sermon because I was broken and had too many thoughts on my heart that day.
“In the last few months I have been really struggling with a few things that have been on my mind. Our weeks are very busy. By the time I pick up the kids at daycare and we get home it is time to quickly get dinner ready, then clean up dinner, give the kids showers (when we are lucky they get bathed, ha ha!) and ready for bed. Then the weekend comes and Saturday is usually spent with sports games, grocery shopping, errands, laundry and cleaning up the house. Sundays is church, make lunch, meal prepping, lesson planning, more laundry, dinner, making lunches for the next day, preparing for the week, and then bedtime.
I was struggling with the fact that on Sundays, my husband works and I take the kids to church. I wake up and get myself ready, the kids ready, we drive to church, go to church, then come home, I make the kids lunch and it is time for my son’s nap. During his nap is really the only time I can get my lesson planning and other chores done. My son is 3 and when he is awake the earth shakes. He is a good boy, but is active, he makes messes and needs constant eyes on him. He is also needy, sneaky and busy. Oh how I love that boy. So.. I do not get much done around the house during his waking hours.
Once he wakes up, I am making dinner and then it is clean up and time for bed. Each Sunday I was in a bad mood because the day had gone by and I had not spent time with my kids. I had gone to church, alone, no one seemed to care I was even there, the whole process from the time we leave the house is 3 hours and 15 min, I wasn’t spending this with my kids, unless you count the drive which is usually filled with the 3 year old screaming and the girls fighting, mixed with a little singing. Or the yelling at the kids to move and hurry to their Sunday School Classes, coaxing my 6 year old that her class “really will be fun today”. Then the drive home which is filled with “I’m hungry..”, “I’m thirsty..” and more fighting between the 3 kids of whose turn is it to talk this time.
I found myself in a bad mood all day. Not only am I spending the afternoon and evening doing chores but I wasn’t getting any quality time with my kids or my husband and was heading back to work on Monday morning empty, not recharged.
My struggle was with church, I hate to say that, but I’m being honest right now. I have never in my life not gone to church. We would miss a few weeks here and there with things that came up, but very seldom would stay home because “I didn’t want to go.” There was a time when going to church was the highlight of my week.
What had changed? Well a few things:
1.Working full time means I am away from my kids all day. My weekends are the only big chunks that I get with them
2. My weekends are spent cleaning and doing chores.
3.My husband works weekends and that leaves me to do the weekend chores on my own and without any adult interaction.
4.I knew no one at church. But in some way it was my fault. I didn’t have time to get to know anyone, I wasn’t going to bible study, small group and we had only lived here for a year. No one cared if I was there or not. No one talked to me and I was too preoccupied with checking kids in/out (took 30 min on each end) that I couldn’t stop and have a meaningful conversation, even if I wanted to.
5.Every Sunday that I went I was asked or felt pressure to help out in the kid’s classes. I did do it several times and that did not work out. We were at church twice as long. The kids cried about having to be in class double time and then it was even less time I spent with them.
6.Due to the service times, we had to rush home to get my son his lunch and put him down for a nap.
7.I always have so much to do on the weekends.
What do I do about this? I want my children raised in the church, like I was. I want them to have Christian friends. I want friends that go to church. I want to go to church with my husband. I want to have family friends that we go to church with and get together with. I need a support group of people in the same place in life as me.
This a a tough place to be in this Season of life”
When I read that back now 2 years later, it brings me to tears. I was in a world of hurt as I wrote that. I can remember the day well. At this time, I had began making teaching resources on the side to sell to other teachers. I could justify it because my students needed them, so I was needing to make them anyway, why not sell them.
I noticed when I was making these resources I was so relaxed and it seem that the world was moving around me, but I was in my zone. I craved that creative time that I would get to sit, drink coffee and create. It was almost therapeutic to me.
Other teachers began to take notice of my store and I had started to bring in enough money to almost buy a week’s worth of groceries or take my family out for a family day. I liked this feeling of success, being recognized for something that I worked hard on.
In teaching, you aren’t recognized very often. Parents rarely say thank you, they don’t compliment your teaching style or the resources that you spent hours putting together just to differentiate for their child. Other teachers I worked with didn’t care for the things that I made. It sometimes feels like a thankless career. But when another teacher buys my resources, it is a compliment that makes me smile from ear to ear. Someone felt like their hard earned money was well spent buying something that I created.
This success drove me to creating more and more. That summer after I wrote the post during church, I created resources all summer long and spent so much time with my kids. The balance was a beautiful thing.
I was so thankful for the time to be refreshed, play with my kids, make a healthy dinner, spend time with my husband and I was happy. I decided that summer, that my goal was to get my store to a point where my income was close to my teaching income and then I would create resources full time and I could be there for my kids and my husband. I needed this goal to get through each day. It became my why.
That Winter, I got a Jury Summons in the mail. No big deal. A day or two of missed work. Not a problem, so I thought until the judge announced that this trial would take about 6 months. Six Months??? Are you kidding me. Well, I hadn’t been chosen yet, there was no way they would choose me, right?
This was a high profile murder case and they TOOK THEIR TIME deciding on a jury. I ended up being juror alternate number 2. Are you kidding me? Yes, those were the words that slipped right out of my mouth as the judge appointed me. I was in a state of shock as I left that courtroom. This did not work into my plans. How was I supposed to achieve my goal when my life was now ruled by the state of California for some idiots who decided to kill someone else.
Well, because I am who I am I didn’t sit there playing on my phone or twiddling with my thumbs (plenty did this), I worked. I brought my computer and during the 2 hour lunch break (this felt absolutely glorious to me) I went for a walk, which I loved, then I would eat and work on my substitute plans and make resources and more resources.
During the time we were in the courtroom I brought in a notebook and “took notes” which were handwriting out future lesson plans for my students, project ideas, lesson ideas, closed reading passages, comprehension questions, mapping out resources, pin descriptions, and so much more. I didn’t let a minute of that jury duty go unused.
Then one day, my daughter had an infected tooth. I made her an appointment and called the courthouse to tell them I would be late. I mentioned that she would be needing surgery as well. They put me on hold for a few minutes. Then came back on and said I was released. Not just for the day, but for the entire case! All these emotions were like a rollar coaster. I ended up missing about 6 weeks of teaching for jury duty. I felt so bad for what the school had to go through in accommodating me and getting substitutes. I felt bad for my students as they lost so much during that time.
But the following month, my store had a huge bump up in revenue. My husband and I realized that with the extra time I was able to put into it, it really helped my store grow, by a lot. I had time on the weekends to spend with my family because I wasn’t doing all the lesson planning. I was more patient at home and hugs became so much more received. I looked forward to the snuggles. I was off earlier than teaching so I had more time to get dinner going and play with them. Also, even though I was doing jury I was happier and I was getting to walk outside every day.
So… after lots of prayer, conversations with my husband, working on our family budget and re-working our family budget, I decided to take the plunge and told the principal that I would not be returning the following school year. My business was in no way making my teacher income, but we had worked on those little details. We saw that our family needed me home, I needed to do this business and the growth potential was huge.
I finished the year off strong and began to pack up my classroom that had been my home for 3 years. It was emotional and I felt like I was letting my students down. I was supposed to be their teacher for a 2nd year. I knew they were in good hands, but I still felt bad pursuing this dream that I had of owning my own business.
It has now been 6 months since I have been self employed. I have loved every moment of it. I have time to go to the gym each day, I wake up and do my quiet time, I am reading books now, listening to podcasts, I walk my kids to school and pick them up from school, I am reading stories to the kids at night, they help me cook dinner, I am giving them way more hugs, I am more patient and the kids are all 3 happier.
I also noticed that my kids are better behaved, we are eating healthier, I am able to get them to doctor appointments without requesting time off or making sub plans. We had 5 surgeries in 1 year which equals a lot of doctor appointments! I am taking the kids to church on Wednesday night, date nights with my husband while they are at church, church as a family on Thursday and I actually look forward to going on Sundays.
Instead of being on the inside of the classroom, I am on the outside. I have the time to make resources that our fully differentiated with all the parts and pieces to make another teacher’s life easier. I have time to make products professional and just what a teacher needs to help her students succeed. I am who I needed when I taught! I have been been able to help thousands of teacher by creating resources for them. I get to help students all around the world have the love for learning by making interactive, 21st century products for their teachers to use.
What a change from 2 years ago when I wrote that post! I am so thankful that God has provided a way for me to work full time from home, that he is making my business grow and making my dreams come true daily. I feel beyond blessed.
Heather McKinsey, Special Treat Friday
If you want to look at my resources feel free to check out on website shop or for the fully stocked store, check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers.