A little over three years ago after having my third child, I did something that I never thought I would do, I left my 6th grade teaching position. It was one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make as an adult. I ADORED teaching! I LOVED my students! I couldn’t say enough amazing things about my instructional team. But…I packed up my classroom and I walked away.
Sounds VERY dramatic, right?!
I didn’t leave angry or on any sort of negative note. My husband and I just decided after some childcare challenges, “switching gears for awhile” was in our family’s best interest. He had built a business in SEO and internet marketing where he was able to work from home for the last few years, and it was time that he moved in a new direction, while I took the reigns on the family front. Luckily he got a marketing job with a popular sunglasses company, and I could pick up some of his internet work…or not.
Taking care of a newborn, a four year old, and a seven year old was awesome. I got to spend more time with my daughter, as she was only in AM preschool three days a week, I got to walk my son to and from school, and infant snuggles are THE.BEST! I made the perfect decision for myself and our family three years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing.
During these three years I have gotten to spend more time at my children’s school volunteering and participating in their day-to-day. Like so many schools, their school is an incredible place that makes you want to be there. From holiday events to educational days, I have been so blessed to enjoy these moments with them.
One of the other ways I have stayed so connected to teaching and the educational community is through blogging about my classroom experiences. I have spent the last three years writing, creating and updating resources that I can’t wait to implement and utilize in my next classroom. I have read countless novels, developed novel units, writing resources, reading tool kits, reader’s theaters, and other ELA essentials for upper elementary classrooms. This work has kept me inspired and enthusiastic about my future work in the classroom.
Fast forward to today…I have a ten year old, almost seven year old, and a three year old! I adore my kids, but I am ready to head back! My plan was never to leave the teaching profession behind and move on to something else. I ALWAYS knew I wanted to return to the classroom setting where working with students has brought me so much fulfillment and joy. I am a wife, I am a mom, and I am a teacher!
Last year I decided to get my cover letter and resume together when I learned of some openings. I don’t know about you, but my resume was completely outdated, and I knew that I had some work to do if I wanted to land a job. What I didn’t consider was that while all of my years of experience have come in handy as a classroom teacher, they are not viewed so enthusiastically by potential school districts that I would love to work for. As I move in the direction of trying to get a job, with a Master’s degree and 15 years of experience, I am an expensive hire and may not be the most budget-friendly educator for a spend-thrift school district.
As I consider my teaching sabbatical, I wouldn’t change a thing. The time I have had at home with my family and the work I have done creating resources has been INCREDIBLE! But, my road back to the classroom, is not likely to be a simple one. I will keep you posted on what is to come and the path I take.
My thoughts to those of you having an internal struggle about the teaching profession…
- If you are considering a leave because you are: 1) needing more time with family, 2) burned out, 3) overwhelmed, and/or 4) losing steam, you are nearing the end of the school year, and have almost made it. Hang in there! Your students need you, even when they don’t show it. Teaching is hard! Testing is overwhelming and there are many thankless days. While I know you work hard in the summer to prepare for next year, take some time to rejuvenate. YOU need to be the best teacher you know you are!
- Maybe you need a grade level or subject change to ignite that spark that has been flickering this year. Change can be good!
- If you are thinking that creating and selling resources is your magic ticket out of the classroom, know that resource creation is like marathon training, slow and steady work. I will share that a novel unit takes me around 25 hours of work to complete. There are inspirational sellers that make their work on Teachers Pay Teachers look really easy, but know that they have been teaching, brainstorming, creating, and selling for years and years! Coming up with new and innovative ideas that are ideal for your classroom and students is the ticket to success, but it is challenging and time-consuming.
- If you have just reached the point where you don’t think that teaching is for you, that is 1000% ok, too! I have had a few teacher friends head off into the sunset of other professions. We are not all meant to be teachers working in classrooms with students. Find your passion, and go after it!
As you finish out this school year, I wish you only the best as you spend these last weeks with your students, and I will leave you with one of my all time favorite quotes as a means of inspiration…