I began teaching once President Obama stepped into office. I entered the classroom as a Teaching Assistant in January of 2009. In 2010, I became a computer and after school instructor. In 2013, I began as an English teacher. But I have to quit teaching for my own sanity.
I should have quit teaching on my very first day
On my very first day, I stand in front of the classroom and watch as students entered. Being the organized guy that I am, I tell students to sit anywhere. They do. Some sit in the back on my extra chairs, so I tell them to move up. Others try to find a friendly face because, in this new charter, they were all strangers.
Everything is going well. Students are quiet because they are nervous and young (7th grade) and I’m still wearing my thug face well, further terrifying them as they step into the demon’s lair. Well, the bell doesn’t ring. Okay. That’s cool. You know, it still has a few minutes. The only problem is I’m out of seats and tables.
There are some super small guys in my classroom, so I’m thinking…you six graders messed up.
These folks stuffed 37 students into a new teacher’s classroom.
My coworkers hated me for the first year
Why do my coworkers matter in my decision? They complained about me so much that the administration gave me hell for two years straight. I quit teaching at my first school because of how much I hated going to work, though I loved my students.
Why did they hate me so much? I was an out of the box thinker. You know, I liked challenging students and forcing them to read things far above their grade level. I did not like to think of my students as kids, but as pre-adults. And I tended to vocalize when I thought another teacher was being discriminatory or a prick. I brought the pain on myself.
My second set of students were evil human beings
I’m serious. The second group of students that I taught contained some of the worst humans that I have ever met.
Don’t believe me? At my second school, half of the teachers from their first year did not return. During my year, half of us did not return. Some of these people quit teaching altogether.
Was the administration to blame? Nope. This was the best team that I ever worked for, hands down. The kids were just too much to deal with.
The students weren’t bad. They were just evil. Some of these kids took pleasure in pushing their teachers to tears, and they weren’t nicer to their peers. One girl “acquired” a naked picture of her “frenemy” and showed it to all males on three different campuses. The victim was so hurt that she fainted once she discovered the truth.
I taught these kids for a year. That’s all I could stomach.
Now, at least ten of my favorite students of all time come from this school, but I hated going to work every single day.
My last school was the icing on the cake
I officially quit teaching after getting to the high school level. I taught at a school with a very high percentage of African-Americans. This was important to me because I was known as a strict teacher that specialized in motivating students to work hard. Well, that was how most of my principals would describe me before teaching at this high school.
I wanted to teach at this school so badly that I drove an hour to and from work every day. I just “knew” that I could impact some student’s life and make them better.
My students described me as engaging, interesting, motivation, funny, and strict, but I couldn’t get any of them to commit to my work or their own lives. I lost about 10% of my students because they were kicked off campus for fights. I failed well over 30% for lack of effort more than lack of skill. And most of the kids that received failing grades admitted that their laziness was to blame.
I take full responsibility
These are my experiences. Outside of my first year, I stressed more than I loved. Don’t get me wrong, I love most of my students, and I don’t regret teaching them. It’s just that I’m not strong enough to continue stressing myself out for the sake of someone else.
Many teachers have committed to much more than I have for much longer. They have sacrificed and dealt with the struggles for the benefits of the kids, but I won’t.
I’d rather be a struggling artist than a stressed teacher. When I suddenly have more gray hairs than my mom, something has to change.
I quit teaching because I value peace of mind. For those of you who love what you do, I wish I had your power. You are amazing, altrustic, and giving saviors. The world cannot appreciate you enough because there is no quantifiable reward for what you do. To all my teacher friends, stick with it for as long as you can. But if you quit, I understand. Believe me.