One Teacher's Story: I Hate My Job and Want to Quit Now!

Giving up on the wrong career is not a crime

When I was in high school, I had the coolest history teachers. They were passionate, funny and basically told stories all day long. Whether it was the dirty details of Henry VIII and all of his wives or the real story of the Roosevelts, I loved history. And boy did I love field trips. Occasionally there was a paper and a test. There were very few forced group activities, and there was no internet. We physically had to go to the library. And I still got a great education. We weren't graded with rubrics. You sat there, listened to the teacher and respected them.

I never remember any of my history teachers telling me, "Today our learning objective is X. It is a question on X exam. You will know you were successful today because you will be able to do and know X and answer the objective on your Exit Ticket." That was in 1989.

As any other people have done, I once thought, "Hey-I am brilliant at history. I am going to be a history teacher. With my knowledge and passion, I'm a natural. I think I'll teach high school." This was in 2003.

The field of education had changed drastically since then, and since I came in so late in the game, it felt so foreign to me. Little did I realize that being interested in a discipline does not a brilliant teacher make. I found this out when I was student teaching. Student teaching was difficult because I realized that teenagers do not necessarily respect you (you have to earn it), they are defiant, their behavior has to be managed and you have to engage them. Most importantly you have to love them and you have to have 'the gift of teaching'. Or at least you have to work very hard at it if it doesn't come naturally.

Then you have to make lesson plans, be organized and you get observed all of the time. Constructive criticism is dished out more regularly than praise; from students, parents and administrators alike. And you always have to be "on". And if you are a Type B person, being 100% "on" is not always possible.

I should have realized it then, when I would get gas in the morning and wish I were going to work at the gas station instead of the school, where I had two sort-of-okay ninth grades, and another group of especially defiant ones who should have been drowned at birth.

After the experience was over and I passed, getting a teaching a job was a tougher matter.

I was living in the wonderful, but small state of Vermont, where history jobs were not plentiful. So I went to work as a secretary at a local college, and but for the fact that I was not using my degree or even teaching, I had a very pleasant job on a bucolic campus and was surrounded by respectful professionals on a daily basis and I never experienced stress.

Three years later, my good friend, who worked with various charter schools in New York City at the time, called me up and excitedly told me about how he had been working with this great school and that it would be a perfect place for me to teach. The unspoken reality was that if I didn't finally try teaching, it was never going to happen.

So, I got my resume together, showing I had virtually no real-world experience, sent in my application, had several interviews, taught a demo lesson to a group of perfectly-behaved eleventh grade honors students, got the job and moved to Brooklyn. These events all happened in such rapid succession, that I had no time to think about the fact that I was going to teach city kids and was headed into a culture shock like none I had experienced before. Had I known, I would have probably stayed in Vermont forever.

But I went.

Little did I know that I would be entering a climate where I would be bullied by school leaders instead of getting supported, being threatened and never complimented. Even new teachers who are learning and sometimes making mistakes need positive encouragement. One of the worst examples of lack of support and even racism was when a school leader said to me, "Get to know the kids more. Eat lunch with them. Find out what bands they like. Show them that you are more than just a white teacher from Suburbia."

The first year was understandably challenging. I will go through some of the worst events some other time. Suffice it to say it was a fight. But I always built myself up by telling myself that the first year is always the worst. As it turns out, my fifth year was the worst and it was the one that made me terminate my teaching career for good.

I will not tell you the whole story now. But I will say this. Charter schools do not have unions. This is very good for the Charter Schools, but very bad for the teachers. Many do argue, understandably, that if schools don't have unions, teachers have to do their jobs well without complaining and be competent enough to handle it. A union, as some may say, is an enabling crutch that allows teachers to be lazy. When Charter Schools catch wind of teachers mentioning that word, it becomes a witch hunt, with various people throughout the school trying to catch the union agitator and cut off their head.

Realistically, Charter Schools will frequently give teachers a workload that surpasses what a union would allow. The reason why my career ended, quite frankly, was that although I was experienced and in my fifth year, having been challenged and meeting each challenge, the powers that be decided I needed even more challenges. I had to teach three separate grades, one of which I was not licensed for, and I had to submit fifteen scripted lesson plans by end of business every Friday. If parents did not like something, they would call the principal directly and the principal would come to me and warn me that this was a problem that needed to be fixed. My writing assignments were also micromanaged. I had been taught to teach students how to write DBQ and Thematic-type essays to help kids pass the essay portion on Regents exams, but the school had its own prescribed way of teaching writing that was badly communicated to me since my previous background had been in high school and not middle school. I never received the proper guidance and support in learning their ELA methods and was frustrated because I already knew what I was doing in terms of teaching writing and adding literacy to Social Studes. Before that time I had never had anyone tell me my methods were bad before this teaching gig , and in my previous schools I was praised for doing it well.

I had my share of experiences with getting observed without warning and was used to it from my other schools, so it wasn't a big deal most of the time. However, with this last school, the pop-ins happened several times a week. I was always told what I was doing was wrong, but never was told how they wanted me to do it. I was micromanaged. A few times the principal stormed into my room when things were getting too loud with the group I was not licensed to teach. She would announce to everyone, “This class is not working. It is a disaster.” Then she would tell me what to do. "Ms. Kikibruce, wait for silence. Ms. Kikibruce, do not give them the paper if they do not say thank you. You are not holding them accountable." She said all of this in front of the kids. I was horrified. Even though my other Charter Schools were not stellar, this was new craziness that I did not think existed in the real world.

I started getting sick every morning before school. I was taking anti-anxiety meds. I worked until ten every night and worked all weekend. I took a day off here and there because I could not get time to write those fifteen lesson plans the way they wanted them. And really, who ends up using a scripted lesson plan anyway? I was at the point where I had so many things to juggle that I didn't know where to start. And when I told a school leader I felt overwhelmed because of the third class, it was duly noted, but in a way that suggested there was now a lack of confidence in my abilities.

The final straw came at report card time. Knowing they harassed you if grades were too low, I made sure that my grading was absolutely fair, but some parents insisted on their kids getting above a 90% whether they deserved it or not, and this was supported by the Principal and the Dean. I tried to give balanced but accurate verbal comments that were both about how their children 'shine' and how they need to 'grow'. I guess I was too honest, because I was called into the office and was made to sit with the Dean and change all of my comments so that there were no constructive comments about behavior and respect and how students really were doing, and only warm and positive comments that did not relay the fact that the kid ran around the classroom farting all the time. That was finally it. At that time I came down with a horrible sinus infection and had to be out for five days, confirmed by the doctor and totally legit. All the same, when I came in the principal said, “for this list of reasons, including your long absence, we will not be continuing our relationship with you after Christmas.” Inside, I was overjoyed. On the outside I was sober and calm. She kept talking. I said, “It's alright, please do not explain.” And that was it.

Since the beginning of the year, I had a bad feeling about the job. From the first day when a school leader scolded me for not "tracking the speaker" (jargon for looking at the person who is talking), from the extra class I hadn't expected to teach, to being subjected to leaders who gave me nothing but obstacles, to the ever-changing screwed up schedules and terrible class period transitions, horrible discipline and not enough planning time during the day to plan for three separate grades a day. I tried as hard as I could. I worked my butt off. I enjoyed a number of the kids and some of them liked me. I tried to do group projects. The kids usually knew their learning objective because I told them what it was and often had them fill out Exit Tickets. My lesson plans indicated how I would assist students with special needs. They were scripted (more or less-I kind of gave up on that because it was too time-consuming). I had a hunch I would be laid off when I would send in the lesson plans and stopped getting any feedback, acknowledgement or response.

Maybe I wasn't the greatest teacher in the world, but then again, who would be, considering where I was teaching and what I had to put up with? I didn't want to wake up every morning filled with dread. I wanted to walk into a place with a smile on my face. It's not that I don't like kids. I just feel that along with bad charter schools, that there is a greater lack of respect for teachers in general, and I wasn't able to connect with them, perhaps because I was not into rap and didn't compare every successful person in history to Jay-Z. Other teachers were already doing that. I wanted to expand their horizons, not keep them where they were. I understand trying to connect to them by relating things to their own lives, but wasn't going to try too hard and come off as fake. Kids see through it. I had to be true to myself, confident that I knew my curriculum.

I found out later through one of my colleagues that more than one person was hired to teach the load that I was carrying and they were much more "hip" and "street" than me. To this day, I don't understand why they overloaded me and then ended up hiring more people and costing them more money.

After almost five years of trying and trying and living in the city and not giving up, I was thrilled not to have to back there, happy to have the time to let the stress hormones leave my body. Generally speaking, being 41 and moving back home with one's parents is not an ideal life change, but for me it saved my mental and physical health.

Being between jobs is not ideal. It can make you feel like a failure. I don’t feel that way. Teaching was hard for me right from the beginning. I was not a natural, and I had to work at it. I was teaching in some very rough neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx and stayed on while many others would have stopped. Many of my former coworkers from my first school have moved on to other schools. Some have quit. Some have become successful at teaching. I feel no sense of inadequacy because I finally gave up on the classroom. Sometimes you have to admit that something is wrong and deal with it.

That is my advice to you if you are a teacher who wants to quit. Your new career search will involve thinking outside of the box. It's a hackneyed expression, but it's true. You will consider operating a forklift and you will get told by temp agencies that you will not get more than $10 per hour doing a clerical job. Many potential employers will think you are overqualified and want to know why you quit the more lucrative career of teaching. Don't listen. Keep moving forward. Just remember, quitting something that is wrong is not a crime. It is just a new beginning.

Comments 308 comments

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

The words you end with is true...'quitting something that is wrong (for you, my words) is not a crime---it is just a new beginning.

As a teacher for 40 years I had more than my share of tough classes because they soon found out that managing student behavior was a knack I I got more than my share of kidoes who needed someone who could handle was challenging but with a lot of work and conferring with the kidoes we got through it.

When I began teaching, I had stars in my eyes and a light in my heart...this light would be torch that lead me be make a difference in the lives of every child because I loved what I did so much. This what I fervently believed.

However many of the children that I worked with were living at survival mode. Many of them came to school to eat breakfast and lunch. Many of them came from families where education was low on the list of what was important. So my job was much different than I thought it would be for many years. Way back then, the same issues of respect existed. Kids had to believe you were worthy of their respect. You had to be meaningful to their lives, to make them feel you cared about them, before you could reach inside to teach the readin', 'ritin', and 'rithemetic. And it was so from then on.

I retired in the fall of 2011 due to family illness. But it was time to retire because there is so much emphasis on being the school with the top Grade, having the students get the highest scores on the never ending tests that were given rather than being able to have the time to lead children to the joy of learning that the love of my job would soon have disappeared I fear. Every time the wind blew a new way of doing things blew in the window. Nothing was ever given a chance to work as of about 2000.

I could go on and on...My word to you is this...I am so glad for you that you left teaching rather than spend your life hating the job you went to each day. I hope that you find a job that will make your heart sing every day. Mine sang each day as I rushed to get to work even till the day I retired. I loathed the changes that came but loved the challenge of the newbies that became my children each school year. Just the right life's work is waiting for you.

Sending you Angels this evening :) ps

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you were able to impact so many lives in a positive way. Great teachers are worth their weight in gold. I am sure that if I stay positive and keep looking, good things will come.

jackymack 3 years ago

Hi. I'm a teacher of Modern Languages in the UK, currently off with stress and I can really relate to what you write. I started teaching at age 37 out of what I considered to be necessity, having returned to Scotland with my two young boys from Germany and having to financially support them. 14 years on I am now 51 and suffering from depression and anxiety. I have been signed off work until mid-March and my gut feeling is that I do not want to do this anymore and I will do anything to avoid having to go back. I do not consider myself to be a 'bad' teacher, and I know that there are at least a few kids I taught who have been inspired to continue with the study of languages. But I feel that my spirit is being increasingly crushed by the job for loads of reasons. I don't think my personality is suited to the job, being as I am more of an introvert than an extrovert at heart although I have forced myself all these years and managed to keep going. (read a really good book on the topic of introverts/extroverts: 'Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain) My two sons have now left home and I am on my own living in my flat in the outskirts of Glasgow. I applied for a job in the north of Scotland for an 'International Sales Representative' for a company that exports langoustines, and received a letter saying that they would be calling me for interview soon. If I get offered the job I will move up there and begin again. (my elderly parents, 3 brothers and 1 sister all live in various parts of the highlands). If I don't get the job, my other option would be to try to let out my flat and perhaps to go abroad (maybe Berlin where my son now lives). I feel guilty. There's a gloomy recession. I am still off and my school is being inspected this week. I am trying to stay strong and listen to the inner voice which keeps on saying 'I can't do this anymore'. No-one outside of teaching understands.

Desmondlee89 profile image

Desmondlee89 3 years ago from Singapore

Hi, just want to drop a comment to encourage you and hope you can get a job soon:) Have bullied my teachers when I was young and 'dumb' and only after I grew up, I realized how tough and noble their profession was. All the best!

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for your comment. I know a lot of people who now understand what a teacher has to juggle and realized they bullied their teachers. It seems more prevalent today. Still looking for jobs but not regretting anything.

mcwillis profile image

mcwillis 3 years ago from Cambridge, UK

Hi Kiki

Thanks for writing a really honest account of your experience as a teacher. I guess I'm lucky because I really enjoy my job as a Lead Software Engineer managing a team in UK, India & Poland. I think it is becoming much more difficult for people working in the West (USA & Europe) because of global competition from Brazil, Russia, India & China (BRIC) countries. When I started looking for a job 28 years ago in Cambridge, UK there were tons of jobs around. Now it is becoming much more competitive with many people chasing the same jobs. Have you ever thought of teaching over the Internet to foreign kids (just an idea) or starting your own business? It seems that unless you think globally these days (like the CEOs of international companies that out-source their employees), you're not going to beat the international employers at their own game! Anyway good luck in the future as you seem a good person and deserve to succeed.


kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks mcwillis. I agree with you. I do have a Bachelors degree in International Relations and have been thinking of an adventurous work experience abroad. I have the travel and the language experience. I think it's time to go out in the world and see some things and gain some inspiration and perpective. Thank you for your feedback.

seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 3 years ago

Kiki, my heart goes out to you. Teaching has become a robotic exercise in many countries including the UK. I have set myself up as a gardener. I then work in the evenings as a private tutor teaching English and maths.You could try something similar. It is so empowering to be in control of your workload and it is mor or less stress free. Hope things work out for you.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you seanorjohn. I appreciate the positive thoughts, ideas and encouragement coming my way. As I look out of my window on this beautiful, sunny Sunday, I am filled with optimism. I am still happy and thankful each day that I am not at that crazy job. People have suggested maybe I would have an easier time teaching in a smaller town instead of the big city, but with all of the emphasis on test scores and Common Core, I am just not enthusiastic about any of it anymore. I am sure that your job as a gardener is very good for your soul. I agree that it is important to be in charge of your workload. Thank you for your comment. It helps a lot.

Becky Cooper 3 years ago

Kiki - word for word your teaching experience in your last charter school could be my experience in my first school last year - it was a year round school so I started over the summer and was let go after labor day, but otherwise, same experience. Social Studies, 6, 7, 8th grade, not licesnced for 6th. Teaching in a city charter school in New Orleans and being "just a white girl" from western NY... 15 scripted lesson plans, bullied, no support... everything almost exactly the same - including being too experienced or not experienced enough for temp jobs. I finally got a temp job and right now one of the best things about it is that I do not have to care at all about it after I leave for the day. I may go back to teaching eventually. But I may not. Not really looking to spend another $50,000 to get my masters and maybe have a job...

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for sharing, Becky Cooper. Life after teaching is the big question, isn't it? I am trying to reinvent myself and have turned to my favorite hobby--writing-- to somehow work it into my repertoire. I am getting tutored on the finer mysteries of Excel and Word-obscure things that they end up putting on tests to weed you out. Working on learning more about Google AdSense and possibly getting low-paying internship to learn it it and try out what it would be like to work with internet marketing and going in another direction altogether. Updating my resume. It is hard. And now I got attention through a huff post live interview and will probably never be given the chance to teach again, as the 'teacher who hated teaching'. But since so many people are responding to this with their own experiences, I feel like I can help be a voice for people who experienced it or are trapped in it, or are considering it. These charter schools are not the answer and are hurting those involved. I don't know if I would teach again, unless it was online or overseas. Good luck with your life path and thank you for sharing your similar experience. It is important to get the word out and eradicate this destructive education system.

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saphirehays 3 years ago from Punta Gorda

I can completely relate! I've been teaching in Florida for more than 13 years and I've been in the private, public, and charter schools. The hardest by far is the charter schools. They demand so much from a person. It is completely wrong. I, too, was working a forty hour week, hours after work, and more on the weekend. I was completely stressed. My breaking point was when I the principal did something inappropriate. I refused to be stressed out completely and working for someone who had so little ethics. Charter schools are all about money not students. But it seems the entire education system has been developed to: students are a product and NOT a person. They have become a number and their HUMAN status forgotten. Sad but true.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

What you say is true. I have seen charter school officials say and do very innapropriate things to me and others and enable students in many ways. And I hate that students are not being taught to be critical thinkers and their individuality and creativity are being stifled. In so many cases, art and music and other creative classes are being eliminated, history, which is not a tested area in middle schools is almost being treated as "special", like the once a week art, music and language classes. Instead, kids are getting larger blocks of math and reading classes. They are tired. Burnt out. Bored. And so many get test anxiety. I , too, didn't want to be stressed out anymore and don't regret being gone. I know there are good schools out there, but I really feel for the everyday kids of today whose teachers can't spent their time asking thoughtful questions that students need to answer critically. That time is now devoted to test prep.

new20122013 3 years ago

I understand what you mean. I teach in the UK and most teachers over here are treated like dogs. I've lost all motivation, but I keep going to work to pay the bills. It seems like many teachers feel the same. Governments and school administrators' constant demands are unrealistic and stressful. Everyone tries to reinvent the wheel, spending money in all the wrong places. No wonder there is no money to pay decent salaries. If teachers were paid for all their over time, they would be rich. But no, we're supposed to work for free, burn ourselves out and then not be able to pay for our bills at the end of the month, because we care so much about the good of the children. The truth is that it has not much to do with the children. We spend most of our time worrying about how to handle the most challenging 10% of our students (and/or their parents) and about daily ''last minute'' administrative demands. How much time do we actually spend teaching children who want to learn? Not that much. We give them work to keep them busy while we're filling out paperwork and trying to control the disruptive behaviour of the most challenging 10% . Not much attention or time is spent on teaching the other 90%. Like so many others, I have had it to the point where not even the fear of running out of money can keep me inside a classroom. Am I one of those infamous ''bad teachers''? Since those days, being a ''good teacher'' basically means being a slave, then I guess yes, I am a bad teacher, a slave who's getting the hell out of there. Next September, I'll be applying for office jobs. Not paradise either I guess, but at least I won't have to pretend ''it's all for the good of the children''.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

You made an important point about those 90 percent who want to learn and get the busy work. It happens all of the time. I say it is hard to be a good teacher in a messed up system.

KnockItDown 3 years ago

There is no such thing as a 'teacher' anymore. Corporate beauracrats run the show. Teachers are nothing more than data collectors, and classroom managers who are expected to juggle a million different changes coming at us from all directions --- changes that are senseless, produce nothing for children, and keep us running like cats chasing our tails. Teachers union leaders are in bed with the beauracrats, and sell us out at every turn. 'Teaching' has become a horribly demoralizing experience, and you have to have a very thick skin to survive the sinister direction that 'education' has taken in the United States. This is all about corporat takeover of a failing system (urban education). And the more they take over, the further away we get from meeting the needs of students. The craziest part is that most teachers I work with appear not to see what is happening; are unable to look at the bigger picture of what they are in the middle of --- even as they see that everyone is disposable, human life is not valued (students or teachers) and its all about districts saving money by hiring the youngest, most naïve and moldable teachers who won't make any noise. The money they save goes to purchse high-cost computer programs that 'support' us in our never-ending, ridiculous, uselss data-collecting and documenting. Yes, I dread getting up every morning for my job now. Thankfully, the students are still there --- no matter what I am expected to do day to day, they are what keep me going. I continue to try to find ways to work with them despite the madness that controls us all. When are we as teachers going to get it together, tell our union leaders ENOUGH, and stop putting up with this crap?

KnockItDown 3 years ago

Is there anyone here who is an older teacher and has explored other career options? So many people I talk to say, 'Oh, you can become an education consultant'. I don't WANT to become an education consultant. There are so many people and companies out there making their money off the backs of our children, and I don't want to be one of them. All of the tricks, gimmicks, programs, etc, etc., that are supposedly designed to get children to learn are ridiculous. TEACH children to READ, WRITE and THINK, period. A TEACHER knows how to do this ---without a fill-in-the-lesson-plan-grid, common core nonsense (that only adds to the confusion), pressure to do be only upping test score numbers. Some of us remember the old days: when teachers actually used to have TIME to TALK about teaching; to learn from one another, to plan together, to discuss students/strategies that could work with individual students, etc. Now we sit in isolation at our computers, input data, try to figure out how to work whatever the last newfangled computer program is. In-between we read threatening emails from the district and state --- reminding us to 'do this', 'don't do that', etc, etc. Its some really sick stuff --- and it has nothing to do with students. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those 'whining' teachers --- I'm one who is wondering WHERE are my colleagues, WHY aren't we using our collective power to fight this madness?????

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

I, too heard the whole "You can be an educational consultant thing." And all I saw them do is earn whopping paychecks whilst not really doing anything. Kudos to you for caring enough about the kids to stick it out. I couldn't do it anymore. I am one of those older people, but just had a promising interview with a place that would want to use my historical knowledge and experience but does not involve teaching. Teaching creates many transferable skills, and if you spin it right in your cover letter and resume and are confident about it, people WILL take you seriously.

John 3 years ago

So nice to read this thread. I don't feel alone! I have worked at a Title I school for the past three years, For some reason, the first 2 years weren't bad but this year has been hell. I just really lost my enthusiasm this year. I teach Middle School and I have been told to try high school before I bail out of teaching, but I'm starting to think teaching is not for me. The teachers I have seen who seem to be successful are very direct, even rude, to the students to the point where the students fear them. I also work at a school that is 98% African American, and I am white - for the most part, this does not cause significant issues (I love my students) but I definitely can't get away with saying some of the things my black co-workers say, so I feel like it makes me look "soft." I love my co-workers but I don't think there well-intended intervention helps me build respect with my students. I have literally gotten to the point this year where I wake up sick before going into work, and I feel like vomiting. I took a week off in February (per Doctor's orders) to get some R&R and take some medication, because I didn't think I would make it through the year. I have since secured a job teaching overseas which I am uber excited about, so I am having a hard time making it through this last month here. I keep looking at my sick leave bank and thinking ways I could use the days to ride out the rest of the year. I feel awful saying that because I was raised with good work ethic, and I would never call out sick unless I was running a fever and puking; However, I find that I need to take care of my mental and emotional status as well. Just pray a make it to the end of the year. I've been sick for two days. I'm hoping this will give me time to refuel to make it to the end. If possible, I would suggest looking to teach overseas or at private schools. Better yet, a corporate trainer job would be great.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

I know the sick feeling as well as being told I was soft. Everything you describe was the same for me. I did teach high school and middle school. And yes, some teachers can be more rude and direct. But you know you have a problem with your job if you puke before work every day. I had it for a year and a half before I had to stop. I am sorry your experience was so bad. Good luck overseas!

Faye 3 years ago

I can completely relate to this story. I realized after dealing with one too many out of control student, critical supervisor, and demeaning parent that I would rather work a cush office job. At least there I could earn the same amount of money and not have to worry about ELs, frontloading vocabulary, tapping into prior knowledge, checking for understanding, authentic assessment, merit pay, and all the other crap that teachers have to put up with. Oh yeah, I don't get any disrespect at my new job either. It is amazing. I really don't know why anyone would want to go into teaching at this point in time.

Best of luck to you on your journey!

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

You know, every time someone leaves a comment, it's like something I remember happening, but have somehow suppressed. And yes, the frontloading vocab, tapping into prior knowledge, checking for understanding, assessment, though all important parts of the job, really end up feeling like a war zone because people are always breathing down you neck making sure that you do all of those things. The disrespect was by FAR and away the worst part of the job-whether it was from kids, co-workers or principals. Amen! I admire the teachers who are talented, excellent and can do all of those well. I do not want anyone to have the impression that I having nothing but respect for them, but also for those who have chosen a path that makes them feel happier and healthier. Thank you for your comment.

cacique22 3 years ago

After ten years, 4 schools, 7 superintendents (mostly interim) , irresponsible and personal agenda driven school boards, countless off "better-teaching- training", being pushed to get a $30,000 masters to which the district contributed nil and then made me too expensive for them too keep me; after a number of years without sleep, being harassed by those who are parents in name only, threatened in others I will be saying goodbye to education. Regretting only that I have had a number of good students and that I was teacher who taught them with respect and who let them know that they had a chance. I would love to see all those who are so critical of teachers teach a week a year and see how they do.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Sounds like you had it rough. Good luck to you.

mountain 3 years ago

Much 0f what you said resonates with my own experience. I taught three plans a day, seven classes with only 45 minutes to plan. If I was lucky I had three of those plans a week to "plan," but really how much can you get done in 45 minutes. Usually I spent my plan time in meetings with parents, adminstrators or other teachers discussing how we can positivly affect our students. It was actually bull****. Nothing ever changed but it was required so we did it. I worked everyday, weekends from 8am to 10pm. But I did something wrong and dont' know what it was because my principal was a non communccator who fired me without explanation. The thing I'm struggling with is how so many people told me what a wonderful teacher I was but how I was let go without a specific reason. Now I'm left to replay everything and wonder was it this, or this, or this? The lack of support from administrators and the overload of planning coupled with virtually no planning time was my demise. I asked for help and was denied then fired for it. The education system is in shambles and unlesss you are in the principals back pocket you are nothing but a throw away. It is a demoralizing system.

sara 3 years ago

congratulations on your new job!

yesterday was the last day of school here in FL and I am not quite sure but it might have been my last day of teaching ever...I have been in 2 schools in 2 years and it has been really rough. I don't need to go into detail because it's all the same stuff you and others have mentioned above...but it is a very stressful job and although I really love my students, I don't know if I should continue teaching or not.

I am being totally nosy but I hope you don't mind me asking what your new job is? I am moving to a different state this summer and may be looking for jobs outside of teaching but I'm not sure what. I am (was?) also a history teacher.

Nina 3 years ago

Oh I know how you feel! I studied teaching because I was good at languages and I thought sharing my love for them would be great. I should have thought better about it, because honestly I never had any interest in children and their psychological development characteristics.

I finished my teaching studies very young, passed an exam that entitles me as a teacher and then started working. However, I wasn't still an actual teacher after a year period of practice and evaluation. But my first year was horrible. I was very inexperienced and my colleagues, instead of being understanding and helpful, they only accused me of my lack of training and my faults. Apparently they gave me some pretty bad material but they wanted me to deal with students as well as a pro on my first teaching year! I mean, come on! Aren't teachers supposed to be fair and encouraging? How can you teach positive reinforcement, tolerance and respect when you don't really believe in it and practice it with your peers? Definitely they don't understand that an awful teacher today is probably going to develop into a good teacher tomorrow; they only need GUIDANCE and SUPPORT. Yes, just like children.

Thankfully the two next years were a bit better. This year had a nice smooth start, but right now I'm totally out of patience with the class, and they are being very demotivated and disrespectful. I have mixed feeling with this job; sometimes I feel like I'm learning a lot and it's making me a better person; but some other times I think I just don't fit in here. It's not really what I want to do in life.

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Missy Mac 3 years ago from Illinois

Oh! how I truly understand your story. Teachers are on the front line daily. I taught 11 years and substituted the last two years before moving to opening a daycare center: I would walk around the school and observe those in positions without the level of stress. Some staff in leadership roles don't have a clue and some have never taught in a classroom. (A few staff did show understanding and would help teachers). Empathetic leaders are sorely lacking. In some schools, the secretary had more respect and power than the teacher. In education, teachers may need to find their niche. I loved being a reading and math pull out teacher, the computer teacher, or dean for a couple of days. You can even work an administration position and utilize your experience to help teachers like you. (I realized after 6 years to put myself out of the line of fire and unrealistic standards goals and seek education positions, which put me in positions w/o the unnecessary pressure.). An after school teacher can avoid the high and unrealistic expectations of staff. Currently, my sister and I have taken our degrees/with certification and now 2 weeks from opening a daycare center. I still here of the awful treatment of teachers who completed a four year education and are treated w/o respect. If you are still looking for a job, perhaps an education position outside of the classroom is a better fit. When I was subbing, the office administration didn't keep problems for long in the office. Admittedly, I did observe administration working hard, but they wore a different face. The music played and they had nice conversation regarding the weekend. I couldn't believe that office personnel actual have a lunch and 2 breaks. (Sounds nice!) I love teaching and choose positions with a better fit. However, I do understand when you need to just move on to another field. (Those skills and experience can be utilized in another field). Best Wishes!!!

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epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

I give you credit- I could never be a teacher- not even for a day. Especially when your superiors and the students' parents are not there to support you. When we were growing up, we HAD to obey our teachers or else we'd have to answer to our parents. And they more often than not took our teacher's side...not like it is now. Your last line rings true- it is a new beginning for sure. More power to you for realizing that. Good luck in all of your endeavors and find something you love!! Great hub- voted up.

sarnias 3 years ago

This is unbelievable! I live on the other side of the world to you but you have just described my exact circumstances. I was managed out by being set unrealistic and unachievable goals. It is all very recent and I am still coming to terms with it. Reading this has helped me so much. Thank you.

Nadim A 3 years ago

This year had a nice smooth start, but right now I'm totally out of patience with the class, and they are being very demotivated and disrespectful.

Thank you to who wrote this because this is how every teacher feels. I have 4 days left of math class before exams, and I lost my temper today. I told a student to the "get the hell out", I had already called the VP about someone leaving without permission for longer than 10 minutes, and we were trying to write a test, and I had to give 2 kids zero for constantly talking. I am very fed up and I am in the Canadian, Ontario system. It's my 3rd year teacher, if I don't quit, desks are going to start flying.

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Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

Although I work for the post office now my passion was always History, like yours. My Father was a history major and wound up retiring as a Principal. His was a constant mantra of frustration and aggravation, so I certainly know where you are coming from. Nice hub!

April 3 years ago

I'm surprised that everything talked about here were my exact same experience while teaching for a year in Nigeria, west of Africa. I'm gladly out of the teaching system and currently taking steps in my new career path. Why stay in a place where you're unhappy?

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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

I am amazed that people from all over the world are sharing the same stories. I thought that the problem only existed in the United States. It seems that it is a global problem. It is very good to get out if you are unhappy. I did, and am happier. However, it still remains that students need teachers. But something has got to change! And soon!

Pisces77 3 years ago

I am glad I found your blog. I thought I was alone in this predicament. I quit from my teaching job in November of last year. I used to say, "I'll stop teaching when I stopped breathing." But that has all changed since I accepted a teaching job in a charter school in Manhattan. I am a foreign teacher and I come from a rather conservative country that regards teachers like Confucius, that students can't even step on their teacher's shadows. But I came to America because of the 'American Dream' promise. I left my motherland and beloved school and children for 'greener' pastures. I spent all my savings just to come to America and be a 'teacher'. I was excited because back home, the American system of education is often thought of as the ideal, the best, the good example -- the system every school all over the world wishes to emulate in my opinion. And there I was so proudly waiting at my gate at the international departure area, bound for the land of the milk and honey, with a pocketful of hope, dreams and aspirations of a wonderful life. But on my first day of school, a student threw me a paper ball. I was shocked. Another student called me b**** and then another gave a racist remark telling me to go back to my country. I was horrified. I wanted to pack my things and go home. But there was no turning back. I was here already. Maybe these bad kids were only in this town. So I endured teaching in the middle school for three more years thinking somewhere out there in the different coast of the country had better kids. So came the opportunity to teach in a charter school in New York City. I was excited and ecstatic. I went through all their rigid hiring process and was hired. I was so proud of myself. I was living in New York City all by myself. I remember someone said your coming to America is not complete if you don't conquer New York City. I thought it was a great accomplishment knowing a country bumpkin such as me was able to make it NYC and teach in a charter school! But that was just a little icing on my rotten cake. The kids in the city were a millions times ruder and disrespectful than the kids I taught in the little town down in the deep south. I can totally related to everything you shared about your experience at your charter school, Kiki. What prompted me to resign mid school year were my condescending instructional team leaders. I had too many bosses. I was also given an assignment I wasn't prepared to do and was paired with a 'difficult' teacher. It was my experience from this school that I lost my confidence and trust in my capabilities as a teacher. I was always calling in sick almost every month because my job sucked up all my energy everyday. I always come home feeling exhausted, uninspired, depressed and frustrated. I have lost all the enthusiasm and drive to go on living. I was so alone and lonely, ironically, in a city where everybody thinks is the greatest city on the planet. So the next day I quit. Right on the spot. I packed my things and my favorite coffee mug, left the building with a big smile on my face. I felt relieved at the same time a little sad thinking about the few students I had a great relationship with. Not so much about the staff.

It has been 8 months now since the day I said goodbye to teaching. Sometimes I think working in a charter would lose your chance in the public school because until this time I haven't heard any feedback from all public schools I applied to. However, when I applied for a charter school again, I got immediate response, and was scheduled to so many interviews. But NEVER again. I though about the horror I went through and the horrific students I handled, I backed out. I couldn't teach here anymore. And I also feel that public schools perhaps don't want teachers who have charter school experience? I don't know. Right now, I am still looking for a job. I am trying to figure out what other options are there for me. I hope to find a job that pays the bills, keeps me sane and healthy of mind and body and most importantly, makes me happy. I hope this job exists.

Meinaustralia 3 years ago

I am in Australia, I love being in a classroom and can teach easily, but I have too much experience. I am simply too expensive for the state system who will only give me contract jobs, without any job security it's hard to maintain motivation and dedication. The private system here is driven by who you know and not what you know, it demands 24 hours including Saturdays for sport and Sundays for marking. As a mother and daughter I have done this but, I love my family and want to have some choice on which weekends I give them. It's a devastating pull, but I think I have to leave teaching. I want a job where I can do my best, where I can build on each years experience not keep moving on. I love the variety in teaching but I cannot keep starting at the bottom with the worst yard duty, the worst classes, the worst timetables. Australia has ruined education. We gave Tafes uni qualifications taking Uni jobs, we have now given Schools Tafe qualifications taking Tafe jobs. We have closed Technical schools forcing non academic students into academic classes to disrupt, distract and reduce standards. In Australia everyone passes so we reduce standards to do this. teachers are now glorified babysitters. All students have a modified program or a special need, some gifted some not. Teachers, have less planning time, less motivated students, less control, less support, larger workloads, larger classes, larger expectations and very little working equipment. No school admits to parents the students true ability or poor behaviour. Sadly I still love it, here's to the next contract and the next staff room and its complex personalities.

Annette 3 years ago

Thanks so much for this article! I can relate to almost everything you wrote... One more week of teaching, and then a career change! I'm happy!

JUAN 3 years ago

God, how i can relate to the stories of retiring and burn-out teachers! I have been teaching English as a Forein Language in Argentina for the past 12 years. I´ve tried private schools, state schools, private language schools, private classes, working with adults, you name it.

I have got so tired of putting up with totally injust situations that sometimes I wake up in the morning and simply stare at the celing thinking : should I stay or should I go to work?. In the end, I have a strong cup of coffee and go.

I have tolerated a lot of verbal abuse from students, even from adults, I have witnessed really ugly verba and physical arguments in class, a lot of out-of-line comments in class, students with additctions, with add, with whatever.

Sadly, when I think that an ordinary person without any college education-like the one I got in order to teach- can access a job in a bank for example, and make so much money without having to put up with what i have had to , I get upset and humiliated, not to mention stupid.

In all truth, if I could turn back time, I WOULD NEVER CHOOSE TO BE A TEACHER AGAIN.

Unfortunately, too many students are so ungrateful they can't even recongnize the fact that you have to study a lot to be a teacher. The school system is so injust, with teachers with very poor training or qualifications , or none at all sometimes, earning as much as I earn and having the same benefits. The reason: as there aren't enough qualified Engish teachers, we have to accept people with few qualifications and little knowledge of English teaching.

And I could go on naming countless problems, like the time some 17-year-old-students threw a wastepaper basket at me and nothing happened despite my complaints to the head, the students who even threaten to do something to you or your car if you fail them, the parents who can get as aggressive or childish as their own kids, and so on and so forth.

What upsets me is the fact that when I chose to study to be a teacher I thought I would be recognized at least by my students, who would realize I was a real teacher, not like the unqualified English teachers I used to have in primary or secondary school.

I thought that doing the right thing, i.e, having a proper college education would count and would make some difference.

After all these years, I can say it´s A BIG LIE, or a BIG BAD JOKE. The students who actually want to learn, show respect and want to study are SIMPLY A MINORITY.

All in all, I totally understand all those teachers whose stories I am reading now. I hope I can get a new job too. I don't want to be a zombie trying to make ends meet by doing a job that can be so unbereable, or end up being on sick leave with a prescription for clonazepam, fluoxetin or whatever.

My love and recognition for all you tired teachers out there!


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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Juan from Argentina. Maybe my next article needs to be about the global educational crisis today.

juan 3 years ago

Yes. it would be a great idea. many of us who live in developing countries far from the north sometimes idealize your situation as teachers or think you have few or different problems there. just from reading your article and the responses from people in the uk , the us and australia i can see the crisis in education is unfortunately a global thing and that we teachers are facing very similar problems everywhere.

but, i must say you are probably much better paid than us, which is also very important.

keep up with the good job! keep on posting! all the best from here, juan.

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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Dear Friends,

Just so you all know, the school that I described in this article did not renew the contracts of most of the teachers and two administrators quit. I found this out from a former co worker who was one of those ousted. I feel lucky to have gotten out in the winter and that I now have a new job. The pay isn't as great, but when I go home, I can forget about it. And really, as teachers, the salaries seem good until you do the math and realize that for the amount of work you are doing, the pay is not so great after all. My best friend took six years off from teaching to have children and is slowly working her way back into the classroom. She says in the six years since she has been gone, so much has changed. There are many more observations and lesson plans are scrutinized. Administrators walk into your classroom and expect you to be doing exactly what it says in the lesson plan. But lessons sometimes have to be modified based on whether students are grasping things are not. We both agreed that both students and teachers don't mind lecture, which is now frowned upon. But now with the emphasis on group work, etc, there is more room for chaos. Anyway, bless the teachers who are in it; not only the ones who are struggling, but the ones who are successful. Meanwhile, I will continue working at my new job that is not teaching, happy that it is over for me.

John 3 years ago

WOW; I had no idea that teaching was this bad everywhere - I just finished by 24th year teaching history in Tennessee . . . and . . . now I hate my job. It use to be great; but starting with all the special ed IEP's and mainstreaming, then No Child Left Behind, now the common core and all the evaluations - everyone is looking to get out.

My students love my classes & I gets lots of parents who tell me that I am their kids favorite teacher - the main reason (I am told) is that I have spent 25 years learning my subject inside and out and I like to lecture and tell stories - oh the crime of it all. However, it seems I am now a bad teacher because I don't do group work. The administrators are really giving me a hard time - seems I'm not a team player. I only wonder if I can make it 5 more years - or will I get fired (Tennessee got rid of Tenure this year) I am also very expensive (B.S., Masters, & EdS). My only other option is to try to go into administration - to - in effect - become one of the oppressors. I'm not sure I could look at myself in the mirror.

I can't believe I turned down law school to teach high school history.

Paul 3 years ago

I feel the same way. I have taught for eleven years and it was never a job I really wanted do. I went to grad school to do MA/PHD in history after listening to people say I would make a great history professor. I spent thousands moving across country to go to a school with a good graduate history program only to discover I hated it. Since the school did not have a law program (what I really wanted to do) I ended up in the teaching program. The teaching seemed okay at first but it has been going downhill since day one of teaching.

I have changed teaching jobs three times and nothing can make me like the job as a teacher. All the state testing, common core, and now the curriculum development is just making my life a misery. I have to be honest and say I really do not give a shit about my job anymore. I am too old for law school now and it is way to expensive for me to even contemplate it. If I had the resources I could quit teaching in a heartbeat to go to law school. I have looked at other careers but none of them much interest me or seem to fit and my biggest regret in life is not going to law school when I had the chance. I hate teaching!! :(

juan 3 years ago

dear paul, don't feel sad. what you say in your post is what thousands of teachers feel across the world. i also wish i had been interested in other things instead of teaching....but, what is done is done.

perhaps if you start thinking in the things you can actually do with your experience might help you. i am sure there's got to be a solution. even getting a lower salary could help if you got a job you prefer to the one you have now.

but above all, THANK YOU FOR YOUR HONESTY...I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT MINE EITHER... it is a total let-down. so i'm trying to find something else to get out of the education system and look for something better.

in the end, it is also about deserving. once you realize you deserve something better, you can start making changes and better decisions.

i hope we both found a solution.

regards, juan from argentina

3 years ago

Thank you! I felt alone in feeling this way.

Fifteen years ago I was so excited by each and everyday of Fifteen my new career as an elementary teacher. That all started to change for me about six years ago. The scripted lesson plans, high pressure teacher evaluations, state testing, and the nonstop barrage of experts reinventing the wheel really started to drag me down. What started as a career where creativity and enthusiasm were rewarded has changed so dramatically. I don't have any control over the content of my lessons. Teachable moments are a thing of the past. Digging deeper into topics when the kids are really showing interest is nearly impossible because I have to move on to the next day's scripted lesson.

The stress of it all keeps me up at night and drags me down each day. I feel totally and helplessly trapped. I'd leave in a heartbeat if I could. Unfortunately, I didn't come to this realization before I had a family that depends on me.

I love teaching kids, but I hate my job.

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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi everyone,

Just want you to know that getting out was very difficult, but this transition to something to do has been worth it. I now work at a company that restores wedding dresses and historical costumes and do very heavy duty administrative work. The pay is less, but it is satisfying to get through the day. The work is hard, but I am learning I have other talents besides teaching. I never knew I could be a salesperson, for example. There is a way out of teaching. I am not quite at the point where my life has totally "settled", but I can see a normal life on the horizon without the same stress. So if you want to get out, I urge you to be brave and go for it. Go to Craigslist and look at the jobs. You never know what "office assistant" can mean!!!

kublai khan 3 years ago

right now, i teach at a high school in east new york, in brooklyn. i cannot say it's the kids that are making me quit. they are 20% of the reason why i am quitting. i will say it's many things. i realize nothing is perfect and i cannot say i have any complaints in the end. this job is what it happens to be. take it, or in my case, keep it, or leave it. the points mentioned in this blog are what i have experienced over the course of a decade at 6 different schools. i have had a little 7 year old throw a small bookend at me and cut my hand with a deep wound. i have had 18 year old teens physically threaten me (this is normal) for being demanding on their assignments. and vice versa. i have had very kind students. the worst story was when a kid gave me a disney mug for christmas december 2006 and after he found out he didn't like me anymore as his teacher (two weeks later), his mother demanded it back in january 2007. luckily i had left it in the closet. that was awful. or hilarious. not sure how to interpret it, haha. ultimately though, i have to make a choice in what i want in life. good money (10 years of experience with college is still nowhere near a starting salary for a banker or engineer) and very high stress or a job where i can start small once again and grow into and not have dreams at night about the supervisor walking in and creating "gotcha" moments when kids are enjoying the learning process, or how johnny is going to create more trouble during my lesson in period 2. i am leaving at the start of october of this year (2013). i have done a total of 10 years in this field (all public school, all inner city meaning dangerous neighborhoods in new york city) and if i continue on, i will have serious health problems going into my 40s. i know teaching in asia minor (including turkey and india) to major is far easier and teachers are respected much more. i also realize though that that has its own set of problems like every job. overall the stress from this job has taken its toll on me. and btw, teachers are salespeople. that's one common transferable skill because teaching is selling the lesson (the item), and ongoing assessment (this is your rebuttal in sales) where you channel the student or the customer into meeting his or her needs.

Andy 3 years ago

Thanks for posting this. I am going into my sixth year of teaching. To make a long story very short, I used to LOVE teaching when I started. It never felt like "work" or a job to me. I cared about my students, my co-workers and administrators were helpful and encouraging, etc. I remember I would even go in to my classroom on Saturday afternoons to work and get stuff done! Two years ago, I got laid off from my first position due to economic cuts and my career has been down hill from there ever since. I was desperate to land another job and did...but has been the most stress I have been under in my life! Test scores, scripted lesson plans, constant evaluations and observations...just to name a FEW stressors! I have been told by administrators that my new school that I am an uninspired teacher and they don't think I'm a right fit for the school. How can I BE inspired when I am given a script to teach and have no creative input in the process! I want to quit daily, but I keep thinking about the future I am trying to build for my husband and I, and our future family. It just breaks my heart that this is a career I used to love and with all the changes, I can barely bring myself in to school every day.

jaggars 3 years ago

hi, i am reading these postings everyday to keep my spirits up n feel less alone. i guess the problems i face r similar to all those u all mentioned...administrators' oppression, kids' disrespect, parents' unreasonable demands...n i also work 24/7 with 4 totally different grades which require lesson preparation for all 4 classes every evening...not to mention different marking schemes for all of them...the confusion and heavy workload and tedious meetings are driving me mad while i also have to do a diploma of education in two weekday evenings at the same the end of the school year i became so worn-out and sick that sometimes i even sleep without changing or taking my shoes off at night...n also as a new teacher at the school i received most attention (i.e. lesson observations) from administrators, even 3 times in a week, while other teachers only got one time in one year...n in the end the administrators just commented that one of my classes is too noisy...that's it. no acknowledgement or appreciation or support whatsoever about all the other stuff i done or handled. and now after i left, more than one teacher have taken up my previous workload...which means that i was overworked before. even though i am currently out of jobs, i am still thankful that i have put a decisive end to this. i have been 4 years in teaching and this is definitely the worst worst year. i feel so alone in all this mess until i read this post. thank u so much!

VinZane 3 years ago


It is refreshing to know that I am not alone in this stressful venture. I am currently a 6th grade special ed teacher and I am stressed out and miserable. The workload is immense, expectations are super high while the support is low. My principal has threatened my job, changed my Lara to make it more difficult, and has observed me 5 times 1 month into the school year. I am on the verge of quitting teaching all together, maybe this is just not my calling. I have a really hard time teaching this tedious scripted bullshit curriculum and I'm expected to differentiate instruction to suite every single student, which is virtually impossible. I need to do some soul searching and find something that will make me happy. There is not enough hours in a day to be the teacher they are looking for.

Sue 3 years ago

After soul searching and trying very hard, I have also decided that i cannot continue my education career. But my questions is, what else am I qualified to do that will continue to pay to help me similar so that I may afford my single mother lifestyle needs?? Any suggestions would be helpful. I have looked into other ed jobs but seems as though I am not in the 'clique' for a state educ dept job.

StressedNYteacher 3 years ago

Thank you kiki for this blog. I, too, share the sentiments and struggles of all that comment on here. I have been teaching for 10 years as special education teacher. I got out 11 months ago from a charter school in Manhattan that almost claimed my dear life. The getting out was actually easy but the getting into the field or following that passion is NOT easy. I have exhausted all my funds to sustain myself and survive. I went soul-searching for the year, traveling to places in the country in hope finding the job that I want to do and that gives me a sense of fulfillment, but still remains the question, "now, what?" I am now broke, living at my sister's apartment, closing my bank accounts, etc. My situation is more than the govt shutdown. But I am not going to lose hope. I came to the country with just a suitcase and a passport and I survived. My goal right now is to get into a corporate world, start out in any position that does administrative work because I realize I have set skills for the job. I am hoping for the best. To Sue, I feel your predicament right now, rest assured that you will be able to figure out what's good for you and for your health. But if I were you, since you have dependents, I'd make that decision to get out of the teaching profession if I had another job lined up because it's REALLY HARD when there's none. I am jobless until now since I got out. TO add insult to injury, there's the govt shutdown too. Right now, just try to see the pros and cons of your situation before you make a decision of a lifetime. Make it one of your goals to TO GET OUT OF THE STINKY EDUCATION SYSTEM while you still keep your job. It can be done. Most importantly, keep telling yourself that "ALL IS WELL!"

Sunraya 3 years ago

I have been teaching for 22 years. I love my students; I have a lot of fun with them. My administration is good- they aren't torturing us with common core lesson plans, etc. But I am tired. I, too, have a great work ethic, but I try to take off as much as I can. Teaching is draining. I laugh when people say it is easy. My life is run by a bell. I have contact with hundreds of people a day, and have hundreds of interactions a day. I can't close my door for lunch. If I go out at lunch, I have to sign in and out like I am 15 years old. My job changes every year, depending on what nonsense Bill Gates and the textbook companies have come up with now. I am an excellent teacher - my AP classes score incredibly high on their tests. And yet, the millionaires who own oceanfront property formed a group, and pressured the union to settle on a contract with pay freezes for 2 years.

If I could walk tomorrow, I would. I have three years to retirement. God help me, I pray I make it without having a heart attack or major depression. We are so unappreciated.

tcass570 3 years ago

What I really do not understand the most is how student's parents are on the board of ed......volunteer position or not, doesn't anyone else see that this is a serious CONFLICT OF INTEREST? Is it just me or does anyone notice how board member's kids are the ones that are in honors courses and are the ones that DON'T BELONG THERE?? The worst is how these are the kids who go home and tell their parents that "the teacher is going too fast". Sometimes I just want to stand up in the front of the room and say "no you don't belong here!!" The problem with America is that the motto is "you can be anything you want." Sorry to say but that's bullshit!! NOT EVERY ONE CAN BE A DOCTOR OR LAWYER!" In fact we need gas pumpers just as much. Some kid cannot think logically and should not have to take Pre-Calculus. Why are we so set on forcing kids to take classes that do not fit what they can do mentally? Trade schools are starting to become more and more the way to go. Now I see why.

I am a high school math teacher in my 9th year and am so damn miserable that I actually enjoy hearing about all the negative things going on in the world in hopes that it's going to end. How sick is that: I would rather the world come to an end than imagine myself teaching too much longer. I have tried every method in the book...I can differentiate until the cows come home yet unless theses damn kids practice math they DON'T ABSORB OR REMEMBER A THING!!. Governor Christie needs to sit his bully self into any one of my classrooms for 1 day and he would reverse the HIB laws stating that some kids need to be bullied just to get them to give a crap about doing their work! Like most politicians he has never stepped foot into a classroom to know what the hell he is even talking about - merit pay haha what a damn joke. What about the lovely gym teachers who blow a freaking whistle all day, come to school in their gym clothes and text while their students play vollyvball-are you kidding me? How the fu-- are they making what I make? Oh let me guess, our weak ass Unions do that? We deserve to get paid our worth!!!

I can't wait till the day us good teachers stop teaching and there are no future teachers coming into the profession....MAYBE THEN THE GOVERNOR ALONG WITH THE OTHER STUPID POLITICIANS WILL REALIZE THAT THE ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDS TO BE WITH THE PARENTS??? Gee I don't know but unless I can handcuff my students to my arm and force them to my home to do homework I just do not see how the hell I am "accountable" for their laziness??? This is the generation of entitlement - the parents love to tell teachers what they are doing wrong instead of thinking about what they are doing wrong in raising their kids!! Hmmm maybe if you stopped wiping your kids ass every day telling them its the teacher doing something wrong they will become more responsible for their own actions?? Isn't it amazing how most kids who have parents hat are teachers are the best students?? I WONDER WHY??? MAYBE BECAUSE THESE ARE THE PARENTS THAT REALIZE THEIR KIDS ARE KIDS AND NOT EVERYTHING THEY TELL THEM ABOUT THE TEACHER WHEN THEY COME HOME IS TRUE??? These are the kids that know Mom and Dad don't want to hear their reason for not going for extra help when the teacher is there. These are the kids that know their parents re on top of their work and make sure they do it???

Point blank, the education system is going downhill. We are being told to not teach towards the test yet hello what choice do we have?? If you teach juniors you have to teach HSPA because they are in a math class like algebra 2 that is not at all on hspa. Kids are misplaced worse and worse every year. Someone please explain how a kid with a "learning disability" is in an honors course??? They get "more time" to take tests - "modified assignments", extra days to hand in work WTF how in the world is that an honors student? Then college professors want to blame us high school teacher for not "preparing" the kids for college. Haha maybe they should be saying that the state is not preparing them because they want us to dumb everything down? If we dumb things down then the school looks successful because all the kids are honors kids doing well.

The states are setting the future up for disaster!! The rest of you whom have been writing about their horrible experiences and got out of teaching - I applaud you for taking the right step and being able to do so! I just wish more of us could and shut the damn schools down! Without action there is no voice.....complaining does nothing long term. It's just a short term fix that resurfaces again. Back in the day teachers went on strike - what happened - oh I know: kids decided to have kids and now those are the parent s that blame teachers for everything. So basically if us teachers went on strike nowadays we would probably have a picket line of parents throwing things at us saying "do your job and stop complaining". No support at all so why bother. I like reading where a lot of people say - its not the kid and I like teaching the kids. To be quite honest- and yes I am going to say the unsaid here - who gives a crap about the kids at this point??? The state doesn't seem to, their own parents don't, and the teachers that do-get disrespected every day anyway.....MY QUESTIONN HERE IS WHY BOTHER ANYMORE???

My suggestion to those out there who cannot find a job and quit teaching...why not teach a career. Go into the vocational schools and teach - if they do TPAF then you can bring your years of teaching experience in. Teach what you love - lets all be over-paid art teachers!!! Yes there will still be the lesson plans and stuff but the difference is NO STNADARDIZED TEST and the students are NOT FORCED TO BE THERE. They chose to be there and are taught a career. Forget trying to relate "high level math to real life applications" in fact it is real life you are teaching them. Sure, there will be problems like any other job. Yet you wont have 85% of your students in your course because "it is a teaching requirement!!"

Oh and by the way - unless you are a tested subject, your ass is no way on the line in the same depth as those whom teach tested subjects such as Science, Math, and English. Yet foreign language teachers, history teachers and business teachers definitely got it rough too - but if you are an art teacher, music teacher or gym teacher, you do not have any of my compassion for your complaints here. YOU GUYS DO NOT DESERVE TO GET PAID THE SAME!!! You are the ones who have time for your family and if you do not then its because there is obviously something wrong with you - art, music, and gym are fun and are only challenging for those with the talent. So you can comment and post what you want against what I have to say but the day you face the facts that your comments will never stand a chance up against another subject is the day you woke up.

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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Dear Fellow Warriors,

You all have shared some very harrowing experiences. I appreciate the support you are giving each other and the stories that you are telling. I am still transitioning, trying new things, etc. I think I found a potential new career path that isn't teaching and pays more than office work. Keep fighting! Break free if you can. But remember it is an important job and not for the faint of heart. I had an argument with someone the other day who said that now that I have had a break, I should go back to teaching. I kind of went off on him. But there is no point in arguing with people. I am just glad I could get a discussion going. Some of my friends are great teachers with satisfying lives. I am happy for them. For the rest of us, there are other things out there.

Thank you all so much for commenting and supporting one another!

ExTeacher 3 years ago

Hey Kiki,

I also left teaching. Left one year ago. I taught in NY as well, public school. I was a Special Education teacher. I also experienced similar: No support, being bullied by the principal, etc. I got so sick of the paperwork, rubrics, etc.

I quit before I had anything else...but I had to. Another week and I would have experienced my first nervous breakdown; I'm sure of it.

Took a few months of trying my own business, then I got a temp job at an office. Then, I got a job (a few months ago) working for a non profit for people with developmental disabilities. It's where I work now. I make a whole lot less, but I'm 1,000 times happier. I also took some city/state exams, such as Bus Operator to work the city buses. If/when I get called, I'll decide then. After 3 years, top pay comes out to about $60,000 a year; that's what I was making after my 4 years of teaching. I really am happy where I am now, but again, the pay is only okay. I always knew, and now experienced, how happiness is much more important than money. Either way, it's no stress. Either I'll stay put and deal with the "okay" pay, or I'll go for the Bus Operator position. Most importantly, I'm no longer teaching. I loved teaching, but the system is a horror, as we all know. I really feel for those who are teaching. In today's world, it's nothing less than torture.

Well, good luck to you. Hope you find a job that, first and foremost, makes you happy!

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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Dear ExTeacher,

Happiness is the main goal. I have some ideas about what to do and how to make them happen. It is so hard to find jobs these days that pay a livable wage. I am so glad you got out too. I was really close to nervous breakdown stage as well. Not feeling very happy today, but thanks for your support. It is good to talk to people with common situations.

Wishing you well.

"C" 3 years ago

OMG, this article hit home. I'm a first year teacher at a charter school and am ready to quit already. I'm ready to quit in month 3 and I feel horrible. Teaching the students is awesome, but my admin makes me want to pull my hair out.

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kikibruce 3 years ago from New York Author

Please don't quit yet. The first year is really rough for most people anyway. Once you get past December and the holidays, it gets a little better and then there are winter and spring breaks. Charter Schools are very difficult environments. I would try to make it until the end of the year and look for another teaching gig in a different environment if the admin does not get better. Preferably in a public school where there is union protection for teachers when the administration plays its crazy games. I had the feeling that teaching wasn't for me into my third year and then switched schools twice to see if it was me or if it was teaching. My third school confirmed for me that teaching was not for me. I don't want to blast the teaching profession or education itself, but the present day working conditions for so many teachers are next to impossible. I would not advise anyone the get into this profession in the present climate, that is for sure. But give the year a chance, at least.

ExTeacher 3 years ago

Hi Kiki, I concur with your last two sentences in response to "C". The conditions do make it impossible. There truly are no words to describe it all. I still remember talking to a substitute para while working my last month. I asked her, for my own amusement, if she was going for teaching. She said "Are you kidding me? I see what they go through. It's absolutely brutal." There are many words which can be used to describe teaching as a whole, but to this day, that word is the best description in my opinion. "Brutal" is spot on.

Also, as for what you mentioned about others interested in the profession, I wouldn't suggest it to my worst enemy. I'm serious.

I truly feel bad for the endless number of energetic, ignorant (I don't mean that in a bad way) young people who really think this is a great career and they will live a wonderful life as a teacher for the next 20-25 years of their life. What a cruel surprise they are in for.

What's really scary is just when you think it can't get worse, it does, year after year.

On a side note Kiki, I know it's tough right now. I was there too. You just have to keep looking on the bright side: You're no longer working a thankless, stressful-beyond-words job. Better to be struggling some trying to find a job then to have one land you in the emergency room.

Travis 2 years ago

Have any of you ever taught at private schools? How different are they compared to public school and charter schools? I DO NOT want to get caught up in the public education system; too much b.s.

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Since they private, the will try to get the best teachers but the pay would be less. My friends in private schools like teaching there, and of course they can pick and choose their students.

Travis 2 years ago

Would you say that it would be very hard for me to find a teaching position at a private school right out of college then? I'm currently a junior at Rutgers university-New Brunswick working on a bachelor's degree in history. Is there anything I should be doing now to make myself more likely to be hired in the future?

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Coach something. Or run a chess club. You should be doing something with kids that shows you have the time to devote to being a great teacher, because let's face it, it sucks up a lot of your time. That always helps open doors. You can look for private school positions at The National Association of Independent Schools. The web address is History jobs are harder to get. But Rutgers is a good school and they are picky about that. Look for schools where you are apt to be a great fit. Also, look up Carney Sandoe. The are a private school faculty placement organization. Apply with them immediately before you graduate. Their site is It is good to start early because you will get their feedback at a time of year when they are not inundated with applicants. They will also accept you or reject you, based on the available jobs and the schools that do the hiring. Fresh out of college is better for private schools because they can pay you less. Do not be discouraged if they reject you the first time. It's a more selective, snootier world.

Travis 2 years ago

Thank you so much for your responses! I bookmarked this page and even copy and pasted your answers to a word document to keep for later. I was a tennis instructor at a tennis camp for almost 4 or 5 years; that might help. I'm definitely going to take your advice!

Travis 2 years ago

I have one more questions for you, if you don't mind. My school offers a program where I can earn my master's of education after I graduate with my bachelor's of history. I would have to apply this year and it would last until one year after I graduate, so I would be in school for an extra year. Do you think I should spend the time and money to earn the master's or will finding a job as a history teacher at a private school be just as difficult with it? Thanks again!

kikibruce 2 years ago

Apply for both, there is no harm in that. They have to pay you more with a Masters and private schools don't necessarily require an education degree. Then again, you might learn some pedagogy in grad school, but many Masters programs in education are total bullshit. I don't know where you live, but I am from NY and the best teacher programs are at NYU and Columbia University Teachers College. There is also SUNY New Paltz. The one I got was worthless and taught me nothing but silly theory, which is here today and gone tomorrow. I am sure everything they taught me nine years ago is all different. I basically just paid for the degree. The classes were awful and did not do anything practical. The only worthwhile thing I got was a two-semester teaching internship. Teaching is best learned on-the-job. There are also post baccalaureate programs where you can do the student teaching and courses without going for the Master Degree and it gets you teaching faster. And then of course there is Teach For America, but I would never in a million years actually recommend to someone whom I actually cared about. Maybe my worst enemy, but that's about it. Do some more research on private schools. I wish I could help more, but I am not an expert, just a wounded vet. Get to a private school or become a history professor or go to law school. It's rough out there. It is really easy to get a job at a charter school, but save yourself the hell.

Travis 2 years ago

You have helped! I live in New Jersey and the two school I would consider applying to are the master's program at Rutgers or look for something at Rowan. Honestly, I'd rather do the Rutgers thing if I had to choose simply because Rutgers is a well known school. I have been looking at a lot of private schools websites, and I noticed that the vast majority of their teachers have a bachelor's degree in history, science, etc. and a master's degree. I'm probably going to do some more research on a post baccalaureate program at either Rutgers or Rowan. Thanks again.

Asi Lems 2 years ago

I know how it feels...I have that same situation as of now... and i can't wait till March so I could look for other job... its my first year in teaching in public high school... and like you, I also teach history (araling panlipunan in our country) here in the Philippines... I'm really having a hard time.. I thought that my love and interest in history will help me become an efficient and effective teacher to my students... I never thought its more than that... to be a teacher means giving up almost everything about yourself, even your family...its so time consuming. I am only in my first year but I cannot recall how many sleepless nights I had writing lesson plans by my hand over & over again...making different kinds of instructional materials that I thought would help motivate my students, but found out that it doesn't have positive effects on them afterwards... brainstorming myself to create drills but they just ignored what I prepared the following to myself most of the time because nobody listens while I am discussing the lesson in front... received letters from them telling me I should be like this and like that..and that I am moody...and so God! and that letter was approved by their class adviser! and after another bunch of sleepless night computing their grades using microsoft excel, their adviser would return to me the rating sheets telling me that my computations were wrong and what kind of calculator did I use... that I should use manual calculator because that is more accurate according to them (they don"t use microsoft excel because they doesn't know how to)... I can't wait till the end of this school year... how I really desperately wanted to render an irrevocable resignation letter to my principal's desk who always tells us not to give a failing grade even if the students failed! I hope March 2014 approaches sooner... I don't know what to do... I feel sick every morning and I'm always reciting, "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." I am an AB/History graduate... & I just took additional units in education to be able to take the Licensure Examination for Teachers here in our country... I thought this job would be a rewarding experience for me...but its not... I want to look for another job that doesn't require too much contact with other people... I hope this teaching experience in public high school did not affect me to have a social anxiety disorder... but nowadays... after teaching... I always wanted to be left alone. my only daughter is affected... she is 9 yrs old and always wanted to talk to me and cuddle but this teaching jobs followed me at home... those damn lesson plans, quizzes, seatworks and many more are needed to be finished everyday and I cannot finish them at school so I have no choice but to bring them home with me and stay awake until 11 or 12 finishing them...I don't even have time to have a word of sweet nothings to my daughter before she go to sleep... I am 36 yrs. old and I hope I could get another job that doesn't require this much time... that I don't have to bring home...that won't bully me, that won't degrade me... I wish... I wish... come March! (March marks the end of school year here in the Philippines.) I am planning to make a new resume... Planning to apply for a job in the government, a job that won't give me this much stress.... and would make me breath freely.

Dana 2 years ago

I quit just a week shy of two months into my first teaching job and have spent most of the past month trying to recover from what I experienced. I'm glad to know that I'm not just being hypersensitive. Sadly, where I am, the teachers who cling to that awful objective script (gag me!) are the ones getting promoted. There were weeks I would be evaluated multiple times per day, every day of the week. Without fail, I would receive a slap on the wrist for failing to announce my objective at least three times throughout my lesson. On more than one occasion, this happened in front of my students. They found this hilarious, of course.

Anyway, I'm sorry you had to endure this, and I'm glad to read that you've found better opportunities. This was a career change for me, so I'm really not sure what's next. I've considered finding another school, because I really like the idea of teaching. I'm just afraid of this experience repeating itself.

Best of luck to you, and thanks so much for writing this.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Travis, Kiki gave you a lot of great advice. Good luck. Teaching in a private school will certainly be less stressful. My first teaching job was at a private school. Of course, I thought I had to leave for public schools for the benefits, etc etc. Looking back now, I should have just stayed there. I just may be teaching still if I did. Of course, that was quite some time ago. Things were better, even in private school. That being said, things are still good in most private schools.

If/when you do get a job interview for a private school, there is one thing I would do. I have heard that some of the Common Core nonsense has made it's way into some private schools too, though not many. I would have a friend call the school and ask if they practice Common Core. If they say yes, you may want to pursue a different private school. If they say no, make sure you have your friend say something like "Good. I don't believe in it and don't like it". We wouldn't want to give them any ideas either.

One advantage you have is that you are aware of the public school insanity and you didn't even have to experience it. Consider that a blessing.

Travis 2 years ago

Dana, I read your post and wanted to let you know that I think you should give teaching another shot! If you really like the idea of teaching, don't let the overpaid administrative pigs hold you back. Try to find a school whose teaching philosophy is similar to yours. But then again what do I know. I'm still a naïve college student!

ExTeacher, thank you for your advice! I've always listened to the grievances of my teachers with sympathetic ears. Believe it or not my disdain for public schools came about from all my educational psychology courses! They spend more time teaching us about how to include bullies into the classroom without further alienating them and making them feel worse about themselves. I call complete bullshit on that by the way. I just want to work in a school where education is the number one priority and my students parents are on my side, but then again, I have always been an idealist.

genna 2 years ago

wow. You sound like a really hard working teacher. I'm giving up in my second year of teaching and I feel like it's for the best. I haven't worked as hard as you and I'm already burnt out. I plan my work everyday, write lesson plans for the lessons I'm being observed, mark all tests and write reports. But that's about it. The biggest downfall for me was all the criticism. I too had those, "improvement needed" comments over and over again and I found students comments very hard to take. I thought to myself, "students will like me when I get better. I just need to get better at teaching." but with the extra things I have to do for management and everything else, I don't think I'll become better at teaching any more. I think someone else deserves my job and I should work at a lower end job.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Travis, you're welcome. Many teachers are idealists. I'm not and never was. I'm a realist. Idealists, such as yourself, will typically stick it out longer. It's noble, but not always wise. You only live once. You don't want to do what you love IF you hate it. Most "ex teachers" like myself love teaching, but hate everything else about the job. It's a simple computation of weighing the pros and cons. For me, the cons greatly outweighed the pros. Sad but that's reality; at least it was for me.

Genna, you won't regret it. I've yet to read one post on any forum/blog in which a fed up teacher left and regretted it. Missing the kids don't count btw. That's just a given, but not the same as actually regretting the decision to leave the profession.

Just think, no more lessons plans, grading papers, rubrics, Common Core, Danielsons Framework, IEPs, working on weekends, unreasonable parents, administration bullies, etc etc.

Sure, other jobs have "evaluations", but at least they are not so abstract. Teaching may be the only "profession" in which your supervisor can watch what you do and more or less say, "Nah, you didn't do a good job." Most jobs are cut and dry. I just had my first evaluation at my new job. It was cut and dry and best of all....fair. I received a Satifactory because my work has been satisfactory. I remember a principal decided to target me. I went from all satisfactories the year before to unsatifactories. Did I suddenly become a poor teacher? Of course not. It's whatever floats their boat. Pure insanity. Good riddance NYC Board of DREAD!!!!!!!

Travis 2 years ago

Are public schools in the south different or the same than public schools in the north? I'm always being told how northern America is the intellectual capital of the U.S., but the majority of the complaints I hear from teachers are from the northern part of the country.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

I only have experience teaching in NY, but from what I read on all the forums/blogs, the plaque has spread throughout most, if not all, of the country. I'm sure some towns in certain states have not been infected yet. However, it appears to be just a matter of time.

As you already know, some private schools have been infected, but most have not. Here's hoping that remains to be the case for a long, long time.

Keep us posted and good luck Travis.

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Travis-teaching in the South is worse. Take North Carolina, for example. A teacher I know who has a Masters degree makes $35,000 a year and has to purchase her own teaching supplies. Again, think about private schools.

There are a couple of states that are not embracing Common Core in the same way and are not really on the standardized-testing bandwagon. One of those states Vermont . That's where I went to school . Instead of focusing on bullying, they were crazy into the various personality types. Anyway, the teaching salaries are sort of low there- my friend started with her Masters at $40,000, but there are a lot of silly things that you don't have to put up with like in New York.

However, there are so many variables that are involved with teaching today. Some of us head for the hills, some are able to persevere. Good luck. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders. Now that you have been armed with all of this information.......go and teach and see how you like it. Let us know what you choose. Keep us informed. We want to know!

Travis 2 years ago

Thank you so much to all of you!

I think the best I can do for now is graduate from Rutgers and gain some experience through subbing, so I can have something to put on my resume. It would be nice to have a bachelor's or master's in education in case I do decide to give public schools a try, but I really don't feel like spending anymore time in school. I'm currently going through the "I don't want to be in school anymore; I just want to get on with my life" phase.

As crazy as this may sound, I would rather take a lower salary and teach at a school that I love than a higher salary with benefits at a school that I hate, although I have heard some horror stores of grossly underpaid private school teachers.

Thanks again for all the help, and I apologize for blowing up the comments section on this article like it's my facebook page :D

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Travis, don't apologize. You are doing a smart thing by inquiring before taking the final leap.

Kiki, thanks for this blog. It's a great way to share information and experiences....and vent! lol :O)

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

You are very welcome. When I initially wrote it I was venting. Now I see it has become a way for people to relate, give advice and share. That is a wonderful thing and I am glad to be a part of it.

Mike 2 years ago

As a teacher I can confirm what she says as true. I am extremely stressed, micromanaged and plain tired. It's hard to be motivating when you are exhausted. Mind you in my case it's not necessarily the classes that is the huge stressor - it's everything outside of the class. Meaningless meetings, mandatory competitions, paperwork, excessive observations - most of these things are wasted time (teachers get paid in time not dollars). If teaching was simply lesson plans and those minutes in the classroom it would be great. Sadly outside factors destroy what's inside of our classrooms.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

You're right Mike. The job was fine when it was lesson planning, grading papers, and teaching.

However, now in today's teaching world....

The paperwork is smothering.

The excessive observations are demeaning.

The state exams are priority #1.

The newer principals are inexperienced.

Teachers are bounced around from grade to grade and subject to subjects.

Kids are more disrespectful more than ever.

Parents & Admin side with the students in a heartbeat.

Differentiated instruction is a shell of what it originally was.

Technology has not saved, but cost teachers more of their time.

Teachers are displayed by the media and viewed by the public as greedy, unprofessional, and evil.

Meetings are held to discuss meetings about meetings......followed by a follow-up meeting.

Every few years, the latest & greatest teaching methods are revealed, suggesting that the last one was no good.

I think that covers most of it. Feel free to add anything I missed ;O)

Jess 2 years ago

I am so happy to have found this page! It helps alleviate the loneliness. I taught 8th grade very happily for five years in a different state. Now I'm teaching at a charter school in Chicago. These three months have killed education for me. Every day is torture and I fantasize about quitting daily and nightly. I still can't decide if I'm going to give a month's notice in January or not. The only reason I don't want to is because then I can't use this job as a reference and it would probably look pretty good on a resume. The negativity and lack of common sense are killing my spirit and making me second guess myself when I shouldn't be. I stopped eating breakfast or lunch and gag each morning with sickness. I can't decide if it's worth the pain of staying until June or not. Although I don't like seeing other people in this situation, it DOES help to know I'm not alone.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

What's sad is when you try and warn someone who says they are going for teaching and they give you that feeling as if to say "It won't be like that for me. Must be you". I say to myself "Guess you'll have to learn the hard way".

I understand it's a "dream" for some people, but when someone is telling you the issues in great detail, you'd think they would honestly give it a second look and "investigate" themselves before they really start investing their time and money.

Actually, I have to admit I didn't listen to a veteran teacher who told me to run the other way. Granted, I was already certified and subbing and had so much invested, but I stubbornly shrugged it off and thought of him as just a negative person. What a fool I was. Wish I could see him today and tell him how right he was.

Greg 2 years ago

Teaching is a very rewarding career but it can also have its shortcomings. In this profession I have had some wonderful times but also the worst. Education is a complex area. Many elements participate in one of the most important missions in society. Someone has to do it but I have decided to quit at least at the high school level (in US). I believe the American education system needs to be reformed completely. Everything from the school year, the size of the schools, mainstreaming of special ed. , the role of the administrators and the personnel dynamics need redefining. The selection of teachers, their training and their salaries has to be changed too. Despite the schools and other issues, I feel the target clientele is the most difficult. We live different times and the student operate from another perspective. The phones and the internet are more important than the teachers and school. The distraction is complete. something or someone on the other side of the phone is more important than education. certainly not all...but in a few months it shall be. You can say it is an issue of classroom management...but it is not. they know all the tricks. the love of wisdom is also non existent. We have stereo sound digital large screens to discuss the life of Muhammad and the students either sleep or stare. the parents promise a change and the change never gets there and administration is as good a bad conduct letter. Homework? Nada. test reviews even if almost how the test will look but again nothing. Yet the system has pampered them so much that just because they breath they think they deserve and of the highest quality. Maybe it is me. I want to do something else but to be in front of 29 students unmotivated students. We live in different times with other gadgets and more . My respect to those who stay.

carly 2 years ago

I have been teaching for 15 years. I am a few weeks away from having my specialist degree and I don't want to teach any more. Well that is not true I love teaching but I never get to do it. We test and test and test and then we get screamed at by our bully of a principal because the test scores are too low.We meet all the time. There is no time to plan or prepare. The stress on parents and teachers and students is too much. Every day when I go to work I look at all the places around me and think "I could work there" Next year they want to base our pay and evaluation on test scores. A real teacher is not going to work harder because there is better pay. A real teacher was teaching that hard anyway. I have no control over who is in my class. Students are allowed to scream at us and even hit us. Is it any wonder scores are bad. I just don't want to do this any more but am struggling to figure out what to do.

Mohammed Jordan 2 years ago

Oh my god, and I thought that only our educational system is in shambles out of others. It turned out education system is crumbling everywhere. Teachers are being treated like if they work in a menial job with unfair salary and treatment from everybody be they school management, students, parents or people.

I'm so sick of this job, I hated it even when I was a student as I observed the suffering teachers went through. I tried to avoid it but I had to, to afford my living.

Every morning, I push myself to work, I can't really smile or laugh. It's this frustration and depression you can't get over because you feel you're in a hostile environment like I'm an enemy or sth just because I'm a teacher.

What I know is that I can't take it for long, I must complete my study to get the hell out of this miserable job.

Thank you all from Kingdom of Jordan. 2 years ago

I can now take some comfort that I am not the only teacher who feels like a public slave. They don't whip us but they keep us in chains through mental torture. Stress is terrible and what people don't realise is that it doesn't go away at the weekend for teachers. In Britain the system has followed the American model. I can't pass my classroom observations, I have tried and tried, read every book, spent hours on prep and still I fail. I am now on an improvement programme and have to be observed for a full hour every week. It has made me depressed but I am determined to stay until next May. I don't think they will sack me before then because I teach all exam groups. GCSE and A level and they can't recruit in my school. I don't want to let the kids down by leaving so I am ticking of the days till I go.

Survival is the key. I am having some counselling and I really like the post that advised that we must realise that we are deserving of better.

There are teachers in my school who are happy. they get good observations and fit the mold. However; I don't know any other profession where I have to be examined EVERY WEEK after 25 years of practice. Or where you see grown professional people in tears.

It is time to say no!

last week I said that I was not prepared for an observation because it was my birthday and went away for the weekend. They seemed uncomfortable (I don't think anyone has ever said No to an obs) but agreed . However I have one next week and so the stress/work continues.

Take care everyone and let's keep communicating

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Dear Sambro,

Your experience resonates with me a great deal. I, too, worked 24/7 -yet have also been on improvement plans where you have to jump through hoops like a circus dog and I developed severe anxiety and panic attacks because of it. You are right. Some people are very successful at it. But I think teachers are enjoying teaching less and less. Here in America we are grappling with the option of the Common Core, which many consider to be a dumbing down of students to prepare them to be worker drones in a society that does not allow critical thinking. Fortunately, many people are refusing to put their children through the new and extreme standardized testing that tests math and English language skills. Instead of getting to take art, gym and other creative pursuits, most of the time is devoted to test drills, practice tests and actual tests. And then teachers are evaluated based on how well the children did. The problem is that many students, including the *priviledged* ones from more affluent families are also scoring low, which is causing some outrage. I really don't care where the outrage comes from, as long as there is outrage.

The other day, a successful teacher friend emailed me and asked for advice about "getting out". ME, of all people. And I thought he was one of the dedicated ones. It is sad how such a once venerable profession is leaving people in such terrible emotional shape. That is not how it should be.

Thank you so much for your comment. 2 years ago

Hi Kiki

I hope that I can get through my observation next week without cracking up altogether!

I then have another the week after in which I have to get a 'good' or else. I don't know what the 'or else' means. Am working all day today Sunday. Trying to maintain a sense of humour and I have now adopted my own coping strategy when managers are critical. I call this the mental finger. It helps to hold it up in my head and puts a smile on my face.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Ha ha. I experienced "Or Else", which meant "You're fired!"

ExTeacher 2 years ago

So sorry to read the recent posts, but certainly not surprised.

Sambro, sorry you are going through this. I was not officially put on an improvement plan, but I certainly because a target overnight. I know the stress you're going through. Being a target/on a plan is very uncomfortable. I remember realizing I was a target for sure when the principal and assistant all of a sudden started showing up often and staying for long periods, then leaving nothing but negative comments on post-its, including flat out lies. I thought to myself, what miserable people they must be to find pleasure in the mental torturing/bullying of others.

It's tough giving advice because everyone's financial/family situation is different. All I can say is start looking now and often. You never know what might pop up. Ask friends/family to ask around for you. Make it known that you're looking.

Good luck and let us know how things went.

sambro 2 years ago

Thank you Ex Teacher = have not prepared for tomorrow = I hate to do this to the kids but I think I am too stressed to stand in front of them - Have spent the whole day crying and being very scared. So I will do the decent thing and give my notice in but meanwhile take a couple of weeks (if the doctor will sign me off) to sort myself out. I feel better and calmer at the moment now that I have decided. I have options as you said.

What are you doing now?

Hope it is something you enjoy.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Sambro, I was exactly where you are one year ago. I know how you are feeling. It won't be easy, but getting out will make you feel much better.

ExTeacher 2 years ago


First, I agree with Kiki that it's not easy to do, but getting out is the only thing that will truly make you feel better. Let me answer your question, but with my background story because it's not so cut and dry...

I left with nothing waiting. I did so because it was either that or I was going to have my first-ever nervous breakdown. Health must always be first, period. Still, it was tough to do because I have a wife and since she is not a teacher, she had a tough time at first not understanding why I couldn't just wait it out until the end of the year (I quit at the end of October!). Ultimately, she understand (as best she could) and I quit. One more day would have did me in for sure, no kidding.

I tried starting my own painting business, just something to get me by at least. That failed quick and hard. So, I decided to go to a temp agency. I landed an office job (my first ever) in Manhattan at a construction company that buys property, builds luxury apartments, the leases them. I was hired as a leasing specialist. As it turned out, my superior was a flat out b*tch, reminding me of my principal I escaped from. Also, I found out that it takes at least a year to become permanent. Plus, the work was over the top. I had 20 different jobs (including payroll!).

Imagine how I'm feeling at this point, not wanting to disappoint my wife.

So, in the meantime I applied (took exams) to many other city civil service jobs, as a back up. I applied as a School Safety Agent, Traffic Enforcement Agent, Motor Vehicle Driver, Case Worker, etc. I also applied for a Bus Operator position with MTA (city).

I looked online and ended up applying for and getting a job at a non-profit organization which caters to people with developmental disabilities. I'm working there now (literally as I type this lol) as a Service Coordinator. I make visits to their residences and day programs. I see that all is okay, etc. I hold ISP meetings for them twice a year and do ISPs (similar to IEPs). As a whole, I like it A lot. I have down time, I get out of the office, and my superior is nice. Problem is, the pay is only okay, but being happy at a job is priceless.

So, I am taking the Bus Operator exam in 2 weeks. I will decide what to do when the time comes. Thing is, after 3 years, you reach top pay which is $60,000 not including overtime. $60,000 is what I was making when I left teaching. I'm making not much more than half that amount too.

My point is, it's not easy and you may not have "the answer" to your career right away. I still don't and will have a big decision to make. I'm really happy now, but the pay is low. I love driving, but can't say if I'll like being a bus driver or not. Most importantly though, I'm no longer a teacher. I'm no longer stressed and miserable. I don't regret my decision. I had no choice either way.

I hope this helps you somehow. I would apply to anything that might interest you. I forget what state/city you are in, if you said it, but if you're in NYC I can post more specifics as far as the jobs I applied for and exams I took which are open to the public to take for an average fee of $40. I scored very good on all of them which puts you to the top of the list. Many I mentioned don't start too high, but you would get the city benefits. Obviously, I want to "use my brain" but more importantly, I want to be happy.

Let us know how you are coming along. Hope to help you anyway we can! :O)

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Ex Teacher,

Thank you for writing that. It's very important. I am experiencing the exact same things in my search for new work...and have learned a great deal about the opportunities that present themselves in this economy. I have an interview Friday at an internet marketing company and one of the reasons they are interested is because of my writing. It would be so great to have a job with a writing focus. But it's true that salary- wise the pay is not what you make teaching. Gotta keep trying. I can't believe it's been almost a year since I have stopped teaching. I am much happier than before, but will be even happier when I have a permanent job again. I worked over the summer but the boss abused his staff, we were not allowed to leave the building at lunch and had to eat while working and had to stay out of his line of sight or risk getting yelled at. I agree that working conditions are one of the most important things. One of my best work experiences was when I was working as an overqualified, underpaid secretary at a university because everyone in my department was happy, kind and respectful.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Kiki, I certainly understand what you're going through. It's just one of those things where you have to look and apply often...then cross your fingers and hope. Hope to land the job and hope to like it! In this day and age, as we all know, most employers ask a lot and often offer little. It's a rough world, especially for older career changers; I'm 42 and don't feel old, but you know what I mean ;O) Actually, teaching was sort of a 2nd career for me, so it's been rough.

Anyway, as you said, gotta keep trying. I wish you all the best. No matter what happens, just keep thinking to yourself: No more lesson plans, differentiated instruction, Common Core, bully principals, etc etc.

What a "profession", huh? When I sit back and really think about it, I'm still shocked by the madness of it. For example, being placed on a "plan" like a friggin child. It's really sickening.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

I am the same age as you, Ex Teacher. What I am finding is that while I am not old, I am 'seasoned', and therefore less impressionable and more confident and I think in this day and age employers to some extent want people they can 'mold' and at 42, you already have an established way of doing things. It is true that more is expected for less. I have been getting interviews, but some people just stamp me as overqualified. I want to yell at them and tell them that I JUST NEED A JOB!!!!!!! Anyway, hopefully something will happen soon. Teaching was also a second career. I am also still shocked by the madness. The improvement plans were so humiliating and stressful!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Wow, funny coincidences! :O)

As for molding, you're 100% correct. They want young robots to do just as they say, no questioned asked. There were 2 reasons which made me an overnight target. One of them was when my principal realized I wasn't doing the reading workshop script as suggested. I was doing things my way and...IT WAS WORKING. I taught special ed and their readings levels were going up in amazing fashion. As I soon learned, however, this principal's ego was stronger than her desire for the students to improve. So, she didn't like me telling her "but what I'm doing is working great".

I also hate that term "overqualified". Either you're qualified or you're not. Period. Would they prefer for you to lie and put down less experience??!! Oops, I don't want to give you any funny ideas...hahaha

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

I would never dumb down my experiences because you cannot build up a foundation upon lies. The next time someone tells me I am overqualified I will just say just that-either I am qualified or I am not. I am up for one job as a caption editor and the pay is about $25,000 per year. They still grilled me as if the job paid twice that much. I had a phone interview and one in-person. I passed all of the tests with flying colors but then they suggested that they were worried I would abandon the job as soon as I found something better. I called them last week to check on the status and they said they had not made up their mind, and to call back this week. At this point I am not. To have to jump through hoops for a job that can't even pay all of the bills is a kick in the teeth. Seriously!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Yes, nothing like being grilled for a job that pays okay only. You feel like saying, are you serious?! And yes, from what I read, leaving the job for something else is what employers are worried about concerning "overqualified" people. Well, guess what? If those jobs actually paid a competitive wage, they wouldn't have to worry about that, would they? Employers are only going to worry about that if they don't pay well to begin with. I'm overqualified for what I'm doing, but if this current job really paid well, I would say with certainty I found my new career for life.

Again, at least we're not teaching anymore :O) Also, chances are (in reference to your original article), what ever you job you land, you won't get comments about you being "a White girl from suburbia". I certainly don't miss having to be so politically correct either...but that's a whole other story.

Btw, ever google around other blogs and forums? It's really hit the fan all around the country. Like cancer, the Common Core & the new evaluations is adding a whole other level to the madness of teaching. Even the little towns are getting hit with it. So sad.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Meant to say...Like cancer, the Common Core & the new evaluations HAVE SPREAD....and is adding a whole new level to the madness.

sambro 2 years ago

Hi Kiki and thank you ec teach for your job hunt stories.

I am actually in London - there should be plenty of work doing something - I am in my 50s so that might exclude me from some things - but yes No more teaching. I feel liberated already - We have to send in lesson plans for covering teachers when we are off sick - and I couldn't help feeling guilty and wondering what the kids could do with me not there - But equally I will no longer have to be told that 'you can't teach' by 15 year olds who can't read. I can imagine my line managers face as she reads my cover plans and tuts over their lack of 'meaningful' objectives - they are full of straightforward tasks which will help students develop their reading and writing skills - just like in the good old days when we were allowed to teach1

ExTeacher 2 years ago

As I always say regarding resigning before the year ends: The kids will live. Whether they're 5th grade or 10th, the kids will move on and be just fine. Unless you built a "magical" bond with one or two in particular, who look up to you in a really special way (e.g. as a parent because they are lacking in that area), they'll forget us in a matter of days. I think that's just the reality...and it's okay.

I'm glad you feel better already. Funny thing how quick that happens once you cut off ties (or begin to) with the horror of this "profession".

I also miss the good old days. How much simpler it was for the teachers, kids, parents, and administrators.

Quick story which relates to the topic of the good old days of teaching...

Me & my wife took a vacation to the Dominican Republic. We did an outback excursion, which included a quick visit to a local school. It was nothing less than spectacular, primarily due to the SIMPLICITY of the classroom. The walls had a few maps, a few pieces of the student's work, and a schedule. The walls were NOT plastered with work and the work did not have silly post-its, rubrics, or checklists. The schedule was written in marker; nice simple daily schedule without, for example, the worries of endless, useless assemblies.

My wife translated my questions and the answers from the teacher. There was one observation a year, no walk throughs, kids were kicked out if a behavior problem, and the teacher had lots of freedom in how she chose to teach. There was plenty more, but I think you all get the point.

I'm sure it pays a hell of a lot less than in this country, but nothing beats no-stress teaching.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Wow, couldn't help but share a post from a teaching forum from a teacher who is obviously feeling the wrath of the principal and the system:

I will follow all directives from my admin... I wish to be employed to be able to use my affordable health care plan to treat illnesses related to my job. Here is a confession to how I failed to comply with district policies, which led to illnesses which I caused to myself….I blame myself as I am a highly qualified teacher under NCLB and my job is to teach and to also ensure no fighting occurs while I teach and if such fighting does exist, it is to my own fault. Here is my confession:

I, the teacher will modify my behavior appropriately as I neglected to follow the instruction of my admin and their directives to posting standards and objectives. I am completely aware that my class exist without any standards to follow, and thus must provide and accommodate myself to utilize technology, such as using website search engine "Google" to acquire and obtain local and state expectations necessary to effectively ensure students are effectively engaged and connected to the learning goals of the instructional day.

I determine that my failure to post district mandated standards and objectives resulted in students unable to understand what the learning objectives is for that day. The by-product of neglecting to follow appropriate protocols directly contributed to my chaotic classroom and unsafe classroom conditions. My lack of classroom management resulted in tolerated violence in my classroom as my highly qualified skills as a teacher did not meet those of a security personnel that I had to call as I lacked classroom management.

I did not follow the recommendations of my admin team, I reflected poor judgement which consequently resulted in two fights occurring during my 4th period class due to my own lack of knowledge on how to prevent children from leaving my classroom without my permission.

As I wish to continue employment to treat my illnesses due to the stress of lacking adequacy in classroom management, I have decided to confess to my faults and have decided to follow my respected principal's directives as it will lead to the highest, most academic success of my students, thus my beloved school and workplace.

I have chosen to rectify and abide to all district policies that exist to ensure the all children are adequately educated by a highly qualified teacher trained to successfully post standards and objectives which will lead to higher test scores and a safer learning environment because I am a highly qualified teacher credentialed by the state of CA to teach science while I assume the roles of security guard to also ensure safety for all.

To ensure in my own success of securing and maintaining safety in my own classroom I will save up my teacher paycheck to purchase a bullet proof vest to ensure I may live a long time continue to teach in a school that abides and not violate Article 1, Section 28 of the US Constitution.

My administrators are very respectable as they showed me my errors to ensure for my improve in class management. They demonstrate and show compassion when they ensure violent students with history of making threats to harm people can continue to be included in our population of diverse learners. As each child deserves a fresh start, each and everyday and have the capacity to learn and to potentially harm others, but as long as they learn.

I must learn how to be tolerant of bullying as I too get bullied by my principal who cares to secure his job as he denies fights to ensure he looks good because no fights occurred and my lack of classroom management is the direct cause for fights, or chaos while I am teaching science.

My request for the removal of the violent student from my class as I feared another fight may occurred. It was not appropriate for me to think such things as it has not yet occurred and violent guys thus are invited to return as I made assumptions that school tragedies do not exist in our country America.

The most admirable thing about my principal who came to show me SUPPORT in my class to help me improve classroom management to ensure higher learning is occurring in my classroom utilizing Direct Interactive Instruction while he stared at me intently as to throw darts at me to demonstrate his generous support.

I am to blame for all the problems that is directly due to my lack of complying to district policies. Fights also did not occur in my class and I will accept that my lack of classroom management ultimately caused me great pain and illness and I do not wish anyone to ever report violent students or voice any concerns again because you will get bullied, denied your human rights, get very sick and have to accept everything the admin says because they are in power and as a teacher you have no voice, thus you must continue to admit your faults to be treated by illnesses you caused only to yourself as you failed to comply with district policies. I look forward to my recovery as it will be the best 5 months of my life as I prioritize that I improve my classroom management to successfully teach kids of diverse populations to ensure student engagement to prevent fights. When I confess that my admin is not fault, I will be able to ensure my treatment in psychiatry to care for my mental illnesses.

There are laws, education code…yes they certainly are meant to protect us, but not where I am from, they will sell their grandma for a cigarette and call it a night as long as they have a job in the expense of YOU, the highly qualified teachers for the state of CA who believed our laws prevented this abuse of power.

But actually as I need health case, his use of power to SUPPORT me to ensure all children learn, each and everyday and no school tragedies will ever happen… not us… I am ill and must resume torture after break as my principal throws darts at his moving target he wishes to eliminate ME… an easily, replaceable human expenditure whose rights were violated and yet all I can do is absolutely nothing. No attorney will help me as it is strictly union level, our union just pats us on the back and says its gonna be okay and I still go to bed at night thinking about darts thrown at me when I return to work. If I want to be treated for my illness, I must be a dartboard where I subject dignity, my humanity and give up all my rights as darts are thrown to diminish what is left as my principal wave my livelihood on a single thread to show me that I am a highly qualified teacher and I need to get treated for my illnesses.

Mohammed Jordan 2 years ago

Mohammad Jordan

Hello again,

This blog helped me realize that I'm not alone. For two weeks, I've been on antidepressant pills trying to get whatever help I can. It has helped a little so far though.

My problem is that people around me don't understand the idea that I can't go on with this job, I just can't.

I'm 26 years old male, I've taught discontinuously for 1.5 years. As for this time, I've been teaching exactly for 4 months. Before that, I had been confident, ambitious and an entertaining person, but now, I'm depressed, frustrated and desperate. I don't know how long I can go on with this...

Thank you all for sharing your stories..

Kikibruce 2 years ago

It is so true. I had a conversation with a woman who was clearly looking down on me with a shocked expression when I started telling her my story. She said things like "couldn't you have tried harder?" And "surely you are exaggerating." This was a tenured professor. After I while I turned away. People who aren't teachers really don't get it.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Yes Kiki, it's just so annoying. Believe it or not (and I'm not making this up), I just had a co-worker tell me this morning how she doesn't know how I left a city job with all the benefits and summers off. I'm not kidding...this morning! A part of me wanted to just say "Try teaching and you'll see" (which I did) and then leave it alone. However, I couldn't help but inform her, while defending my decision, at the same time.

I explained about the mounds of paperwork, staying late, working weekends, evil principals, annoying parents, being made to fail two students and then told days later to change it (made the father cry in the meeting...real nice!) because the seat numbers changed for the upcoming year, kids not getting suspended to keep numbers pretty, etc etc etc.

So, after all my justifying, she starts complaining about her own kids going through stress and bs with state exams and a bunch of other school-related nonsense, ending her tirade by saying the school system is so messed up.


Geez, what's wrong with people???!!!!

Yup, so this is what we have to deal with after making our well-informed decision *grrrrrrrrr*

Kikibruce 2 years ago

Crazy when teachers don't get it. But I know more and more teachers who have had enough.

Well, here is a funny thing. I got a job recently with a newspaper. Ironically after all that teaching, it is my first union job. Not saying great pay. But a newsroom is so much better than a classroom. You are free to be cynical....and it is glorious!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Yup, more and more teachers are saying enough and leaving as well, including teachers with 10 or 15 years in. Sad, but the alternative is misery!

I had a union when teaching. As far as the DOE is concerned, the union isn't very powerful, at least not anymore.

I'm glad you found a job with a newspaper. I think any room is better than a classroom. Enjoy all the wonderful things you don't have to put up with anymore!! (e.g. rubrics, lesson plans, etc). :O)

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Just heard that NJ is talking about extending the school year and school day. Sure, that will fix everything. All that will do is burn out the teachers and students even faster.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Here is a link to a survey on the Common Core. Filled it out and felt good.

Jim 2 years ago

I kind of stumbled upon this site by accident and began reading all of the comments here. I am a high school teacher with over twenty years of experience and am fortunate to teach at a great school with (mostly) great kids :). I still love the kids and still feel I can make a difference, but I, too, am as frustrated as I've ever been. Teachers have to deal with an unimaginable amount of stress, in addition to the increasingly unnecessary demands placed on us by excessive standardized testing and other moronic education "reform" ideas. For the first time I'm thinking of getting out. I'm working harder now for less money. It has become impossible to keep up. I just want to say to everyone who has posted here...don't underestimate the incredible impact each of you had on the kids who were in your classes. Even if you chose to walk away, you made at least some kids' lives better because of your time, effort, energy, and sacrifice. I hope each of you finds happiness and success. Thank you for all that you did for kids.

LORO 2 years ago

Graduated summa cum ladde. Made 98-100% in every class. With a bachelors degree in teaching. Subbed for a year love it. Got a teaching position, was gone in 2 months. I got a real example of how different "teaching" is (while subbing) and "teaching" in a teaching position. The stress of paperwork, student differentiation, RTIs, continuous assessments, the never ending stack of papers to grade, the essay length (for a crucial exam) lesson plans that last a week, the parents that think the teacher is always the one at fault regardless if the child was the one who fell off the slide and broke their arm (yes parent you got it right, of course I can pay more attention to your child when there are 100 others around). And what's bad is that it ruins all the time you have for yourself and family, you spend it doing work or trying to build "professional relationships" with co workers (which I would rather spend building my own personal friendships). I couldn't take it. My health came first. After a nervous breakdown at 23, extreme anxiety attacks, it was time to get out. I have been unemployed for 6 months still searching for that right job. But I can promise, when you know it's not right you just have to have the courage to say so and make the decision to walk away. Judge your decision based on your priorities. Mine were: my health, my family, my happiness. Teaching destroyed my mental and physical health, interfered with time I wanted to spend with my family, and I was not happy. I can say that my happiness comes last because if I was in a job in which my health was great and I was able to spend time with my family, I would be willing to make a sacrifice for that boring job rather than one that interfered with my top two priorities. I was a first and last year teacher. Loved teaching, but had the strength and courage to walk away. I would encourage anyone to evaluate their priorities and compare them to their circumstances. If it's not meant to be, it's okay to admit that. Sometimes all we need is the courage to start over. This post has giving me a new outlook. I am not alone. Together we are the voice of so many that May or may not have the courage to start over, but at least everyone who is feeling this way is not alone. And there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks to everyone on this post ex teachers and teachers alike for their courage to start over or for their decision based on priorities to continue.

Thank you for sharing your voice. Because you have been the voices I have been looking for with feelings of being alone in the despair of my teaching experience. I now realize I am not, and will never be alone in this battle.

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

You are among friends here. Thank you for your post.

ExTeacher 2 years ago


I'm glad you did find the strength to do what was best for your health. As noted in my posts here, I also left because I knew my health was at risk. Unfortunately, many teachers are not able to put their health first; as you said, priorities. I was also unemployed for some months. It's not easy, but better to be unemployed for a while than laying in a hospital bed, or worse. I wish you all the best. Hopefully knowing you are not alone will help you in your transition. In the meantime, pat yourself on the back for having that courage which many do not. As you now know by first hand experience, it's not an easy step to take.

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

I definitely put my health first. It was going downhill fast.

Anonymous5 2 years ago

Hi Kiki,

Thanks for your article. I'm 22 and just graduated with a teaching degree from Canada in 2013. Since then I've been very reluctant to apply to teaching jobs and districts. I decided to work as a preschool teacher over the summer while waiting for call-backs. I hated being a preschool teacher! And I hated my student teaching experiences! At one point I tried to convince myself that I was happy and that things would get better. Even before I entered my program, I felt unsure about it. I loved my teachers growing up and I've always looked up to them; I was always a good, well-behaved kid. In a way, I thought teaching would be easy. I didn't realize how difficult it would be for me! Initially I thought it would be difficult to be an introvert and be a teacher but it would be doable. I don't think this is possible! I'm quiet, an introvert, depressed, and sensitive. As often I've tried to "toughen up" it hasn't worked; I just ended up putting on a fake show of a loud, happy extrovert while inside I was crumbling. I'm at the point where I'm watching my friends get teaching jobs and at times I'm jealous (for the money, benefits, etc) and other times I'm glad that it's not me.

I recently got laid off from my job a few days ago (I was working in a daycare hoping to make some money for future school since I'm planning a career change). I've never been laid off before. They didn't give me a reason why. I tried my best but I guess it wasn't good enough. Now I'm at a loss of what to do. I'm starting to hate children. I don't like telling them what to do. I don't like how abstract this field is - one person can think you're doing great and another will think you're doing horribly. My self-esteem is at an all-time low. I am considering these careers at the moment: dental hygienist, accountant, occupational therapist, librarian, etc. I'm a little bit paralyze and can't decide on anything right now. I feel like if I make a decision it'll be another wrong one again. :( I'm having trouble trusting my instincts.

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

You and I are very much alike. My advice it this: If you feel like this now, how much worse will you feel later, when you have a bunch of classes, no time to finish anything, and principal who makes you feel insecure? Teaching is not for everyone. I hated student teaching and often wished I were going to work at a gas station. What you have going for you is that you are 22. By all means, look into something that is a better fit for your personality. So many of us have become mentally and physically affected by the stresses of teaching. If you are feeling ill/anxious already, try to avoid it. It is totally ok. You gave it a shot. Self-awareness is important and if I had listened to myself in the beginning, I would have saved myself five years of hardship. It does not make you a failure. It means you are taking care of yourself. Use the experiences of others to inform your decision. As you can see from this blog, there are hundreds and thousands of us out there.

Anonymous5 2 years ago

Thanks Kiki, I appreciate your encouragement :)

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Kiki, you gave some great advice. You're spot on too about the age thing. It's even tougher to make these calls when you're older. How do you leave a career in your late 30s or early 40s when you have friends who have had their career set since they were I their early 20s? If I didn't realize how important my health is, I may have "toughed it out", only to land in the hospital, etc.

Kiki, you made me laugh about the gas station. I can relate. I spent my last year fantasizing about being the school janitor or school safety agent, both of whom I seriously envied at that point. Not kidding here. I asked them both what they get paid and how to get started. You know it's time to go when you realize you'd be 100 times happier sweeping floors in Pathmark for $5 an hour. You also know it's time to go when every morning, you feel like you're driving to your death, and when you arrive and get out of your car, you feel like you're walking to your death.

kitty77 2 years ago

Your post is very motivating. I have been teaching for 10 years and I am done after this year. I am tired of people (particularly my parents, who come from another time) saying to me, "You have health insurance and a steady paycheck with this job. It would be stupid to quit." I have been getting harassed by evaluators for years now. They even have a on a special team to "help me become a better teacher." At this point, I am not interested in becoming a better teacher. I am as good as I am going to get. When students act up, that is icing on the cake, but not my main reason for wanting to quit. I am tired of evaluators, political correctness, and all the emphasis placed on standardized testing. Most of all, I am tired of being lonely. This is a very lonely job if you can't connect to other teachers and you don't want to hang out with a bunch of teenagers. Thank you for your post. It is very inspiring.

hello 2 years ago

I am a second year teacher. I work at a Charter School. I HATE it! There have been times where I have not had a lunch break because no one can cover me. My students are supposed to leave at 2:30, but since the school cannot provide transportation for them at that time, students end up leaving my class at 3:30. The problem is that 2:30 to 3:30 is supposed to be my planning time.

nurturer 2 years ago

I wish all of you well. God is with all of you. The profession of teaching is broken. I am an Ohio teacher on my 29th year of teaching. No one loved teaching as much as me. I would never allow my son or daughter to go into teaching. The new evaluation system ensures that the teacher must be in the principal's inner circle. They basically can write anything down about you, and you cannot do anything about it. To base your pay on student test scores when you have no control of anything, is insane. Ohio teachers are whipping posts, blamed for all societal ills. If anyone is thinking of teaching, run as quickly and as far away from teaching as you can. It will eat you alive. I have 3 more years of teaching...I love my students, and I love to teach. It will be so good to get away from all of the unbearable stress and having to be responsible for factors beyond my control. God Bless everyone. You are all in my prayers.

ExTeacher 2 years ago


You brought out a great point and you're right; teachers have been handed down the blame and held responsible for all societal ills. They never asked for it, but it has happened.

It happened as our society became one in which responsibility and accountability began to be pulled away from those who were having issues. So, it started to become "It not your fault. You're a victim. It's society's fault." That's where we are thanks to certain people and certain groups. Worst of all, I do not seeing that shifting back. In fact, it's gotten worse and worse by the year. Now we have some thug commit a crime and people want to say he couldn't help himself, he's actually a victim of society. Or, an 18 year old girl who sues her own parents for enforcing simple house rules (Google it).

Kids are coddled beyond belief nowadays, so as a teacher, and adult, you don't stand a chance. I remember when I taught, I received a verbal letter for telling a 5th grade student to leave my students alone; he was bothering them in the auditorium. I find out, told him to leave them alone in a stern voice (God forbid, right?!), he cried, told mommy, then I get a letter. All staff and other students said I did not yell, but it didn't matter. Now that already entitled child will feel even more so. Anyway, glad to be working with adults only. Work can't be perfect, but I'd rather an adult tell me something not nice than a child get his/her way "just because". Just too many things you can be accused of as a teacher with little/no support...mean, racist, etc. It's really all out of control.

happy 2 years ago

Wow! I can totally relate. I've taught the past eight years in inner-city middle schools across the nation, usually eighth grade. I used to absolutely love it. I looked forward to going to work every day. After my husband retired from the military and started his second career, we moved to Maryland. I have taught eighth grade for the past three years and I hate my job for a lot of the same reasons listed by other people above. It's just too much now: too difficult, kids are allowed by admin to be disrespectful, etc. It was just announced that next year they will not suspend kids except for the most extreme offenses(aka, fighting, drugs, etc). So the 10-20% of extremely disruptive kids will always be in our classes. I feel really bad for the majority of the kids. Teachers know what just one unruly kid can do to a class.

I got so stressed this past February that I called my husband while my students were at lunch and invited him to go to the Bahamas. We left less than 24 hours later and stayed four days. It was wonderful!

Last week, I decided to leave teaching at the end of the school year. I feel like a gorilla is now off my back. I have been so happy since. What I will do? Not a clue...but I am happy!

ExTeacher 2 years ago


Good for you! As for what to do now that you decided to leave teaching, you'll think of something. As you said, you don't know BUT you are happy. Bottom line is not to be crazy stressed/unhappy. Unless you and/or your family are going to starve, there is no reason to stay at a job in which you are very unhappy. Thankfully, I realized that before I had an anxiety attack; I think right before, in fact.

StarvingTeacher 2 years ago

Well, walking out of a school turned out to be the worst mistake I ever made. Wish I could get my job back, went through almost all savings, no job, no money, no future.

Glad I Quit 2 years ago

Reading these comments has made me feel like I am O.K. and not crazy. I was beginning to think something was wrong with me. I taught in South Louisiana for many years and became increasingly depressed, anxious, etc., for all the reasons you all have mentioned. I was really relieved to find out I wasn't the only teacher who used to experience insomnia and wake up after only three hours of sleep to gagging and vomiting because of the stress and anxiety. Like "Starving Teacher", I am going through my savings because I have not looked for a job yet because I needed some time to regain my sanity. However, you and I DO both have a future. We just need to decide what it will be and go from there. Good luck to you!

To be or not to be a teacher 2 years ago

I'm teaching for almost 19 years now and I’m considering leaving it. I feel like I’m crazy just for thinking this, but reading your messages in here makes me feel it's the right decision and that I’m not the only one having these thoughts!

I have 2 kids and a mortgage, no other job waiting for me out there and i don't know what my abilities are (I’m 43 years old, how I’m I going to get through?), but since i started thinking this way i started to sleep better and feel better. My wage is very good, have access to an excellent health system, i have some freedom in relation with the curriculum (i teach at the university level) and i can get some interesting schedules. But I work 50km away from home, i'm requested to deliver as much articles and presentations as possible, stay in endless meetings, deal with ambitious and double-faced co-workers and be on working mode every single hour of the day, including weekends and holidays. The students are grown young people who are supposed to be in classes because they want to, but the classes are hard to deal with. Sometimes i go home feeling great, because it all went as it's supposed to. But the majority of the days are simply horrible: i don't think i have the right skills and personality for a teaching career. I’m a shy type of person and it feels like I’m being forced to do something that’s not natural in me. And that’s unfair for other teachers with the right skills and for the students who deserve the best teachers. At the moment just the idea of 'teaching career' sounds horrible!

I feel privileged, but every time I go to school I feel like I'm taking my daily dose of poison and I just can’t wait for the time I go back home at the end of the day! I don’t take sick leave because I know the amount of work will obviously rise. Meanwhile everyone says I should stay and try harder (you are crazy to leave your job they say), because of the economic crisis, but now I’m on the edge: if I don’t finish my phd thesis in time, I’ll be run out of the school! I think maybe it’s for the best, because then I can have unemployment benefits and try to rethink my life for a while – instead, if I give them my notice I don’t have any support at all. But I don’t know what to do from here and I’m afraid that my family will face financial difficulties. I was supposed to have more time to finish my thesis, but my school directors decided that I had to finish it earlier – imagine: finish earlier! It has been a nightmare and I just can’t get it done on time. I teach, am a mother and work on the thesis all at the same time with no other support besides some help from my husband! I have nightmares about it that only go away when I’m gardening and taking care of the allotment project that I have or making sports – basically running away from the problem!

Maybe i need a way out, a new beginning, but for now I feel paralyzed, too scared to move on or to finally face the situation, counting the days until the summer break comes. Anyway I loved to have read your experiences. Hope everything works ok for you all!

Alan 2 years ago

I'd quit TODAY if it weren't for the fact that I just finished my 25th year as a high school history teacher. I went to college to TEACH - not to put kids into groups and give them pre-packaged lessons from some Common Core group. Maybe the plan has been to get us older teachers to quit all along - younger teachers don't cost as much and don't remember what it was like to enjoy the joy and freedom teachers once had.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Well Alan, at least you can say you did have freedom and enjoyment, even if it didn't last.

I honestly don't know how anyone could possibly teach for 25 years in this day and age. To start anytime within the last few years and make it that long would be nothing short of a miracle.

You would either need to know a Superintendent personally (thus becoming the golden child) or be one of those rare individuals who walk around smiling all the time, 24/7, no matter what, even if nothing good is happening.

Neither the former nor latter was me, thus the reason I couldn't make it past 4 years.

I'm actually surprised to read posts on other forums/blogs with some teachers saying they love their job and school. I guess the cancer of new age education isn't spreading quite as rapidly as I thought. There's one positive I suppose.

KC 2 years ago


Do you mind me asking what you are doing? It is very difficult to get into the teaching profession where I live, and unless I moved down south, where the schools aren't the greatest, I don't know what I am going to do. I decided to go back and obtain an extra cert in Sp. Ed. I have a M.Ed. in Social Studies Ed and am a heartbeat a way from a M.Ed. in Secondary Sp. Ed., and I feel like I've wasted half of my life pursuing something that I may not even enjoy.

I would like to break into the IT world because I also have a certificate in Instructional Technology. I'm leaning towards a career as a software trainer, as I really do like teaching, but all of the other stuff... It's so stressful!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Hi KC,

Not sure if your question was directed towards me, who posted last, or to Kiki.

Right now I'm working at a non-profit for people with developmental disabilities. It's very, very low stress. Plenty of down time too. Pay isn't the best, but could be worse too. I may become a city bus driver for MTA. I always liked driving and the pay is very good, plus you get overtime if you want it. Not certain for sure, but will probably take the MTA position when the time comes.

I think you should definitely pursue the IT field. IT is needed everywhere, even at non profits like where I am. Could be a good place to start to build up an IT-based resume.

Anyway, good luck KC. K now that you're not alone either. There are thousands and thousands of other teachers, former teachers, and future teachers who feel like they've wasted half there life on this profession as well.

tf 2 years ago

I am so glad I found this. I am on three medications for depression and anxiety. I was getting so anxious driving to work every day that I could feel myself starting to sweat and feel panicky. At the end of this past school year I had to sit through more professional development conducted by complete hacks than I could stand. My district treats it's teachers like they are morons. They change curriculums at the drop of a hat. I swear that the central administration is filled with morons who drink the Kool-Aid and never think past the surface of anything. These 'experts' are just snake oil vendors, saying nothing, providing no new information or help, yet wrap it up in a pretty package and the administration thinks it will be the magic bullet to solve all the districts woes. My district is Title I, getting more and more third world immigrants every year (which I think is a great thing), but the district refuses to acknowledge that these kids come to school with no skill set. And when the teachers say this, we are told we don't think the kids are smart. No one ever said that...we are saying they need extra support at the beginning. So what does the district do? Make the curriculum harder. That makes sense, right? (Note extreme sarcasm).

I feel like an abused wife. I have two masters degrees, but I'm given professional development suitable for a college freshman, not a teacher with 10 years experience. I'm told I don't work hard enough, but I have students who are passed along every year, reading at a kindergarten level when they are going into fourth grade, passed along because the district doesn't want to put more Hispanic boys in Special Ed, so they tell the teachers to 'keep differentiating'. There's only so much you can do for a child who just isn't getting it.

I am looking to get out. It's not worth the stress on my mind and body. I have a mortgage, a kid in college, student loans for me and my other kid who just graduated from college, an ex husband who refused to help pay for college tuition or expenses. On the one hand, I'm screwed. But I've decided to do two my ass off at my teaching job and take all tutoring or extra jobs I can. THEN, I will move to a cheaper part of the country and do what my step-father does: he runs multiple small businesses out of his home. No one job will pay the bills, but combined he does well, sets his own hours and days and he and my mom live a very comfortable life.

I can't work for admins who have no classroom experience yet tell me what I'm doing wrong, admins who let behavior problems stay in the classroom, parents who won't help their kids...I could go on, but you all know what I mean.

Alan 2 years ago

I pray every day that someone (anyone) will kill the SOB's that gave us Common Core.

Alan 2 years ago

I need to clarify - I don't really mean 'kill' (I do not condone an act of violence) I simply spoke out of anger as to what Common Core has done to what once was a great profession.

tf 2 years ago

When I administered the SBAC this year (which took me out of teaching for THREE WEEKS because I had to have small groups of ELL students) I felt like I was committing child abuse. In the name of "better test scores", three other grade levels of students I teach got no instruction so I could administer a test. Get me out!!!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Alan, we know what you meant and feel the same.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is this once great profession has been destroyed long before the Common Core.

Let's not forget Bush's No Child Left Behind. Now we have Obama's Race To The Top. It's all the same bullsh*t.

That being said, I believe this profession began to crumble well before NCLB began in 2001. Our society's values have been crumbling for decades and school is simply an extension of that. Respects for "our elders" took a nose dive in the 90s. From my experience as a student (not that I was well behaved either), former teacher, and a person in general, things really changed in the 90s. People's "rights" have turned to the extreme. Children have rights that they really shouldn't have. Being the children they are, they take advantage of it too. Teachers, and even parents, have been hit hard by the change of events. When I misbehaved in the 80s, the teacher called me an idiot. Guess what? The teacher was right! I WAS being an idiot. Now you can't even say boo. I blame much of it all on these people who have taken people's rights to the extreme. We now have a grossly over-sensitive society in which everyone thinks they are a victim if not treated like gold. Sorry but this is the obvious truth from my perspective. I apologize for the "rant", but I think it's important we take an HONEST look at things. Our society started crumbling a few decades ago. This is simply a continuation.

Tom 2 years ago

Great read- very informative. The sad thing is this story is repeated in so many other fields. I use to work in corporate food service- one of the "nicer" chain restaurants. Needless to say, it was litered with people who had teaching degrees who decided it either wasn't for them or needed more money to survive.

The worst part I've experienced about the job market to date is just how little accomplishments have to do with skill. More jobs are filled today because someone "likes" you or you look a certain way. It's get so extreme that I almost find it comical. I'm not sure what to think anymore other than I do believe our society is lost. Everything is tied to performance and making money- even education. Teachers are graded by their students and it is no longer a position of privelege while being held in high esteem. Which is a shame because it makes it vitually impossible to teach children when the classroom is lead by fear and the possibility of a bad survey. I wouldn't teach in any school minus a college. There are very few places now you can dodge the reality of what our country has become. Everything....including now subject to the fast food mentality. What a shame.

Michae 2 years ago

I am a very happily retired teacher and I agree with you 100%. However, those who have not experienced what you have cannot possibly understand. You weren't in the wrong profession but were working in the wrong system. Today complete idiots have taken over the school system. I love teaching and I always will. However, if I were offered a million dollars a year I would not even consider working in a high school again. I stopped enjoying it during the last 5 years when the system no longer worked. It was taken over by people who had absolutely no clue. To make a long story short the system is run by power hungry morons who are known as the DOE (Dopes Of Education). They don;t have a clue about education yet they run the system. I could easily write volumes on my experiences but it would sound unbelieveable. All I can say is that you're lucky you got out in one piece. Staying would have resulted in high blood pressure and a shortened unhealthy life. That, to me at least, is not worth any amount of money. The educational system is officially infected with what appears to be a cancer that has no cure. It's sad because society as a whole is suffering. It's also the reason why the world is becoming so pathetically stupid.

Martini 2 years ago

I'm a very depressed math teacher in Chicago. I moved around a little bit, hoping it would get better at the next school. It's all the same: lesson plans, unit plans, curriculum updating, excessive paper grading, updating bulletin boards, updating website, meetings after meetings, assembly preparations, coaching a club/team, tutoring, keeping track of ALL data like absences, any infractions etc., administration of all student forms like lunch, emergency, etc.,required professional development days, weekend competitions, and I can keep on going until infinity. I love the idea of teaching, but I truly hate all the other completely nonsense BS like I just mentioned. If I can get a job paying half of what I make now, I would leave today. I've been hospitalized once because of a severe panic attack. I'm burned out for working many all niters. The pain...ugh. I can't wait to get out. I hope you all found a better place to work outside of the teaching profession.

Nathan 2 years ago

Martini I sympathize with you. I also taught math for over 35 years in New York City. The last 5 years or so got exactly like you described. Before I retired in 2007 I also had panic attacks (kids through objects at me when I wrote on the board). Also my blood pressure was up to 170/110. Fortunately I had a great doctor who was very instrumental in getting me time off (I averaged 2 days working followed by 3 days off for my last 6 months). If I didn't do that I'd have had a heart attack or worse. You'll never change what has become a very sick system. My advise is to get out at any cost. If for some reason you can't at least try to preserve your health. Don't take it seriously cause it's not. Also use you insurance to visit a good doctor and try to get medical leave. It will make all the difference in the world. Lastly I strongly urge you to rent, borrow or buy the classic movie about why the school system is failing. It's called "Waiting For Superman". I believe it was released to DVD in 2010. It will really open your eyes to the absolute 100% truth! Best wishes to you and all suffering teachers out there. Since I retired I teach part time in college (love it!) and exercise 3-4 times a week by playing racquetball or tennis and by using my home gym. After losing nearly 20 pounds and being stress free for 7 years I am happy as can be 90-99% of hthe time. While I taught in high school I was sad and very unhappy 90% of the time. I even woke up in the middle of the night thinking about being attacked by insane retarded delinquents who couldn't even do 5th grade math without a calculator. Anyway I hope this post helps you realize that you're not alone and that you must get out as soon as possible!!!

John G. 2 years ago

I teach at a school that has a 1 hour or longer meeting every week. I just sit in the back and play chess or other games on my ipod touch. It makes the meetings painless. Every meeting is basically a repeat. They should just record it once and have it available when needed (about once a year). Another alternative is a 1 page typed sheet to read when needed.

Anonymous 2 years ago

America needs to take back the school system and let it be run by educators instead of those who know nothing about learning. The US is way behind countries like Japan, Russia, China and many others who actually provide a REAL education. The newest fiasco is to teach multiplication in the most obscure and needlessly long way possible. If that doesn't confuse the 9 and 10 year old kids they can try teaching it backwards. The school system actually worked until the 1990s when idiots and morons took over. Everyone should see the movie "Waiting For Superman" (2010) which clearly explains and shows what's happening today. Everyone should be outraged at such insanity which affects every single American everywhere. I'm speaking facts here and from experience. I've taught mathematics for over 40 years and still teach today n a college.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Hi All,

My panic attacks were so bad I threw up before work every morning. All of the extra work took all of the energy I had to do great teaching. I am now working at a newspaper and selling solar panels on the weekends. Still working crazy hours, but at least not taking the work home and dealing with idiotic admins.

Anonymous 2 years ago

It's very real and very true. Education today (2014) is a huge failure. Back in the 1980s, when educators ran the system, it worked for more than 95%. Today it's typical for 9th graders (about 80% of them) to have 4th grade math and reading skills. The systems way of fixing things is to provide calculators on tests (so they can do what we did with our brains back in 4th grade) and to grade standardized tests with a rubric. As if that's not bad enough they give partial credit on standardized math exams. I know because I graded 1000s from 2003 to 2007. This means the scores are curved or raised according to the percent you get correct. As an example, 38% on one state exam resulted in a fake score of 66%. This explains why you read lots of lies about how the system is working. The people who run the system are only fooling themselves because the public is now catching on to the truth! It's so sad that teachers are forced to do 5x the work they used to because kids today have deficient skill levels. Instead of putting more pressure on the parents and kids they place the responsibility on the teacher. Shame shame shame on the retarded people who are insanely running the school systems.

Anyone 2 years ago

A former principal explained the following:

If both younger & older teachers are tortured enough they will quit within 3 years and not be eligible for higher salary or pensions that they deserve. This means that every school can get rid of good teachers and hire beginners saves 1000s of dollars. When a new teacher becomes experienced they will be so upset or sick that they too will quit. Naturally their replacements will again save 1000s per teacher. What this means is that saving money comes before learning even though we as taxpayers are paying for kids education. In case you haven't noticed education in the US is dead. Furthermore the US is the laughing stock of countries that provide a proper education for their kids.

Anonymous 2 years ago

As long as criminals are controlling the system education may never be done the wat it should be done!

John Daskalos 2 years ago

OMG!!!! Where have you been hiding? I am so glad to have found this article. I am in my second full week of my first real teaching job and am extremely unhappy. I want to quit so badly. Backtrack: Got my alternate route and masters in edu in 2011. During that final year (2011-2012) I did a leave replacement (Nov-June) at a local high school where the majority of my teacher friends worked. In fact we all worked in the same department. To say that was a trial by fire is an understatement. It was very difficult for me, I had sleepless nights, wished I would get hit by an 18 wheeler on my way to work. Yet, I never missed a day but more out of fear of having to submit emergency plans. I also worked a part time job to have benefits (I had been there for year as a full time worker and switched to part time when this opportunity arrived). It was extremely stressful for me and at the end of the year I stopped speaking Spanish (what I taught) for a good six months out of anger. It took my at least a year and a half to get over the feelings I had. I stalled and did what I could to not find a job and not have to tell my friends how I felt. I don't hate teaching or teachers, I just don't and didn't want to do it after all was said and done. So, this past summer I had devised this plan to fake sending out resumes and state that since I had gotten no replies I was closing this chapter in my life. What drove me to actually send some blindly still is beyond me. I sent to all the catholic schools in my area as I had only partially started the certification process. ONE answered me and suggested I send a hard cop of my CV. Eventually I did and I got called. I was going to delete the voicemail but shared it (again, I don't know why) with my best friend- a teacher. He was happy and encouraged me to call and make the appointment. I was in such a bad mood that day but I did it. Met them two days later (this is in August mind you). I brought my portfolio which they didn't even acknowledge and three hours later had a job offer and signed the contract. The initial happiness wore off by the end of the evening. I almost rescinded my acceptance but because of my teacher cousin telling me to pull up my little girl panties, my aunt telling me to just do it for the money and my best friend telling me he was going to take a hiatus from our friendship if I did, I chose to stick with it. Oh, and they offered me department coordinator as well (no one else wanted it) and I took it just for the stipend. BIG MISTAKE. I am so miserable and have lost so much sleep. I am a lot calmer now as my two friends have done what they can to help me get organized. Ultimately it will fall on me to do this. My aunt tells me to just take it week by week and, as everyone says, things will get better and I am an extremely intelligent man ( I know ) and in a year or so things will start to get easier. I'm 46- had a "blah" job for years while I tried to figure out what my next reinvention was to be. I don't feel the knack for teaching. I am not looking for an epiphany or doves or high schoolers hanging on every single palabra. I want to say "OK, I'm gonna do it" but all I do is argue with everyone, get nervous, drink, and have these "fights" about the job out loud in my car in the morning. And I am way behind in basic set ups -- grade books, online grades etc. INPUT????

Anonymous 2 years ago

John you are suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This is very common with teachers due to the stress. Get a checkup and have your blood pressure checked often. You may be eligible, with your doctor's help, for some time off with pay. Step 1 is to find a good doctor. I did just that in 2006 and it changed my life from hell to heaven!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

I had a feeling this blog would become more active once teachers started yet another year of hell.

Before I resigned, I tried what the previous poster Martini did; went to another school. Didn't help me either. Waiting in the depths were the same things, as she pointed out: Lengthy lesson plans, bulletin boards to up date, endless, useless data tracking, etc.

Anything is better than teaching. So happy that nightmare is behind me.

If you want out, there is a way. You just have to find it.

anonymous 2 years ago

Education today is disgusting. Because most kids are distracted easily and fail to learn , the teacher is expected to work 10 times harder to get kids to catch up. Instead steps should be taken to get the kids (and their parents) to work harder. Perhaps Ex Teacher would like to share what he or she is doing to replace the nightmare called teaching.

Nathan 2 years ago

Besides teaching can anyone think of any other job that gets progressively harder as time goes on and impossible on Fridays?

John Daskalos 2 years ago

Anonymous, PTSD? Really? So you got a doc who did what? If you can inbox me I'd appreciate it

Anonymous 2 years ago

It's really simple John. If you are very depressed , having nightmares and feel sick you need to see a doctor. When you tell a doctor your true story they will examine you. If the doc finds continuous high blood pressure you are at risk of a heart attack. A good doctor will fill out forms for you and recommend time off from hell. If the people who run the system try to force you back they can be sued. Therefore you will most likely get the time off you need to recover from the unnecessary stress. The important thing is that all teachers under lots of stress need regular checkups to determine the status of their health. Yes I had high blood pressure and severe depression while teaching. However, on days when I didn't teach my blood pressure was a lot lower and that's why I was diagnosed with PTSD. I am now happily retired and teach part time in a local college. Once again I now love teaching because the conditions are much much better. My advice to all teachers today (2014) is to get out as soon as possible. You will be saving your life and send a message to the idiots who are miserably running the system.

John Daskalos 2 years ago


Hey. I don't have nightmares but I definitely have anxiety about this. Today I felt good and have bombed every single class shofar today. Poor planning on my part? I used a cd rom companion -- oh well. I can definitely look into that with a doctor but I'm also trying to see if I can go back to my old job (-18k reduction) until I can find where I really fit. I have se prospects as my job search has increased since I started teaching this September. It's unfortunate but my physical and emotional well being are more important. My aunt told me I'm great at fostering relationships with people and she thinks even if I reach one kid that's great-- I can see that but I just keep thinking that yes, it will get easier a year or two from now and I'm very smart but I don't believe this is my niche. Change is hard, more $ is more responsibility but I've taken on too much here- brand new teacher and dept coordinator and I'm drowning with both.

Anonymous 2 years ago

The system is purposely setting you up to fail as a teacher. Why you ask? Money is the answer. Most teachers quit within 3 years or less. The unnecessary stress is just too much. It's done purposely. For each teacher that quits the system saves 1000s per former teacher. In fact the money saved on just 1 older teacher at top salary is enough to hire 2 more suckers (I mean teachers) plus have 1000s left over. You don't have to be a math teacher to do the math here! The fact is that education today is dead.

Nathan 2 years ago

What a shame. Years ago it was all about how well a teacher taught. Today it's all about how well you can conform. Education and politics are quite different. Unfortunately education today has very little to do with learning. Why do you think they use calculators to learn math? Also, why do they advocate learning in groups rather than develop individual skills?

Michae 2 years ago

Education doesn't work because it's now controlled by inept organizations instead of educators.

Martini 2 years ago

Thanks Nathan for the kind words. Every morning when I come to work new initiatives are created. Shit is just piling up in my binder. Now I am way behind in grading and putting it online, and the school year has just started. I did the math, and we are doing 28 initiatives. I am doing 10, I would say. And barely clinging. I often wonder if principals are just that dumbfounded that they really have no clue how to run a school, or is it just the network chiefs that are pushing these papers down our throat. Anyways, this is my last year, and I mean LAST year I 'teach'.

Martini 2 years ago

Exteacher, what are you doing now if I may ask. I'm a math teacher, and I've tried to apply for Librarian, desk jobs anywhere, counselor assistant, Hotel business, private tutoring, but I haven't gotten 1 reply. n

John Daskalos 2 years ago

Anonymous and guys

This the thing-- I think there are some amazing teachers who have these stresses and do it and do it well. I know a good seven amazing foreign language teachers who love their jobs and are fantastic at it. They have it down to a science. So there are definitely two or three sides to a story.

I've had two help me these first two weeks of the school year and the way they rattle off what to do and how is amazing. Then I try after coaching etc and it doesn't work well. Yes, it is hard in the beginning but damn this specialized high school graduate with a perfect 4.0 in grad school person feels lost.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Sure sounds like teaching is not for you. Time to do some soul searching within yourself.

John G. 2 years ago

I just finished seeing the movie "Waiting For Superman". I borrowed it from my local library for free. This should be seen by every teacher in America. Very highly recommended for all educators everywhere. You will learn the truth if you see this.

Paul 2 years ago

Waiting for Superman is utter crap. So one sided and bias that it is not even funny.

Anonymous 2 years ago

I think people should see the movie and decide for themselves. What you call one sided many call truth because that's the way things really are in the America today.

Nathan 2 years ago

"Waiting For Superman" tells the truth about today's educational system. An even better movie, in my opinion, is "Detachment". It's an excellent movie about teachers (Adrien Brody in particular) and bad teens. Highly recommended. here's a link to find out more about it.

Former Teacher 2 years ago

Waiting for Superman is a move that serves only to demean and degrade teachers. The move promotes charter schools and fails to mention that money for such schools is taken from the public school system. Which leave regular public schools short of funds. Charters can be selective and take this best students while public schools ALWAYS have to take any students who come to them, regardless of ability.

This so called movie just demoralizes teachers who are doing the best they can despite the treatment they receive.

After ten years of teaching and being treated like garbage I left the teaching profession for nursing. At least now I do not get badly treated by both school administration and by society that just assumes all teacher are bad.

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Charters can also enable manipulative parents and lazy kids and terrorize teachers. Many break rules, protect dangerous students or students with severe learning disabilities and pass them through the system with no checks and balances.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@ Martini, Anon, & all others interested...

I am currently working as a service coordinator for a non profit which serves people with developmental disabilities. I'm sort of a case worker. I have paperwork, but nothing too crazy. I make visits to the residences to see the individuals and ensure all is well. All in all, it's a nice job, though pay is only okay.

I am currently waiting to get on MTA as a bus operator. Should get called in about a year or so. After 3 years, you are at top pay which is currently $30 an hour. No including overtime, that equates to $60,000 a year. That's what I was making after I resigned from the NYC Board of DREAD 2 years ago after surviving for only 3-4 years. I'm in my early 40s and don't feel a need for an "intelligent job" in order to build self-esteem, etc. I was never that type as it was, plus at this point, I want a SIMPLE job. I drive, observe the road as I drive, and that's the end of it. NO paperwork involved. If I go over 40 hours by even a minute, it's overtime. NO work is brought home. After 3 years, you can take a promotional exam for Dispatcher. Pays even more and is still hourly. I will cross that bridge when it arrives and decide. I'm a male btw. I'm seeing more and more female drivers. I think many fled paperwork jobs and had enough. I am applying for NYC Sanitation as well. I'll be called by MTA first and can decide if/when Sanitation calls. Whether it's MTA or Sanitation, there is always room to move around. the same cannot be said of teaching. For the most part, either you're a teacher for 25 years or you become a principal, but who would want to in this day and age.

Every job has it's pros and cons. I know I will have to deal with rude passengers, etc. but when I weigh it all out, I think I'm making an excellent choice. I'll also have my city benefits once again.

Now, this is the path I chose, but I know there are other options, no matter your age, etc.

I also took city exams for Traffic Enforcement, School Safety Agent, Motor Vehicle Driver, etc. They don't pay as well as a bus operator, but they are options.

It takes time for sure to find another job. Best thing in the world to do, in my opinion, is put out as many resumes as possible for anything you may be interested in. You just never know. Apply for as many city & state jobs as you can in areas you may have interest. There are many open job exams that really don't require a special degree, etc.

Now some people will feel they MUST use their Masters. I don't believe in that. I believe in being HAPPY, period.

I hope this somehow helps.

Nathan 2 years ago

I think "Waiting For Superman" was a documentary showing how charter schools are hurting education. I think some people missed the point. The movie did not advocate or promote charter schools. It was merely showing you the effects on learning. It was merely telling and showing you what's happening today which is detrimental to all of American society.

Anonymous 2 years ago

I agree with you completely Ex Teacher. If I were not happily out of the system I would do exactly what you posted. Besides being able to pay your bills, being happy is the most important thing in life.

The way things are now I wouldn't go back to teaching below college level even if I were offered millions of dollars. Teaching in many schools today is like being a prisoner in a jail where you're constantly bullied every single day by people who don't even have half your knowledge. Furthermore, those who are at the top (running the educational system) are complete idiots who sold their soul to the devil. These are the very people responsible for torturing teachers with completely unnecessary useless paperwork.

Teaching used to be a wonderful profession back in the 1970s to the early 1990s. Today teachers are treated like garbage. Presently, rather than work for the Department Of Education I'd rather scrub floors and pick up dog poop all day.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

^ Agree as well Anon. Glad you are now teaching in a way that does not destroy your soul. Towards the end of my hell ride, I knew for a fact I'd be happier sweeping floors all day in a supermarket for $5 an hour than to continue the insanity of the school system. I still remember being envious of the custodians and the school safety agent. Basically, I was envious of anyone in the building who's title was not teacher.

Yes, being happy is the most important thing in the world. I heard it a million times, but didn't truly understand the truthfulness behind it until I was miserable and was a day or two from my first ever nervous breakdown.

Teachers have not been treated as professionals since the time you noted: early 90s. It was all downhill, starting with our society, but that's a whole other story.

Well, I'm pretty happy now considering I'm currently not making much (in comparison to my teacher's salary). Then again, I don't bring any work home, etc. so it sort of equals out. Like you Anon, you could not pay me a million dollars a year to teach in that diseased system. What good would the money do with me laying in a hospital bed anyway. It actually took me weeks to somewhat re-energize and feel "normal" again. I thought I would feel normal within a day or two. I obviously didn't realize the magnitude of hell that I went through.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Yes Ex Teacher you're 100% correct. You are lucky to have left before your health and well being was ruined. During my last few years I saw many teachers die or become very sick trying to conform to the sick system. I was lucky because I was in a good situation till 2002 when my high school became infected with an incurable cancer. The DOE (Dopes Of Education) in NYC brought 100s of Australians to America to mentor experienced and inexperienced teachers. The problem is that they knew virtually nothing about Americans. This was a deal made by the mayor and it quickly destroyed the schools. I remember getting so frustrated with idiots ruining my lessons that I threw these Australians out of my classroom. When I insisted on giving them lessons in teaching math they finally left and never returned. Yes those last 5 years or so were hell for me but I knew I would soon retire and that's what kept me alive. Also I had so many sick days over the years from rarely being absent. I used these 3-4 days a week and my blood pressure went from being very high (175/110) to 118/70. It took 6 months after retiring to get completely back to normal. I wouldn't trade my present situation for any money in the world. I commend you EX TEACHER for literally saving your own life. More people should follow your example. By no longer being a teacher and telling your story you have finally taught something meaningful that truly comes from the heart (pun intended)!

Marie 2 years ago

A former teacher I know told me she now makes half the money but she's 10 times happier.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@ Anon, thank you. Resigning truly was a life-saver. I can't imagine anyone could start now and last 20-25 years. The only teachers who don't go through hell as bad are the ones who are related to the principal, etc. at the school they work.

I remember at the school I worked (worked at 2 different ones), the secretary's daughter was hired. She was immediately placed on a pedestal. I remember the principal telling me that I should speak to the daughter of the secretary with any questions because she is, and I quote, "the only one who knows what she's doing on this grade level". I said to myself, really? This is her 4th year teaching (my 2nd) and she knows more than the three other teachers on that grade level. You know, the ones who had 10, 14, & 17 years on the job. Not to mention being twice the age of the secretary's daughter. UNREAL. I also loved how she came in 5 minutes late every single day and the assistant principal would just wait with the kids like a good little doggy every morning. Of course, if anyone came in even a minute late just one time during the year, they were taken into the office and belittled for being irresponsible. Geez, I can write a book on it all (and I only taught a few years or so!).

@Marie, that is very true. I make almost half the money and I'm not 10 times happier, but a 100 times a happier.

God help every single teacher out there. No one deserves to suffer the brutalities of being a teacher in this day and age.

Nathan 2 years ago

I think if a dozen or more experienced teachers collaborated on a book about teaching it would be shocking, unbelievable, funny, sad and horrifying. Most importantly those who have no experience with teaching would just call it science fiction.

Martini 2 years ago

My principal just told me she wants to see all my graded work (to be approved or not) before being returned to the students... I'm resigning tomorrow. Take care all.

Nathan 2 years ago

Martini this is yet another example of how the failing educational system attempts to fix the learning problem. Put all the pressure on the teachers instead of the students and parents. It's like beating up a gym trainer because the student hasn't lost weight. I'm sure you will find something more sane than teaching. Please feel free to post what happened.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Don't quit just yet Martini. That's exactly what they want. Instead get a checkup from a good doctor and get time off for stress and suffering. You can get legally paid while resting. You deserve it. Then you can use your time to get something else. Even McDonald's at minimum wage is more appetizing than teaching. It would only be temporary until you can find something better. Stick it to the idiots rather than let them stick it to you!

Martini 2 years ago

Nah, they win. They can have it all: the total disrespect, the bureaucracy, the endless paperwork, the lunch with students, the minimum wage, and the deep, meaningful meetings on how we all are going to use our data to enhance our learning, and increase our students scores. The laughter. Any who, for all your math goons out there like me, you should take an easy job, and study to become an actuary on the side. Triple the pay, and less work. Nathan, the gym teacher example fits perfectly, that's exactly what's going on. To all: stay sane, and healthy, and get out. Ciao!

curio60 2 years ago

I'm there with you honey. Returned to teaching after a 10 year hiatus foolishly thinking, "Maybe it will be different this time..." Nope, it's worse. Waaaaaay worse. After four weeks and being a "target" as described in another comment, have realized my best recourse is to get the f*ck out and ask for a release from my contract. Talk about harassment and bullying, it blows my mind. And oh, I teach art, but they want me to teach it like math or science. But with no supplies. Try 6 cameras for a class of 33 in photo. Although I'm sure to some of you out there that sounds like an embarrassment of riches. sigh. And I have to say, the students are never the problem, but the admin??????? OMG.

anonymous 2 years ago

Imagine a math teacher trying to teach graphing with no board graph. Just a useless calculator which beginners could never understand. That's like serving food in a restaurant with no glasses for drinks. The whole educational mess will eventually explode in everyone's face.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@ Martini, I understand 100%. As I pointed out earlier, been there myself. Read my other posts. I give some general and some specific ideas. Trust me, you will find something better. It's really not that difficult when you think about how brutal teaching is. Good luck.

Oh, and don't you just love how teachers are treated like friggin children. Wanting to see your graded work...really??!! That's another thing I despised, having a Masters + additional certifications, quite a few years of experience, being 40 years old, and STILL be treated like a child. Sorry but I don't think so!

Martini 2 years ago

@exteacher, it sounds like you have a wealth of experience and are well educated. Clearly it seems that it could happen to anyone. It is friggin childish, and admin people are just plain dumb. They are just creating new ways to let anybody go. But no more of that my friend.

Nathan 2 years ago

About 10 years ago I had an assistant principal whose expertise was history. He was in charge of a mixed department with math, science, English and various other disciplines. He observed my math class and incorrectly tried to change my methods of teaching math. Since I was older and had more experience than he did I calmly explained my sound methods. Eventually he backed down and admitted that he learned a lot about differences in teaching math. Again the point is that complete idiots are running the system. That's why teachers are treated like students. If teachers were just left alone students would learn a lot more 99.9% of the time. Interference by inept administration does nothing but annoy the teacher and make them ineffective. It's done on purpose!

Martini 2 years ago

Spot on Nathan! Couldn't have said it better....

curio60 2 years ago

Will be turning in my resignation tomorrow. So frustrated and saddened. It's the kids that lose out. I had the same experience as Nathan; younger administration from English and History dictating step by step how I should be teaching art. Meanwhile student work is SPECTACULAR and all they are looking at is whether or not my "warm up" is clearly written on the board. So sad. Truly. Hang in Martini, I'm right behind ya.

Anonymous 2 years ago

All you posters could easily get together and write a book explaining what's wrong with education. You'd all be 100% correct in what you write. The higher ups who run the system would not pay attention because they are the worst kind of students. They think they know everything. This makes them unbending and unwilling to listen to reason. The best thing to do is get far far away from teaching. So sad because it used to be a great profession until morons were allowed to take over.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

Wow everyone. Your comments are helping me right now. All of your experiences were mine. Sometimes I think I should go back to teaching for the money, but reading what you are saying validates my decision to quit teaching coming up on two years ago now.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@curio60, you just reminded me of another brand of silliness permeating through the public school system: What's written on the board. I remember being told that every morning, before the students arrive, we all have to have our objective on the board, along with the lesson #, my method of if-needed intervention, etc. So, every morning I was on edge that I may forget the great importance of writing this meaningless crap on the board. Had to do it twice since I had a 4/5 split. They mentioned it was all for the students knowledge. In the meantime, my average 5th grader was on a 1st grade reading level and my average 4th grader was on a kindergarten level. Quite honestly, I could have written "I really want to jump out of the nearest open window right now because I hate teaching" and they wouldn't have had a clue.

@Kiki, I do understand the financial temptation. I know you been through it too and I don't have to tell you this, but keep in mind that, as we know, things only get worse and worse every year. So, when you quit two years ago, as I did btw, the system was a horror. I'm guessing now it's a horror +1. As we know, just when you think it can't get worse, it does, and in a way that you didn't think was possible.

John Daskalos 2 years ago

What do I do? I am at such a loss. I have been at my computer for almost two hours trying to figure out what to do tomorrow. I am going day by day trying to survive. I am behind in my own administrative duties for my classes AND have so many other things to do as well. We have to teach from a text book --- seriously???? I am looking at it and baffled. I can't even come up with my own ideas to take ownership of this damned lesson. I was talking to a doctor friend of mine today who gave me a script for Xanax. Not what I want but I will take one tonight at bedtime, which is in two hours. Two hours to try to come up with work for preps. Classes are 40 min each and I know I have to do it -- especially since I gave a class long reading assignment. They are bored and so am I. Part of me just wants to quit. Something clicked over the weekend-- after being in an admin meeting where the VP called this crop of new hires the weakest, most emotionally needy, least experienced group of people he has seen in 9 years. That we need a lot of help etc. Something in me said: #$%$ you! I don't care as much. I just want to survive this stinking week. I want to survive TOMORROW.

curio60 2 years ago

@Kiki - Do NOT return, I repeat, do NOT return. Like I said, I foolishly returned after a 10 year hiatus, also needing the money. I thought the support would be better and that they understood that as a late hire (two days before classes started) I would need help facilitating the admin. issues. But once I stepped in the door? Bam, all support gone, in fact, they threw up obstacles to systems access and room access. No pupil free prep, not on their zangle system for weeks, couldn't even get anyone (including my department chair) to let me in on the weekend to vet the room and equipment for a production based class, on MY OWN TIME. But of course, all that's my fault. Because being a keysmith, computer/camera repair person, or a systems hacker is part of my job description, apparently.

Anonymous 2 years ago

The latest fiasco in the schools is that they are about to allow students to bring cell phones to class. As if teachers don't have enough to deal with already they want to add cell phones to the party. What next? Let students bring tablets and video games? Guess what? They already do that and call it education. What a sick joke the educational system has become.

Nathan 2 years ago

Nowadays anything that undermines the teacher is fair game. After all, the mess created by the system is always the teacher's fault. Those in charge are too afraid to look in the mirror and see where the fault really comes from. The educational system stopped working completely about 10-12 years ago. People who knew little about learning were allowed to fully take over. Inept people like the mayor and the state education department, just to name a few, completely took over the schools. That's like allowing doctors to be in charge of running a fire department. No wonder education today is failing miserably. The average 9th grader today can't even do 4th grade work but yet they're passed on for teachers everywhere to deal with. I used to deal with 100s of kids just like I described. Thank God I'll never have to do it again because it was pure hell.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

In all this insanity, I sometimes look on the bright side. I think to myself things such as "Thank God I went to school as a student when the system wasn't a** backwards like it is now. That's why I can actually write in script!". Hey, remember that everyone?? Script!! Yes, my last year teaching (which lasted 2 months) I remember the buzz around the school regarding the new 4th grade boy who just moved here from India that wrote beautifully in cursive. Most of the kids in our school couldn't even print well. I keep saying it over and over: Watch the movie "Idocracy". We ARE headed there folks.

curio60 2 years ago

Oh my lord, @ex-teacher, I just went on a rant at Back to School Night re: the loss of cursive, the loss of drawing and most visual arts, and the loss of manual dexterity and fine motor skills, not to mention the accompanying brain action, it leads to. We are so in love with technology we are willing to toss THOUSANDS of years of development re: handwriting and the arts. Everything is related but much of education only compartmentalizes and stigmatizes (those poor special ed. kids, I think so much of that is misguided. They're all shunted into these little holes. So wrong.) It makes me so sad, I am an idealist at heart but no one will watch out for you but yourself.

curio60 2 years ago

and @John Daskalos - you need to get to a doctor and take a sick leave, at least for a few days. It is not worth risking your health over a crappy job. I suffered a clinical depression on my original teaching job that nearly killed me. I do not consider true depression a "mental" disorder, it is in fact a physiological disorder and needs to be categorized as such. Could help alleviate some of the stigma. I could foresee another episode brewing with this current job, and it is NOT WORTH IT. You may worry about loss of pay or job status or whatever, but it's better to be unemployed than dead.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@curio60, Why should the system care about, and I quote you, "the loss of cursive, the loss of drawing and most visual arts, and the loss of manual dexterity and fine motor skills....." ....when there are state exams to be taken? Nothing else matters but that now a days. Why my students had to take these is beyond me. Had SPED 4/5 split. The principal said to me bluntly "I expect 2s and some 3s". I said to myself, this woman is insane. I told her I'll do my best. I did my best, didn't happen. Guess I was a sh*itty teacher after all. LOL ;)

In the meantime, my students did achieve VERY impressive improvements in their reading levels, etc. However, that meant absolutely ZERO to admin. They could jump 3 reading levels in two months and if they did not do well on those state exams, I was a sh*tty teacher. Period.

Anyway curio60, well said. You're right but the powers that be don't all.

Nathan 2 years ago

Scores from kids (many at least 5 years below their level) have little or nothing to do with you Ex Teacher. In the same way overweight kids who can't do 10 chin ups (or pullups) have virtually nothing to do with the gym teacher. That's the part that the idiots in charge can't or won't see.

curio60 2 years ago

@exteacher - I don't expect them to care about me, it doesn't have anything to do with me. I expect them to care about the kids; and that means supporting the instructors they hire and the programs they offer. But the infrastructure isn't there; my mistake was in thinking it was in place at this particular school when it wasn't. I was eaten alive by politics the first day I stepped on campus. I'm a teacher, not a politician.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@ Nathan, excellent analogy. We're definitely living in a "blame someone else" society. It's never been this bad. All of us teachers have heard it all. I was told by a parent that my student never brings in a pencil because they don't have money. Same reason he never brought in a notebook. This is the same kid who came to school everyday with $150 sneakers and a blinged-out cell phone. Schools are a**-backwards because our society is a**-backwards. I used to teach summers at an at-risk program. The main requirement to get in the program was to be low-income. Seen mothers roll up in Lexus, etc. and drop off their kids. Pretty sickening.

@curio60, politics helped push me out as well. I consider it a blessing now.

Nathan 2 years ago

The more posts I read the more grateful I am to be out of teaching in public high school. Some day, perhaps in a 100 years or so, teachers will once again be in charge of education. Today teachers must take a back seat and take direction from people who know little or nothing about learning. I truly sympathize and feel very sorry for all teachers out there.

Recently my little 8 year old granddaughter mentioned that she was going to be a teacher. I instinctively screamed NO NO NO!!!

John Daskalos 2 years ago


Et al

It's hard. This week thanks to retreats the students and staff were taking part of I only taught for three and half days. Those easy days my friend commented: "this is the happiest you've been since you started. And it's cuz your not teaching and worrying about it. It makes me very sad that I was one of those strong voices telling you to take this job and you are going through so much. But it gets better, I promise."

I only took one Xanax but woke up yesterday (Saturday) with anxiety and it came and went in waves yesterday but I hid it from everyone. Today I'm anxious and already stressing the day and things I have to do- personally and professionally. I'm going to look for a therapist this week. Even on Xanax I want to quit-- yes, it can get better and there's a part of me that says to stick it out it will get better but I'm so unclear and stressed...this coming weekend is a huge festival I go to for years and years and because the school is having an open house the following day I'm considering 1) not going or 2) going and ending my day early to work for the coming week 3) giving tests all day Monday --- ugh

ExTeacher 2 years ago

@Nathan, yes I would steer anyone away from being a teacher, family or otherwise. I'll always remember the teacher who told me to run away and told me that a number of times. This was over 10 years ago when I first started subbing. I considered him a negative idiot with nothing better to do. I wish I could see him now so I can tell him how sorry I am I didn't listen to his wise words. Scary is this was 10 years ago. It wasn't even as bad as it is now.

@John, prescriptions are rarely the solution. It can get better, but rarely does. I'd start looking for other career options if I were you. Start getting some resumes out there. Even if it's a lower paying job, it can be a temporary thing until you find something a bit better. If it's low stress and you can handle the financial terms, you've nothing to lose and everything to gain, like your health & sanity which are both priceless.

Nathan 2 years ago

You're right Ex Teacher it's getting worse all the time. My 10 year old grand daughter, who I sometimes help do math homework, tells me they don't spend more than a few minutes on math. They expect kids to learn math with various types of media that, although good as an occasional supplement, is not a substitute for a teacher. The reality here is that it's done out of stupididy. The system is truly a sick cancer and it will not get any better for many many years.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

I agree Nathan. It is a cancer. I don't believe it will get better, and if it does, I can see it reverting back to sh*t faster than you can say differentiated instruction. Ahhhh, feels good to say that term now that I'm no longer teaching.

The only way I would condone someone to go into teaching now is if it were in a third world country (yes, pay will be low) where the cancers of our systems have not yet reached. Notice I do say yet, because one never knows if third world countries will be immune to this cancerous system forever. I've told this story once before, but for those who have not seen it, I will briefly tell it again....

I went on vacation with my wife to the Dominican Republic a few years ago. I was still teaching at the time. We did an excursion through the outback. During this excursion, we visited a local school. The simplicity of this school had me in awe. It was a throwback. Made me feel like I was an 8-year old kid again. The walls were not plastered with stupid sh*t like rubrics, checklists, etc. It simply had some work displayed with a simple comment and a simple number score. The schedule was up in permanent marker. I had my Spanish-speaking wife ask some questions. It confirmed what I was seeing...things were NORMAL. Principal would observe once a year for just a few minutes. Students who misbehaved multiple times were kicked out. Students sat at individual chairs (none of this group work crap). They would work with a partner here and there. The teacher did not have to show her lesson plans to the principal. The teacher said she felt very well respected by her principal, the students, and the parents (imagine that??!!!). There was more, but you get the idea. Sure, she isn't retiring in 10 years or anything, but isn't NORMALNESS priceless? I came back even more depressed than when I left. I stepped back into my classroom, looking around at all the nonsense I was forced to plaster on the walls, etc.

Anyway, that's my story. Bottom line is, sometimes not being "up to date" with all the latest "science" is a blessing.

Hey NYC BOE, differentiate THIS!!!!!!!!!

Nathan 2 years ago

Ex Teacher your description of education in the Dominican Republic is pretty much what I experienced from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. After that it just got progressively worse. The sad part, for me, is that I was taught by many great people whose amazing proven teaching methods have now become obsolete in the eyes of so called educators. It's as if we've gone backwards instead of forwards. Today education has a one size fits all policy and that can never work!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Nathan, yes, after the early 90s, that's when it all changed. In fact, that's when our society changed as whole. It's when things like extreme political correctness began to rear it's ugly head, etc. No way is that all coincidence to me. Schools truly are connected to societal shifts.

You're 100% spot on about the teaching methods of the past. That's one thing said by me and many of the other teachers at the time I was still a teacher: We learned how to read, write, & do arithmetics the old school way and are having no problem functioning, even in this "updated" society. In fact this grammatically-correct paragraph I am writing is the product of the teachers from the 70s & 80s. If their methods are outdated and inferior, how is it I'm writing in a coherent manner right now? Can somebody please explain this phenomenon? Anybody? Hello?

Nathan 2 years ago

The problem Ex Teacher is that inferior educators are trying to educate. Rather than do what's right, they have a political agenda to follow. The authorities who control education just pretend to care about the public. The truth is they merely care about what goes into their pockets. After all money truly is the root of all evil. Students have changed drastically over the years and so have the idiots who run the system. The real question is what can the public do to change things?

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Nathan, what can be done by the public to change things? We need a MAJOR, collective outrage across the country. Unfortunately, chances of that happening are slim to none. I'm not a pessimist by nature (in fact, I'm the opposite), but I honestly do not see things changing in our society, so I don't see things changing in the school system. In fact, I honestly don't believe we will ever revert back to many of our old ways. I'm glad to have spent my teen years in the 80s, the last decade of innocence and common sense as far as I'm concerned. You know, before the 90s came and the victim mentality, among other things, kicked into high gear. Accountability has been long gone. With it, responsibility, common sense, and so many other things. So sad.

Nathan 2 years ago

Yes Ex Teacher you are accurate in your assessment of education today. You can't change parking laws because governments are making billions off of parking tickets. Similarly they now make billions with unethical practices. For example, calculators bring in billions a year even though it's proven that they are a hindrance to learning mathematics. Clearly over use of calculators decrease understanding and perception. These facts are hidden in the name of underhandedly making (or stealing) the public's money. You can, if you wish, learn more at about this at (a site written by mathematicians).

You're also realistic in noting that change does not seem possible in the near future. However, perhaps in 50 to 100 years from now the entire system will literally disintegrate into the garbage it has become. Some philosophers are predicting that this will eventually happen and that we will eventually go back to what actually worked for 100s of years. Too bad we won't live long enough to see the change back to normalcy.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Yes Nathan, if it ever does revert back in any meaningful way, we definitely won't be around to see it. That is a shame indeed.

I will check out that web site for sure. Thanks.

Nathan 2 years ago

The latest nonsense are commercials telling the public that 143,000 American children can't read and write or do basic math. Their slogan, as I'm sure most of you have heard by now, is "Don't steal possible". The message they are trying to convey is to give children a chance to learn and obtain their dreams when they grow up.

The problem, however, is that the message is being addressed to the general public. This is a waste because the public cannot and will not change anything. The message needs to be directed to the idiots in charge. They need to directly address the Department Of Education and numerous other organizations who have destroyed education. Secondly a push needs to be made to get back to basics (reading, writing and arithmetic) and stop hurting children with too much technology too soon. Also the system needs to stop socializing American children. People learn individually at individual rates. Sticking them in groups is detrimental to learning. America needs to go back to what worked for 100s of years before it's too late! On the other hand maybe it is too late. Maybe the cancer in education is so bad that we will continue to raise a generation of uneducated people whose greatest claim to fame will be ridiculous abbreviations like LOL, LMAF and #. The sad thing is that many young people use # for everything but a number which is it's real meaning. There's very serious crimes being committed in America and they call it "education".

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kikibruce 2 years ago from New York Author

I just got into an argument with a person who thinks that as long as teachers have good time management skills they should have no problem managing and teaching the Common Core curriculum and getting kids ready for their standardized tests whilst putting up with all of the bureaucratic extras thrown at them by administrators. I finally had to walk away after she said that teachers make a great salary and therefore should put up with it.

Nathan 2 years ago

Kikibruce it has been shown that many questions created by common core are illogical and unfair. For example a question was asked in the past about choosing a drink for a picnic. Various sizes were shown such as a glass, pint and quart. This is a subjective question which should have no right or wrong answer. A child from a poor family would select a large size to share with family members. A child from a more affluent family would select a small size because they can afford individual servings. I was helping my daughter who teaches 6th grade when I saw this question. I am amazed that unprofessional idiots are actually allowed to create such biased and poor questions. A good question should be age appropriate, unbiased and have exactly one and only one answer. Common idiots who created common core obviously know nothing about appropriate test questions. They call it common core but I, as a mathematics teacher, call it "Common Corporation" because they do what they want even if it's clearly wrong!

ExTeacher 2 years ago

Great points. No one up above cares so things won't be changing at all, or at least not for a very long time.

First we had No Child Left Behind, now we have Race To The Top. Two different presidents. Two different parties. Same nonsense. That's a BIG problem when you think about it.

Looking on the White House web site, it says the following:

"Five years ago, President Obama took office at a time when the American education system was at a crossroads. While the No Child Left Behind law had forced some important, hard conversations around issues like accountability and equity for all students, highlighting achievement gaps, it also had unintended and unfortunate consequences.

Some of these consequences included creating incentives for states to lower standards, mandating one-size-fits-all remedies, and putting standardized testing ahead of a well rounded curriculum.

Starting with its signature education reform initiative – Race to the Top – the Obama Administration set a new agenda that put state-level innovation at center stage."

The criticisms of NCLB are just what's happening with RTTT.

And I quote: "lower standards, mandating one-size-fits-all remedies, and putting standardized testing ahead of a well rounded curriculum."

Standards are still at an all time low. Kids get passed just for showing up with a pencil.

One-size-fits-all is still forced upon us.

Standardized tests are still all that matters to the powers that be. Nothing else matters to them and we all know it.

One of the greatest sayings in the world got messed with a few decades ago:


Things were going well. Most kids were doing well. There were some who didn't, but there are many factors involved and not everything can be magically fixed, including throwing money at it.

I could go on and on, but think I will stop for now.

I'm a Optimist but also a realist....and I see no hope for the upcoming decades.

Nathan 2 years ago

Ex Teacher your points hit the problems exactly. Especially true is "IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT". Unfortunately when educators have to answer to politics there will always be change (mostly negative).

I remember kids in high school (about 10 years ago) saying that they could never get left back (there was some truth to that). The reason, in the kids' minds, was that NO CHILD WOULD BE LEFT BEHIND meaning (to them) that they couldn't be left back or repeat the class. As a result the majority of the kids didn't try and became serious behavior problems. This is what happens when you're more concerned with politics than education. Shame on the idiots who have destroyed public education.

Anonymous 2 years ago

It's been years that we're being fed stupidity. Now politicians are taught to say "I approve this message". That's like saying "I know my name". Why would anyone not approve what they're saying. So many stupid things now being taught in the US. How about the many retarded commercials? "15 minutes could save 15% on car insurance" really means "30-45 minutes of high pressure sales could get you to pay 25% MORE on your car insurance. Unfortunately the world around us has become totally stupid. Now it starts early in virtually all American schools.

ExTeacher 2 years ago

^ Wow Anon, couldn't agree more. Really glad you brought up the commercials issue. Anyone else noticed how dumb commercials have gotten? They're actually dumbing down commercials because that's what this pathetic population can relate to. Hope I'm not insulting any readers here, but just look at all the reality shows. Sorry but how these shows stimulate people on a nightly basis is beyond me. Fine, you think one is cute or funny, but many people are watching these shows day and night. Scary stuff. The best are the drug commercials. They play happy music, with smiling actors/actresses, name all of the serious side effects, then end it by saying something along the lines of "Call your doctor now and ask about _________ *insert drug name*. It's quite amazing. Now don't get me wrong, though I look to go natural and avoid prescription drugs, some are helpful. It's just the way they put the drug commercials out there that is insulting. They know they can play happy music with smiling faces and the average viewer will simply overlook all the major possible side effects without blinking an eye. We are the sheeple folks. It's true.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Ex Teacher you make a great point about retarded reality shows. A famous producer from the 1960s spoke on that several months ago on a cable channel. He said that the push is to get dumbed down people to watch reality shows with fake actors who get paid less than 2% of real actors. Sometimes they expose their personal lives (both real and fake) just to get food for their families as payment. Meanwhile he networks make millions a year from fake actors & the commercials. Even if I was payed I wouldn't want to watch a dumb fake unreal so called reality show. It's totally scripted and the morons who watch have no clue.

Another thing for idiots is the hijacking of the number sign and for no good reason calling it "hashtag". There's no such thing as hashtag except in the minds of really dumb people. Many people today, who can't do 5th grade math, use hashtag for everything except a number which is it's real meaning. The # sign no longer works and neither does the minds of a huge chunk of the population. It's just too bad and so sad.

Anyone Atall 2 years ago

The Kardashians are on 7 days a week 24/7. I wonder how many with an IQ below 50 spend every minute of their lives watching this pure crap!

Essa 24 months ago

I can totally relate to this article. I also find it difficult to enjoy being in this profession and this is only my 3rd year. I first started out teaching grade 3 (it was nuts!) then decided that maybe teaching at the HS level would be better suited for me. After some time, I was able to make the switch, but not without starting at the bottom again, with my pay and my seniority. I am finding it hard to make ends meet as I am the breadwinner. I work hard at my job and do my best to ensure that I deliver engaging lessons and that students are understanding (I teach foreign language). But I am continuously stressed out from the list of endless demands and expectations put on teachers, especially new teachers. I am at the point where I go home, to my safe zone, and I yet I still can't relax and only think about work and the amount of things that I think are irrelevant, that I need to do. I come into work every morning feeling drained. The only thing that gets me through the day is thinking about the end of the day, how I will eventually be going home. The pressure from the parents is probably one of the main reasons that I wan't to leave as well. I thought that in HS the parents would not be as pushy as they were in the elementary levels as the students are older and more responsible with their work. However, I am finding that parents are still the same and it doesn't matter how HARD you work to ensure that every student is understanding the lesson and ensuring their success, there will be those who just don't bother, and as a result, the teacher is blamed. I really find that hard to deal with. I think I just want a job where I can leave work at work, or at least the majority of it, and be able to focus on my family and my well being.

Sorry for my rant, but it really helped with relieving some of that anxiety I had building up.

anonymous 23 months ago

Essa teaching today, at any level, is a complete nightmare. My advice is to get out as quickly as possible before you develop irreversible health problems.

Even if you make less money your health is worth everything. Don't walk away but RUN before it's too late.

I retired in 2007 after teaching high school for over 35 years. Fortunately I enjoyed teaching except for the last 5 years.

Presently teaching today is pure hell and good teachers like you deserve much much better! If you don't believe me please read all the above posts carefully and then make the right choice. Good luck in whatever you do because even night work at McDonald's is better than teaching!

Nathan 23 months ago

Go here and learn more about why people should NOT be a teacher in today's society:

ExTeacher 23 months ago

@Essa, what you said reminded me of how I felt before I quit.

You said: "The only thing that gets me through the day is thinking about the end of the day"

Yup, that's the only thing that got me through the day.

@Anon, you're 100$ spot on in your advice to Essa. Don't walk away from your teaching job, RUN. And yes, McDonalds would be better than teaching for sure.

In fact, it's difficult to think of any other jobs that aren't better overall. McDonalds worker, Custodian, Rodeo Clown, Circus Freak, and the list goes on and on and on. Being a teacher is a hybrid of those jobs, but the worse parts combined. You wait on people (students, parents, Admin) for pay which is less than impressive, cleaning up the mess of others (insert the same as before), dodging danger (once again insert the same), as you are trapped in the middle of a freak show, right smack in the center of it all.

Nathan 23 months ago

Ex Teacher your job description of a teacher is exactly right. The only thing I can add is that teachers are blamed for everything. It's always the teacher's fault when kids can't learn. Teachers are blamed by principals, parents, the mayor, the kids themselves, most idiots in charge of education and a large percentage of the misinformed and brainwashed public. Unfortunately those who blame teachers never look at themselves. When a child can't read or write and can't do first grade math without a calculator it's always the teachers fault. What actually matters is that we teachers (both former and present) can look in the mirror with truthful satisfaction.

ExTeacher 23 months ago

@Nathan, of course it's all the teacher's fault!! Who else, right?

I remember a substitute telling me she was in a 1st grade class. Some kid decided to stab the kid next to him in the ear with his pencil. Yes, 1st grade. The substitute said she subbed there about 20 times, but after that incident, no more calls to sub. So apparently, this kid's decision to suddenly stab his classmate in the ear with a pencil was the sub's fault. Makes sense to me!

Nathan, you mentioned the brainwashed public. Don't even get me started on that huge percentage of our population. There isn't enough hours in the day!!!! ;)

Nathan 23 months ago

Ex Teacher: Blaming the substitute for a kid getting stabbed is ridiculous. I guess if a kid spits on the floor that would also be the teacher's fault. It's the same mentality like when a gym teacher is blamed because an overweight child can't do 10 push ups or pullups. Once again it's always the teacher's fault.

After I retired I received "substitution" papers which I immediately discarded. I wouldn't be a substitute in any school for any amount of money. Accepting that type of job, even for a day, would be the equivalent of beating myself up badly. In fact, I vowed in 2007 to never again step foot in any school below college level. I never have and never ever break that promise to myself.

By the way, the brainwashed part of the population I was referring to are those who never worked in a school and have no idea what really occurs in schools on a daily basis. These people only have the news media to rely on for information. Definitely no comparison to working as a teacher which is unimaginable until you experience it.

ExTeacher 23 months ago


Our society, as of the last two decades, has made it so people are allowed to blame others for their own mistakes. When you have people winning lawsuits in which they spilled coffee on themselves and claim the container should have read "contents are hot", you get teachers being blamed for any student who is performing or acting poorly.

Btw, that lawsuit occurred in 1992 and the woman won 2.9 million dollars. 20 years later, another suit and $640,000 goes to another "victim" :

What a despicable world we now live in.

Btw, your 2007 vow was beyond wise. Teaching anywhere other than college is asking for a real-life nightmare 7 days a week (school is 5 days a week but don't forget weekend grading, lesson planning, and worrying about the new school week).

Oh, have you seen differences at the college level over the last few years or so? I am hearing so interesting stories even at the college level. Just wondering what your experience has been. Thanks!

Nathan 23 months ago

Ex Teacher: There are major differences in college. The main difference, in my college at least, is that you have 98% less discipline problems than in high school. Occasional talking for a minute or so is the worst you get in college. Also what most of us learned by 10th grade in high school is hard for college students. Being more mature and hard working, college students tend to show a lot more rapid improvement than immature high school students. There is one college in NYC though that I've heard is a lot like high school. That's because they mostly accept people who are payed by the government to attend college. That brings in the worst and you can imagine that it is almost as problematic as high school.

Knowing how things are today I would never teach below college level. In fact if I were 18 years old today I'd work harder for a couple of years and go straight to the college level. I recommend this to teachers who are over 25 with some experience, enjoy teaching and have at least a masters in their subject area. There are some political moves that have made their way into the college level but overall it's still 80-90% better than teaching kids in a public school. Also you might earn a little less because you are payed either by the hour or according to the number of classes taught each week (usually 4 in college).

ExTeacher 23 months ago

@Anon, love your list! Of all those on your list, or my own, Reality Shows are proof number one for me that our society is not just DUMB, but seriously ILL.

@Nathan, thanks for the insight. Now when you refer to those paid by government, and mentioning the worst being brought in, I'm guessing you mean grants, not scholarships, correct?

I would consider teaching college, but think my licenses are expiring this year or next and I haven't attended any professional development workshops which are required to maintain my licenses. I know I should have just to do it, but I've been too busy with other things, plus I still don't even want to think about mind-numbing workshops.

I'm happy to hear you are having a pleasant experience. After all those years you put in, especially those very difficult last few years or so, you deserve it.

Nathan 23 months ago

Ex Teacher the students I was referring to are from a low income neighborhood. This makes them eligible to get free college from various government grants and special programs to help people living in that neighborhood. The problem is that when given for free it becomes meaningless. The only purpose it serves is to temporarily keep them off the street. This type of college, which is rare, is not for you.

If you like teaching college is the place to go. The requirements are at least a masters degree in your subject and experience (at least 10 years). You may need some simple courses as a requirement (no big deal) but you will not need to worry about mind-numbing workshops. Although not perfect it's definitely 99% better than teaching high school or below.

ExTeacher 23 months ago

Nathan, I get what you're saying. I sure didn't have money when I was younger. No free college for me. Guess I wasn't in the right neighborhood, etc. haha. So what did I do? I worked by butt off and put myself through community college. Anyway, it's government enabling others to do little or nothing and get rewarded for it. More money thrown at a problem that isn't going away no matter the millions of dollars spent.

As for teaching in college, based on what you said, I do not necessarily need a non-expired license? Problem is, I don't have 10 years experience. I only made it 4 years, 6-7 including summer teaching, subbing, etc.

Still, every college is different, so perhaps I would be considered. Perhaps I'll pursue it when the time is right. Thanks!

Anon, another good example. I think a book could be written just with examples alone!

Nathan 23 months ago

Ex Teacher, I also went to a community college because back in my day you needed 450 on SAT exams. Although I scored well in math (500s) I just missed a decent score on the English part by a few points. To me the reading was very boring. I had to prove myself first (according to the college) before I could attend a 4 year college.

You and I busted our butts and did it the right way. I bet we both had to go to school and work at the same time to pay for it. Today, with so many stipends and grants, people are sent the wrong message. They get it for free and don't take it seriously. I agree that people with low income should be given a chance but not without good grades and at least paying for part of it. Responsibility nowadays is gone.

As for teaching in college you just need a masters in your field and experience. There are some teachers at my college who are in their early 20s and only have a masters plus limited experience. However, they are presently pursuing another degree. I would try going on interviews and explain your situation. Some prospective employers may be understanding. Also they may need to fill a void and you may be fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. Because of your limited experience (in their eyes) it won't be easy but it's definitely worth it to keep trying.

ExTeacher 23 months ago

Nathan, we obviously have the same outlook on certain things. Yes, I worked and went to school at the same time for years. Wasn't easy, but I did it. For those who actually try as we did, it's a slap in the face when others get in because they are in a certain neighborhood, demographic, etc. Again, it's hurting more than helping. Reminds me of a summer program I taught at before I was teaching for the NYC Board of Dread. Students had to be low income to be enrolled. Paid for by the government (actually, our taxes). Then mommy rolls up in a Lexus, Escalade, etc. to drop off her low-income children. What a sickening feeling I got watching this every morning. This is country is so backwards, it's no wonder we're a shell of what we once were. Anyway...

Yes, I will definitely consider applying. I will keep my eyes open. Thanks.

Nathan 23 months ago

Ex Teacher, I forgot to mention that timing is very important. Send out resumes in the beginning of November and the beginning of May. This is because in December and early June of every year colleges are in need of teachers. Summer school in college starts early and that's when teachers are most needed because many don't want summer hours. Also by late August to early September things happen and teachers are needed. For example this September a teacher got pregnant while another teacher decided last minute to retire. As a result the college went scrambling to find a live body. As I mentioned timing is everything. Also sending a resume every 2 or 3 months is helpful because it gets your name out in the market. Another option is to personally visit colleges. That's how I was eventually hired in 2007.

Best of luck finding anything that's not involving the "NYC Board of Dread" (that's quite humorous).

ExTeacher 23 months ago

Nathan, I will definitely do that. Thanks so much for the information.

Funny, you mentioned a pregnant co-worker. Reminded me of a principal I had. She was notorious for telling new female teachers, don't get pregnant during the school year. Time it correctly. That's bad enough in general, but coming from another female?! This is the same principal who told me I should have gotten married during the summer. I planned it so our honeymoon would be during Thanksgiving week so I would only need to take off 3 days as opposed to 5. That ended up meaning nothing to her. It was from that point on I went from being a Satisfactory teacher to an unsatisfactory teacher who could suddenly do nothing right. I was also welcomed with multiple observations every week (up from an average of once per month) with nothing but negative post-its left for me to enjoy. Fun times!!!! haha

Anonymous 23 months ago

Here is more evidence that since the 1980s education no longer works. It's definitely not teachers who cause the problem. It's the so-called leaders (education and business) who have ruined what used to work extremely well.


1.) People write dates backwards such as 2014-11-10 instead of 11-10-2014. It's month, then day and then year (duh).

2.) They continue to have limited or no writing skills at all. As proof their favorite words are LOL , WTF, LMAO, LMFAO and many more.

3.) Studies show that most people won't buy an item selling for $5.99. However, at 2 for $12.99 everyone (almost) gets on line! [Some will need a calculator to do the math here. Go figure.]

4.) Most retail stores sell items by using the line "buy 1 get 1 free". This creates long lines without even knowing the price of 1 item which is usually double or more than the actual retail price!

5.) Black Friday (or Black Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, ... etc.)

6.) People will destroy their internal organs taking dozens of unnecessary vitamins and herbs even though they don't need them.

7.) Addicts of Apple will sleep in freezing weather for days to be first to buy an over priced iPhone 1,2,3,4,5 or 6 with minor or inferior upgrades.

8.) Idiots at Microsoft selling millions of desktops with software designed for tablets (even the tablets don't work).

9.) Years ago people destroyed an estimated 10 million dollars worth of working analog televisions because it was rumored that they wouldn't work any more. Some smart families are still using them today.

10.) Customers will pay up to $500 more if the size of a TV is increased by 2 inches.

11.) People have spent millions on smart TVs that are really dumb TVs. What they didn't realize is that anything on a smart TV is freely available on the internet. Then they have to pay more every month to watch premium movies or TV.

12.) People are actually paying for free TV!

13.) Millions of people bought 100s of movies they already own at twice the price. This gave them a blu-ray copy even though the blu-ray player accepted DVDs.

14.) When I was in high school in the 11th grade one student sat by himself in the back because his reading level was about 8th grade. Today (2014) he'd be among the top 15% in his class. This is 100% true!

15.) Many people are going shopping after Thanksgiving dinner. Yes it's true. Numerous greedy stores will be open again to disrespect dumb families.

ExTeacher 23 months ago

Anon, awesome list. My favorites:

#5, which goes with #7. I laugh at the pathetic images on TV of people waiting on insane lines to get a bargain. Let's keep in mind, the majority of these people are not exactly in the poor house. That begs the question "Is it that important to save some money by waiting on insane lines for insane hours?" People are DUMB AS SHIT.

#13, wanting the latest and "greatest", people will gladly buy what they already have if it's means owner something just a little bit more "hip". True recent story: A friend came down to visit from Upstate NY. He stayed with me and my wife for a few days. He wanted us to see a movie he saw. Told us let's go to Redbox and rent it. So, I have a Play Station 3. He asks if we played Blu-ray movies in it. I said no, just regular dvds but he felt it should work. He rents the movie, it doesn't work. I asked him why he just didn't rent the regular dvd in the first place. He really didn't have an answer. Guess it was just the hip thing to do.

#14, incredibly sad, yet true. Makes sense in this day and age though. Remember, there are no such thing as losers anymore. Everyone needs to be placed towards the top, in front, etc. That and the numbers look better for the schools!

Anonymous 23 months ago

The latest educational fiasco is about to take place in New Jersey. They believe that school should start later so kids can sleep more. They also claim it's because kids stay up late.

Duh. Dumb asses actually want kids to fail on purpose. How can kids learn responsibility in the REAL world if they live in a school fantasy world. Does anyone actually think jobs will open later for kids (or adults) who can't get up early enough for work? Will parents actually approve when kids get home after dark? Perhaps they want kids to play in the dark? The truth is this will only serve to make them stay up even later yet and still arrive late to school. I'm totally convinced that the world has gone mad and it's so sad and too bad.

ExTeacher 23 months ago

Well, in my opinion, those who are making these insane rules are, themselves, the types who live in a fantasy world. They are out of touch with reality. The types that think no one's feelings should EVER get hurt. The type that have labeled every other kid a bully because they are not acting as they should be according to these dreamers. The same types who made it so that every child "everyone is a winner". Yayyyyyy!!!

Anonymous 23 months ago

You're so right Ex Teacher. People who now run education are 100% out of reality!

Anonymous 23 months ago

People today are so dumb that they typically write like 3rd graders. I'm talking about adults here. Below is a typical post I read on facebook. I had to search and ask questions to find out what it meant. Below the quote is is a translation.

Real facebook quote "Yo betches. WTF DBAB I LOL and LLAB. QYB U SOAB. I am a BAB and you just a SOB. You just a SLUB. Just # the SWB."

TRANSLATION: First off "betch" is another made up slang that's supposed to mean "bitch". Anyway here's what the poster was trying to say: "Hello bitches. What the fu%* (censored). Don't be a bitch. I laugh out loud and I'm laughing like a bitch. Quit your bitching you son of a bitch. You're just a slutty bitch. Just hashtag (slang meaning search on Twitter) the skinny white bitch.

The above is just one of many examples of what's happening in education today. Kids and adults write like 3rd graders and as usual it's always the teacher's fault (according to the so-called authorities).

Once again I advocate getting back to the basics. Turn off technology and start teaching basic reading, writing and arithmetic (as early as possible).

ExTeacher 23 months ago

The end of the road is near folks.

The skinny white bitch thing is funny. I'll assume it's coming from someone who isn't so skinny, nor White.

I'm glad to be 43 and not in my teens. Quite a future out there waiting for us all.

Martini 23 months ago

I, a former math teacher, now a sub, enjoy this article! I work for Chicago Public Schools. Everything has been said in this blog, but one question lingers on: My former colleagues have to mention now in their homework assignments online to which CCSS it aligns; Or to which power standard it aligns; "Bloody shame!" cried the principal of my former job, when bulletin boards where not updated for a whole month; Teachers are being harassed by teachers to see if they were following personal plan requirements. WHEN DOES THIS CRAP STOP??? (so I can go back into teaching and enjoy teaching math again?)

ExTeacher 23 months ago

Oh yes, I remember the great importance of bulletin boards being updated monthly. I believe it was twenty lashes to the back if they were not updated in a timely fashion. Not aligning your CCSS with your homework? You got tied upside by your big toes and stoned until unconscious.

Seriously though, when does this crap stop? It won't. It will continue to get worse year after year...after year. The days of Welcome Back Kotter are loooong gone and they're not coming back. The 90s is when our society started changing in ways never seen before and school is simply a sub-division of society, thus facing the same changes. So now, the changes have led to, in a nutshell: Teachers bad, all kids victims. A student uppercuts another student across the room, it's YOUR fault teacher! The blame game gained popularity in the 90s and has now dwarfed into the monster it now is.

On a side note, a part of me does not feel bad for many of the teachers. After all, they made up a good portion of the types of people who pushed things in this direction. That's a whole other story.

Nathan 22 months ago

Martini I agree with Ex Teacher. Over the next 25 years or so it's going to get worse every year. That's why I, as a retired math teacher, strongly recommend not teaching below college level.

The fact is that people who have limited knowledge about education are controlling the system. Only experienced teachers have the the real skill when it comes to education.

Ex Teacher your words are well stated and correct. I couldn't have said the truth any better than you did. Ironically your words are teaching other teachers what to avoid which of course is teaching.

Like I wrote in a previous post "Don't just walk away from teaching but run away as fast as you can"! If you don't you will suffer greatly and your health will get dangerously worse as you get older. Take this as a WARNING and I hope I don't have to say in the future "I told you so" because by then it will be too late (it's already too late).

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Nathan, you're right when you say don't walk, RUN. You also reminded me of something.

I know I posted this here quite some time ago, but in case you didn't catch it, I have an interesting story which I shall repeat.

When I was subbing, there was a teacher who kept telling me to run away, find anything else, etc. I said to myself, "what a negative a**hole. Just because you're not happy for some reason, don't push that onto me so I'm miserable like you."

One wish I would make before I die is to see this wise man once again, face to face. I would really love to apologize for the way I was thinking. I would tell him how right he was and how I was a know-it-all, fresh-out-of-college FOOL.

I have warned others (two at my present job). I can tell they are thinking the same thing I was. Unfortunately, they will end up learning the hard way, just as I did.

Nathan 22 months ago

Ex Teacher: Even though I caught your message the first time it's definitely worth repeating. You're informing people not to go down a dark road that leads to nowhere but trouble.

Unfortunately there are many young inexperienced teachers who think they will change the world and wish to pursue a teaching dream. The sad part is that their dream will eventually explode as reality sets in. What once worked very well in education no longer works.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Yes Nathan, "changing the world" continues to be the big lure. As you stated, then reality sets in and the dream goes down the drain.

I did feel like I was making a difference when I originally started teaching in 2000. I left in 2003 when I could not get a full time position, only to return in 2007. I noticed the changes that occurred in my four-year absence. Yet, I decided to hang in there and endure. Got a full time position in 2010. A few years later, I left two months into the new school year.

Besides the mounds of useless paperwork, etc., I found that I really couldn't make much of a difference anymore due to the system.

Though I'm disappointed it turned out this way (as I now pursue a new career at 43), I am happy I didn't invest anymore wasted time in the NYC Board of Dread. It's easier to walk away with a few years or so invested as opposed to 10 or 15. That being said, I am reading more and more on teaching forums how even teachers with well over 10 years in are calling it quits.

Nathan 22 months ago

I'm glad to hear Ex Teacher that you're doing anything except teaching.

I was lucky to have spent most of my good years teaching during the 70s, 80s and early 90s when it was actually enjoyable to teach.

In 1993 I was accepted to teach in a very reputable NYC school and for the next 2-3 years I loved the staff, the kids (very smart back then) and the system which was actually normal.

By mid 1990s some retarded changes started to take place. Up until about 2003 it was still quite workable and bearable. Then calculators were enforced on the regents. I refused to ever bring a calculator to class except when giving a test. Calculators and many other ridiculous changes slowly took over the schools. Learning math with calculators is equivalent to using a wheel chair for physical therapy. Instead of learning to walk the wheel chair will do it for you.

By 2004 I applied for retirement because I was totally disgusted. It took the DOE (Dopes Of Education) nearly 3 years to tell me I was being given credit for 5 back years. The only reason they finally sent this information is because I physically went and demanded it and threatened to go to the news media and report them. As a result I happily retired in 2007 and haven't looked back.

In a way you could say that I was born in 2007 because that's when I first started to thoroughly enjoy my life! No more hours of unnecessary paperwork. No more brain dead meetings. No more spending hours marking papers for kids who simply threw them in the garbage. Finally, no more nasty self centered criminals who got away with murder. I'm referring to the principals. The kids were much much worse.

I actually went to hell and survived teaching. Today (2014) I'm sure it's much much worse. Prayers are desperately needed for all teachers today.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Nathan, thanks for the story. Though it would be hell on Earth to survive as long as you have if someone started teaching now, you sort of went through a different hell. You saw, and experienced, your beloved profession go from fun to tortuous. That must be very difficult but in a way that newer teachers couldn't possibly understand. You truly know what it used to be like, beyond hearing stories. Much like we know what life was like before living in front of screens like computers & cell phones. Though they offer many benefits, there are certainly negative consequences. Kids today wouldn't know the difference...nor could they care less. I will say that you were very fortunate to have began in the 70s as opposed to the 80s. Instead of retiring mid-2000, it could have been 2015 until retirement, if you would have made it.

I like your analogy of the wheelchair. you're absolutely right. I also like how you mentioned that the kids "were very smart back then". They really are being dumbed down. Even the inherently more intelligent students are suffering and are not reaching their full potential with the system that is in place.

Just for curiosity sake, would you say there was a noticeable decline, as whole, from the 70s to the 80s, or not so much? Again, we know the 90s really began the changes, but I'm just wondering if the 80s were just about as good as the 70s for your average teacher.

Thanks as always for your insight. Very interesting stuff.

Nathan 22 months ago

Yes Ex Teacher my experiences is sort of like knowing what life was like before the computer age. I grew up with exactly 7 useable TV channels and no electronic devices except a radio. Back in the day we used brains rather than devices to do everything from inventing games, remembering phone numbers to doing math without a calculator.

Without a doubt there was a noticeable decline due to changes in society (mainly babies having babies at 16 in the 70s). By the late 1980s there was a noticeable decline and that's why I transferred to a more prestigious school in NYC.

Here's an estimated breakdown over the years:

2007 At least 70% of all 9th graders should be or are in special ed. Regular ed students were about the same as the special ed students of 2002. More than 80% of 9th graders could not solve 4th grade math problems. Almost 50% became dropouts without graduating.

2002 Almost 50% should be or are in special ed. Regular ed students were the same as the special ed students of 1990. Nearly 30% of all 9th graders could not handle 4th grade math. Nearly 1 in 3 students dropped out without graduating.

1990 Only about 10% needed to be in special ed. About 15% of all 9th graders had trouble with some 4th grade math problems. The dropout rate was about 1 in 15 or about 7%.

1980 There were schools for behavior problems but very little special ed. Perhaps 5%, at most, had trouble with some 4th grade math problems. Virtually all students could handle basic fractions and decimals which is 5th to 6th grade work. The dropout rate was about 1 in 30 or about 3%.

1970 Everyone listened when a teacher spoke. There was no special ed classes that I saw at that time. It started a few years later. Also 98% of all 9th graders had math scores above 6th grade. The average student in 1970 could easily handle math that the average adult in 2014 knows nothing about without a calculator. Back then over 90% listened, learned and produced results. Dropouts were rare. Maybe 1% at most.

I started from the present and went backwards (just like the educational system). These are pretty accurate assessments of my experience over the years. You're right that newer teachers couldn't possibly understand.

Nathan 22 months ago

Yes Ex Teacher my experiences is sort of like knowing what life was like before the computer age. I grew up with exactly 7 useable TV channels and no electronic devices except a radio. Back in the day we used brains rather than devices to do everything from inventing games, remembering phone numbers to doing math without a calculator.

Without a doubt there was a noticeable decline due to changes in society (mainly babies having babies at 16 in the 70s). By the late 1980s there was a noticeable decline and that's why I transferred to a more prestigious school in NYC.

Here's an estimated breakdown over the years:

2007 At least 70% of all 9th graders should be or are in special ed. Regular ed students were about the same as the special ed students of 2002. More than 80% of 9th graders could not solve 4th grade math problems. Almost 50% became dropouts without graduating.

2002 Almost 50% should be or are in special ed. Regular ed students were the same as the special ed students of 1990. Nearly 30% of all 9th graders could not handle 4th grade math. Nearly 1 in 3 students dropped out without graduating.

1990 Only about 10% needed to be in special ed. About 15% of all 9th graders had trouble with some 4th grade math problems. The dropout rate was about 1 in 15 or about 7%.

1980 There were schools for behavior problems but very little special ed. Perhaps 5%, at most, had trouble with some 4th grade math problems. Virtually all students could handle basic fractions and decimals which is 5th to 6th grade work. The dropout rate was about 1 in 30 or about 3%.

1970 Everyone listened when a teacher spoke. There was no special ed classes that I saw at that time. It started a few years later. Also 98% of all 9th graders had math scores above 6th grade. The average student in 1970 could easily handle math that the average adult in 2014 knows nothing about without a calculator. Back then over 90% listened, learned and produced results. Dropouts were rare. Maybe 1% at most.

I started from the present and went backwards (just like the educational system). These are pretty accurate assessments of my experience over the years. You're right that newer teachers couldn't possibly understand.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Nathan, thanks for the breakdown. I think it's safe to say the changes that occurred are a combination of things. From the educational system, to our societal values, to the way the average child chooses to play. I definitely agree that decades ago, children learned through play which naturally involved things like problem solving. I was born in 1971, so my early years were as child involved play such as building tree houses. Do kids even know what a stick is now a days? As you know, even more so than I, punishment was not uncommon (from parents and/or teachers) for bad behavior. Now, kids are rewarded for not behaving badly. Quite a difference when you think about it. Well, I thank you once again for your replies!

Nathan 22 months ago

You hit on another important point Ex Teacher. Kids today get away with everything. Their bad behavior goes unpunished and results in repeated negative behavior.

The same exact thing is happening in society on a broader scale. That's why there are so many protests from so many frustrated people. The only problem is that there protests will not accomplish much at all. Unfortunately their writing skills are too limited to write letters to the appropriate people which would accomplish a lot more in the long run.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Yes Nathan, negative behavior is repeated, especially when they know they can get away with it. I didn't teach very long (at least compared to someone such as yourself), but the time I did, I had little problems with student behavior. I taught in different settings, from Gen Ed to Sped, elementary to high school, public school to summer programs. If there is one thing I did exceptionally well, it was that I created an atmosphere in which good behaved was expected and NOT "rewarded". When I taught in a particular summer school 3 consecutive years, it was for low income, emotionally disturbed kids, ranging in age from 6 - 15 depending on which class I had (and I had them all). Wasn't long before the toughest group would come in and all sit with their hands folded. After my class, they would go right next door to their next class. It would sound like a zoo for 45 minutes. The teacher in there would attempt giving them rewards for good behavior. It didn't work for the entire summer. Deep down, most of these kids yearn for structure and a loving, yet authorative, figure in their loves. At least, that's my opinion based on my experience.

As for the letters, not sure how much it would help Nathan. Seems like all politicians, on either side, have their own agenda. In regards to that, things are like never before.

Nathan 22 months ago

It sounds like you were a good disciplinarian which is one of the many keys to good teaching. Too bad the administration could care less when you taught.

In regard to the letters, my point was that this would be much easier than spending weeks causing trouble and freezing in cold weather. You're right that the letters would not do much. However, it's the educated way of protesting. Also, if these people had writing skills their message would at least get more attention. They could even write the news media. As it is, lack of knowledge is making them do things the hard way (one could also argue that it's the dumb way)!

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Nathan, I understand and you are correct. Writing letters would be the more intelligent way to go. These protests are doing nothing but adding to the dismay of many others who are already against such demonstrations. Unfortunately, many protestors do have the able to write, but choose this way. It's not safe for the protestors themselves. In fact, one protestor had written in marker on his shirt for the cops to stop killing black men. Ironically, he was attacked by a few black men and hit in the head with a hammer. This was in California. Feel free to Google it. So, even those with good intentions can become targets.

Nathan 22 months ago

Very interesting info Ex Teacher. It's truly a scary time for law enforcement. It's even a more scary time for teachers who are a constant victim of various threats from 30 or more young criminals at a time! To make matters worse, the administration could care less because they have their own sick agenda.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Yes Nathan. You know what I always think of too when you see these protestors going to extremes like blocking streets, bridges, etc. What if someone in a car is in a rush because of an emergency? What if some guy is driving his wife to the hospital because she is pregnant?? What if someone is driving a family member to the emergency room because they are having chest pains? Those selfish protestors, in many cases looking for 15 minutes of famer, don't even think about that or care if they did. Has society even been so self-absorbed? I don't think so. How about the wonderful daughter suing her parents for tuition?!

Oh, and yes, it's a very scare time for teachers. There is little respect for them, plus kids are not being suspended as they should, so teachers are forced to deal with them.

Nathan 22 months ago

Yes Ex Teacher you see things correctly and clearly. That's why you're smart enough to realize that no money in the world is worth a slow death as in teaching.

Your "what if" scenarios are perfect. I'd like to add one more. What if, like my elderly next door neighbor, someone is on the way to get dialysis for their kidney problems. If they don't make it and die would the protestors be collectively responsible for murder?

Speaking of murder, I wonder who's responsible for murdering the educational system as seen today. I also wonder how many even know that there's been a murder. Just a little food for thought.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Nathan, I like the question you posed: "If they don't make it and die would the protestors be collectively responsible for murder?"

Certainly their actions would be indirectly responsible. I'm wondering how many drivers really did have a serious situation going on and how they, or the people they were with, were affected.

You're right, teaching is a slow death and the system has been murdered. As for who's responsible, I think the list is a long one.

So Nathan, do you think things will revert back to the extent that teaching will once again be a profession in which they are relatively happy, respected, etc.? It's only a guess, but I would guess no. I think too much damage has been done and too many changes have taken place to the extent that a modest reversal will not take place.

Nathan 22 months ago

I just saw on the news that yesterday a Baruch college professor was about to throw a garbage can in the street while protesting. When they tried to arrest him protestors began attacking the police. It was all caught on video and they said it was on youtube. Has everyone gone insane?

Ex teacher I don't think education will ever revert back to "normal" because too many leaders have a political agenda instead of a "do what's correct" agenda. Our job today is to stay completely sane in a totally insane world! The insanity, unfortunately, has affected just about every profession including teaching.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Oh, had no idea who the person was, and to answer your question, yes. Everyone has indeed gone insane. Boy, am I sure glad I spent many of my younger, meaningful years during the 70s and 80s.

Nathan, you hit the nail on the head. They are not interested in doing what's correct. Politicians will always be politicians, but the last decade or two has taken a turn for the worse. Morals and ethics have decided to take a long, and probably permanent, vacation.

Many people are clueless as to it the extent of it as well. It's no longer "We the people" but "We the sheeple".

Nathan 22 months ago

Ex Teacher it's so true what you wrote. It's definitely no longer "We the people". It's more like "We the politicians" or perhaps more like "We the criminals". So much nonsense going on that it would take volumes to explain. All I can say is "I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE (wink)".

Also very true when you wrote that morals and ethics have taken a turn for the worse. This country has unfortunately gone down hill rapidly. I see very little chance of recovery unless all the people at the top are arrested in masses (and I mean the very top). Even then the taxpayers millions would probably bail them all out.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

Haha, yes "I Approve This Message" really is a joke. Why in the world would they NOT approve their own message?? How does stating this even carry any weight? Now, take a political figure with a history of being ethical and moral (which is about as real as the Tooth Fairy now a days) approving someone else's message and MAYBE it is slightly meaningful.

Anonymous 22 months ago

The idea behind "I approve this message" is supposedly to get politicians to be more aware of their negative ad campaigns. Like you mentioned Ex Teacher stating this doesn't carry any weight. In fact, all it's done is create even more negative ad campaigns. Politicians even go as far as derogatory name calling and accusing each other of criminal activity. It's sick and so are the majority of politicians. Does it really make sense to vote for someone to run the country when you don't actually know the person? Politics always has and always will be a farce. The only thing voters can see is what they want you to see. Their true character is always kept well hidden.

ExTeacher 22 months ago

@Anon, I agree. As you said, it's a farce and no one even knows the person other than hearing what they want you to hear. For all we know, they beat their wife on weekends for sh*ts and giggles. What really gets me the most, in connection with what you said, is how you see the supporters on TV clapping and roaring like mindless, brainwashed drones every time their favored candidate finishes a sentence...any sentence. Amazing how someone can be so emotionally charged over someone they never talk to in person. Doesn't matter which party we're talking about either.

kikibruce 5 months ago

Thank you for writing and posting, friends. I have finally found a nice and a side gig that are giving me a feeling of purpose and happiness after several years. "Sometimes you have to go to hell before you get to heaven." And I believe a have a valuable new topic to begin writing about. Stay tuned...

Kat 5 months ago

I'm only in my 4 month (5th month starts in June) of teaching. I was teaching Autistic Support in a major city. The only reason I said was is because I was replacing a teacher who was on maternity leave and our district did not tell me that she would be coming back. (she is really nice and she did try to get the school to keep me in there with her to coteach). The school pushed me out of the room and had me be a floater. Basically I cover the special ed classrooms when a teacher is out or has an IEP Meeting. I also still have my caseload for the students in the Autistic Support class. The first few months in the classroom, I cried because it was new and I was unsure of things since I never taught Autistic Support or in an actual school (not counting student teaching). I went home and cried and did not want to go to work. I love working with kids and teaching but the adminstration makes you not want to come in. They leave you with very little help. Right now I'm in what I'm calling limbo. They aren't keeping me at this school next year (partially glad because the school is terrible) but at the same time I'm upset. My boyfriend teaches special education in the suburbs, he has had many calls for interviews. I'm stuck in the process of site selection and none of the schools I put in for called me for an interview. Then there is a suburban school that I applied to that hasn't viewed my application. It feels as if next year, I may end up taking a break from teaching due to not finding a decent placement. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing though

Ashley 5 months ago

Wow! This hit the nail on the head for me. I am currently "in between jobs," or as I like to call it, "on a sabbatical." I left teaching for good last November, after 5 years and multiple grade and school changes.

I felt peace after doing so, but continue to struggle to find my purpose here on Earth! I have been on countless interviews and applied to any and every kind of position, and am going through the same issues- lack of pay, over-qualified, under-qualified, etc. I paid off student loans and didn't want to go the Master's route without knowing just exactly would be a good fit for me.

I am feeling discouraged and like a failure at times, but know in my heart that I am doing the right thing for my mental health and well-being. Our time on Earth is so short as it is, and I want to live my life to the very fullest.

Any suggestions or ideas on which direction I should take? I live in Florida with a BS in Elementary Education. I pray that this too, shall pass....

Jari 5 months ago

Funny you mentioned your teaching practice. I remember how a few from my class quit teaching training literally weeks before graduation. One girl left and opened a Fish and chips joint instead. We had little understanding for it then. Man how I wish I listened to my gut myself. I agree with how much paperwork etc. grinds you down but in the end I think it is more about personal job satisfaction. I sometimes think that teachers are like farmers. Every year much the same as the one before. The yearly planner stays. Only the years change. I know that one can say that teachers can also see the fruit of their labor. It is just that there is something wonderful about seeing what you accomplished at the end of the day. I was a builder while in college, paying my way through. I often think of how great I felt driving away from a well finished job...

giffy 4 months ago

I'm not a teacher, but after reading string of messages, i realized i am not alone in world who is suffering becoz of world around me. It really helps a lot.

thank you.

Jan 4 months ago

Lazy overpaid teachers always complaining

JuliaGoolia 4 months ago

I "taught" high school for a few months in the early 2000s. What a disaster. I really identify with your post and many of the comments. I jumped ship sooner than later and went into a completely different field, and now after 10 years I make 4 times what I was making as a teacher. Sometimes I feel trapped in this job too, if I don't have enough to do. But it's the golden handcuffs. Can't quit now - I'm in too deep.

LovemyJon 3 months ago

I have read through nearly every post in this thread. Although I find almost all of your situations very disheartening, I have only one conclusion. This being that teaching is really a calling. Not everyone can do this job and sadly most people think they can. I have been a teacher for 19 years in a public school in an inner city district. I still love my job and have no desire to leave- EVER! My opinion is that this simply wasn't and never was a job that you could do. It just wasn't your calling in life. Sorry (not really). I find so many people who think that they can just teach and have summers off and make a decent salary. However, once they actually get a teaching job they learn very quickly that this isn't something they can do. Then, just as all of you are doing on this site, you complain and make excuses for not being able to cut it. Instead, what you should be doing is just admitting to yourself that this wasn't something you were cut

out to be. Just yesterday I went to my dentist office and the secretary said to me " ate you enjoying your summer off?" " I should have become a teacher." I get so infuriated when people say this to me. This is rob ably why most of you became teachers- for the summer off. Well, all if you learned the hard way that not everyone can be a teacher. I hope you are all enjoying your life out of the classroom. However, I also hope that none of you ever return to it. Please stop your complaining Nd just admit this wasn't a job for you and stop trashing my profession.

Allan 3 months ago

My five-year teaching career resembled yours in many ways. I went into the game believing that because I loved the subject (English lit), that this love would translate into being a skilled teacher. I was an 'okay' teacher, but got bored with teaching the same lesson to four sections of students every day. What they don't tell you in university is that for some, teaching is a 24/7 job. Being up until 11 p.m. (or later) grading, preparing, fine tuning, and organizing every night for the next day's classes wore me down to the point that I was always exhausted. And even after putting in such long hours I was still always behind. Then came the heavier-than-usual anxiety load in the mornings. Then came the anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. Early in my teaching career I sensed the profession wasn't for me and we should part ways. Before I had time to decide whether to resign, I was let go due to departmental budget cuts. The news was bittersweet. Teaching is a worthwhile profession and I sometimes miss the students and my many wonderful former colleagues. I realize now, though, that I never had the stamina to make teaching a lifelong career.

Twinkle 3 months ago

I related very much to your post. I feel overworked and underappreciated. I quit teaching four years ago, and it was a good decision, though I took a pay cut. It was an office job, and I was filled with joy that I no longer had to scold kids for a living. The job scope was better, but my new boss was difficult to work with. She was a dragon lady that scolded her staff like they were high school students. After getting scolded by her a few times, I decided to quit without a job. I had lasted in that job for 3 years, while many of my colleagues quit after two or three months because of the boss. The four months I spent jobless was one of the most stressful times of my life. I job searched, sent out resumes, but was only called for one interview, and even then, I did not get the job. Finally, I got a job offer, and guess what? The only job that took me back was teaching. I had no choice but to go back to teaching again. It was that, or be jobless. I try my best in my job. I wake up at 5.30 am every day. I reach school at 7 am, and leave school at 6 pm, then go home and work some more. I work on weekends too. Since I started this job, I hadn't had a single day off. In exchange, I have parents that complain all the time, students that are rowdy and disrespectful and just loads of additional bureaucratic work. I feel like I put in my best, but it is not enough. It is never enough.

First Year Teacher 3 months ago

Your article is just perfect and so relatable. I'm only in my first year of teaching and I've decided to leave. So many things you said are so relatable but i think what really resonated with me was when you said, "Sometimes you have to admit that something is wrong and deal with it." And that's what I have to to do! Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone in my feelings about this job!

SG Teacher 2 months ago

Very true ! Especially about the disrespectful students and supervisors. Now I have been in the private teaching sector for about 4 years and left the disgusting public school sector for the same reasons. Ministry is just fxxx up.

fed up 2 months ago

i agree with all comments !

Enough! 2 months ago

Teaching for 30 years - feel the same.

Kay 2 months ago

I spent hours reading these posts. I resigned this summer ! Oh, the wonderful joy and relief. I resigned after teaching ELA in a public middle school for 3 years. I was a successful teacher with very good discipline, but I was miserable due to all of the endless reasons already mentioned by others.

Instead of running back to school for another degree and shelling out another 40k and years of my life, I took a job at a major grocery store chain (with benefits) with the intention to stay with the company and move up into management, or some other area within corporate (information systems, HR, etc.). I was clear about my intentions with the manager right from the beginning. Please, people, be happy. You have no idea of the relief you will find. The pay cut doesn't matter in the end- it's your sanity and happiness.

Kay 2 months ago

I also want to add to my initial comment:

Many teachers in the school I worked at wanted to leave. A handful did, myself included. Many stayed to wallow in their own self-depravity and misery. Why? If you're SERIOUS about truly taking control of YOUR life and happiness, remember this: DON'T SETTLE.

You deserve more, truly.

I do realize some teachers feel tied to their job due to financial circumstances/ supporting children, etc. but I feel that if you plan carefully and diligently, you can get out. You must be proactive. I've seen some ex-teachers work for non-profit, HR, as insurance adjusters, or, shall I reluctantly say, textbook companies .. Just for a few ideas. You have an array of transferable skills.

Among the thread I saw someone write that they want a SIMPLE job, as a bus driver. That's where my life will begin, at a grocery store, and oh what joy that brings ! If you want to try something simple but value learning, maybe audit classes aligned to your interests at a local college at some point , just an idea. I would love to audit some cultural anthropology or astrology classes ...

I will also say I thought I was drinking too much during teaching. Many teachers I knew drank. After I quit, the drinking went away naturally !!! Health and happiness ...

Kay 2 months ago

And to clarify, the depravity comment was based on the public US education. I felt self-depravity being a part of the system. I literally felt immortal and unethical subjecting my students to all of the Common core non-sense, watching them cry from the pressure, practice and the prep I had to force them through. I felt disgusting and no longer wanted to be a part of the problem.

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kikibruce 2 months ago from New York Author

Lovemy Jon, just to be clear...I think I said pretty early into my post that to be a good teacher you have to have the "gift of teaching", which is the same thing as saying "teaching is a calling". I did not have it and stopped for the good of all involved. I finally went back to working in Higher Ed., which is a world that I understand and thrive in. I am still in education but am serving students, teachers, and administrators alike. I solve problems, have jurisdiction over grades, attendance, mediate, give advice, explain policies, etc. I regret leaving Higher Ed. in the first place but I am glad I was in the trenches for a while. I respect all longtime effective teachers and would never underestimate the role they play. I will never insult teachers for having summers off. I still work in education, work all summer, and the school could not survive without the role I play.

Empty 2 months ago

I begin my 20th year of teaching on Monday and have no idea how I am going to make it. Your article makes me sick because it hits so close to home. I completely understand what you went through. I am sure you were a fine teacher and you should be proud of yourself.

Discouranged 2 months ago

I used to love my job. I couldn't wait to get up in the mornings and start my day. I used to lie in bed and think how I can help struggling learners. Then I got 'n higher paid job at 'n private school. What a mistake! They are arrogant, undisciplined, haughty, their parents could not care less and they think their poop doesn't stink. I am tired of fighting and going home crying. I am tired of sitting until 10 every night preparing exciting lessons for studens who just give a damn. I am tired of not having a life and not having time for my own family and never having money to actually do something nice for myself. If you ever want to become a teacher: Don't. It is worse than being a plummer. At least they have some free time

Tired 7 weeks ago

I am currently in my fourth year of teaching in a public school in Mississippi. I love working with the children, but I am tired of having a principal who is a bully. I have decided that I am done with it! I am planning on taking a month off and finding a job that is NOT in education. I have children from the time I walk in to school until the time I leave every day! I hardly get planning time, I either have a meeting or I have children because the computer, librarian, or PE teacher are out! I am expected to do all this work at home, I have children at home that need to be taken care of! I am tired of high paid consultants coming in and telling me what I need to be doing. I am just done! I HATE teaching!

Toyin 7 weeks ago

I use to love my job as a teacher, When I started teaching it was so fun dat I cant wait to get to work the next day.But now!!!!I hate teaching becos of bad boss and stress.I'm always scared of going to work,I cant sleep of think children doesn't enjoy me as a mother.Today I'm taking right decision to quit!!!!

RuinedinPhx 7 weeks ago

I can confirm that every negative listed by every miserable teacher and every x-teacher is in fact true. The job is just hideous! The principals are bullies, the kid's are hoodlums, the parents are coddling and blind. You don't get paid to plan, grade, do clerical work, gather and pay for supplies, make calls, do stupid surveys, organize your room, or put up a bulletin board and student work. But you are evaluated on all those things and an impossible number of other things such as data collection by testing each child individually while teaching whole class lessons. Seriously had heart palpitations at night, hardly slept, then woke feeling sick at the thought of going to work. Thought I'd end up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown if I didn't quit. I am so mad that I am in debt with student loans and wasted over ten years of my life in this HORRIBLE profession. There may be a handful of decent principals with well raised students who attend school regularly and behave normally, but don't personally know of any. Worst profession! Pay ends up being minimum wage from 24/7 and weekend work.

Ann Marie 7 weeks ago

Like so many other commentators, I can totally relate to these posts. I foolishly quit a job I absolutely loved in higher education administration for adults returning to school. Why? I harbored an "idea" that I'd like to teach high school English...Which is now known as "Language Arts."

I taught 4 9th grade honors classes and one "CP" ("College Prep--LOL) class from hell. I was constantly thinking about the next day's class, and the next week, and the week after that. I researched lesson plans, vocabulary lists, etc. I was totally exhausted and short tempered with my husband and daughter.

My biggest shock was the lack of respect from administrators who treat you as a drone, piling on more useless surveys for you to complete, more emails to respond to right away, more parent-teacher conferences at ungodly hours in the morning.

The 4 honors classes, 9th graders, were not bad and most of the kids were kind and participated. However, that CP class at the ensd of the day was filled with juvenile delinquents. After spending my planning time researching their favorite sports and entertainment figures, trying to capture their interest to teach basic vocabulary, I was met with "I don't read." "Can't we just watch the movie?" Spit balls and comments such as "I hate this class." I wanted to say, "Not as much as I hate being with you delinquents, buddy."

One student said, "I thought you said that Edgar Allan Poe said that a story should be able to be read in a single session." "Yes, that's right," I said. His comment? "This story is FOUR PAGES! It's a friggen novel! These kids were simply lazy brats.

I have to say I have nothing but respect for teachers I saw putting in extra hours, giving it their all for these kids. They certainly get no recognition from most parents and certainly not the condescending administration.

As fate would have it, my university job has again opened up and I will be returning to my profession where I have an office, respectful colleagues, grateful adult students, and a smaller paycheck. Really, money isn't everything. I will appreciate each day at work.

RuinedinPhx 6 weeks ago

Ann Marie, Please could you tell me what the exact title of your job is? And what credentials do i need to apply at my local CC? I am currently tutoring in the learning center of my local CC. I absolutely loved it but I can't get 40 hours in. Thanks for your confirmation story.

Ann Marie 6 weeks ago

Sure. My title is Assistant Director for a satellite campus office serving adult students of a major university. I have a Master of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in English Literature. However, the minimum requirement for teaching at the post-secondary level is 18 credits in the discipline you wish to teach. For administrative positions, often a Masters will get you there; for some upper level positions a terminal degree will be preferred. Good luck.

RuinedinPhx 6 weeks ago

Wow. I can't believe you aren't making more at the CC as an assistant director! Of course I'm in Phoenix and we are dead last in teaching salaries. Again, thanks for your confirmation of everyone's experience in teaching. It's nice when highly educated and intelligent people such as yourself confirm the problem that those of us who are stuck are experiencing. Be thankful everyday for your better quality of life.

Janet 6 weeks ago

Quit you piece of crap

Teaching sucks! 4 weeks ago

Thank you for this article! It has given me hope that I am not doomed to misery for the rest of my life! I've been teaching for 8 years at a public school, 2 districts and can honestly say I have loved teaching only 1 of those years. This year has been the worst and it's only the 3rd week of school! Praying for strength to Survive the remainder of the year.

Ben 3 weeks ago

As Jim Rohn stated "You are not a tree. Move. Do something new"

Regret is a HUGE fear of mine. Why get to the end of your life wilting away because you were too much of a coward. I know you left teaching. This is for other people who are on the fence.

hardworkinteacher 2 weeks ago

This is so sad. It's becoming the norm in our schools. At my school, I have good students and if I could close my door and do my job, I know I can succeed. I have been at it for 20 years and have proven myself time and time again. However, all the documentation, hoops, strategies that get changed year after year, PD sessions about making the kids feel good, giving them prizes for things they're expected to do, grading policies that make it impossible to fail, pressure to grade in a way that forces students to get moved through even if they are not prepared, and a host of other challenges have made me hate what I'm doing. I get to school at 6:30, leave well after dismissal, work another 4 to 6 hours at home, and I'm still overwhelmed and feel unprepared. I feel like no matter what I do, it's never good enough. I'm all about getting better and improvement, but the stress to now do everything for the kids and even if they fail, it's my fault, has made this career one that I would not suggest anyone do.

Glo 4 days ago

I really needed to hear this. Thank you.

Emma 3 days ago

I was wondering what you ended up doing afterwards? Did you make use of your Bachelor of IR? I have a Masters in International Relations and am looking at getting out of teaching as soon as possible. I am finding it very difficult to find jobs that are a step up from what I used to do as entry level admin assistant. I feel like I will be taking a huge step backwards (if I can even get back into admin work) and feel like I should be able to make use of my degree somehow to help get a step up the job ladder. I know I can't continue as a teacher for my mental sanity but I can't afford to quit without anything to go to. Any advice for the kinds of jobs I should look for? Every day is a stress so I hope January can be a fresh start away from school.

Jey 3 days ago

I quit teaching and am happier. Never again.

kikibruce profile image

kikibruce 2 days ago from New York Author


It took 3 years and a bunch of not so great administrative positions working for some very nasty people before I was able to get back into Higher Education. With my Masters Degree and tons of experience and everything it was still tough. I enjoy my position now a great deal, because I like higher ed and I understand it. I like serving the student population and do my best to keep their records, celebrate their successes, etc. I work with a similar population as when I taught, but I am more respected and appreciated and it is a mutual thing. And since I was a teacher, I understand their perspectives too, but now I am the one reminding them to take attendance.

The biggest industry in my area is Healthcare, which is not something I am qualified for. At first, employers did not find me credible, not grasping why I would leave teaching and the salary for a run-of -the-mill admin job. I even had a couple of business owners be downright rude to me in interviews, practically insulting me for the fact that I was switching from education to working for a business. I actually walked out of one of them and told the guy where he could stuff it. His rudeness showed me exactly the jerk I would be working for. I thought that since I had worked at a University for 8 years that getting back into higher education would be a snap with all of the colleges in the area. But with a large pool of applicants, internal hiring and no recent specific higher ed admin experience I had no luck. I did data entry, worked for a couple of small businesses run by unpleasant people who treated their employees badly, who then laid me off.

I took a typing job at a newspaper for $11 an hour and sold solar panels on the weekend to get by, but burned out working 7 days a week. The newspaper job helped bridge the gap between teaching and admin work, since everything I did was published, and I got good references and was there almost two years. So little by little I crawled back through hard work and finally a break.

I also went to temp/employment agencies for admin work, but they make you take those stupid little tests to see how proficient you are with Word and Excel and the pay is not very good. This is bogus because I had two successful positions at the University and my basic knowledge of those programs was enough, but I guess they do everything they can to weed people out.

I am hoping at some point to climb the ladder in higher ed, but right now I am learning as much as I can and gaining experience. In time, my Masters degree will distinguish me from other candidates.

Here is my advice for you:

I got lucky getting the newspaper job when I started looking for jobs related to writing, which I enjoy. There are lots of writing jobs out there that help bridge the gap. They needed a typist to publish entertainment and community events. I got to pick and choose what cool things to publish in the paper and that little bit of autonomy felt good, I had good bosses and only occasionally was scrutinized.

I am not using my IR degree, but I do see that lots of Colleges and Universities have international programs, with Director/Coordinator/Administrator Positions. So do the private colleges. That may be a good fit with your IR degree. The better positions want you to have that particular degree or something equivalent. However, they also require lots of demonstrated administrative/communication/technology/social media experience.

Then there are Civil Service and Private Sector jobs. I almost got a German-speaking Executive Secretary position and a German/Austrian company, which sadly did not work out due to some internal hiring conflicts. But I found opportunities like that via a variety of employment agencies. The agency I went through even scrutinized my resume and helped me target it specifically for that position. I had all of the experience, I just had to present it the best way possible and they helped me do that for free because they saw me as a viable candidate. I might add, that years ago I needed a temp job, which landed me at the University I stayed for for 8 years. I started as a temp, and they liked me. So there are ways to get in through the back door as a temp.

I am sorry to paint the picture that the process of leaving teaching and getting to where I really wanted to be was so long and tedious, but it was. However, it has all been worth it in the end. I have a good job now, a better resume, and future goals in sight.

And even though that three-year process wasn't the greatest time, I was still happier and healthier than when I was a teacher.

JMD 2 days ago

I needed to read this. I have been struggling for the past 4 years trying to get a full time teaching position. I've been in and out of leave replacements. Last year I was working as a leave for the entire year and had a GREAT time. I was then hired at the same school full time, and I'm absolutely miserable this year. I honestly think the administration and the state are to blame. I wish they would get out of the way and allow us to do our jobs without micromanaging. The anxiety I feel every day is not healthy and it is definitely caused by upper management.

Meinaustralia 2 days ago

Hi, I posted on this a few years ago... desperately sad after being bullied and quitting. I now hate that saying “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”Its not true I am broken and hurt. I have looked and looked for every type of job, I cannot find one. I have applied for hundreds. So needing money I have taken more contract teaching positions. I get amazing feedback and terrific results - so I should be delighted. I do still LOVE students and they seem to like me - they say so, I LOVE sharing, I am calm and inspirational teacher... so I know I do a great job. But ALL jobs go to mates. in Australia your job defines who you are. Every TV show, book or story is about work. I have no job, no certainty and no future, I would happily die...... I am sick of not being a person in society that anyone wants. I have been looking for 4 years since being bullied into quitting. I might point out apparently I was so good back then that I was intimidating... since me the new replacing teacher has resigned with mental health issues... I don't have mental health. I am not depressed. But I have worked hard, I am well qualified and love working. But, if I have no worth I am nothing more than a drain on the environment. Sadly i have to stick around - I have two terrific children - so I cannot euthanise myself. I will not do that to them... but each day I smile and step forward wishing I wasn't.

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