Dear Friend About to Leave Teaching…

Read these powerful words first.

Dear friend about to leave teaching

Dear friend about to leave teaching,

As another school year comes to a close, I am once again surrounded by teachers who are ready to give up or change careers. There are always complaints about testing, administration, other teachers, students … the list goes on and on. Each year, it feels like you’re at your wit’s end.

I’m not talking just about teachers who have been teaching for 25 years. It’s the new teachers, too! I see educators who are abandoning the profession they had such a passion for pursuing in the first place. The reasons vary, but some of the ones I hear most are due to stress, not feeling appreciated, and just a lack of energy to fight the war that seems to be raging in schools.

I get it. As an educator, I understand how tough it is in schools today. You’re never good enough.

Whether it’s your students not appreciating or even completing a lesson you spent the entire night preparing or administration highlighting your deficiencies without making a point to tell you what you’re awesome at, I know it can be difficult. Sometimes it doesn’t even seem worth it. People make comments, and it seems like they downgrade you. They say you settled for teaching when you could have been more. It feels like they blame you for almost everything wrong with the world.

Before you give up and leave teaching, please consider these three things …

1. You are my hero.

If not for your dedication and perseverance, students like me would never have pursued their passion. If not for teachers like you, I would have given in to what society has told me I should want: a lot of money with a lot of possessions. Instead, I chose to love people and listen to my calling. I chose to join you in your frustration in order to create a better future. Even though your job is difficult, your pay is not sufficient, and your to-do list never gets any shorter, I’m begging you to hang in there. Don’t let a score determine your impact. Don’t let another’s opinion decide your worth. Don’t let a failure control your future.

before you leave teaching

2. You have power.

It may not seem like it most days, but your words and actions change lives. People look up to you, and you CANNOT let them down. You make a difference and giving up is not an option. If you don’t like something about your job, advocate for change. Don’t let it make you question your purpose. Instead of letting it change you, YOU be the one in control.

before you leave teaching read this

3. You are not like the rest of this world.

You care; I know you do. That’s why you entered this profession to begin with. You are an advocate, a coach, a comforter, a friend, a mediator, a mentor, a magician some days, a counselor, a discoverer, a lifelong learner …YOU ARE A TEACHER. That’s who you’re supposed to be. You know this, but you’re letting the details, the stress, and the “haters” make you consider other options.

before you leave teaching remember

As we approach the end of this year, don’t run away from your calling. Instead, use this time to reflect on why you chose to teach in the first place. Remember the impact a teacher has made on your life, and continue that cycle by not giving up. Remember the excitement and nervousness of being in front of the class for the first time. Remember there’s someone in your class right now that needs your strength, your wisdom, and your love. Remember the time you saw a spark in a child’s eyes or the first time a struggling student found success.

You are an amazing teacher. You know what you are doing. Keep fighting and know there is someone who believes in you.

With much love and respect,

Another struggling teacher

Justin Barton

Posted by Justin Barton

6 Comments

  1. Lizroman

    Thank you for the kind words, but after 9 years, it’s time to put my health and my family first.

  2. Bryan Dean

    While I agree that we are losing too many great teachers I ask when are we going to counsel out the ones that can’t be teachers. We spend so much time trying to “rehabilitate” poor or failing teachers is it any wonder that the public opinion is so negative in the US? Educators will blame parents, administrators, technology, the system, etc. but NEVER ourselves as professionals. Maybe that teacher that is leaving should actually…leave.

    1. JoAnna DuBose

      Many teachers who are leaving are NOT new teachers. Many are effective or highly effective teachers who make a difference but refuse to let their job take over their lives! The workload often takes away from social life, family life, and sometimes even personal health.

      The workload is too much for both veteran AND new teachers. For new teachers, it’s even harder! They have to learn the craft while managing the workload. You have no clue!

      Are you a teacher? What grade level do you teach and what subject? It seems to me like you have NO CLUE what it’s like. Go teach for a year in an underperforming school… Go spend some time in the trenches… And then go find a blog to state your opinions. I bet your opinions would be different.

      1. JoAnna DuBose

        My post was in response to Bryan Dean’s comment, not in response to the author of this article. I found the article to be VERY uplifting. We need more articles like this! Thank you!

  3. Internationalmentor

    Platitudes…. teachers are over them.
    The commentary from teachers around the world is lack of support and lack of clear goals.
    Teachers need authentic support and, yes, methods by which to measure their performance.
    My service offers genuine support and guidance for teachers with a full range of experience. I am also available for school-wide support and realignment of goals. See http://www.internationalmentor.org

  4. Melanie Hoover

    Sorry, but after 15 years of teaching and moving districts two years ago due to budget cuts in my last district, I can’t handle being belittled by administration, being frustrated with students who just say “well, if you would just let us use Google Translate we’d get better grades” (I teach 8-11th grade foreign language) and when looking for support from my dept, being told I’m incompetent by my department chair because I don’t do things her way… I deserve better. My health has suffered, my personal life has suffered, and for what…. A pension? Summers off? I will spend MORE TIME with my family and friends working a “traditional job”… I’ll miss my classroom, but right now I miss my family more…

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