This Teacher’s Brilliant “Door Principle” Explains Why So Many of Us Feel Conflicted About Our Jobs

It gets at the real reasons behind burnout.

Door Principle

This year more than ever, so many of us are questioning whether we belong in the classroom. Teachers are leaving the profession at a record rate. They’re exploring other job opportunities. But in most cases, it’s not because of the kids or the actual teaching. It’s because of everything else. It’s a feeling captured brilliantly in this Reddit user’s “Door Principle.”

What is the Door Principle?

As Redditor eaglesnation11 explains, the “Door Principle” is the idea that most teachers really enjoy the things that happen on the “classroom side” of their doors. That’s the good stuff. The interacting with kids, helping them understand new concepts, and watching them grow. It’s what happens on the “other side” of the door that drives burnout.

For those asking if we actually like our jobs follow what I call “The Door Principle”.
byu/eaglesnation11 inTeachers

It’s not the kids

Other Redditors were quick to agree with the Door Principle. “I love being in front of kids and teaching them,” wrote TEFL_job_seeker. “It’s all the other stuff that BLOWS and makes me hate the profession.” While some Redditors wrote that they couldn’t do it without their teacher colleagues, most agreed that it’s the grown-ups that make things complicated.

“It’s unfortunate that student teachers mostly see the ‘classroom side’ and dedicate so much time, energy, and money to the career before getting the whole picture,” wrote t_jammz.


“As a first year teacher, I’m realizing that everything else sucks. Lesson planning, meetings, having no control over a bunch of stuff, communication with parents…I know I signed up for it but…not what I signed up for,” adds c010nn03l.

Some Redditors said the “Door Principle” is what made them leave teaching. “It’s never the kids that make me want to leave,” says that-user-name-taken. “It’s always the adults that make me decide to leave.”

We’d love to hear what you think of the Door Principle

Does the good stuff mostly happen on the inside of your classroom door? Or do you find joy in your interactions with colleagues, admin, and parents too? Please share in the comments or in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

For more teacher stories and advice, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Plus, why teachers quit.

This Teacher's Brilliant "Door Principle" Explains Why So Many of Us Feel Conflicted About Our Jobs