After twelve years of teaching, I decided to walk away.
I had enjoyed teaching for many years but was ready to take on a leadership role in education and put my recently earned master’s degree to work. I had spent the last three years of my teaching career searching for an assistant principal job with no luck. Let it be known that I was only willing to work as an Assistant Principal in certain areas because I did not want to drive terribly far from home each day. Eventually, I gave up and decided perhaps being an AP wasn’t meant to be.Why I Left Teaching and Then Went Back For My Son Click To Tweet
Later, I came across an opportunity to work in the education association world and the position would also allow me to work from home. I could not resist this opportunity so after twelve years of teaching and being inside a classroom every day with a limited opportunity to eat a real lunch or go to the bathroom, I left.
The idea of working in “the real world” outside of a school seemed quite appealing. I would still be connected to school districts in my new position, but I would now get to work from home, make my own schedule, have my own spending account, company-paid health care, a 401K with a generous match, and other benefits that I would never get in a district. Therefore, I did not renew my teaching contract and headed off on my new adventure.
Little did I know that after being at my new job only a month or so, I found out I was pregnant. Luckily my new company was very supportive and the ability to work from home made this all fall into place nicely. I would have the flexibility to go to my doctor’s appointments and not worry about having to get a sub or make sub plans each time. Once my son was born, I also had flexibility as to when I could schedule his appointments. I was able to attend many of his school events or stop by for lunch without the worry of planning for a sub like I would have to do if working in a district. Life was going pretty good and I was happy to be in my new non-teaching role.
Several years had passed and it was time for my son to start kindergarten. It was a tough year for him and for me. He was struggling at school, and I had no connection to what was going on in his school or the district. Yes, my job involved me visiting schools, but I was recruiting teachers to join our association and training them to take leadership roles, not teaching children. I was an outsider to my son’s school essentially and I didn’t really know how to handle that. I was not even allowed into his school the entire year because of COVID. I never met his teacher except on Zoom until the end-of-year party. That was hard on a momma’s heart. It was also difficult for me to know how to help my own son when I no longer knew the current lingo or programs that were offered in the school district he was attending. Additionally, I was starting to refocus on my own long-term careers goals and what direction I wanted to go in at this point in my life.
Do I go back to teaching and start my career over? After all, I was a certified principal and had never actually worked as a principal. I could apply for AP jobs, but who was going to hire me after being out of a district for so long? Nobody.
- Do I give up a nice salary, company-paid healthcare, my one-hour lunch break, amazing benefits?
- Do I go back to working for pennies as a teacher, barely get twenty minutes to eat my lunch, pay for my own healthcare, lose my 401K and company match, my spending account, and ability to wear real clothes that don’t get covered in marker and glue?
- Do I give all of that up to return to a school district to be with my son and get up to speed on the school programs and lingo once again?
Yes, I did all those things. My main reasons for going back were to better serve my son and to see for myself what is going on in our schools. I needed to go back because I have more to offer to schools and to students. I was not fulfilled with more money. I need to be fulfilled with a full heart and do what I do best-teach people and ensure my son is getting what he needs out of his own education.
My long-term goal is to teach teachers, serve them at a district or college level or work for another company in a training or education management capacity.
Before I can lead teachers or anyone in the education industry, I must once again walk in their shoes. I have to see for myself what they are dealing with in this current world we live in. After being back in just six weeks, I have so much else I want to say. Not only am I a student once again trying to learn myself, but I am also seeing first-hand what our teachers and school employees have and do not have in order to be successful.
- Who is helping our new teachers and staff be successful?
- Do the programs in place work?
There is nobody else in this world I respect more than a teacher. It is often a thankless job and yet we do it. We do it because we are passionate about education and leaving our community and our world better than it was when we came into it. If I can ask one thing from anyone reading this article. Do not question me for going back to teaching at this point in my career. Instead, question your own self on how you can better serve the teachers around you.