Switching grades and schools in teaching

A few months’ back, I did something crazy. I quit my job. When those declarations of intent came around via a Google survey or something like that, I did the bold move and said I would not be returning to teaching 2nd grade at my school. I had no other job lined up. I hadn’t even consulted with my husband. I just went ahead and did it.

Last spring, I found myself hemming and hawing about the matter. I just wasn’t liking my school. There were a lot of little things, many of them all about me, but even last year I felt the urge to move on.

This year, things were even worse. The hard reality is my school was a tough school. Certainly within the “inner-city” standards and when the school (a charter) had moved buildings some years back it attracted a very new population. Eventually 2 very distinct populations I don’t mean to decry any populations and, oh, how I loved these students and their families, but it did make things hard!

I asked for advice on my teacher message boards. Obviously I wasn’t anywhere close to the worst situation, but things were still difficult. So much of my school day was devoted to behavior management and redirection. A very worthy enterprise, of course, and something many teachers even seek out. But for me, after a few years, I was beyond burnt out. Add in craziness in school form and all those in-house thorns, and I was done.

Responding that I would not be returning was one of the most freeing things I’ve done in some time. A good friend even pointed out how stressed I had been this past school year and the weight that seemed to be gone when I officially wasn’t returning.

My husband, somewhat surprised and perhaps a little worried I just up and quit, was very supportive and never said a word against it. (Truth be told, I think he would like to find a way to afford to have me part-time or all the way at home).

I should have been terrified. After all, I had been carrying the insurance! I quit before we learned Jade has cystic fibrosis, so that was kind of a big deal. But, I never worried. I felt peace and even joy in my decision. Things would work out.

They actually did. I recently accepted a contract teaching 1st grade (the grade upon which I cut my teaching teeth) at a very different sort of school. Think middle-class small-town with even a dash of rural in the area. I’m a little worried about the different challenges this might present. I suppose we shall see.

But I am excited. A new school, a slightly different grade… this might need the break I need.

It’s important to switch it up when you need it. Heck, maybe even when you don’t need it.

I feel rejuvenated and I haven’t even set foot in my new classroom.

It’s a good feeling.


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