Career Pivot – The End of My First Year of Teaching – Decisions

teacherI finished my first year of teaching emotionally exhausted.  I was told that teaching would be the toughest job I would ever have.  If I had been prepared with proper training, it would have been tough but not exhausting.

90+% of my kids were poor (Economically Disadvantaged which means they received free or reduced price meals). They lived by a different set of rules than this white, middle class, educated school teacher. Even though we had studied the impact of poverty on students it took a long time to adapt to this audience.

On the last day of finals there were at least seven fights that broke out during lunch. The campus went on lock down for a short period of time.  That was the only day that I felt a pang of fear. I am 6′ 4″ and I tower over most of the kids but on that day I saw a police officer come out of the cafeteria covered in blood.  As it turned out a student was slugged in the nose and he bled profusely.  None the less, I felt fear.

It took a good six weeks for me to decompress from the first year of teaching. I would take some workshops during the summer.  I had asked to teaching only Algebra II so I would have only one lesson preparation. I was exhausted and had to access what I would do next.

Have you been through a tough project and wondered whether you could or should continue?

I would continue the following year better prepared but my health would falter.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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