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Whether you are in your first year of teaching or your twentieth, it’s possible that at one time or another you have asked yourself, should I quit teaching? As we round the corner of the second half of the school year, I think this is something that has been on a lot of teachers’ hearts.
It’s no secret that the last two years have been especially challenging for teachers around the world. Schools continue to close, there is an extreme substitute shortage, and teachers feel totally unsupported. I’ve heard from many of you over and over again about how lost you are right now, and that you just don’t know what to do to get through the year. One thing is for certain. What our schools are currently doing, and what you are currently experiencing, is just not sustainable.
Maybe you're feeling like you don't know how much more of this you can handle. Or maybe you're about to enter the profession, you're reading all kinds of things on social media, and now you're feeling fear and some anxiety about what your first year of teaching is going to be like. Please know that you're not alone, and that this isn't an isolated feeling among just new teachers. I have a lot of very experienced teacher friends who are raising the same questions and who are wondering the same thing.
What has happened to schools as a result of COVID is unprecedented. It truly hurts my heart to know that you have entered the profession, or about to enter teaching, at a time when what you have to gauge this profession on is so far skewed from what has always been “normal.” At the same time, I want to have an honest conversation about this.
My intention is not to convince you to either quit teaching, or to convince you to stay. My true passion is in helping new teachers thrive and to not struggle the way that I did when I first started teaching. But I also understand that what you've been going through may cause you to question if this is the profession for you.
I have absolutely no judgment if you're wondering, can I really do another year of teaching? I want to help you to think more clearly about whether or not you really do want to quit teaching altogether after this year, and to help you do that, I’m going to share four questions with you that I encourage you to ask yourself. I encourage you to take the time to write these questions down and reflect on them. Spend some time thinking pretty deeply about your answers, and maybe even involve someone you trust to help you think this through. Making the decision to either stay in this profession or leave is a big one.
I understand how hard things are right now. If there's one thing that we've learned throughout COVID, it's that life is short. I don't want you to spend a second longer in a situation where you don't feel like you’re meant to be. Your true passion may lie outside of the classroom, and so your path may lead you elsewhere. Alternatively, please don't leave this profession because you're doubting yourself or because you don't know if you're capable of continuing. You are absolutely capable of success in this profession, even though it might not feel that way right now.
Once you’ve taken the time to reflect on these questions and get clear on your answers, I would love to know what you think about this conversation. It would mean so much to me if you take a screenshot of this podcast episode and tag me on Instagram at @beginningteachertalk. I really want to know what part of this episode has been most helpful for you in terms of thinking about your current teaching situation and whether or not you want to continue in education after 2022.
I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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