Re: Advice on Quitting

    On Quitting:

    I taught middle-school Language Arts at a school in Florida.

    The school (to me) was very nice and appeared to be in a very affluent
    neighborhood. As you can imagine, I was a new teacher going through the
    alternative licensing program. I'd been a journalist and marketing
    copywriter and substitute teacher before. My "mentor" was never available
    and even told me she'd only have 15 minutes per week, if that, to answer
    questions. The school Principal and Asst. Principal both told me that it
    was "sink or swim" and even used those words. I was given maybe two weeks
    before the start of the school year to prepare.

    I had a classroom with 30 chairs and 40 students. I had four classes with
    special needs/ADD kids and one gifted program class. There were violent
    fights constantly, with children literally pounding each other into
    hamburger. I was told to never touch a child or say anything that could be
    perceived as hurtful to a child and never raise my voice to any child, or
    they're parents would try to sue me. I was told by another more
    experienced teacher to never give detention because it would only piss
    off parents; which turned out to be true. He told me to only give
    homework on Fridays, and keep it multiple choice so it'd be easier to
    grade. And he told me to never "rock the boat" or I would not get my
    contract renewed the following year.

    After almost a year at the school, I couldn't take it any more. I was
    calling parents nightly and getting nowhere. I was giving homework
    assignments that would never be returned to students completely
    disinterested in the subject matter. My "mentor" was MIA whenever I went
    looking for her and everyone else was gone the minute the final bell rang.
    I went to the local teacher's union for help and was told that it was all
    just too bad.

    I quit after almost a year and never went back. I sent my key to the
    Principal by UPS. And I was getting calls within weeks, asking me testify
    in court cases against other teachers and regarding violent fights and
    related incidents at the school for moths after I had left.

    Now, I've been tooling around for years, going from one low-wage, low-
    wattage, dead-end job after another. Copywriter, tutor, community college
    administrator. None of them paid anything even approaching what I'd earned
    as a teacher, sad to say, and none of them had decent benefits. Now,
    although I know it will all happen again, I'm trying to get back into
    teaching. I know the classrooms will be overcrowded and discipline will be
    a huge issue and nobody will care or want to help. That's all a given.
    But it's all I have at this point. Newspapers aren't hiring, ad agencies
    only hire "impact players" who bring clients with them, and the other
    jobs don't pay.....

    So, yes you can just quit and turn your back and walk away. If you have
    something else to go to in the worst job market in fifty years, in a
    country where the worker is seen as a piece of garbage and schools are
    seen as a necessary but pointless expenditure.

    On 8/23/10, Terry wrote:
    > So I should just quit? I should waste 16 years like you?
    > I don't have tons of money like you.
    > Thank you so much for your time and advice.
    > Terry
    > On 8/22/10, Trisha wrote:
    >> Holy cow! I just finished my 16th successful and successively
    >> miserable year teaching, and finally quit! Such anxiety, still
    >> have some, but I wish I had walked away years ago. I have a
    >> master's degree, and tons of money, time, care, love, tears, into
    >> this profession, but I think 16 years was 16 years too long. The
    >> workload just got heavier and heavier, the rewards less and less.
    >> If you are unhappy at this school, WALK AWAY...if you are unhappy
    >> at the next school...WALK AWAY from the profession completely.
    >> Don't keep trying to make it work. Just because you are good at
    >> your job, doesn't mean the job is right for you. There are other
    >> schools, and there are other occupations... It's just not worth
    >> it. Life is too short (cliche, I know.) It's a bad sign that you
    >> are thinking of breaking a contract so soon into the year, might be
    >> a sign that the new way schools do business isn't going to jive
    >> with your philosophy of education in general.
    >> On 8/11/10, Terry wrote:
    >>> So, it happens all the time? Teachers break contracts and move
    >>> to other districts?
    >>> Thank you so much for your time and advice.
    >>> Terry
    >>> On 8/11/10, My advice wrote:
    >>>> First, your union can give you a copy of the contract.
    >>>> However, for now, let's just assume you have to give 2 months
    >>>> notice. Your contract will lay out the details.
    >>>> Continue to work and look for a new position at the same
    >>>> time. It happens all the time so no one will view it as a
    >>>> big negative. Be careful when you get an interview to not
    >>>> focus on just the negative when you are asked why you would
    >>>> like to leave the position. It will be a big turn-off if all
    >>>> you do is complain. Know what you are going to say going in.
    >>>> When you get an offer, notify your administration in
    >>>> writing. Expect to have to stay the entire length your
    >>>> contract dictates from when you gave your notice. If it is
    >>>> less, so be it. It will be an awkward and difficult time
    >>>> period but there will be an end in sight.
    >>>> Good luck.
    >>>> On 8/11/10, Terry wrote:
    >>>>> Hello;
    >>>>> I need some advice and no spam or negative comments. I
    >>>>> have made a terrible mistake with the school where I am
    >>>>> working. I would like to continue to look for another job
    >>>>> while teaching, but am unsure at how teacher contracts work
    >>>>> and weather another school would even look at my
    >>>>> application knowing that I am under contract with another
    >>>>> district.
    >>>>> Please advise and, respectfully, no lectures. I know how
    >>>>> this must sound - just please help me.
    >>>>> Thank you,
    >>>>> Ctracy