I’m done with teaching.
Kaeti will continue teaching, but I’ve resigned.
I’ll probably never be able to explain exactly why I couldn’t do it, but the long and short of it is… I was miserable, depressed, and in the darkest place I’ve ever been.
I quit a while back, and I’ve been avoiding writing anything about it, mostly because it’s hard to put into words.
Part of the problem was the students, the other part was the workload. I could give specifics, but I don’t want to be so negative.
I think that I could have handled all of it, but I just didn’t have the motivation. Because almost as soon as I got into the swing of things I realized that I would rather be doing anything else with my life than teaching.
Don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed the last six years of teaching abroad. And if given the chance I’d jump right back into it in Korea or Spain or….literally anyplace you can think of. Part of that is just the adventure of living in a foreign country, but also the students were just….better.
I came home one weekend feeling like absolute trash. I felt trapped and seriously afraid of what would happen if I continued. So Kaeti and I took a walk, and we started talking about different things I could be doing. And for the first time since I’d started teacher orientation I felt genuinely happy, and I just cried. I went back to school on Monday and told the administrators that this was going to be my last week.
They asked me if I had another job, I said no. So they offered to let switch over to become a substitute….I think I actually laughed at that.
And so I quit. I quit a job that had decent-ish pay, great benefits, and serious job security in the middle of a global pandemic. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I didn’t tell the students that I was leaving until my final day. I had a lot of rapport built up with them, and they always talked about how much they loved my class and how fun I was as a teacher. They were really great kids (mostly) and when they were well behaved they were the only bright spot in an otherwise dark and shitty experience. So saying goodbye to them was hard. After my final class all 100 or so students burst into my door to say goodbye. I totaly lost it in front of them all.
But I still don’t have any regrets.
I am angry though. I think that this year could have been a great year for me, and I feel robbed.
Before this year started the administrators told me that all four of my classes would consist of the lowest academically performing students in the grade. They knew that this would add more stress onto me, a first year (in this country) teacher and they wanted to know if that was going to be alright. I was honest then, and said no. But I also said I’d try.
Well I tried, and holy hell did it make my life a living nightmare.
So since then I’ve been doing anything I can to fill my time. I built a spice rack, made pickles, kimchi, and jams.
I’ve also started volunteering for the Colorado State Parks. So one day out of the week I go and monitor raptors for a citizen science project (read: go stand in the forest and look for big birds). I keep track of and report whatever I do or don’t see. And then another day out of the week I go and help build hiking trails. Doing this is actually really rewarding, somehow more so than teaching, which shows what I think about teaching.
I’m happy, probably for the first time since leaving Spain.
And while I miss my students, I really don’t miss teaching.