“Do you ever regret leaving education?” I send this text to multiple former colleagues. 

I feel a pain in my heart and tears swelling in my eyes. To be honest, I’ve thought about writing this multiple times but have always pulled back due to second-guessing myself. My goal as you read this is to not ask for sympathy but rather to be honest with youand actually myselfin hopes that this time, I realize it is my time to go.

RELATED: Want to Know Why Teachers Are Leaving Education? It’s Because We’re Exhausted

Thirteen years ago, I proudly walked across the stage to accept my college diploma in education. I set out to change the world and make an impact on the youth of America, much like my teachers had done for me. I was going to be the educator who helped students move mountains and chase their dreams. And I have. I have been ranked as an Exemplar Educator throughout my career and even completed extra degrees in the field because I was going to retire in education.

But it has all come at a sacrifice.

Education classes never mentally prepared me to feel like a failure more than a success. These classes never prepared me to handle a student’s suicide attempt or, even worse, how to handle a student’s death. While the classes helped me write an outstanding lesson plan, they did not tell me I would not be trusted to carry out even this simple task.

College never even gave me a hint that I would have to give up time with my own children to focus on and remember data from assessments because that’s all others cared about. I was told teachers get a planning period to help them stay ahead. However, the reality is after meetings and having to cover classes because there is a substitute shortage, I find myself bringing home loads of work to complete, and I never truly feel caught up.

There is no doubt in my mind about why I’ve stayed for so long. It’s for them. The students.

I have absolutely loved being a teacher for this reason. I’ve met so many amazing students who have touched my life in ways they probably do not even realize. I appreciate them teaching me so many invaluable lessons while I was supposed to be teaching them. I hold dear in my heart every interaction I have had with every student in the last 13 years.  

I love when I get to see them in the community and hear about their success. I have appreciated the value of knowing I touched their lives and hopefully in years to come, they will remember me and how much I cheered for them. Beyond those scores, I saw them as the unique human they are.

RELATED: Good Teachers Are Leaving the Field, and It’s Time We Talk About Why

If you are reading this and you are a teacher, keep going, the youth need you. But hear me out. Take breaks. Focus on your mind, body, and spirit every single day. Do your best to leave work at work. If your building is toxic, leave it right nowthis year, do not stay next year. Because I fear you will be in the same situation as I am, right now. Reclaim your weekends for your family and DO NOT end up like me.

You’ve given it all to education and have not one ounce left to give and the only thing you can do is . . . walk away.  

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I wrote this for myself in the deepest sadness of realizing I needed to leave education after so many years. I am what they call a “transitioned teacher,” and I am beyond blessed to be where I am in a new career. It hasn’t been easyI gave up a classroom, my friends, and my students, but in the end, I have found me again. And someday, I may return, but for now, I am taking care of myself and my family.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Dana Brady

I'm Dana or Dana Sue when my parents used to get fired up about something. I run a tiny blog called Live Simply Blessed which was created on a whim! Through my writing, I hope to encourage others to be strong and courageous. I'm a wife, a mother to four little people and a full-time middle grades educator who runs on caffeine and exercise. I'm passionate about my family, my faith, and adoption. Follow me on Instagram at live_simply_blessed for some crazy photos of me, the ringmaster, and the circus I run here in Kentucky. 

Dear Teacher, I See You

In: Journal, School
Dear Teacher, I See You www.herviewfromhome.com

I see you struggling to make ends meet. You look at how much is coming in and how much is going out, and you don’t know how you’re going to do it. Again. You wonder if this is a never-ending cycle. Will it always be this hard? Will you make it to retirement? Do you even want to make it to retirement, or should you run away and find the quickest job you can find just so you don’t have to argue with another child about whether or not you actually witnessed him talking when he was supposed to be...

Keep Reading

In Some Ways, I Feel as Empty as My Classroom Today

In: Kids
Empty classroom at the beginning of summer vacation

Today I closed my classroom door and hung my ID badge on a hook at home. I left my room looking so . . . empty. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love my summers! They are needed to rest, spark creativity, build new dreams for the next year and most importantly—to pour into my own family. But something feels so hollow in these last days of cleaning, filing, and closing doors. For 180 days, 19 children have walked into my doorway. I have heard them laugh the deep down heal your heart belly laughs. I have held them through tears...

Keep Reading

Somewhere Along the Way, Your Child Became Mine Inside This Classroom

In: Kids, Living
teacher student classroom appreciation www.herviewfromhome.com

Thank you for sharing your child with me this school year. August is a natural high for teachers. We work all summer to renew ourselves and gear up for a fresh school year. We eagerly print, laminate, color, glue, staple, and decorate in preparation for the arrival of our precious new students. The hype is invigorating. The school year gets going and we are consumed with building relationships and teaching structure and routine. We work hard to cultivate a safe and engaging learning community for all students to thrive in. Our goal is to discover how each kid learns, what their likes...

Keep Reading