If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “I hate teaching, but…” you’re not alone. Many teachers, whether they’ve been in the classroom for just a few months or in the same teaching job for over twenty years, end up feeling trapped in their careers.
It’s no wonder teachers find themselves struggling with the profession. Teaching has some unique challenges when compared to other careers, including:
- Limited mobility – Once you’re a teacher, you’re likely to stay a teacher for the long haul. There is limited mobility in the profession, especially if you don’t want to go into administration.
- Low pay – In the vast majority of districts, there is very little or no monetary incentive to keep you motivated to commit the extra time and effort the job takes.
- High stress – Teaching is a stressful and thankless job. Teachers are constantly dealing with the ever-increasing pressure of high-stakes testing, complicated teacher review processes, managing disrespectful students, and working with parents and administrators.
Despite these challenges, many teachers continue to push themselves above and beyond rather than seriously considering quitting. Even when workplace stress begins to affect them emotionally and physically, they continue to persevere. Within and outside of work, year-round, teachers put the job first and sacrifice all work-life balance.
This was me, stuck in the same boat of hating teaching but also never leaving until, one day, I finally took the plunge. I started my own business committed to helping teachers move on to the next phase of their careers and secure better working conditions.
You might hate teaching. You might wonder WHY you hate teaching when the work was always “in your blood”.
Or maybe the answer to that is already clear and all you need is some light inspo from a bonafide ex-teacher to nudge you out the door!
Either way, let’s explore the intricacies of the teaching profession, why it breeds such a love-hate relationship with its members, and how the hell to get you out the door and onto better things!
I Hate Teaching, But I Feel Guilty for Even Considering Leaving
On average, people change careers 12 times in their lifetime. In many careers, it’s easy to transfer to a new position. Other employees can change departments, companies, or even leverage their experience into a brand-new role if they feel stuck.
Teaching does not have this same flexibility. Just like there are a lot of good reasons for quitting teaching, so too do people find a lot of reasons to stay. The emotional component is one such reason: there are a lot of additional hurdles of stigma and guilt when you quit teaching.
Teacher guilt is real and can be very powerful. Whether it’s feeling bad about leaving your students or adding work to the plate of your co-workers, teachers often succumb to this guilt and put the needs of others ahead of their own.
The result? So many teachers burn out or stay in a career that is making them truly unhappy.
Guilt-tripping and the “once you start this profession you aren’t allowed to leave” mentality doesn’t happen in other industries. I know how hard it feels to transition out of teaching. There is so much stigma associated with this huge decision.
We all know teachers who are miserable and should have left the profession years ago. Teachers that went into the position with the best intentions but are now completely burned out.
That miserable teacher who needed out was me.
I know how guilty you may feel admitting you want to leave all the school work and busy work behind… Because I’ve been there too.
You feel guilty for imagining a different path for yourself. Other people with good intentions telling you what an “amazing teacher” you are and that you “can’t leave the kids” doesn’t help. You’re afraid of letting your colleagues and students down, so you sacrifice your own wants or needs.
I kept chalking it up to being a new teacher, but after years of being unhappy, I knew I needed to develop an exit strategy.
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I Hate Teaching, But I Have No Exit Strategy
Early on we are told that teaching is a “calling”. Many teachers go from high school to college to internships and then right into the classroom. There was never an exit plan because this was supposed to be your “forever” career.
The goals of getting on the tenure track and working toward your pension start early on. Even penning out a resignation letter for a tenured teaching position or giving up that pension only adds to the stigma and guilt of leaving.
It’s difficult to let go of those kinds of goals. You may feel guilty for even thinking of giving up the kind of long-term security that other teachers around you are working hard to achieve.
You might even feel that you don’t have any other skills. Years of teaching left me with low career self-esteem and feeling devalued as a professional. Impostor syndrome can be STRONG during this time. The fear of facing rejection when applying for roles while battling low career self-esteem leads you to believe that it will “never happen” for you.
But I want you to hear this: life is too short to stay in a career that isn’t the right fit.
If teaching isn’t what you thought it would be or you simply need a change, it’s okay to move on. It’s okay to validate those feelings instead of feeling wrong for them. Growth and change, even growing out of a profession that once felt like a “calling”, is human nature.
Quit. Quit your teaching job mid-year if you have to. Walk out and leave the school year in your dust. Better things come to us when we create space in our lives for that change.
Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that quitting a job or changing careers is a poor reflection of your character and growth. Moving on IS growing. The people that stagnate are the ones that really don’t grow.
True growth is only found in change. It’s a good thing you’re not who you were all those years before. Life is short: spend time on what really matters.
And don’t keep giving energy to the thing you hate.
I Hate Teaching, But I Don’t Know What Else To Do
Teacher guilt and some serious low career self-esteem held me back from leaving teaching when I knew I wanted something different. It took one final push from a toxic administration for me to finally be brave enough to try.
When I made the final decision to leave, I had NO idea what I wanted to do at first. One summer I Googled “other jobs for teachers“ 100 times and NOTHING coming up. I struggled with not knowing what else I could do.
It took a lot of time and energy. However, after a lot of research, planning, and applying, I landed my dream role as an educational consultant.
After I left, I was shocked to see the outpour of support and honesty from former coworkers who reached out about quitting their teaching jobs. Some of the best teachers I knew secretly wanted out – people who had been my mentors and teammates.
It was wild because, in the time before I left, I felt so incredibly isolated. I hardly spoke to anyone about how I was feeling, and I felt guilty for even considering leaving teaching.
Now, I’ve had so many other teachers follow me to my car or come up after I spoke at national conferences and whisper, “How did you get out?”
It was then that I knew I needed to create the resources and support I wished existed when I was searching for my life after teaching.
How to Quit a Teaching Job You Hate: Your Next Step
If you are considering leaving teaching, there are plenty of other options open to you! You have transferrable skills and can leverage your education and experience. But changing careers is never easy, especially in the competitive job market we are seeing today.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see teachers make is that they put off the research and planning of their career transition until the very last minute. This sets them up for a very stressful application season – trying to juggle their current teaching position, figuring out a resume, researching jobs, and hoping to nail down some interviews before signing next year’s contract.
It’s a lot.
But have no fear! Other jobs suitable for your skills are out there. As long as you strategize and go into the job hunt with a cool and collected approach, it will work out.
Luckily for you, you’re living in the golden age of teachers calling BS on the profession! You don’t have to struggle through this alone anymore. There are resources out there to make this transition easier.
Harnessing all the experience I gained from quitting teaching, I created the single BEST resource on the internet for teachers who have grown to hate teaching and are ready for a better life beyond…
The Teacher Career Coach
I left teaching and became the Batman of teachers, saving other teachers from the darkness of the profession one caped crusade at a time. I am The Teacher Career Coach.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and leave teaching behind, sign up for The Teacher Career Coach Course, a step-by-step video course that has helped thousands of teachers like you take their first steps out of the classroom and into a new career.
Inside the course, you’ll have access to countless resources to help you find your next season of life:
- Video coaching,
- Downloadable resources
- Resume writing assistance
- And access to a judgment-free community of over 2,000 current and former teachers to support you with the journey
This course, created with the help of an HR expert and professional resume writer with more than 10 years of experience helping people transition careers, will help you navigate your search.
You’ll learn everything from how to translate your skills and experience to job searching, networking, resume writing, interview skills, and everything in between. A career beyond the classroom awaits!
Stop letting teaching ruin your health and life. Leave now and leave the memories as good ones.
Find out more about the Teacher Career Course and start making the right decisions for yourself today.
Hate Teaching? Then Quit!
The minute the word “hate” starts getting thrown around, it’s time to leave. There are a lot of good reasons to quit teaching, and “I hate teaching” is probably the best of all!
There is ZERO shame in leaving the teaching profession if it no longer serves you.
If so many teachers stay in the profession despite being exploited, abused, and mistreated, then the profession will never improve. And if you stay still in something that isn’t progressive or meaningful to you, YOU will never improve,
You were a good person when you decided to become a teacher. You are still a good person if you decide to pursue a new career. You do not have to sacrifice your entire life for a job. Period.
So move on and never look back. If you really hate teaching, even just some of the time, then it’s time to depart. Hate is corrosive to the soul, and it spreads like a disease.
Don’t let it consume you. I didn’t. I left teaching a became a happier and healthier individual, and I haven’t had one single regret.
This can be you too. Sign up for The Teacher Career Course today and make that change.
First, it’s just one step out the door. And then, after that…