I am in my second year of teaching high school English and I just can’t do it anymore. It makes me so sad, but teaching just isn’t for me. I love my colleagues, my principal is great, my AP is “meh” at best, and 90% of the kids send my blood pressure through the roof with anxiety and dread knowing they’re coming to my classroom. It’s a constant battle. I’m not having any luck with other jobs. It seems I’m unqualified for anything but teaching. HELP! Any advice or leads for where to start? TIA.

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My first three years were awful, I was awful...then things started falling into place. You will learn what to anticipate so that your blood pressure doesn't spike every 3 seconds. Example: doing what you think is a great lesson, and the only response at the end of it is: "Can I go to the bathroom?" It doesn't mean your lesson wasn't great. It just means you need to have a bathroom rule that doesn't involve being interrupted by their bodily functions. I set my classroom rules so that they don't "trigger" (HATE that word) my ADHD or my pet peeves or my deeply held beliefs about Maslow's Hierarchy. Also, I loved my content, and I tried to be the teacher I'd wanted. Soon enough I realized that, for every annoying kid, there were at least 2 kids who were actually engaged but were afraid of me because I seemed so easily annoyed by every little question. Getting to know some of them one on one was really helpful. By year 4, I was kind of good. Going on year 20, I am so grateful I stuck with it. You are probably making more of a difference than you know. Keep doing what you love, with an open heart. Kids will notice. Best wishes, honestly. We need teachers who care enough to know they're not always great.

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This is a beautiful response

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30+ year veteran here: I echo much of what I'm hearing on this post...I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. Looking back, I can see that my expectations were unreasonable when I was a young teacher. My 15 year old lower level boys were NOT going to be excited about reading Spenser...he's actually going to make them feel stupid which is going to cause problems. Once I better aligned myself with where my students were, things started to slowly get better.

Classroom management also came through finding their passion and engaging them there, then building on those passions. I often use easy, or quirky pieces to first engage, then build from there. Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" talks about all of the methods of characterization, but it's easy to understand and sort of a funny song. Once they've built some confidence on these types of pieces, I can scaffold up to more challenging pieces.

You don't say exactly what these students are doing, are they challenging you, being rude or disrespectful, acting like they don't care, etc. Again, making a personal connection can help.

Finally, I teach AP Literature myself. What if you turn the tables a bit? Every now and then I ask the AP kids to teach a poem or short story. You can give them free rein in your textbook, or if you want to reserve some stories/poems for things you're teaching, give them a list of like 50 pieces and have them choose. If you give the list, you could add ideas you want them to focus on (irony, symbolism, characterization, etc.). Be sure you don't approach this as a "see how hard it is to engage a class" but "I know you have great things to say and we want to hear them." You might have them work in pairs, and they conference with you before they present their lesson. That will give you more personal time with them as well, building more connections.

If after trying the suggestions from this thread and giving it a year or so, you still hate it, by all means, find a better fit. I had a horrible student teaching experience and didn't want to teach. I was frustrated and fearful knowing I had prepared to teach and hadn't thought about anything else. A good friend told me to give it an honest shot, and here I am, 30 some odd years later. . .feel free to reach out directly (if that's even possible) here.

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The only advice I have is to suggest you hang in there, and get some mentoring, especially on classroom management. Once you become proficient at controlling the environment and keeping kids on task, things get a LOT better. And most teachers don't master this skill for several years.

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Always be positive and never show that your are mas. Keep smiling, most of the students came form broking families. They do not know how to talk.

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15 years in this Industry and it has only gotten worse. If you can add a new skill to your experience there are entry level jobs you can transition to. Check out LikedIn and YouTube for Transitioning Teachers communities and support. Best wishes!

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Maybe try a different grade. High school can be rough. Maybe middle school? Best of luck. Winter Break is right around the corner!

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i agree, middle school is very difficult

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You need to leave teaching. You are too young to “just survive “ at your job. You deserve to be happy & enjoy your job. DO NOT get stuck where you are stressed; you will only make yourself sick in the long run. Teaching is not what it was even 5 years ago.

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Become a freelance writer and editor. Or teach kids from other countries online. Both jobs you can do from home, and they pay pretty well once you have some experience under your belt. If you're miserable and need to get out, that's ok. You haven't done anything wrong, and you're not doing something wrong by leaving either. Sometimes even when you don't know what you need, you know what you don't need!

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If you are this miserable, you should leave. Finish the year, but search for other job opportunities in your area in the meantime. Your job should not make you feel like that. (My first two years were like this.) As your classroom management gets better, you will have an easier time. But you don't want to go to leave teaching in a few years and feel like you can't leave because of the time you already have invested. If it's not right you, it isn't right and you shouldn't feel stuck or miserable.

Honestly, get on teacher-quit TikTok. I have seen some good suggestions for people looking to get out.

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Play the lottery weekly and pray your numbers hit. 💰

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I'm sorry you're going through this. I've noticed a big change in teachers leaving the profession.

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Some of the best advice I got from another teacher when I first started teaching, was to basically be mean the first semester and then you can loosen up the next. My first year I was young and wanted the kids to like me and they ran all over me. The next year I took her advice and what a difference it made. Some kids thought I was a b* but overall they respected me and did what was expected of them. And that's what I cared most about. I'm really strict the first month or so (not the whole semester) until we get into a routine and then the year just flows. After that I'm able to cut up with the kids but they still know their limits and it's worked all these 15 years later.

On the flip side, I understand how terrible education is right now and I'm not as happy as I used to be. Admin and state requirements have taken the fun out of teaching but I still love the kids (as much as they frustrate me with their lack of drive and creativity). I've thought about getting out too but have no clue what I would do. This is not a place I ever thought I would be in my career when I first started teaching.

At the end of the day you have to do what's right for you and your sanity. Good luck to you!

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Have you thought of becoming a technical writer? Many companies hire people to write their manuals. You could also so employee training at a large company. You would be teaching big kids (adults), but again, many companies have internal trainers. As a 28 year veteran, my advice to you is to get out if you don't truly love it.

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Teaching is NOT an 'easy job with summers off' as I have heard people say. I am not saying that was your reasoning but that is what I have heard some say and have serious struggles in the class room.
This is my 10th year and I am in my worst semester ever. Usually, I have issues in one class but this semester, I have had students with attitude issues in every class and I had duty that forces me to be a bouncer. The staff and admin are very supportive, it is the apathy of the kids and not all or even most or many, just a select few that ruin things (we REALLY need an alternative academic school) or rather force me to think along those lines, which is one thing I have had to examine myself. "Am I letting the bad attitudes get to me?" I have had this before and I focused on the the good moments in class or the subject that I was teaching and that helped me get through the tough times. Also, most districts allow for some type of counselling sessions because teacher burnout is a real thing and it sounds like you are well on your way to it. You don't have to be though!

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My advice Hang in there. Take nothing home from school. Quitting time is the end of the school day. Go home and think about you and family. Student will come and go do not get attached. Some are great and some will never be missed. Teach for 5 more years get your administrator degree then become a Principal and change the things that haunt you. after 18 year I still go home and school is done at 4:00 pm I do what I want on my time, after school, my admin knows that. Teaching has never been a priority in my life it has always been 3rd or 4th

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See if there is an elementary position

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My first thought is for you to really sit with yourself and decide if you actually want to continue on the teaching career path. If you find that you love the profession, I would suggest like others, to find ways to manage your classes to make it more tolerable until you really find your stride. Maybe try different grade levels, districts or schools and perhaps a specialist role outside of the classroom. If you truly feel like it isn’t for you, you definitely have options so don’t count yourself out by thinking you’re not qualified to do anything else. Check out Teacher Career Coach. There are tons of resources to support teachers transitioning out of the classroom and even some information about how to make teaching more sustainable if you want to stay. I am from DC, graduated from DCPS, and I know how challenging some schools can be, but also that there are some really great schools where you might thrive. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide!

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I was super burnt out by the end of my second year teaching. I switched to a different school district, grade level, and subject area, and discovered a real love of the job. Next year will be my 20th in the classroom and I still enjoy going to work...most days, at least, haha. If you want to try to continue in the profession, this is a job-seeker's market. You should have plenty of options to pick a school that has a more positive culture, and perhaps an age level or content area that's easier to handle. Best of luck.

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You're in DC so it could be the school population you work with is more challenging than in the suburbs. As others have stated, the first few years for any teacher is extremely difficult. Schools do not adequately prepare young teachers for the reality of being a teacher, so we all struggle in the beginning. I taught in Boston my first year and I don't know how I survived. I have found my suburban students much easier to teach, personally. The one thing that was most helpful to me in my teaching development was a book called CHAMPS. I swear by it and encourage all of the young struggling teachers I meet to read it. I've read many books on classroom management, but CHAMPS is the best and most effective as far as managing your classroom and turning things around. Good luck to you whatever you decide.

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Their not easier to teach they have most, to all of their needs meet before going into the classroom. Inner city kids have different needs that go beyond the school. Once needs are met the issues occur in both groups.

Many companies need document writers and trainers. You don't necessarily need to know the subject, just how to train(teach). You can always learn the subject.

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I began teaching in 1999, and much of what you have described is exactly how I felt then. I honestly thought I had made a terrible mistake by becoming a teacher. In fact, I felt unsure of my choice throughout the latter part of my college major - especially during student teaching. I felt it was too late to make a change, and so finished and started teaching. Think of all the stress you have undergone in the last 3-4 years - even without considering the pandemic - the beginning of a teaching career is extremely stressful. Many obstacles and hoops to navigate. Now you are in the classroom and assessing this life choice. Could it be possible, that maybe some of the unhappiness could come from the gap between what you thought teaching might be vs. what it is? I say that because that was the conclusion I came to several years into teaching - I also wanted to quit. Some more experienced teachers (from all over - not just at my school) suggested to me that they felt their first 5 years were the worst part - they too wanted to leave - but then things started to improve. Especially in terms of student:teacher communication. It sounds like you haven't had the chance to experience the warmth that students can have for their teachers. I felt that my students were not responding well to me, and that made it hard to face each day. Every year got better, though, and by about year 6, I felt that the scales really began tipping in the opposite direction: the good far outweighed the negative.

I'm not trying to talk you out of leaving - just want you to know you haven't failed, or done anything wrong, and you made it through the boot camp of getting the credentials and landing a job, so maybe trying a couple more years would be worth it?

The daily grind of teaching can feel enormously thankless - we are often the brunt of public disdain, both locally and nationally, but please know that there are many rewards to be had! You will make a difference in the classroom.

Whatever you decide - best wishes to you and good luck!

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