I’ve been teaching in a public school for 6 years. While I adore the children and love making a difference in my community, I think I’m starting to get burnt out.
I live in a high rent city but teach in a state that was recently ranked one of the worst to be a teacher in. The pay is atrocious. The past 5 years of my life have been paycheck to paycheck and minimal savings because after rent, utilities, student loan, savings, food, and gas I barely have anything left. I have an active social life and frequently have to turn down events because I can’t afford to do what my friends are. I rarely go out to eat, shop at a discount grocery store on a strict list, and my only extra monthly charge is my YMCA membership (I have a low rate thanks to income based rates). I’m driving a 10 year old car that is banged up and dented. I’m used to being thrifty, but I cannot do any necessary updates in my life. I babysit, tutor, and petsit as often as possible. However, I am also in graduate school while working full time. I’m not opposed to working another job, but I’m exhausted after 10 hours of entertaining children. I wanted to further my education with my Masters degree and it comes with a nice pay raise, but after the student loan payments, there won’t be much of a gain. I recently moved into a cheaper apartment. I’m living with a roommate, as I cannot afford to live alone. Our apartment has cockroaches weekly, toilets do not fully flush, loud neighbors, thin walls, cars being broken into, and broken heat. This was my option to save money, but I’m living like a college student. It’s really frustrating to come home after a long day to a frat house with no heat!Every year, I’ve experienced more pressure put on teachers with no raise or incentives for us. I work at a good school, but the parents can be demanding and our administration recently changed. The new principal and his assistants are hardly ever at school and not supportive. I’m at one of those hover parent schools and the principal constantly bends to please them instead of supporting teachers and finding a mutually beneficial solution. The work culture is really poor. The teachers are unhappy, our campus is poorly maintained, dirty and outdated, and a lack of leadership has caused virtually no communication and confusion among staff. Lately, I’ve really considered looking into new careers. I thought teaching was my calling and feel humbled to work with such amazing kids and great families, but I’m getting worn out. I’m there from 6-4 everyday with a 40 minute break twice a week- that’s it. I can’t go to the bathroom, have to sit with the students at lunch and now our administration has been planning lots of after school events that we are expected to/guilting into attending- with no extra pay! I feel that they exploit our passion for the kids into doing more for nothing. I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life working with children and preparing to teach. I feel it’s part of my identity and who I am. I feel immense guilt when I think of leaving, but I want a better life for myself too. I want fair hours, liveable pay, and benefits. I’m single, 27, and getting tired of this. I need to be able to support myself and create a savings account. I have some in there, but I want to make a 401k also. I need health insurance that doesn’t break the bank when I get sick. There are many things about the job that I love and fear I would miss. However, I see no end in sight with this current career. Besides becoming a principal, there is no room for any growth. Should I look for new jobs or stick it out? I feel so guilty and shallow for making a change based on money. It’s not the only option, but I don’t think I can be the creative, inspiring, involved teacher that I want to be in these conditions. Thanks for your help!
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