Why I Am Giving Up Teaching
Eddie Barnes


Thank you for sharing your experience as a teacher. I can definitely relate since I taught elementary school for over 10 years and endured a similarly bumpy ride. I spent most of my career in catholic schools because those positions were easiest to attain. However it came to be a mixed blessing because although the students were better behaved and more eager to learn than in public school, the pay was awful, and you weren’t protected by a union, so if you got laid off there was no unemployment, or even tenure to shield you from getting dismissed. This happened to me twice. It happened to me not because I was incompetent but because the Catholic schools had lost enrollment due to the growing dissatisfaction in wake of the sex scandals. Being the last to be hired made me the first to be fired. So I spent many a summer looking for another teaching position, in public schools, sending out more resumes than I cared to remember, and receiving the same standard post card responses that they would keep me on file until a position became available. That was actually good because I mostly heard nothing back from a majority of the schools.

One year I thought I got lucky when I was hired to teach Grade 3 in an urban district. It turns out it was a vehicle to get me to campaign for the mayor who was also the superintendent of schools, and also the one who hired me. I lived in town and he needed my vote. Tit for tat! To my dismay, things began going south as soon as I moved out of town. I was no longer a political ally, hence treated like a second class citizen. Although I worked hard to make an impact on my students I had some very troubled children, particularly one that had severe behavioral issues to the point of being a danger to me and other students in the class. When I tried to address this with the Principal, he flippantly remarked that it was my fault if I couldn’t control my own class. Long story short, my contract was not renewed and the reason that was given was that my position was temporary; that I was simply filling in for a teacher that would be returning from a leave of absence. That was never explained to me from the get go. Needless to say, I had become so stressed out and worn down that I was starting to see that this was more trouble than it was worth.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually had some wonderful experiences in which I felt I had made a positive impact on many children, especially the ones that struggled. Like you I was a pariah both as a student and as a teacher, hence I could relate and connect to those children who felt odd and alone. That gave me great joy! For this reason, I held on for as long as I could. I attained a second certification, subbed, tutored, did whatever I could to stay in teaching; while unemployed and looking for yet another teaching position after undergoing three painful layoffs.

When it got to the point where I nearly went broke and was approaching my late forties, I decided that it was time to move on. That is why I can SO relate to what you have gone through. I have taken heart, though, and have moved on to better horizons. I have my own freelance writing business and ironically enough, I also tutor! It never really left me but just morphed into something different!

I wish you happiness in where ever life takes you. If you are meant to be teaching again and/or doing something else it will find you!

Thanks again for sharing which inspired me to share. I believe that could be your inner teacher coming out!!!!!

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