Teaching Career Is Not Worth It

Teresa writes:
I am teaching 2nd grade for my 2nd year. Education was a second bachelor degree for me. I am teaching 5 subjects in a school with low-income children with a principal who expects high test scores and paperwork to back it up. It is extremely time-consuming
disheartening and I believe impossible. I know it takes a special kind of person to do this and now I believe I am not that person. It is too much. I am not scared of hard work and I love children but this job is not worth it. My first bachelor degree was in psychology minor in communications. I divorced at age 24 and was out of school for a while. The only job I had in that field was for 1 1/2 years while I was going to college as a counselor on midnight shift at a drug and alcohol re-hab center for teens.
I don’t know what I want to do now but I cannot stay where I am.
I think I would like research. I enjoy planning for teaching (curriculum area).
I really like to teach reading and language arts. I sometimes think that
I would like to leave work at work and not bring it home. I love
gardening. Any suggestions?

The Career Doctor responds:
First Teresa let me say that I think you have a range of career possibilities and potential sitting before you. You have a great education background good skills and strong interests. I know the burn-out rate for teachers is high but I also know that many
conscientious workers — in many occupations — bring work home to complete. And I’m not so sure you are burnt out on teaching but teaching all the subjects.
So what can you do? Of course only you can determine that answer. I will give you an outsider’s perspective but I encourage you to take a weekend — or longer — and really spend some time examining your true work passions and interests. Perhaps work on
your personal mission statement. If you need help read this article: Using a Personal Mission Statement to Chart Your Career Course. You might also want to take our Workplace Values Assessment for Job-Seekers.
From looking at your background I would say you could easily stay in teaching — but perhaps at a different school or at the middle-school level where you could focus on reading and language arts. Or perhaps you could into guidance counseling which you marry your interest in children and your psychology background. Curriculum development is another possibility. But in reality your options are almost limitless. You need to prioritize your values your interests your work preferences and your career goals — and then see what jobs/careers arise from that mix.
I wish you the best. With a little time for reflection and thought I am sure you will discover several pathways to success.

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