I quit teaching in the middle of the school year because of anxiety
- Beth, 31, is a former middle school teacher in Texas who left her job in 2020.
- She knew she had to leave when she started getting scared and crying a lot.
- She now runs a personal blog. Here is her story as told to writer Robin Madell.
This essay is based on a conversation with Beth, a 31-year-old former middle school teacher in Texas, who asked that only her first name be used to protect professional relationships. Your identity and employment have been verified by Insider. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I was originally drawn to teaching because I always gave private tuition as a high school student. I was certified to teach bilingual primary school teachers (Spanish and English) and taught at primary school level for two years.
It wasn’t for me. I loved creating a curriculum, but teaching at the elementary level was exhausting. So I switched to older grades (fifth through eighth) and I loved it. I was in my sophomore year as a middle school teacher when the pandemic hit.
I love teaching and still do. But even before the pandemic, I realized there were problems with teaching in public schools.
I’ve spent hundreds of dollars a year as a teacher — on art supplies, notebooks, pens, party favors, snacks to give kids before the bus picks them up, prizes like stickers and other small treats, and more — and that’s common among not unionized teachers. COVID-19 has only increased my concerns about teaching.
At the start of the pandemic, classroom expectations were unclear and changing daily. But I accepted digital learning as an exciting new challenge.
We have met online many times as a campus. People were still in the phase of trying to be funny with theirs
I hosted a Zoom meeting for one of my classes and almost 50 students showed up. It was mayhem. I had to tell one of my students to put on a shirt.
Already familiar with Zoom, I quickly learned all the new digital learning strategies by watching YouTube videos about using Zoom and other platforms that the school had put in place.
But many of my colleagues were stressed and overwhelmed by the change. Some teachers struggled with basic technology, such as B. Adding an attachment to an email so you can imagine it was outside of their wheelhouse.
Summer 2020, I was nervous
Our school district had no plans to delay the August start of school or to start digitally. I panicked when the numbers were bad. It didn’t make any sense to me.
I had severe anxiety and also became depressed. My biggest fear was that I would bring COVID-19 to my parents, at whose house I have dropped my son every day this year.
I mistakenly assumed that our district would make the “right” decision to postpone school or go digital and that this announcement would be made at the last second, like Spring Break. That’s why I didn’t stop in the summer.
We personally started the school year in August with a small percentage of children online. It was a complete mess.
On the first day of school, one of the elementary schools lost the internet connection. I had physical education classes every morning with another adult. This consisted of social distancing an entire campus of children – more than 200 youth – in bleachers and enforcing mask-wearing.
At this point, COVID-19 had political implications, with so many children campaigning against masks because of what their parents said.
The state of Texas grants you five paid vacation days per year (days may accrue). After you have used up all of your paid vacation days, you must pay for them. In the end, my husband used up all of his paid vacation days because our children’s day care center was closed.
We also had problems with the school buses at first because of bottlenecks. I particularly remember one day when we waited almost an hour and a half after school for a bus to pick up the students. After the first few days, the buses arrived more on time.
I got panic attacks at home and at school
I cried a lot. Other people were stressed, but the hardest part was that the bosses wanted to pretend it was a normal school year.
One day I was picking up my then 4-year-old daughter from daycare and she was crying. Apparently she had a breakdown in daycare and her teacher threatened her with a trip to the principal’s office. I saw then that she was struggling just as much as I was.
That’s when I decided to stop. I went to the Assistant Superintendent’s office the next day and resigned. If you terminate your contract, there is a chance that the district will revoke your certification, leaving you unable to teach. I recognized this, but went ahead and resigned on the grounds that I was afraid of embarrassing my parents. You have not revoked my certification.
I faced a lot of resentment from other teachers. It was like I was selfish and over anxious about the pandemic. Teachers can feel a great deal of guilt when they leave the classroom because the students need them. Still, I stand by my decision to quit.
I gave up teaching in public schools forever because I saw firsthand that teacher safety is not a priority
I’ve been researching gun violence in schools since before the pandemic. I refuse to die for my job – be it by bullet or virus.
Finances were definitely a big issue when I stopped teaching. But I was so concerned about our health — and my mental health was deteriorating so rapidly — that I was willing to take the plunge.
My husband and I both took out money from our retirement savings to bridge the gap between paychecks and we sold one of our cars to pay off debt. I work part-time jobs to pay the bills while I build The Travel Fam, a blogging business I started, and create educational resources for homeschoolers.
At the end of 2020 I started a seasonal part-time position as a supervisor at UPS. This provided me with insurance and a small income while I considered my next move.
I was offered and accepted a permanent position as a health and safety officer at UPS after the holidays. I’ve been working for UPS throughout 2021 while writing for my blogs and preparing to grow into a full-time position. I left UPS in January and now blog full-time.
I’ve faltered a bit as a blogger. But I found a coach and take lessons from her and use her SEO strategies to build traffic.
I’ve already seen some successes on my blog and look forward to working for myself.
I love research so I spend a lot of time reading and watching videos of people blogging successfully. I look forward to continuing to share my experiences with other teachers and homeschooling parents.