A Job or A Career?

I went to college for art. When my daughter was six, a position became available for an art teacher at my old high school. It was a private school, one which my mother had attended in the 60s, I and my sister attended in the 90s, and I hoped my daughter would attend when she became a teenager. Thinking that having the same schedule and days off as my daughter would be awesome, I applied, interviewed and got the job. My career as an art teacher began. 

Through the years, I completed graduate school for education, receiving my masters degree and K-12 certification. I also incurred massive student loan debt. 

Over the years, my daughter grew older, attended the high school for free, and I grew to dislike the teaching profession. Me, a daughter of two teachers and a teacher myself, hating to teach. As I became more miserable in my career, and the kids saw my frustrations grow, I always told them that if I quit, it wouldn’t be because of them. I once read an article that compared the teaching profession to being in an abusive relationship. You only stay in it for the children. And it’s true. 

No, my frustrations weren’t because of them. Although I encountered more teens with entitlement issues, problems with authority, poor attitudes, bad work ethics, and general apathy, my frustrations lay with other things. Unsupportive administration, helicopter parents, tiger parents, and lack of consistency in school policies were just a few of the many frustrations I had with my job. 

I took on more and more responsibilities- yearbook advisor (I must have been insane!), club advisor, sports coach, scenic artist for the drama program, and even a second job as a server at a casual dining restaurant- and my stress and anxiety levels went through the roof. All of my life, I’ve suffered from depression, something that, until recent years I thought was merely seasonal. With increased stress and anxiety, my depression grew worse. 

Last year I was miserable more often than not. The kids noticed. That’s when I knew things had to change. My daughter was a senior in high school. I just had to stick it out until graduation, and I did. After graduation, I submitted a letter asking for a sabbatical. I was denied one, told that they “don’t do” sabbaticals at that school and this was considered my tendered resignation. 

So I said, PEACE! 

I entered the service industry full time, and no matter how busy a night, I never had remotely as much stress as teaching. I quit teaching and I haven’t looked back. 

So I have massive student loan debt and a masters degree I no longer use. Most days I have swollen feet and ankles, an achy back, and am purely exhausted. I don’t make nearly enough money to survive, should probably take on a second job as I’m in a financial hole and trying to dig my way out, and I get stressed out and depressed because of it. People say they feel sorry for me that I have such a good degree and I’m not using it. Don’t feel sorry for me. As much as life is throwing punches right now, I’m in a much better place than when I was teaching. 

So my career as a teacher became just a job, and my job as a server could become a career. Or perhaps my life will go in a different direction. You never know. 


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