Observations: One Month out of the Classroom

Beyond Teaching
List of observations

I’ve been out of the classroom for a full month now and I have a lot of thoughts to share. My original plan for this “series” (very loose term, fyi), was to move from my last post to a post detailing why I left teaching. But every time I try to write that post, I either stare at a blank screen or end up with an unwieldy monster of a post. 

So, let’s hit pause on that for now. Maybe someday I’ll be able to articulate my reasons (or maybe not).

Instead, today I’m going to write out a list of my observations. There is no rhyme or reason to this list. The thoughts are just being written down as they pop in my head or as I find them in my “new job journal.” This is a list very specific to me, and I probably should have “reframed” it to be more universal, but I think you can read between the lines and figure out how you might have a similar experience. 🙂 

I am sleeping better

I don’t wake up in the night wondering how I’m going to help Johnny learn to read or dreading grading that pile of essays kids turned in on Friday. I just…wait for it…go to sleep. And then I get up in the morning feeling rested. It’s wild!

I appreciate my time outside of work much better

For the first time in 15 years, I have only three weeks off from work (well 15 PTO days plus 7 holidays). That’s weird. I’m now having to reframe how I view those days off and how I use the time when I’m not working now. Now rather than thinking “I’ll do this big project over spring break,” I think “I’ll plan out how I can tackle this project a little each weekend.”

I am not counting down to breaks and weekends.

Due to the way our schedule worked at school, I felt like I was always counting down to the next day off. Or even just thinking, “yay, it’s Thursday. Two more days.” Now I find myself like, “whoa! It’s Friday?!?! Cool!”

I feel less stressed.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be stressful times–before a workshop or when there is a big deadline, or while juggling five projects. But it’s a different and more manageable stress than teaching. It’s my stress, not the stress I’m carrying for me and 125 other beings. And this also means I can just relax after work. I am not constantly wondering if I’m ready for the next day. As my friend Ivory who also left teaching this year said, “while teaching, I felt overwhelmed, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of it. This kind of stress is good. It’s stretching my skills and my potential to grow.” 

I feel valued

Especially in the current Covid climate, it’s hard to find a teacher who really feels valued (I could write a whole post on this, but not today). At my new job, I have colleagues who say things like “great idea” or “I really like this.” We also give each other critical feedback through QAing each other’s work. And–don’t get me wrong, critical feedback is always tough–it’s also really rewarding to know someone even sees what you’re doing and finds what you’re doing valuable. 

That’s it for now. I have more insights but they are less personal and more about teaching and transition in general. 

I have had several people reach out to me about transitioning from teaching to Learning & Development, so a while back I put together this doc of resources, people to follow, etc. I continue to add to it as I find new resources. Check it out if you’re interested. (Note: There are affiliate links in the document but I only share courses/books I believe are actually helpful!!).

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  • Reply
    Lisa Anne Stuehringer
    May 5, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Your list of resources on learning and development has been so helpful!

    • Reply
      May 5, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      I’m so glad, Lisa!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    It sounds like you got a big health boost from leaving the classroom: sleep, value, and less stress!

  • Reply
    Kellie W
    January 30, 2021 at 9:50 am

    It’s always good to read about others who are on the same journey!! Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to not teaching! Only 4 months left!!

    • Reply
      January 30, 2021 at 10:04 am

      Woohoo! You can do it! 🥳

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