Burnt Out

I am so mentally and emotionally exhausted. I have two and a half weeks left working at The Academy, but the end can’t come fast enough. The confidence and excitement I once had for teaching has literally evaporated into thin air. I can honestly feel myself frowning and just feeling unfulfilled and empty every day. Is it too much to ask that I actually enjoy my job? Never in my life have I had to put so much effort into feeling content and staying positive during the day. My prayer life has exploded over the past several months just asking for God’s provision, direction, and purpose for my life. My esteem is so fragile right now and I’m such an emotional mess. Is this what it feels like to feel depressed and purposeless? My poor husband is trying his best to comfort me each day when I come home with an even more pessimistic attitude than when I left; I don’t want him to feel like he can’t tell me about how great his day was just because mine was less than ideal.

I didn’t want to give up on teaching completely. I wanted to give it a full year in a public school classroom (with children who are much older than preschoolers!) before I made a career change. I thought the one thing that was causing me to doubt myself as a teacher was the fact that I’ve been in nothing but preschools for the past 9 months, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a teacher at all. I’m concerned that if I’m not 98% or more confident that I can stick with it long term then I’m simply setting myself up for failure and another strenuous year of working. Why would I want to do that to myself? As of late, I know my heart is only half in and the other half is anxious to try something new and find a new passion. However, with a new career, I have all new concerns like completely starting over from scratch, choosing a new career, possibly going back to school (potential financial burden), little experience in other areas…..and the list goes on and on.

The world is such a broken place. For me as a perfectionist, I am finding this harder and harder to deal with each day. I am realistic knowing that not everything can be absolutely perfect all the time. If there is a possibility that it can be perfect, I have a very hard time accepting when it’s not. There are so many things out of my control, such as student behavior, but that I feel like SHOULD be within my control. Ultimately, I can use whatever the most popular discipline system is at this time, but a student can still make their own choices. I love teaching. Period. I greatly dislike disciplining students. Period. I currently spend most of my time mediating disagreements, name-calling, pushing/shoving and tattle-tailing. They don’t seem to retain my suggestions to fix the problem and advice to keep the peace the following day, much less a few hours later! It’s very exhausting!

I don’t want to do this for the next 30 years of my life. I want to enjoy my job, feel like I’m making a difference, and still have some energy left when I come home to spend time with my husband and future children. If I’m surrounding myself with bickering, ungrateful kids all day long, I’m afraid I won’t look forward to coming home and spending time with my own children. One of the major goals I’ve had for my life is to be a mother. I want to be able to enjoy motherhood when the time comes instead of dreading the potential chaos.

Please leave any comments, advice, or questions in the comments sections. I could definitely use some positive feedback!

Blog#10

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4 thoughts on “Burnt Out

  1. Ashley, I read your entry with great interest, having spent seven years in public education. Finding the right age group to teach is pretty critical; even going from eighth graders my first year, to high schoolers was a great step in the right direction for me when I taught. You are spot on as you struggle with not breaking through to your charges due to having to mediate their problems. I hear your heart for wanting to be an educator; I am praying that you seek out the age level that will best allow you to pour out your skills and find it fulfilling. Whatever fired you up about teaching in the first place is worth revisiting. There’s an age level in there somewhere with which you really connect. I pray that you find it!

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  2. Hey sweetie!I taught middle school when I was first married and it was very hard but very rewarding. The first few years of teaching can be very rough, and each year you work things get better as you learn more. I have been a substitute now for many years and I have worked with all ages and classes and I can tell you that some jobs are easier than others and you may not have found your niche. I also was a stay at home Mom for many years and we home schooled. Being a sub has been a nice niche for me as I love to teach and I just do my job and go home. You are young and you have time to make a decision. If you can sock away and save money from two incomes early and your true heart is to be a stay at home Mom, then continuing to teach may just be a way to fulfill long term goals. There is a home school co-op called classical conversations that pays the teachers and the work is fun. That may be an option once you have kids.Do hard things. Your tstatement that this has brought you closer to God means you are in the right place. Look for small victories and look for His hand. You do make a difference…you are salt and light in a fallen world. Hang in there! Blessings! Tina Badley

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  3. I feel your heaviness Ashley and it makes me so sad for you. I know this has been such a tough year for you job wise. Your prayer life is the best place to be looking for purpose and direction and I am sure it will come in time as you continue to take prayerful steps. Even though this situation sucks for you, I believe it will make your marriage stronger as you guys learn another level of trusting and supporting one another.

    Yes, you should enjoy your job, even though every day might not be enjoyable. You said as a perfectionist, if it can be perfect, you have a hard time accepting when it is not. I’m glad you were able to recognize that things like the kid’s behavior is out of your control. You can certainly have an impact and teach them better ways to manage their peer relationships, but it is a process. You have them for a small segment of time each day and you have no way of knowing what might be going on for them at home. It is hard to recognize small steps, but maybe one day out of the week that kid does “keep the peace”, but it’s hard to notice because the other 4 days his behavior is horrible. Try to remember it’s a process and recognize and reinforce the small steps.

    I know you’re trying not to give up on teaching, even though you feel you might not “be cut out for it”. I think it’s worth pointing out that you had many successful teaching experiences in a variety of different schools and and with a variety of grade levels while you were in college. Your evaluating teachers always had positive things to say about you. But, you were teaching in your grade level, K-6. I feel like being able to actually teach the ages you were trained for would make a significant difference in your level of confidence and excitement. I don’t want you to have another strenuous year of working, but if you’re able to teach the right level, then you can truly evaluate if this is a good fit for you. There is nothing that says you have to teach for the whole school year, especially if you realize after half a year the frustrations are the same for you as when you were teaching the preschoolers.

    I know you said you love teaching but you hate discipline. So one on one or small groups should feel much better to you (although there may still be some discipline involved). From what I understand, the reading specialist teacher might meet the requirements for what you already know about yourself. Or maybe there are other specialties similar to that out there. Yes, I know you would need more education. But it is still in your field, so it’s not like totally starting over. Also keep in mind that your financial situation is much different now than when you applied for aid at Shepherd or University of Florida two years ago. Your financial need is much greater.

    Yes, whatever you do for a job, you need to have energy left most days (honestly some days you are just spent) when you come home to your family. And remember it truly is different with your own children. You have more time to invest in them. You know if it’s been a hard day/week at home and you can offer extra grace. You have a relationship with them and influence over them. It’s just different.

    I don’t know the right answer for you. I am hopeful that some of the feedback you get, especially from people who have taught, will be helpful to you in your decision making. In the interim, just keep in focus that you will be coming home soon and doing a job you love for the summer. Persevere and remember we love you very much ❤

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  4. I feel so bad for you!!! When you get a job, it should be what you WANT TO DO and it should be FUN!!!!! Not hard and annoying every day!!! I will pray for you!!!!

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