Why I quit my teaching job to become a stay at home mom

I want to make a difference in a child’s life.

Becoming a teacher was my dream ever since I was 5 years old. I never allowed myself to even consider any other profession. I didn’t need to because I knew in my heart that teaching was my calling. I spent my high school and college years tutoring, interning, and volunteering as a teacher as much as I could not only to grow my resume, but also because it gave me sheer joy.

When that glorious day came when I actually became a classroom teacher, only one thought came to mind. I want to make a difference in a child’s life. This mantra, if you will, got me through a tough year of being a new teacher. I would work 11-12 hours each day and leave only because the custodians wanted to go home. I was tired, but happy.

Fast forward a few years and my passion for teaching was rapidly going through a downward spiral. I started to realize that the field of education was a guinea pig for trying out different ideas that people in leadership positions (with no actual educational experience) would have. What I spent hours perfecting one year, would be thrown out the window the next because of a “new and better system” put in place by the county or state. Teachers were told what to teach, how to teach it, and how long to teach it regardless if the child had mastered the concept or not.

I’ve only worked in Title I schools so the lack of parent support and pressure to have good test scores seemed like an uphill battle that was impossible to climb.

I want to make a difference in a child’s life.

When my son was born, my whole world was changed. I didn’t realize it at the time, but something had changed within me. When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I was actually excited to get back to a routine and just feel normal again. But little did I know that I would never feel normal ever again.

This past year of teaching has been the hardest year of my life. Everyone told me, “Oh, it’ll get easier. Just give it some time.” It never got easier.

Every morning, we were in a rush to get up, get dressed, stuff food in our faces, and run out the door. Every morning, my son cried as a left him and I cried as I drove away. Throughout the day, my heart yearned to hold my baby. I started to resent my students and their needs because instead of being with my own child, here I was teaching about the different kinds of rocks and breaking up girl drama.

Every evening, I would be exhausted from teaching 25 children who all needed my energy and attention.  I would come home and turn on some show on PBS kids just so that I could get through the last couple of hours before bedtime.

I was failing as a teacher and I was failing as a mother. The passion for teaching that I once so strongly felt was now replaced with guilt and bitterness. I would daydream about just leaving my classroom in the middle of the day and never coming back. I would wake up dreading the day and went to sleep in tears. Something had to change before this depression consumed me.

My husband fully supported me when I told him that I wanted to quit. Now there’s definitely a lot of guilt that comes along with leaving such a noble profession. But I told myself that I was leaving one noble profession for another – being a stay at home mom.

This is not to say that I will never teach again or that I don’t support the field. I have nothing but the utmost respect for educators. On the same token, I am also amazed and inspired by those teacher moms who are able to balance both.  Life is unpredictable and maybe one day I will have the opportunity to teach again.

I think I finally realized what my heart was saying all these years. I want to make a difference in a child’s life. That child, is my own child. He deserves the best of me, not what’s left of me at the end of the day.

 

 

Stay blessed, Sharmin

 

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