Last month I made the courageous decision to leave the teaching profession. Counting today, I have 7 days left to call myself a classroom teacher.
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This decision was one of the biggest decisions I’ve made since my husband and I decided we wanted to have a child.
Being an educator is a deep part of who I am. My grandma, aunt, and mom were teachers, two of my closest college roommates are teachers, and many of my closest friends now are teachers. Teachers are my people. I understand, love, and deeply appreciate them and the impact they have on so many lives. And I’ve truly enjoyed the hundreds of students I’ve had the opportunity to get to know, teach, and watch grow. So naturally my decision to leave the teaching profession includes feelings of deep sadness and moments of wondering if I’ve made the right decision.
Technically though, this isn’t the first time I’ve left teaching. I left the classroom three years ago too. But that time I left the classroom to move into an instructional coaching role. For those of you not familiar with the internal parts of the educational world, my role as an instructional coach was to work one on one with the teachers in my middle school building with the goal of improving student achievement. It was a leadership position I applied for in my district and was thrilled to have been offered.
Before becoming an instructional coach, I was a high school teacher for nine years and an elementary teacher for one. Leaving the classroom for the first time was scary. I loved teaching. (I still love teaching, by the way.) It just comes naturally to me. I love helping people, building relationships, and fostering a love of learning. I have a thing for learning, challenging myself, and growing. And I love creating a classroom environment where kids feel safe to be themselves, try new things, and make mistakes so they can learn and grow to their fullest potential. I’ve always worked hard to create a classroom with familiar structures and routines so my students have always known what to expect from me and what has been expected of them. As an educator it’s been important for me to know that when my students are with me they feel cared about and seen so learning becomes something they can do with greater confidence and enjoyment.
But once I moved into the instructional coaching role I learned that working with teachers who are striving to make a bigger difference in their classrooms and in their careers was invigorating. It’s amazing how much of an impact can be made when two people make time to collaborate, set goals, and work together to reach those goals. While I missed having my own students, I learned that connecting with and collaborating with adults was also something that came naturally to me, and I knew I was meant to be in that role.
I’m back in the classroom again this year and while I moved back into the role of classroom teacher with a bit of trepidation at first, I can confidently say that this year has been one of my favorites. (That’s beyond amazing considering the interesting and challenging year we’ve had because of Covid-19. I will add that I’ve been fortunate to have been able to teach in person almost 100% of the year despite the occasional periods of time when half my class was distance learning.) I knew this year was going to be like no other. I knew the demands that were going to be placed on teachers, kids, and parents were going to be more than ever before. And I decided I was going to be ALL IN anyway. I deserved that and so did my students. And I was…all in that is. Which is a large part of why I think this year has been so successful.
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So you’re probably wondering why I’m leaving the teaching profession if I love what I’m doing so much.
Well, the short answer is that I’m ready for something new.
Ok, maybe it isn’t quite that simple. Here’s the deal.
Over the course of the past few years I earned my master’s degree in counseling which led me to accidentally stumble upon life coaching. (Now I have to add as a side note here that my BA is in sociology, and before becoming a teacher my career path right out of college started in the field of social work. Helping people has been something I’ve known I’ve wanted to do since I was really little.) As I learned more about life coaching, it seemed to fit perfectly with my social work, teaching, and instructional coaching backgrounds, as well as my interest in studying how society and social groups impact people. I immediately knew this was something worth going after. I could feel that gut feeling inside.
I started, like I usually do, by trying to learn all I could about life coaching and the tools life coaches use. I started coaching myself first but then I decided to invest in myself and hire my own life coach. That’s when things really started to change. I started seeing the changes I was making in my own life, in my relationship with myself, and in my relationships with the people in my life. I was changing the way I interpreted my past and I was making choices that were leading me toward the things I really wanted in my life. I started to wonder why life coaching wasn’t something everyone knew about. Seriously, I started to think that everyone should have a life coach. (I still think that, by the way.)
About two years ago I decided to take classes to earn my life coaching certification and I made the decision to become a life coach and create my own life coaching business. The journey to entrepreneurship has been slow and messy. This experience has been like nothing I’ve ever done before and it hasn’t been easy. It’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but at the same time it’s also been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding. I’m so excited about what I’ve learned and I can see the impact I’m making through the women I’ve been able to help already. I’m just getting started but I’m confident that I’m moving in the right direction and that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I still love teaching. Who knows? I may miss it terribly and choose to teach again someday. But for now I’m choosing to put all of my energy into my coaching business and the women who want to work with me so they can change their lives
I’ve always lived by the motto that I never want to look back on my life with regret. I’m really happy with the choices I’ve made in my life so far that have let me live out this motto. I’m not about to stop now.
So while I do have feelings of sadness as I close the door on my career in education, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The educational profession and all the lives that are impacted by educators deserve to have educators who are fully invested in the work that they do. I never wanted to wait until I wasn’t happy teaching anymore and I never wanted to wait until I was burned out. The teaching profession and our children’s education is simply too important.
So in seven days I’ll be fully closing the door on a career and identity that I love in exchange for fully opening the door on a business and identity that I also love. If you’d like to learn more about how my coaching can help you step into the life you really want, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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