Since I made my decision, I have been thinking about writing this blog … it has felt like the longest time. I was desperate to get it out of my system and share my thoughts with the world… they were raw and real and I was feeling passionate about sharing them. But now some people know, I don’t feel I have as much to say anymore. At the time, it felt like the biggest decision of my life…but now, well, it’s just a decision. So I’m just going to say it.
I’ve left teaching.
There, that was easy. So why was I so caught up in my thoughts, thinking about what other people would think of me and how they would judge?! It is easy to imagine what others are feeling, but it’s not always easy to imagine accurately. The reality is, some of you will be shocked, some of you won’t, some of you will care, some of you this will mean nothing to. And that’s okay. Because the world doesn’t revolve around this decision, and that’s what I’ve realised.
Since high school I have been so focussed on a career in education. I did work experience in schools. Then I became a midday supervisor and cover TA in a special school, as a side job whilst studying Education at university. I then I did my PGCE (teacher training) at UEA. I’m only 24 (about to be 25), but a good 10 years of my life have been focussed on becoming a teacher. I’ve not known anything else.
So this was why I was slightly terrified to tell people; I thought they’d think of me as a quitter and not understand why I’d leave a profession I’ve worked so hard for.
But I’m not a quitter.
I worked hard for something I was passionate about. I got a job in the school of my dreams and I was proud. I achieved something great. But just because I was once passionate about something, doesn’t mean I always have to be and that I have to stay doing something that is no longer bringing me the positive things I need in life.
You see, I realised that teaching had become my identity. But that identity was no longer serving me well. I was so wrapped up in my job, that I wasn’t realising the impact it was having on my health. It was only when I stopped, due to doctors orders, that I realised this. My health conditions don’t go away when I’m not teaching, but I have got part of my life back. I can now socialise better, do things I want to do… I couldn’t do those things whilst I was teaching. By the end of a school day I could barely walk, let alone function enough to do anything else.
The thoughts of “what else am I if I don’t teach?” quickly disappeared. I was not Anna the teacher, I was Anna who is a teacher. It felt free to not be consumed by a job as an identity. I have learnt things about myself that had got lost, because I had no time or energy to pursue anything else about myself and now I am truly the happiest I’ve ever been.
So please don’t pity me and think I HAD to leave teaching because of my health. I didn’t . I would have been stupid (probably) to continue, as I was effectively running myself into the ground. But I am happy about this change. I truly am. It is time for something new and I’m so ready.
So what now? I don’t know. But I do know, I’m excited. Incredibly nervous, but excited nonetheless. I don’t have a clue what I want to do with my life job wise, but I do know I want to be happy and live my best life, as cheesy as that sounds. Effectively (as of the end of August) I am now jobless and I feel like I should freaking the hell out about that. But I’m not. I feel alive and eager to see what the world has in store for me. I’m putting my faith in the universe and I have a really strong feeling that I’m going to end up doing something great. It may not be straight away, but I’ll get there.
So, good bye teaching. For now, or forever, I’m not sure yet. Maybe one day I might venture back, but for now I am done. Thank you for giving me one heck of a learning curve to the beginning of my adult life. Thank you for giving me so many experiences. Thank you for giving me the privilege of meeting so many wonderful children and families that I will hold in my heart forever. Thank you for providing me with some of my dearest friends for life, some of whom I think of as family. You were great, but you’re not for me anymore, and that’s okay.