DISCLAIMER: Please read all of the comments and this article before taking this things too seriously. The reasons given in here are real concerns that I have, but they are definitely outweighed by a number of much more positive elements of teaching.
For a more serious look at the situation, please read 9 Reasons To Quit Teaching (And 10 Reasons To Stick).
I have been an advocate for teaching and getting new blood into the teaching pool since I started my blog. I love teaching. But I can’t see myself as a teacher much beyond this school year. At least in the traditional sense of the word.
So I give up. I am quitting my teaching job after this year.
Why would I do this?
There are a lot of reasons, and they have been piling up slowly for years. More recently, there have been a number of events in my life that really have caused me to sincerely doubt the value of the impact I am making on the lives of my students. So I turned in my letter of resignation yesterday.
I figured I would compile a list of 10 reasons (and these are just the ones I want to publicly air) I am quitting my job as a band director.
- Administrative hoops I have to jump through
TAKS testing. Lesson planning. 504 modifications. I like my principal (and all of them I’ve worked for so far), but the administrative web that has been set up from the top down really wears on me.
Budgeting. Fundraising. Travel requests. Purchase requisitions. Grades. Tardy admit slips. Report cards. Progress reports. Music stores coming to collect instruments from kids whose parents haven’t paid.
- I am not valued enough
I don’t get paid nearly what I am worth. In fact, looking at some of the data on Jonathan’s blog, I don’t get paid even half of what I might get if I taught in New Jersey or California.
- Parent emails
How many times do they need to ask the same question before they are satisfied that they will get the same answer? I mean, the kids don’t even ask me if they can go to the restroom as much as some of these parents ask if I really mean after school rehearsals are mandatory.
- Students who don’t realize “No” is the final answer
Evidently their parents have trained them that if they ask the same thing enough times, they’ll get a different answer. Somehow they think I am as permissive as their parents are.
As a band director, I have no predetermined curriculum. I have to make everything up on the fly. I mean, I know what three keys the band will be required to know at UIL Sight Reading, but that’s about it. When I taught beginning band, I had no predefined goals other than “Make sure they sound good and stay in band.”
- Too many negative ninnys
I get so sick of walking into the teachers lounge during lunch and hearing nothing but gossip about students. Get over it already!
- Complainers who aren’t solvers
With all the negativity comes lots of finger-pointing. But nobody seems willing to step up to bat and figure out a solution. They are like the kid who comes in from making mud pies and complains about dust on the kitchen floor.
- It’s just an elective
While I understand the value of the core classes and the state-mandated testing as far as school accountability and ratings go, I also understand that the ancients were onto something when they included music in the list of the seven essential liberal arts. But I routinely have students pulled out of band to go to dyslexia, math, reading, and science tutorials.
- High school football games
As a middle school band director, I don’t think it’s fair that I have to travel to the out of town football games with the high school band. Some of the nondistrict games are as much as five hours away. All on a yellow school bus. The same goes with me having to go to the high school marching contests. I like the high school kids and all, but enough it enough.
So what will I do instead?
The opportunities are limitless.
- I would like to consider going overseas and teaching English in an environment that is much less hostile to teachers.
- I have seriously pondered taking up a career as a freelance writer.
- I’ve always it would be to have a career conducting staff development trainings. Topics could include classroom management, integrating music into the curriculum, or even who blogging can make you a better teacher.
- I have made friends in the music instrument repair and fundraising communities. Maybe sales or marketing of that nature.
- I could always go to seminary and get a Masters in Biblical Studies. That’s been a dream of mine for years. Maybe now is the time to do that.
What about you? If you had a chance to start a completely new career with the skillset you had gained from six years in the classroom, what would you do?