Becoming A Chief

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 10 2011

Struggling: Give Up or Stay Committed?

At what point do you exit TFA gracefully?

Bottom line is: My students are not learning and teaching is effecting my health. I want what is best for them, but honestly, I do not think that person is me. Eight weeks of school have past and they have nothing to show for it.

I have never quit a thing in my life. My determination is key to my previous successes, but I have never, ever, felt so sick every morning before going to school. It is really taking a toll on my mental and physical well being. Any advice from other TFA’ers who struggled with the same feelings? Anyone have any solutions that are different from resigning?

23 Responses

  1. Former DC Corps Member

    If you want to see what quitting was like for someone else, take a look at this blog from another corps member. She did quit, so it doesn’t provide an alternate solution, but it does give some insight into when quitting might be the right choice – and what it feels like when it happens:

    http://theuntoldteacherstory.teachforus.org/2011/03/05/why-i-am-quitting-tfa/

    http://theuntoldteacherstory.teachforus.org/2011/05/22/answers-or-how-it-feels-to-quit-tfa/

    If you can’t get out of bed in the morning because the thought of surviving the day is just too much, it’s not something you should be ashamed of. It’s actually far, far more common than TFA lets on. Bottom line: if you stick with teaching, it might get better. But it also might get worse. And if you’re truly not in good shape, you won’t be able to give your students what they need. So if you determine that sticking out the year will endanger your health, quitting is not necessarily a cowardly thing to do. It can actually be the bravest possible route.

    Good luck to you!

  2. Lucy

    My advice is to remember that you were selected to do this for a reason — all first year teachers go through these really low lows, especially at the beginning of the year when things are so difficult, but TFA picked you out of thousands because you demonstrated beyond a doubt that you’re capable of meeting this challenge. The fact that it’s making you physically sick is definitely bad news, though — is there someone you can talk to at your school/on TFA staff (maybe your MTLD?) who knows your situation that could give you tips about ways to keep your work hours under control so you can get some rest and recharge?

  3. Theresa Lozac'h

    Take a day off. A whole one – don’t lesson plan during it. Breathe and sit.

    Everyone in this profession feels ineffective at first. Everyone has felt the way that you do. I am a traditionally trained teacher and had 2 years of education and 1 year of student teaching before starting. And I felt the way that you do.

    After taking a break and breathing, think about one thing that you can do differently that might help you stay in the profession. Anything that might alleviate the pressure you feel. Asking for help. Scheduling something differently. Giving something up.

    Please don’t give up on the kids. I am not a TFA person, but I have seen the wake that is left when one of you leaves. It is devastating. The schools in which you all teach can’t hire someone to replace you mid-year. The children will lose an entire year of education if you leave and will only see sub, after sub, after unqualified sub. No learning will occur.

    You can do this. Refresh and refocus.

  4. Lauren

    I’ve felt the same way you have and I did choose to gracefully exit TFA. A second year at my school regularly said “my students deserve a well rested and healthy teacher”. In talking with him and others I realized that as teaching was affecting my mental and emotional health, it was also affecting my students’ achievement. They deserved a teacher who was wholly devoted to their education both emotionally and mentally. I loved my kids, but they needed a teacher that was there 100 percent. Not one that was trying to pull themselves together every morning and praying that the day would pass without incident. I think the most important thing a TFAer said to me was: “its okay, at the end of the day if you’ve done what’s best for your students then you’ve done your job”. In my case what was best was bowing out gracefully. I wish you the best of luck. You are making a difference. Even if you choose to do so outside the classroom, continuing to be a steward of the movement continues to make that difference.

    Best wishes!

  5. Andrew

    So, what do you mean that they have nothing to show for their time in school? What are your expectations? What problems do you see? Why do you think you feel so terrible each morning before school?

    Write if you want.

    andrew.bell.ia@gmail.com

  6. amy

    i think i’m kind of going through this right now as well. it’s kind of hard. i mean, i know someone from my region to quit, and her class just has a long term sub and probably won’t get a teacher for the rest of the year. i doubt they’re learning very much more from that sub than they would have learned from her, no matter how incompetent she felt. i think it’s pretty hard to say that it will ever be easier on the kids if you quit (unless there is someone more qualified/invested to take your place, which there probably isn’t at this point in the year). i would quit, i feel no investment WHATSOEVER in my particular school or in TFA, but i would feel guilty about my students not having anyone better to replace me. also, eight weeks is so not that long. you’re probably a lot better than you were eight weeks ago and you’re going to keep learning. the alums i’ve talked to have also told me to wait until after thanksgiving to make any final decisions. this is supposed to be the hardest time.

  7. Gary Rubinstein

    Hi KCMO Chief,

    I’m working on a blog post, trying to answer your question. You might feel like you are the only one going through this, but you are not. Around 5% of TFAers quit before even starting teaching and the another 8% don’t make it through the first year and another 3% don’t make it through the second.

    What you’re going through is not your fault, but the fault of TFA with their negligent amount of training. You deserved better and your students deserved it also.

    Hang in there for now.

    I’ll write more about this on my blog.

    Gary

  8. katb

    Check out this post by a 2010 – I’m a 2011 in your shoes and, while I’ve tried to take quitting off the table for myself, this post makes me feel like that “it gets better” thing that people always talk about might be true for me too

    http://wessie.teachforus.org/2011/10/01/tfa-and-mental-health-because-its-officially-october/

  9. Gary Rubinstein
  10. Kawthar

    Celebrate the small successes and take it one day at a time. I know that it might be easier than said, but this too shall pass. Being an effective teacher does not happen overnight and it takes time. Be patient, smile, and remind yourself of the big goal.

  11. Christina Fissori

    I rarely read blogs on here. I usually just update mine and log off, but tonight I clicked “Recent Posts” and yours was the top one. I’m so glad I read it! I’ve been walking my roommate and two teaching friends through the same thing you are going through. I joined TFA as a veteran teacher, this is my first year in TFA, but my 6th year teaching and as I walk alongside a few of my fellow first year CM’s here in Chicago I am reminded of the roller coaster my first year was even without TFA.
    My first classroom was a mess from August to February. Students behavior was ok (not great), and everything else was terrible–my instruction, grades, lesson planning, student’s homework, classwork, test scores–there was not much that I could say went well. Most of all, I was a mess. I was at a school with a very fractured staff, no administration for part of the year, very little parent involvement, and underachieving students. To say that I cried every night and dreaded every morning is an understatement. I questioned my decision to teach every single hour of every day. On top of all of this, I was thousands of miles from home, family, and friends. If someone had asked, I would not have been able to say 3 things that were going well personally or professionally
    And then…for some reason, that I can’t even explain, things began to fall into place about Feb/March. I started to have more “winning” days and less “epic fails”. My goal at that point was to “break even”. I crossed my fingers and prayed that my students would not go down on their standardized tests, but I had no hope of them making gains. I was utterly dumbfounded when 80% of my class made gains on the state test and all but 2 ended up on the honor roll. I still shake my head in amazement, but I learned two things that year and as I moved on to an alternative high school and now to special ed in TFA those lessons are my “golden rule”. So here they are, I hope they help.
    Golden Rule #1: Students are RESILIENT. I was SHOCKED that my students ended up well my first year. Why? Well, because frankly the data all year was extremely underwhelming, but I learned that you can have a terrible year and kids will still learn. It’s incredible! They are sponges, so even if they are getting sprinkles each day they are soaking it up and at the most unlikely time they will “wring it out” and you will be so amazed! The resilience of students is quite possibly the 8th wonder of the world.
    Golden Rule #2: Students want a RELATIONSHIP. I have had a tough time this year and there have already been days where we spend the whole class period in a “Huddle”. When we huddle we don’t do math. We don’t talk about homework. I share my thoughts, frustrations, inspirations, dreams, experiences and ask for the same from my kids. We spend that time getting into each other’s world. Sometimes I do it off the cuff, sometimes I have an “ice breaker” and talking points planned. I work at an all boys school in a really rough area of Chicago and this has been the most effective tool for investment that I have tried with them. Ultimately, our kiddos (no matter what age, I’ve taught 5th-high school) love knowing that we are A) human B) invested in them as individuals.
    I know you feel like you are more of a detriment to your students than an excellent teacher, but as ironic as it sounds, because you think that you are a good teacher. It is really hard, maybe even “impossible” to be an invested teacher and be destructive. Please don’t let TFA’s expectations make you feel like a failure and please remember that you are not a hero or a savior. YOU are the most important thing you bring to your students, which means take care of YOU. You cannot save a single child, so stop trying to. You are a teacher–and I bet you are a good one–and despite what TFA or others have told you, teachers are not superheros they are HUMANS at WORK. Teaching, at the end of the day, is still a career, a job, and sacrificing your life for it is not heroic. I have encouraged the girls here that are in the same situation as you to A) have at least 1 hour per night (after school) where you “Do You”—whatever you enjoy: TV, shop, scrapbook, read (a pleasure book, not school/TFA related), sing/play instrument, take a dance/cooking class, etc—I usually caution that this hour should not be spent sleeping because you won’t feel as fulfilled by a nap; B) go to the gym! Whether you did it before TFA or not, workout at least 3 times a week. I did not workout much before teaching, but it is now the part of my day I fight hardest for. It is an incredible stress reliever and it is taking care of the most important asset: YOU; C) DO NOT LOSE SLEEP FOR PLANNING! Go to bed! Pulling all nighters like you did in college is the easiest way to lose ground in the classroom. SLEEP OVER PLANNING. D) Ask for help. It is SUUUPER difficult for those of us that are used to being an incredible one-woman show, but teaching requires that you collaborate and ask for help. I’m in year 6 and the one thing that sets veteran teachers apart from newbies is that we veterans ask for help ALL. THE. TIME. Ask your MTLD, other TFA CM’s, other teachers in your building, administrators, college professors, etc, etc.
    I so wish I could meet you over coffee and walk you through this really difficult time, but know two things: the fact that you are questioning yourself in a classroom means you are better than average and you are making a difference–by being there each day and by giving your sponges sprinkles of knowledge–in your students lives.
    This post is wayyyyyy longer than I planned, I’m so sorry to fill up your blog. I know I am a total stranger, but if you need advice, help, lesson plans, a sounding board, etc, etc, my email is cfissori@gmail.com feel free to contact me. Teaching is a challenge and you are not alone!
    You are in my prayers.

  12. Wess

    Hey there,
    I’m a 2010 CM (blog here: http://wessie.teachforus.org/2011/10/01/tfa-and-mental-health-because-its-officially-october/)who struggled mightily for months and months and months with feeling physically sick with dread every morning before school (and though I might not say “I’d do it all again,” I would say the second year is ending up totally worth the pain!!!).

    You are totally under-trained, you’re totally out of your element, and you’re probably under-supported and over-pressured and you have every reason to believe your kids are better off without you.I thought my kids were better off without me for the first half of the year (and arguably for a little longer because I had to take so much time to make up for lost time). I almost quit three times in the first 16 days of school. Then I almost quit right at the beginning of October, and a couple times I had half-hearted quitting fantasies even as late as December.

    I would really like to talk to you, either in email or in person, to figure out how I can be of any help your getting through this without quitting–but the one message I want to put down here is that there are SO many worse possibilities for your kids than you being in front of them. You think you’re the worst the system could throw at them, but I promise you’re not. And you have AMAZING potential to be among the best.

    Take a couple days off if it helps, get your bearings, and realize that what feels eternal really is only temporary and even if it doesn’t come for months, I promise eventually you’ll truly feel all your struggling was worth it.

    Please email me; I’d love to do anything and everything to keep you in front of that classroom at least until the end of this year!

    Leslie
    walkertexasleslie@gmail.com

  13. jansen

    hope u already read gary rubinstein’s “Talking a struggling TFAer off the ledge”.

    http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2011/10/11/talking-a-struggling-tfaer-off-the-ledge/

    as a tfa alumnus (’92, nyc) myself, i’d say, “don’t quit.” at least, not yet. give it to the end of this week. then, assuming u’re still alive (& checked w/a doctor), consider going till the end of the month. even if things don’t seem better, at least u know that u survived it longer than u figured. it may even dare you to consider holding off from quitting till thanksgiving or xmas break. after that, who knows??

    this won’t be the only time u’ll feel knocked down & totally overwhelmed (& i don’t necessarily mean just in your work). what u may want to consider is how do u plan to get back up – b/c, really, in the end, u’ll eventually have to get off the floor & act accordingly.

    tfa may not have fully prepared u during the summer institute. but it does generally get some things right: you are, indeed, what’s best for those students in YOUR classroom. your kiddies just don’t know it yet. show them.

    btw – i’m in my 20th yr teaching (9 yrs middle school in nyc, 11 yrs. elem. outside of nyc [currently gr. K].

    good luck.

  14. parus

    What advice would you give to a student who was considering dropping out?

  15. Ross

    I felt EXACTLY the same way a few years back (I was a 2006 CM). I’m so glad I didn’t quit, even after I had drafted a resignation letter. Here was my secret: I focused on improving just ONE thing each day, like getting ONE student who doesn’t normally complete work to do so. Then I celebrated that (extremely) small victory.

  16. Frank B

    I taught in the KCMSD from 2008 to 2010, and I can relate to what you’re going through. I can’t begin to count how many times I said “this is it, I’m quitting” (usually with a few expletives mixed in).

    If you want someone to talk to about this, please, please email me at fbeard@gmail.com. I had nobody at TFA with whom I could have an honest conversation about the problems at my school, and it may be that way for you as well.

    I taught 6-8th grade science (and also 7th language arts and history one year) at what was arguably the lowest performing school in the KCMSD at the time. I’ve dealt with just about everything: angry/sad/out-of-control/violent students, rude/absent parents, constant fighting, threats, vandalism, a vindictive and ineffective principal, zero help on discipline matters, the frustration of being unable to teach curriculum due to students being unable to follow basic procedures, etc. I had one class my first year that was so incapable of following basic procedures that I spent entire 50 minute periods just trying to line them up to come in the room quietly–both at the beginning and the end of the school year.

    TFA will tell you that your first year is rough and that it gets better your second year. That’s not entirely true. During my second year, the ever brilliant John Covington (thank God that politician non-educator is out of KC for good) decided to move the 7th and 8th grades from another building into mine. The only problem is that they had nearly run their previous school into the ground. In effect, my school had become a dumping ground for behavior problems in nearby buildings. My second year was nothing short of pure hell.

    But I got through it. I realized something: corps members cannot blame themselves when things don’t go well. TFA will tell you that what happens in your classroom is under your control, and that it’s your responsibility to make these life-altering changes in your students’ lives. Unfortunately, TFA has either watched Freedom Writers one time too many or is simply stuck in fantasy land. If the problems in districts like the KCMSD could be fixed by the teachers, then those problems wouldn’t exist today. The idea that a recent college graduate is going to show up in that district and start helping students make “significant gains”, inspire them to change attitudes that have existed for each of the ten or eleven years they’ve been alive, and overturn an anti-education culture that’s been rooted in their families for sometimes generations, and succeed in a politics-based school system that is designed for failure is not only ridiculous, but completely insane.

    TFA does a great job of making people feel guilty when their experience doesn’t go well. They claim that CMs around the country do just fine in even worse situations, and they say that their strategies are research-based, proven to work, etc.

    Once I realized that that’s a bunch of BS, my life got so much easier. I focused on the students who really wanted to learn, and I did the best that I could given what I was up against. I learned a lot in the process, and I’d do it again even though it was the worst time of my life.

    Anyway, if you ever want someone to talk to about your situation, feel free to email me.

    Best of luck to you.

  17. G

    I was exactly where you are…my first few months in the classroom were flat-out hellish. it wasn’t so much that my students weren’t learning…I had “political” issues that were affecting me mentally and physically. Either way, I was so close to quitting that I could taste it. But I held on, got professional help, learned to balance my work and personal life and trudged on. Long story short: I made it through my first year relatively unscathed. I am considering a 3rd year now.

    It does get easier. When you come back from Winter Break, everything will be different. Spring break comes and goes and then it’s summer…just like that. Hang in there!

  18. Frank B

    I don’t think I fully communicated my thoughts in my previous post, so here’s a better summary.

    TFA, in large part, is based upon the belief that the problem in urban districts like the KCMSD is one of human capital. That’s why it claims that it’s bringing the “best and brightest” into the worst schools–because it believes they have something to contribute that the existing teachers don’t.

    The problem with that belief is that urban districts are failing not because they just happened to get a bunch of crappy teachers (which I don’t believe is true), but because of many other reasons. For one, it’s no coincidence that nearly every “failing” school is located in a poverty-stricken neighborhood. The poverty they deal with isn’t just people who’ve fallen on hard times and are short on cash; it’s families who have lived with certain mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes for generations. It changes the way the students see the world, provides the conditions in which violence and instability flourish, and often creates insurmountable barriers for educators.

    But there’s another problem urban districts also seem to share: incompetent leadership. Districts like the KCMSD are filled with high-profile, non-educator administrators who often haven’t a clue how to “fix” their schools. Instead, they create a constantly changing repertoire of programs that are based upon trend-of-the-day education fads–many of which are either already discredited or become discredited shortly thereafter. Never do they approach students, teachers, and support staff to inquire about what problems prevent them from succeeding in the classroom and what needs to change. Instead, they consult business leaders, civic leaders, legislators, and all sorts of other people who aren’t in the classrooms and don’t know what to do. Take John Covington for example: upon arrival he didn’t inquire with those in the know about what barriers are preventing success in the classroom; instead he began pushing the ideology of the Broad Foundation whether it’s what Kansas City needed or not.

    And finally, both of those problems combine to create another: a school atmosphere that’s not conducive to teaching and learning. Students often show up unprepared for school–behavior problems, multiple grades behind, a lack of interest in education, etc–and both district and building administrators often create an environment in which teachers lack the support they need to do their job. In my school, for example, I was powerless to deal with the constant behavior problems. As a result, a large percentage of each class was spent engaging in crowd control. The students who desperately wanted to learn were ignored as I had to focus on those who caused problems day after day. Many times, half of the classroom time or more was wasted making students repeat simple procedures like coming in the room quietly after they blatantly refused to do so. The atmosphere was violent, chaotic, and toxic. How any student could be expected to learn in such a place is beyond me.

    And that is the situation in which many TFA corps members find themselves. It’s as if all the cards are already stacked against them.

    And yet, TFA seems to push this idea that teaching in such an environment is simple as long as you follow all the right steps. Set your big goal, create those classroom procedures, “invest” your students in your management system, follow through on everything that you say you will do, establish contact with their parents, and don’t forget to use that tracker to make data-driven decisions.

    It all seems easy at first. I remember watching videos of Justin Meli getting little kids to yell “work hard, be smart, whoooo whoooo” and thinking “that’s pretty much the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen”. It seemed simple enough. I also remember all inspirational stories that caused half of the room to start crying.

    When I showed up in KC, I knew all the answers. I believed in the idea that the schools were failing because the teachers were failing, and I thought that the district leadership was making the right decisions but being held back from success by failure in the classroom. The district told us how badly we were needed, and I was ready to go. I heard from former corps members who taught in St Louis that the problem with science education is that students aren’t getting enough hands-on experience, and on Day 1 I was ready to start having my students engage in labs.

    Then I figured out just how wrong I was.

    Like you, the behavior problems began almost immediately. Fortunately I had a good first week or so, but then they showed up in full force. The hands-on labs I created? The students couldn’t handle walking into the classroom, much less the responsibility of following lab instructions and procedures. When I discussed this with veteran teachers in my school–most of whom were fantastic educators, unlike what TFA led me to believe–they explained that it’s been this way in the district for a long time, and that district leaders refuse to enforce clear and consistent rules, boundaries, and consequences–which, as a result, leads to the free-for-all environment that’s found in so many KCMSD schools.

    I thought of quitting so many times. Every classroom management system I tried was a complete failure, and it was as if the students simply weren’t interested in learning anything. This, of course, contrasted wildly with my firm belief that all children want to learn and that they simply need teachers who believe in them. Well, I believed plenty in my students, but I was seeing a lot of evidence that some of them weren’t at all interested in learning.

    To make things worse, I had many who were ideal students stuck in the worst sort of environment. One of my seventh grade students, for example, was reading Plato’s Republic for fun. I don’t care what school you go to, you will probably never find a seventh grader who reads something like that for fun (he also listed Oliver Twist as his favorite book and told me he wanted to read Great Expectations). To this day, I’m still very upset about this. Those students were losing out on so much just by being in my school and having to endure such a horrible environment that wasn’t at all conducive to learning.

    During my first year, I constantly felt like a failure. Even though my students had the highest MAP Index score in the school, my classes were riddled with behavior problems and constant disruption. I heard inspirational stories from other corps members and wondered what I was doing wrong, why I wasn’t getting the same results.

    TFA didn’t help much. Though I think very highly of the person who came to observe and work with me, the message from TFA was clear: if your students don’t make significant gains, then it’s your fault.

    Fast forward to that summer, and I was teaching summer school at another building. For the first time, I had a principal who was extremely strong on discipline (she sent home students who were sent to her office and they weren’t allowed to come back). I also had a classroom full of students who wanted to learn and actually put forth effort. It was like a dream come true, and I had a fantastic summer. Even though I lacked resources, I had the students doing extensive lab work the majority of the time. They especially loved it since at their previous schools, many of them had their science time taken away and instead used for reading and math test preparation (something I’m sure John Covington missed when he decided he had better things to do then actually visit the schools).

    Then my second year was hell. When the students from Wheatley were consolidated into my school, it was nothing short of pure chaos. Some of them were really great and a joy to have in class, but others were simply out of control. I hit some very low points in my life, it was nearly impossible to teach whatsoever, I had even less support from my principal with discipline (as if that was even possible), and suddenly TFA was threatening to drop me if I couldn’t get my students to behave better. I also had to endure the most worthless weekly meetings of my life once my principal brought in an education consultant from UMKC in what I believe was an effort to cover herself when the test results came out. When I think of how many science supplies I could have bought for what my school spent on her, it makes me sick.

    My point in writing this very long and detailed post is to let you know that (1) you’re not alone in having a difficult time and (2) it’s okay if it’s difficult because teachers in TFA–and especially the KCMSD–are often put into environments that are ripe for failure, environments in which nearly all the cards are stacked against them. If anyone honestly expects them all to work wonders, I’d have to really question that person’s competence and sanity.

    Even though every veteran teacher (and many in TFA) said they would have quit if they were me, and even though numerous students in my classes failed miserably, I was still able to make a difference in the lives of some of my students. For example, I was one of two teachers in the entire KCMSD to send students to the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair (the other teacher was at ACE). Not only did my students attend, but they earned perfect scores on their research, won an award from the Linda Hall Library, were recognized by Mayor Funkhouser, and were invited to be recognized by the school board (though I really felt the school board was using them as an example that the district works when instead my students were able to succeed in spite of the district and the school board). That experience alone–which consumed my life for nearly four months–was worth every insult, physical assault, thrown chair/pencil/rock/paper/marker/desk/chalk/etc , degrading comment from my principal, and every other experience that sent me home angry and upset. I also continue to stay in touch with many of my students, and some of the most disruptive ones have even written me on Facebook and said that they miss having me in class. I’ve also gained some lifelong friends in the veteran teachers that I worked with. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to reach out to the veterans in your building. They’ve been where you are right now, and they can be a phenomenal resource.

    So, my advice is to stick it out and finish your commitment. And I don’t say this for the reasons that TFA will. It may not get better this year or next, and it may even get worse. Instead, I say so because I think you will feel so much better about yourself if you tough it out. Not a day goes by that I’m not proud about lasting two years in that district. Had I quit, I would have been left with lot of questions, a lot of regret, and a feeling that I just wasn’t good enough or wasn’t cut out for it. I’ve also gained an invaluable perspective that’s caused me to look at this world very differently (thanks to the fact that I was open-minded about my experience and didn’t become a fundamentalist TFA ideologue).

    Obviously I don’t know all the details of your situation and how this experience had affected you both emotionally and physically, and ultimately you have to do what’s right for you. But as someone who was also asking himself thousands of times if he should quit or stay, I think you will feel much better if you finish your commitment and tough it out.

  19. We have ALL had those feelings. Last year, I had to ban quit from my vocabulary for three weeks, because I wanted it so much and refused to think about it.

    This guy just wrote a great entry about not quitting:
    http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2011/10/11/talking-a-struggling-tfaer-off-the-ledge/

    Also, I hate saying this because I don’t necessarily believe it, but a lot of people say October is the worst month of the school year, for vets and new teachers. Don’t let it get to you.

    At least, AT LEAST, wait until three weeks after Christmas break. Everything (slowly) changes after that break. Feel free to read my blog posts from last year to see how I dealed.

    You can do it! You are doing way more good and learning way more than you think!

  20. Ms. Math

    I don’t think you should quit. Of course, I don’t know, but my classroom was awful, I was depressed, and I wanted to quit. And it got better and I’m glad I didn’t.
    I just posted a link to a dissertation on three TFA teachers on my blog “Mathlovergrowsup.”
    It tells the story of how I thought I was miserable, got helped, and pulled it together. The only reason I didn’t quit was because I never quit anything-and my life would not be the same right now if I had quit. Finishing made me believe in myself and opened so many possibilities for me that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Do what is best for you!

  21. Ms. Math

    Here is the dissertation link http://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/msit_diss/86/.

    It has three stories compiled from blog posts on TeachforUs. The three chapters on teacher stories are fascinating and well written and there is interesting analysis of TFA in the lit review.

  22. simplewords

    Wow. There are so many long posts about “to quite or not to quit” on here that I didn’t even read them all. I feel ya. I mean, I never would have known that quitting was an option until a bazillion people I had gotten really close to did. The last however long has been by far the most difficult and miserable of my life, but I’m not going to share an opinion unless you want me to–and trust me, if you’d like to vent or talk to someone who completely understands how you feel right now (spontaneously bursting into tears every five minutes from someone who hadn’t really cried in years, anyone?), I don’t judge, and I would LOVE to talk to you if you want to chat with someone who’s there, but who even while she wishes she were quitting doesn’t think of it as an option. Look me up via blog if you wanna chat.

  23. Lauren

    I’m a former 2010 Delta CM and I did quit after completing my first year of teaching. It was a hard decision to make and I certainly miss some of my students, but I had to make the decision that was right for my mental, emotional, and physical health. Also, I was a bad teacher and I wasn’t passionate about teaching, though I was and continue to be passionate about working with underserved children. There are more ways to be effective and make a difference than TFA. That being said, I have some close friends still in the Delta who are doing incredible work in their classrooms, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. In the end, quitting or not is a decision only you can make, but if you do decide to quit, it’s not as life-altering a decision as you might feel that is could be now. I hope you are doing well!

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About this Blog

Region
Kansas City
Grade
Elementary School
Subject
Elementary Education

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