To teach or not to teach… that is the question I ask.

When I turned 40 I was on top of the world, feeling great, feeling sexy and I had a plan. I knew where I was going and the Universe seemed to be conspiring on my behalf. I followed its lead and ended up teaching again.`
You see, in 1996 I graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelors in Education. I received my teaching permit and received an immediate contract. I did not have my own classroom mind you, however, I was teaching Math to second graders and loving it.

When my son was born, my relationship with my boyfriend ended and I was suffering from Post Partum depression. So, I quit teaching in 1999 to raise my two children. I stayed home on a very small budget and made it work. It was, in my opinion, the best decision I have ever made. I mean, I was not the type of mother who wanted to work and raise children anyhow. I stuck to my values and gave my kids the best of me!

When my children were old enough (my son 7 and my daughter 9), I decided to get back into teaching. I seized a contract. It was baptism by fire. I was teaching a 5 month English intensive program to 6 graders who did not want to learn english, except for a few. I thought I was going to die a slow death! I was so proud of myself in the end, because I hung in there and I think I inspired at least a few to learn a new language. There is where I learned to be tough.. ok.. tougher.. (because I’m a really mush).

The next two years were heaven. I was in a great school, with a great team and students who wanted to learn. I kept on bragging to my friends on how much I loved my job. It was what I was envisioning for a long time: My thoughts had become things!

However, in Canada, one cannot keep a job in teaching because one is great and doing a super! No……….. the union in place makes it so one can get bumped, and I did, and I ended up in a school from hell! Plus, I just happened to fall very ill with anemia. So, suffice it to say, my year teaching was not great. The children ‘hated’ english class due to previous years of constant changing teachers, and on top of me being sick, I just couldn’t get it together in the classroom. I hated my job!!

So how does one go from loving their job to hating their job? I guess environment and health matter.

This year I do not have any contract and I am still recovering from my illness: Anemia paired with Generalized Anxiety disorder. These two gems are still hanging around and I do not seem to have the energy to keep going on the 6am substitute teacher call. So… I unplug the phone.

Now I am at a crossroads. I need to bring income into my home, I need to work, however, I do not have the stamina to get into a room of 27 students and babysit them all day. Children today are not the same with subs, and even worse with subs who are not feeling well. They sense it!! and they kill me!!

Don’t get me wrong, when the ingredients are all there: I LOVE TEACHING, but they are not .. and I don’t..

I do not want to teach right now because I feel I cannot give the children my all, which is not fair to them. Yet, if I refuse too many jobs, I will not have the income to take care of my own children.

So, there I said it. I am not up to it. I am up to taking care of my health and getting better. I am into regaining strength and getting my mind in gear. I am into connections and support systems. I am listening to my body and myself. The toughest part is the looks of the people around me who do not understand why I am doing what I am doing.

Be truthful.. what do you think?


10 thoughts on “To teach or not to teach… that is the question I ask.

  1. I think the world needs more teachers that genuinely love teaching! (and don’t even get me starting on the unfairness of unions) Although your illnesses have sort of set you off track if you still feel that love for it don’t leave it completely. Can you find another job within a district or a job at a school that would be a little more stable then maybe slowly work your way back into teaching? Good luck with your search and whatever is meant to be will 🙂


    • Thanks for your input Tina. I do love teaching. There is a certain amount of energy that children emanate that keep me going at times. I get the one student who breathes in every word I say even though they are french and I am speaking english. Right now… my energy is low and I cannot give as much. I have no tolerance for some students who make it difficult for me or other students in the class who want to learn, yet I know this student who is causing ‘havoc’ is living his/her own issues with friends or family.

      I have so much to say on the teaching subject. lol.. but all I want is to be in my OWN classroom, with my OWN students on my OWN terms. 🙂


  2. I agree with Tina. You cannot preform your job, enjoy it and most important be good at it if you are not well. Yourself and your health are the priority right now. You have children who need you well.
    Take care of you, pick up a hobby, part time in a cafe or somewhere fun to get you out of the house, meeting new ppl and that will help you feel better. Money is going to be tight of course but money is only as valuable as you make it. I believe in moments, not materials. (moments and memories are the most valuable thing we leave behind) that said…make you better, make you happy and things will work in your favor. All the best to you love.
    Big hug,


    • Thanks Kellie. You make some valid points. I’m looking into alternative work and maybe even some work from home. We’ll see where life takes me. I’m tired of feeling guilty for NOT working. Its like I want to push myself but when I do.. I feel worse. Its a catch 22!!


      Thanks for your support.


  3. I agree with taking care of you first but how do you do it without income? That adds stress and stress makes it harder to get healthy without adding more illness.


  4. I will work when I get a call the day before or if a collegue calls me ahead of time to book me. This way I get to choose the enviroment I work in and usually the content is pretty much planned.

    Like I go into work tomorrow, substituting in Grade 4 in a school where I know the students pretty much.

    Its just that this way I work once or twice a week. Not too bad, however, not enough.

    I need to find a supplement of income at home. I working on some ideas … lets see how it pans out.


  5. Pingback: To teach or not to teach… that is the question I ask. (via Northward Bound) « Northward Bound

  6. It’s a difficult decision to make, and of coarse you need to take care of your health first and foremost… But did you ever think that maybe once you put yourself out there and get into the rhythm again your confidence may get a boost and your helth may follow suit? Just a curiosity, maybe it is possible to have the best of both worlds? I hope all the best!


  7. I never thought of it that way Julianne! Thanks, I am practically sure I will try again. We will see, once I am moved out, how my confidance increases, and my anxiety decreases.


  8. Pingback: Going Back to Move Forward « Muse In The Valley

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