I started my teaching career in 2013. I was a Teach for America corps member, eager to get into the classroom and change lives. Little did I know that a brief six week summer institute was nowhere near enough time to prepare me for what I would face as a first-year teacher in an inner-city classroom.
Do we give wide-eyed pre-med students the option to attend a six week bootcamp in lieu of four years of medical school? Hell no. So why on earth would anyone ever think that six weeks is enough time to train a ignorant middle-class college student with no teaching background what it takes to manage an inner-city classroom?
Being the overachiever that I am, I fought tooth and nail to become the teacher my students needed me to be. Unfortunately, this fight to be a great teacher cost me my health.
In May 2014, with the support of my family, I was finally hospitalized after weeks of seeing doctor after doctor, trying to figure out all my unexplained health issues.
After a ten-day hospital stay — I didn’t return to the classroom that year. Instead, I moved back home with my parents and spent the next two years on a journey of self-discovery & restoration. In 2016, I met my husband, who became my greatest supporter as I navigated my new normal.
If you didn’t know this already — stress can kill you. Your mental health is as important (if not more important) than your physical health. Never think for a second that you are a super teacher that can do it all…. teacher burnout is REAL and it affects thousands of teachers every year.
So here I am, five years after leaving Milwaukee, finally ready to share my story. It’s time to get real about teacher burnt-out here in the United States. If my experience can help one other person, than it was worth sharing.