Last year at this time I had recently quit a job that had been making me miserable more often than it made me happy. I quit via an email sent from my phone in the middle of the day and never looked back. I felt immediately better. I had no job lined up and was finishing my last two classes of grad school but I somehow felt totally calm about the situation.
I took last summer as an opportunity to figure out if teaching was really it for me. I have worked in only high stress teaching environments: a high school for at-risk youth, a school for cognitively delayed children with emotional disturbances, and an urban charter school who was not making it's state mandated goals. I applied to teaching jobs for high schools but more selectively than in the past. I even applied at a non-profit as an event planner. I looked into editing and writing jobs. I scoured job search sites for anything that remotely interested me and came up largely short.
As I completed my MA in English I came back to the idea I'd had when I first started it; I could teach at the college level. I started applying. Mostly to proprietary schools but to others as well. Finally, I got a call, and by the end of the interview I was being handed the books for the courses and sample syllabi. I taught four courses last fall and while I still was teaching a stressful population I loved it. I met awesome people and I really bonded with several students. Unfortunately they had to tell me they couldn't offer me four courses again. I felt a little panicked. Someone was looking out for me though and the school I really wanted to teach at offered me three classes at a significantly higher pay rate. And that is where I remain. I have reclaimed the joy that teaching is to me. I love it.
Sure, I still have moments of stress but everyone does at their job. Largely though I feel reinvigorated. I am trying to learn as much as I can about teaching at this new level. A part of me still really really wants to teach high school in my old school district. But now, I know that even if I never get to I can still be very very happy. I am finally on a path that I feel incredibly confident about and that excites me.
I have so much other stuff on my plate right now as I enter this next phase of my life, my thirties, and I can't wait to share it with the people that matter to me.