Burned Out and Wondering Is Teaching the career for me?

I always dreamed of being a teacher.  I was so excited and happy when I finally reached that goal.  I loved my job as a teacher of fifth graders - until we started getting more and more special needs students with less and less support.  Teaching became a real challenge, but I gave it my all and was still enjoying my job- until I had a behavior disordered student 2 years in a row.  I was teaching in one of the top districts in one of the richest suburbs, but the kids were getting more and more needy each year as their parents seemed to be more and more concerned about their careers and their appearances and their things than their children.  The last straw was when a boy got totally violent and the social worker and psych had to do a "take down"  wow- that scared me!!!  This happened in march and I had to finish the school year with an angry, volatile student.  He should never have been allowed back into our classroom- but no one seemed to get that- they sent specialists in my room to observe and they complimented my teaching and just said the boy had a cup only half full and needed it filled with positives. Basically they assume that teachers can fill in for parents?  That is not what being a teacher is supposed to be.  I have tried teaching in other schools from the poor areas to the rich areas and in between and I keep finding that there are too many kids who are angry from being neglected by their parents regardless of their neighborhood.  I cannot teach in that kind of environment! I believe that I have the skills to be a teacher, but I cannot put myself into a classroom situation again with so many needy kids and not enough support.  I feel so lost.  I am currently researching other states to see if there may be a school in a smaller, safe town somewhere out there?  If I don't find a more peaceful school, I am still determined to find a more peaceful state and somehow find a new career.  I have some hope, but I sure do feel like a failure.  I just don't have a clue what I can do besides teach. That is what my degree is and that is what all of my experience is.  How in the world would I start over again or can I find a way to become a teacher in a better area?  What is the best career for me to use my talents?  Tough questions of which I am determined to answer somehow!

UPDATE- I moved to a rural area in the midwest where the pace is slower and it isn't divided into rich/poor neighborhoods.  Started substitute teaching in 3 different districts. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW AWFUL IT IS!! There are so many kids with major disabilities- behavior disorders, autism.... on and on.  What is going on?  The towns seem so nice, but every class has at least 2 kids with behavior issues. There are special ed teachers and aids all over! The sped teacher yesterday even wore a earphone all day to hear if there were any crisis with kids (grades k-5) that needed the old "take-down" intervention.. Teaching in any of these schools is on edge- anticipating a "meltdown" as they call it from any one of these kids! What is going on??? The special ed teacher told me that these issues have been proven to be on the rise across the nation.  Teaching has changed. It is now a battlefield. Teacher against kids ready to explode.  It isn't for me. I must find something else!  Maybe just teach the talented and gifted or something totally different.  What a nightmare!!

chiak chiak
36-40, F
4 Responses Feb 17, 2009

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It is an incredible experience to hear from former students how inspirational you have been in their life. Sends ya chills! Also an award of most inspirational teacher meant a lot to me. Those are the moments that make me think teaching is a good career choice- but then I keep remembering all of the other students with behavior issues.... <br />
Right now I am trying to find a job in teaching that won't be as stressful dealing with the dysfunctional parents and their needy children as directly as in an elementary classroom. I am trying to decide if maybe teaching sixth graders in a middle school setting or being a specialized teacher - reading, gifted/talented would be an option so I could get back into doing what I do best!

Thanks! I hope so too- I sure am trying hard to research this and figure out my next step!! I am so glad to have found this awesome site- this is better than journaling!!

I tihnk its sad that teachers are sometimes used as a substitute for parents. I hope you can find a positive environment to teach in.