In the past few weeks I have been asked no less than ten times by random teachers about when and why I left the classroom and how I knew that going full time with curriculum writing and posting my materials on Teachers Pay Teachers was right for me. I realized I never really blogged about my decision to do so and figured that since I am being asked it might be something that others might want to read about it as well. So here goes!
In the Fall of 2012 I began my fourth year of teaching middle school math. I had just transitioned from eighth grade to seventh and added in teaching Special Education Math for both seventh and eighth grades. Needless to say, my plate was overflowing for sure. At this time I was also the Student Council Sponsor, working my Teachers Pay Teachers store full time to build up products (that is when my INBs began) and also had a daily commute of about 40 minutes each way.
I’m not one to tell people no when they ask for something and so I was constantly working myself into 16-20 hour days and also working on Saturday and Sunday to just keep up the momentum. In late September I started having some severe abdominal pain and went to the emergency room. They did test after test and found nothing wrong and diagnosed me with low potassium levels. Two weeks later I was back in the emergency room, another diagnosis and on my way. Another three weeks go by and the pain is still there. Go into the Emergency Room once again (yea, I know a lot of trips but when you work long hours at school and your doctor is about an hour away it is hard to get in to see them), and I was immediately told without any tests that I had kidney stones. Okay, what does that entail? Sure enough after some investigative work they found multiple stones hidden behind my bladder. NO WONDER they couldn’t find them in prior testing but the doctor was determined this time.
From this I went in and had to have surgery to remove the stones as they were too big to pass on their own. I was out of school for about six weeks to recover fully (short-term medical leave) and it was extremely hard to be away from my students. I missed them terribly and I knew that they were getting random teachers each day since my district had a hard time getting anyone to substitute. Needless to say the anxiety and stress from feeling like I was disservicing them by taking care of my health didn’t go away.
I came back to work the week after Thanksgiving break and I knew things were just different. Knowing that I FULLY believe in doing whatever it takes for my students no matter what and that they are the number one reason I do what I do and nothing else. As of that day I resigned as I just couldn’t stay in a position that was causing me medical issues, my health was more important. It was the scariest decision I ever made because I was the sole provider at the time and had no back-up besides what I was doing on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Needless to say that through December I was looking for another job. Teaching jobs are HARD to find in the middle of the year and at that point I didn’t know if I wanted to get back in the classroom and start mid-year. I began working for a Virtual School as an online Special Education Teacher in January and was excited about the promises of what it entailed. I missed the ability to see the changes in students and because I was working 8 am- 5 pm Monday through Friday I never had the time to work on my curriculum writing because I was worn out when the day was over. In July I was in a training and one of our teachers spoke on doing what is in our hearts. I seriously felt like I was being taken to church at that moment. I was being spoken to and it was poured on my heart that this wasn’t the place for me. I needed to be elsewhere. It was at that moment I knew that I was going to give my notice to continue to work on my passion of curriculum writing.
From then on I was working for myself in my corporation and I was my own boss. I was the one that was working on curriculum that I knew that students craved and needed. I was listening to teachers all over the nation and taking their concerns to create new interactive learning opportunities. I was presenting at conferences, providing professional development online and in person and LOVING it. This is what I was born to do! I want to help teachers who then are able to take the things I work with them on back to their classrooms and benefit their students. Over the last three years I have heard countless stories from teachers around the nation, and even some other countries, about how the curriculum that I have created has not only impacted their teaching but also has impacted the learning of their students. And hearing from parents on how students have been affected by the style of learning they have embraced through my curriculum warms my heart. This is truly my calling in life and what I plant to continue doing.
Do I miss the classroom? Sometimes. Do I miss the crazy insane paperwork, changes, discipline, classroom management, grading, meetings, etc.? NOPE! Do I plan to ever go back to the classroom? I honestly don’t know at this point. After having to step back in my business for the past nine months I am energized to have been given the go ahead to start creating and training again.
I already have a training scheduled for June in Mansfield, TX and can’t wait to start traveling and training again. I won’t be at CAMT this summer to present or exhibit for various reasons but I can’t wait to start back going to conferences once again. If you are one of the schools or districts that has been trying to have me come out this is the time to book because my calendar is clear and ready to start booking! 🙂
So what’s next? New curriculum creations, full re-branding of former products and updates to some older products that necessarily need them. I love and miss you all and look forward to many more years together!