So I’m not a math teacher anymore

My absence here is because of something huge. I did it. I pivoted my career and left the classroom. But I didn’t leave education. That’s something I couldn’t do. I’ve thought a lot the past two years about where my path in education would take me while the distant future is still unknown, I know what I’ll be doing for the short term. And it’s exciting.

I took a job with a company called Civitas Learning. The purpose of the company is to find the students who would otherwise slip through the education cracks. The goal is to have a million more students graduate every year. We do this by using math. And I like math.

My job is to talk to presidents and provosts about what we do and make traction in an area that has never had a company like us before. Higher Ed is one of this country’s oldest institutions and that means sometimes things move slowly.

I’ve been attempting to put into words what it’s like to leave the classroom, what skills are transferred, and the process of the emotional transition. This is my modest attempt.

  • If you’re a teacher, most likely your work ethic is beyond what’s necessary for most jobs. I don’t mean that other people don’t work as hard as teachers but teachers are ON. Seven hours a day we are the leaders of meetings, organizers of work, and the curator of materials. And that’s while the kids are at school. I’ve been at my job for one month and I have yet to work on a night or a weekend. That energy transfers to me working really hard at work and really hard at play. I’m exercising more. Hanging out with my fiancée more. I’m less stressed. It’s weird getting used to the number of moments in the middle of the work day where someone says, “Hey did you all see that SNL skit?” and then everyone crowds around a computer. Maybe I just work in a cool place. Moments like that don’t happen with ease in the classroom.
  • If you’ve been in the classroom, your organization is impeccable. I’m juggling a lot at my new job yet it’s still easier to manage my time than when I taught. For me, that means less stress.
  • The amount of emotional stress and fatigue from the classroom will translate to you not complaining about anything outside of it. I was told some people at work can get annoyed when their favorite La Croix runs out. I’m still mouth agape at the fact that I can leave my work whenever I want to get the company provided snacks. I’m so used to not being spoiled that now that I am, I almost feel guilty about it. Again my company is awesome and I recognize that not everyone gets the perks I get.
  • Everyone wants to know if I miss the kids. The truth is that I miss moments of discovery with kids but I don’t actually miss the classroom. I don’t miss the job. I thought I would. I was scared that I would. But really I just wanted to make a bigger impact than my few students per year.

Overall, I made the right move. I wasn’t happy in the classroom anymore. I was needing personal, professional, and intellectual growth that was stunted by spending 90% of my day with teenagers. Maybe everyone else got their personal growth at other times or they went into the classroom at an older age so they were already developed but I went into the classroom right out of grad school.  This winter will by the first winter of my life where I work between Christmas and New Years. Not once in my life have I not had a spring break. I needed to leave the classroom to find my future potential. I’m open to everything but one thing is consistent and that’s my dedication to student success. I’ve been appointed to the Terry Scholar Advisory Board and promoted to the Texas Boys State Dean of Lead Counselors so I still have lots of interaction with high school and college students. I don’t think that will ever change.