Hi. I’m a hybrid teacher, and I’m on the verge of quitting.

I have been teaching for 15 years. I’ve learned to expect little annoyances as a teacher: no significant raises, and the little raises we receive going directly to the insurance increase; spending my own money every year for things a district should provide such as paper towels and soap in a science lab; having to explain that teachers do not in fact get 2 months of paid vacation; and the fact that some people just assume teachers are incompetent. I mean, those that can-do, and those that can’t-teach, right?

Those things bothered me less and less the more and more I fell in love with my craft. Don’t let anyone tell you that teaching is not a craft. How else could you explain one little woman who is 5’3 holding a class of 32 teenagers in thrall with an explanation about the experiments of Stanley Milgram and relate it to how ethics are important? For any teacher worthy of their craft, it is the students that mean the most. We love talking to them, laughing with them, seeing their ah-ha moments, being there when they need to get something off their chest, advising them for future career choices, and watching them go on to be productive members of society.

COVID and quarantine stopped that special time for us in March 2020.

March 16, 2020, I wish I would have known that it was going to be the last day I saw students in my class. I was playing the radio and ‘Lean on Me’ came on. The kids were doing an assignment, but all started signing while they worked. I remember thinking to myself how much I loved them, and how precious that moment was to me. The next few days were a whirlwind, making the switch to online. It wasn’t until I caught my breath a full 3 weeks into quarantine that everything hit me. I sat outside on my front porch one day and cried for several hours. The neighbors probably thought I was nuts. All the things I had planned were over and never to be, and worst of all, I didn’t get to tell them goodbye in person.

Every day starts with checking online attendance from the day before

Then something totally unexpected happened: Teachers everywhere were being hailed as heroes. Many people were reaching out, wanting to ‘adopt’ teachers for appreciation week, sharing how important teachers were to children, and how no one could do as good a job of instructing children as their current teacher. It probably shouldn’t have been, but it was amazing to me how quickly society went from ‘teachers are heroes’ in March to ‘get back to work you lazy so and so or I want my property taxes back’ in July. I think it was the emotional equivalent of whiplash.

We started back hybrid the second week of August during a spike in COVID cases in Texas. We started with no plan in place, no consistent air conditioning or phones which were in the midst of an overhaul, a new grade book program that hadn’t been debugged, and 3 days to plan. Hybrid teaching involves teaching as usual with the added bonus of also teaching online and adjusting each and every thing you do in class to satisfy the requirements of students who are working remotely. As a high school science teacher, that means that I have to make demo videos of every lab, construct and post audio recordings of what we are doing in class, and still meet everyone’s needs including special education and 504 students. This is on top of lesson planning, grading, meetings, and trying to live my own life. I worked about 72 hours the first week. On that Friday, I broke down and cried at my desk after school because I couldn’t get the new grade book program to scroll. Like snot bubble, runny mascara, barely able to catch your breath crying.

And I kept thinking to myself, ‘This is not sustainable’.

2 preps, 2 subjects, 125 students to serve

Before you ask, let me tell you; I am not a slacker. No one I work with is a slacker. This is hard; it’s the hardest thing I have ever done in my life related to a job. It’s the equivalent of working 2 full time jobs at the same time with no extra time in a day, no assistance, no compensation, and little support. I used to plan 3-4 weeks in advance. Now, I’m doing well if I’m a day ahead, and to get that way, I have to work roughly 12 hours a day.

I get to school at 6:30 am and rarely make it to #9 by 8:45 am

I asked my coworker the other day how she was as she sat with swollen eyes from crying the day before. ‘I used to love this job,’ she said. ‘Now, if it weren’t for that fact that I love my students, I would have walked out yesterday’. Our lunches consist of everyone in the department sighing, asking if anyone has heard any information about changes that occur daily, usually not to make our lives easier or offer a reprieve. We discuss how our online students, for the most part, aren’t doing any work despite our greatest attempts. It feels like we are just treading water. Every. Single. Day.

I walked in this past Friday after grading work for 5 hours the night before instead of spending time with my family. I saw that my room was 78 degrees because the AC was broken again and I sat down and cried. That’s the point that many teachers are at: the last nerve, the last straw, being broken by the smallest problem. At some point, it’s going to be a decision of what’s best for our mental health. Our Superintendent said we should all stop working at 5 pm. If that happened, nothing would get done and who would suffer? The students. That goes against the whole core reason for teaching.

How much longer can I go, working 60-70 hours a week? The jury is still out. Trust me; we want to be back at school with ALL our students. Teaching is not the same when you can’t make the connections that being together for a class period 5 days a week can bring about. Remember to show kindness the next time you meet a teacher. We are as broken right now as the educational system that asks us to be super human. We are here for your kids; please be here for us.

86 thoughts on “Hi. I’m a hybrid teacher, and I’m on the verge of quitting.

  1. Suzanne Milstead says:

    A big question/problem is why would anyone become a teacher? Low pay to the point that you can’t afford a place to live or buy a car. Low morale, every day. Trying to teach from gifted to 504, to special ed and meet their individual needs which is next to impossible. Not enough materials and many I buy myself. Added to that teaching to virtual classes to the regular, but what is regular now? I’m glad I got out while I could.

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for staying positive, you know we do this because we love kids and we care. Lots of people are getting screwed over right now, not justifying what anyone is doing to make it worse, but bright side is we have a job and if you look hard enough, you see the reason for being an educator in the eyes of every student!

  2. katsii2@gmail.com says:

    I wish there was something tangible we could do. I don’t have money..but maybe there are tasks that could be delegated to willing volunteers. just wishing i guess. There’s only so much one human can do…be kind to yourself.

  3. Annie says:

    As a retired teacher, my heart is with all of you. Even in my teaching days, I often felt as you do eloquently wrote and can’t even fathom how stressful your days are now. I am praying for all of our educators’ Peace, stamina, wisdom on when to begin and end your workdays, and for your decisions to be guided by the Lord

    • Michael Rodriguez says:

      Thank you Annie for your prayers! They are coveted and needed. It is often in people like you and in the Lord that I find strength to face each day as a teacher… keep praying! To my fellow teachers… fight the good fight!

  4. Beatrice says:

    As a retired teacher, I can well imagine what you’re going through. You brought me to tears because I can remember how difficult a teacher’s day can be even before COVID-19. Now, it sounds almost impossible! I can only hope that things improve soon for you and countless others, and also for the children who are missing so much! Prayers coming your way! Hang in there because the kids need teachers as dedicated as you!

  5. Dee says:

    I’ve taught for 30 years. I was planning on six more. I was coming back off of disability in August, spent two weeks learning all the platforms and prep—and the night before we were evacuated from the cZU complex fires during which I took a hard tumble down our steep driveway and broke a rib. Homeless until last Friday when I got three dog bites. We still have no water to drink or wash in. All my district wants to know is when I’ll be back. Trite sorries —my entire yard is gone, my neighborhood is mostly gone—but when will you be back? I’m disgusted.

  6. Mary Tucker says:

    We the public ask too much. Learning for most of us is communal with guidance from the teacher and collaboration from our peers. Teachers receive much from their students greater understanding of how important what they do is to our futures. Respect them and understand what impossible we are asking.

  7. Jackie says:

    God bless you. Hang in there. I truly appreciate your candor. I’m teaching on line – 3 preps 140 kids, and the district is looking to go hybrid. Praying every day for guidance and patience.

  8. Patti Broussard says:

    I taught for 18 years and would have probably given up. Parents do appreciate you. I have 7 grandchildren 3-12 grades. They are all in F2F instruction, hated virtual and are happy to be in school. Two of them had anxiety attacks trying to keep up with the virtual and they are engaged smart kids. I pray for teachers daily.

  9. Hannah Yoder says:

    For what it’s worth, I still believe you’re all heroes! ❤️ I wanted to be a teacher and God knew he needed me elsewhere. I saw that watching all the teachers I know, even before the pandemic. It’s hard being a nurse too but I couldn’t be a teacher right now. God’s blessings over you! These students need you as much as you need them.

  10. Lisa M McDermott says:

    Your dedication is awesome! I am sure that you’re an amazing teacher. But I am going to suggest that you Try to do less! I know it sounds crazy because I’m a retired teacher and I get it! It’s almost impossible to convince yourself to sacrifice the quality of instruction you deliver daily but you must do it !!! Save yourself!!! And look for job alternatives for next year. This year, ask less of yourself and be satisfied.

  11. Jaime G says:

    I am hanging on to every one of your words! This is exactly how I have been feeling! I love my job but I hate what it has become! We went from heroes to zeroes in zero to 60 seconds! I am so overwhelmed with everything. This is my 20th year teaching- I’m no rookie, but I can’t keep my head above the water. I’m drowning and it is taking a toll!

  12. Educator Retired says:

    Bless you! This would have been my 32nd year. I said goodbye after the first day of class. In the couple of weeks leading up to school starting, we had to learn 2 new programs. Be certified in one and make a month’s worth of assignments in the other. All on our own with no PD on the programs. We were teaching ourselves using YouTube videos. When things didn’t work the way they should, we just kept trying until we figured it out. Oh and did I mention, our Math curriculum is 12 years old. We have no SS or Science curriculum.

    The only PPE we were provided was ONE (one-ply) mask. Nothing to clean with and the janitors were not going to be able to help us, even with trash. No breaks all day, because the class would have to stay together for everything. That first day, I had 10 minutes to eat and go to the bathroom.

    Number 1: I have an autoimmune, so if I got this virus, it wouldn’t be good. I had one boy tell me, “Maybe I’ll give it to you.”
    Number 2: I’m old…I need to go to the bathroom every once in awhile. And I like to eat!
    Number 3: No social distancing. No room for it, but it’ll be ok.
    Number 4: No mask mandate. As of this week, there have been over 20 staff that have been quarantined, and I don’t know how many classes, and at least one whole bus. That’s just in elementary with around 400 kids.
    Number 6: Library wouldn’t open until October, at least. I have a small library in my room, but by October, they would have read everything I have. BUT make sure you bring up every child, because you know they’ve missed a lot of school and every one is behind. No small groups though!
    Number 5: 50-60 hours a week with no extra compensation. And that was before school started. I don’t know what it would have been after the kids were there. It’s just not sustainable! At least, not for me.
    Number 6: I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants teacher. I work during the summer to make sure I have things ready to go during the year. But I couldn’t do that this year, because we didn’t know what we were going to do and weren’t told about the programs until it was stress out time!

    The stress and anxiety were too much for me. I didn’t feel like I could do my job under those circumstances. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but in all actuality, it was the only decision I could make.

  13. I teach gifted ed in person and online kids…it is for sure challenging and stressful. We are all struggling….the online kids do not participate and yet we have to treat it like a class…nothing we can do except keep on….

    Hugs to you….we will survive this! I just know we will!

  14. Sandy says:

    Three teachers in my building have gone on meds, including me. I couldn’t stop the tears and started throwing up on the way to school every morning. Three teachers in our small district have resigned. I’m going to finish this year, I just can’t hurt my students, but come May, I am DONE!!! I’m so heartbroken that this is how my last year is going. I pray that it will end on a positive note.

  15. Dena says:

    I am so sorry. I taught for 33 years and when Covid hit, all I could think was, “Thank God I’m retired.” My heart breaks for teachers and for students. All need to be in school. Praying for you.

  16. Chris Simpson says:

    Have taught Sp Ed for 20 + years. Teaching online now but they are bring students back soon. 6 preps , 40 students daily and ieps to write, update and manage. I am also ready to give it all up, can’t take much more physically or emotionally. Something has to give.

  17. frances tyler says:

    And, here in Texas, TEA requires all beginning teachers be observed in the first three weeks of school! Is that helpful or harmful? Ask an experienced teacher in this COVID educational environment. If “I’m thinking of quitting “ is struggling, a beginning teacher is drowning.
    Now, I will do climb down from my soapbox.

  18. I am one of the many teachers across the country that has been laid off or given a “temporary reduction in force due to lack of work” It angers me that the decision just makes it harder for my coworkers.

  19. Lu Ann Hommen says:

    I retired after teaching for 36 years. I would never have been able to do what our teachers are asked to do at this time. I needed that face-to-face interaction from my students on a daily basis. More importantly, they needed to see me for stability, reassurance, and human interaction that they got from an adult. These were things that many of my students only got from one place and that was at school and from their teacher. I pray that this pandemic comes to an end soon or I worry that we are going to lose a lot of dedicated, patient, creative, and valued teachers. Please remember to take care of yourself. Without you being physically and mentally healthy,
    this job that you once loved will become a chore. Something that you must face , with “tears”, each day you walk through your classroom door. I wish you luck with the teaching situation you are now facing and only hope that things will return to normal; or that the new normal is what is best for both teachers and students.

  20. Julie says:

    Teaching for 34 years has taught me a few things. Patience and respect for all teachers this year is necessary. It’s hard, one if the hardest things I’ve had to do.
    If you know a teacher realize we are exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. They will keep it together in front of the class or while on the computer but tears surely follow when they are finished for the day. Remember we have families also depending on us to help them through remote learning! So check in on your teachers- make sure they are ok!

  21. Cheryl says:

    Another very sad point not mentioned above is that our district and state are mandating more reports, more data and a reading academy that is more than 80 hours, plus graded tests and writings, 2 separate office hours per week and 2 office periods with our online students per day. Nothing has been taken away, but new duties, trainings, reports, etc., have been added. It is too much, with no end in sight. I have not had a day off from working since the last week in July when we had to complete online training for how to teach online and in-person students. I’m at work 10.5-11 hours per day, plus 3 evenings per week, and both weekends days. And yet, administrators say, “You won’t have to work evenings or weekends.” Like the author stated, we DO if the students are to have instruction. Sadly, I don’t think administrators realize what our lives are like now.

  22. The first day with kids there was so custodian. There is alway about a 2 hour window with no custodian in the building and in the course of the custodianless window I had both on my floor.
    No prep period, 100 kids, I am with the in-person kids from the minute the first kid arrives (7:45) to the minute the last one leaves (yesterday that was 4:30 due to a bus breaking down).
    I say no prep period because my prep period is when they normally go to music, art, etc but those teachers are teaching from their classrooms and so I have to stay on my room to monitor them.
    I have to clean the desks after they eat breakfast and lunch.

  23. A says:

    I move to hybrid in a week. Are your at home students allowed to “zoom” into your class or are they totally asynchronous? Our at home kids will be zooming in to our classrooms which I am hoping will decrease the amount of lessons that need to be written with the exception of labs. Good luck! I feel for you (me?) 🤣

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