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.

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

  1. TonyaW says:

    I’ve been a teacher since the 1980s. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in or OUT of the classroom. You said what we’re all thinking very eloquently. Thank you!

  2. Teachers in it today are superheroes. As a retired high school science and English teacher I don’t see how you are doing it. It’s only September! I couldn’t wait to retire and it wasn’t because of the kids; it was because of all the demands of state mandates, time pressure, and lack of parental and administrative support. After 30 years, I was tired. I can’t imagine doing what you’re doing. I’m sure tired doesn’t begin to describe it. Teachers are in my prayers everyday. Hang in there, but take care of yourself, too. Your dedication and perseverance will be rewarded. We definitely do it for the kids, not for monetary reward or public recognition. May God bless you.

  3. Prayers for God’s comfort and strength for you and all VISD STAFF, ADMINISTRATION, STUDENTS:(!♡ Please plant your needs firmly in your faith and the hands of our Almighty God! Thank God for you and your fellow co-workers who are keeping our kids learning and their minds occupied away from the Cruelty of the times we live in now:( Everyday waiting for a Healthy healing world again!
    Until then I will continue to Pray for God’s Watchcare over All affected by the Craziness of the Virus 2020 and in general this year 2020:( Love to each and every one of you and your brave co-workers! My grandkids are distant learning, 3rd, 7th graders, we are blessed by God to have the best online learning of VISD teachers like yourself! Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us, God bless you and carry you throughout this devastating journey!!!!!

  4. I pray today Lord for the broken hearts and minds of the teachers who continue to bless and teach our children, I ask for your presence in their lives , bodies and minds every day, bless them with peace and strength and patience and your LOVE daily! Thank you Jesus!

  5. Jeannie says:

    This breaks my heart to read even though I’ve known from the start this is how teachers feel. There’s no way one human can do it all. It’s just too much.

  6. Kay L Medford-Kammerdiener says:

    I am so sorry for all you are going through. I retired a couple of years ago after 40 years of teaching. I could have told anyone seeking to teach, “Yes, you will love it” 20 years ago. Now, when I find someone who says that they want to teach, “Find something else to do with your talents, something that pays well, earns respect, and won’t take every ounce of your being to do.” It is no longer something that I can recommend to anyone, and I am glad that I retired when I did. God bless you, and may you find rest and contentment in the decisions you will have to make.

  7. Coach Stelk says:

    Melanie, you make me so sad. I now the students need you. But you have to take things in stride. One year something happened in the schools and we were told, ok, you won’t get through everything. Teach them to do for themselves and they’ll come through and get the rest on their own. I got to school each day at 6:45 am, taught til 3:30; had rehearsals, worked on props and costumes and got to my apartment about 10:30. I decided my social life was ruined. So I cut way back and did less.. And then met someone. Remember you can’t do everything, so teaching them to learn on their own will work wonders. Begin a chapter, work with them on part of it, and then tell them the rest s up to them. If they are interested, they’ll meet the challenge. If not, oh, well. Hugs to you in your struggles.

  8. Jmmy Moore says:

    You speak for us all. I too am a HS teacher in ahands on CTE endorsement. I’m having to re-write all of my curriculum. Please don’t quit. I promise there are kids out there that need you lime we need them. God is using you whether you realize it or not. Prayers for you.

  9. Jmmy Moore says:

    You speak for us all. I too am a HS teacher in ahands on CTE endorsement. I’m having to re-write all of my curriculum. Please don’t quit. I promise there are kids out there that need you like we need them. God is using you whether you realize it or not. Prayers for you.

  10. Wayne Bolfer says:

    I have respect for all teachers for the job they do, but remember you chose this profession and all that’s included. Teachers are powerful but fail at fighting for themselves when it comes to certain decisions made by the powers to be. I have always said virtual learning is not good, it can work for some students but not for the majority. I can’t understand how teachers wouldn’t see this and stand up to management as a group not individually. Catholic schools have opened with in class learning with no problems as far as I’ve heard, so why can’t public schools follow their example. I also sympathize with the situations in the classrooms of not having proper supplies or breakdowns of equipment, but thi
    s is mainly due to mismanagement, there is plenty money, it’s just being wasted and misallocated. Again I sympathize with all of you who are trying your best, but y’all need to be more vocal as a group to y’all leaders.

  11. Becky Scarbrough Actkinson says:

    I’m so sorry our teachers are going through this? I retired in 2013. I planned for it, I got to say my good byes and it was still. The next three years I mourned the loss of exactly what our teachers across the world have had thrust upon them. Know there are those of us who support you, will help you and be there to do anything you ask! Becky Scarbrough Actkinson Chattanooga, Tn.

  12. Brandy says:

    Hello you do not know me and I came upon your story that someone shared on fb. As a fellow mom who’s son just started 9th grade that has all honors classes, you are the most important person along with every other teacher out there! We need you, the students need you the most! I don’t care how many people tell you that you are not needed or to get back to work, they have no clue what it’s like and are selfish. Heck maybe I’m selfish myself for sending this comment but know you are the most important person in the education of these students. Virtual learning is hard! I graduated in 2000 so I have no idea what I’m doing anymore! Lol These students are struggling too. I can’t even relate how much blood, sweat, and tears go into this but please don’t give up! These kids are the future, scary I know! I wish, heck we all wish for the normal to come back. My mother in law is out of retirement back to teaching her second year of high school so I know somewhat of where you are coming from. Please know you doing an amazing job! We appreciate you more than you know and I don’t even know you! Just keep up the hard work. You’re an amazing person along with each and every teacher out there! Thank you so much and I wish you the best! ~Brandy

  13. Brenda McAnear says:

    You are loved and lifted up in prayer each day. We pray that parents and administrators will take notice of just how special each of you are.

  14. Diane says:

    Excellent article. As a retired public school teacher, I cringed with every outpouring of emotion and description of teaching duties. A teacher has to prepare a lesson, and then be ready to go with any unexpected development. Stay strong and may God be with your decisions.

  15. Donna Griffith says:

    I emphasize. I worked 1/2 time as a librarian for years before I retired. Did 40 hrs. per week , paid for 20. No regular help. Volunteer came 2 times a week for 3 hours. Thankless except for student’s appreciation. I hope you get some relief. I admire you and pray for you and others like you. 💕🙏🏼

  16. Carol says:

    In this terrible unprecedented time it seems everyone is searching for a little of our “normal” only to find abnormal. The media wants us to buy into their hype of “alone together” or is it “together alone”?? Whatever it makes no sense but if we let them that’s how this world will be. No more hugs no more handshakes and no more secret telling in each other’s ear. I can only say that I admire those who have the skill and strength to teach. We all need to pray for each other along with our police, doctors, nurses and teachers. God bless you all your work is appreciated by those of us who can’t do what your doing.

  17. Lisa says:

    I am a Texas Girl transplanted in a Maryland world. We are all online. I am thankful. We still see changes constantly from our Board of Ed.
    My heart is with you. Hang in there. I know it is hard right now, we miss our students so much.
    Do what you can and take care of yourself.

  18. Erik says:

    It is calming to know that my online students aren’t the only ones not doing anything. Despite all the emails, calls to parents and even a progress report.

  19. As a Sp.Ed. Paraeducator, I can empathize….researching to learn more about the technology we’re using, taking ‘detours’ wherever & whenever because the needs are great, continuing PDs at home, being a listening ear, helping to solve problems for everyone…arrive early & stay late with no compensation & many getting hours cut (we’re not on salary, so every penny counts)…..every ‘raise’ we’ve ever gotten is zapped up by rising energy costs, rising food costs, rising utility costs, rising insurance costs (every kind of insurance), rising fill-in-the-blank….even Cost-of-Living doesn’t cover the cost-of-living anymore!

  20. Kim Taylor says:

    I feel like you read my mind. I have taught 22 years and this is the hardest year ever. The feeling of inadequacy is overwhelming especially when you are working so hard.

  21. Donna Patrick says:

    I’m a retired teacher and feel so blessed that I’ll retired. I loved teaching and love my students but my heart goes out to each of you. My mother who passed away in May at 92 would always say this to will pass. So hang in there and we will pray at some point things do go back to normal. I was the 2010 TX Teacher of the year. Remember you are loved by many😁

  22. My older sister was a special Ed teacher for 30 years & I had 3 sons that were all LD on 504. I saw what all teaches had to do daily/weekly. It was hard & now it is deplorable. Somehow, someway, TEA needs to help the teachers. It makes me so mad that not one member of TEA has ever been in a classroom! TEA members should all be teachers. The laws NEED to be changed to help the teachers!!! It MUST be done, ASAP‼️

  23. Patsy says:

    You are all super heroes!! I am a grandmother, and I admire you for what you do. I don’t think it is right they expect this from you. As far as I am concerned , you have NEVER been paid enough for your tireless job! I pray these school districts and governors will realize they better come up with enough money to compensate our wonderful teachers. Prayers for all of you. I also agree the school should furnish ALL of you supplies. Please, please don’t give up on our kids. Ask some retired grandmothers to volunteer to help. I for one would enjoy helping GOD BLESS OUR ANGEL TEACHERS!! 🙏❤️🇺🇸

  24. Alicia Dean says:

    Thank you for speaking so well for so many! You are enough! Say it every day as you look in the mirror and try to figure out what tasks are expendable, if any. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You are enough.

  25. Lisa says:

    I am with you. A week ago I ran home at lunch to pick up papers that I had forgotten that morning along with my lunch and I had to have a serious talk with myself to get back in the car and go back to school. If it had not been for my desk looking like the paper monster had come and celebrated an unholy event on top of it, I honestly don’t think I would have returned…maybe forever.

  26. Mary says:

    It is sad that some of the parents don’t offer to help . I worked full time and would help anyway I could. This is such a bad time we should all pull together. Maybe some retired senior could volunteer. If I lived close to you I would try and help. Good teacher are rare so please don’t stop.

  27. david says:

    To all!
    This pandemic is like a war. A war of our minds. It will come to an end! Until then, we must support one another and persevere till the end. Victory will not be seen in the day to day battle, but more when history looks back. Teachers are the backbone of all we do. Continue to battle, support one another, and no that you are at the frontlines of this battle. The students you love, will remember your struggles and efforts, for the rest of their life’s. All of you can make a difference. All of you are important!!!

  28. Valerie says:

    I taught elementary classes for 31 years and can’t imagine how difficult times are for you guys. My heart goes out to every teacher having to do triple the work they used to do with no compensation for their time. I pray daily for an end to this craziness and for life to get back to normal. Please know Any of us retired teachers are so proud of you guys still hanging in there, and we know how hard YOU are working !!!! Hugs and prayers sent❤️🙏🏻 Valerie Kennedy

  29. Trecelle Sweet says:

    Omg, thank you for expressing what I am feeling! I have been teaching for 29 years and this is so hard!!

  30. Lily says:

    I feel your pain. I’m Attendance Secretary at a large high school and what they are asking you to do and what they are asking me to do is not working. And worst of all the powers that be don’t understand attendance taking! Sending you hugs! Thank you for educating our soon to be adults that will run our world ~ eek!

  31. Vickie Bruno says:

    After being a preschool teacher most of my lifetime/ home and group care as well, I understand your depression!
    I am praying for you and your students, that you can get back to a normal school year!
    BUT don’t go in too soon! For your safety and the safety of your students!
    I can’t even teach my granddaughter at this time as her mom’s job in a senior rehab center, is now facing the Covid pandemic situation at this very moment!
    Covid isn’t done yet!
    God Bless You and ALL the 👨‍🏫 👩‍🏫 teachers and staff! Just have hope that it will be over soon and we can ALL come back to ‘school, work, and life itself’!!! Prayers 🙏

  32. Jan Seabaugh says:

    It was so hard to read this though my tears. As a retired teacher, I understand how extremely difficult this is for teachers. They all have my prayers and respect.

  33. Ali says:

    Perfectly said! While I know it doesn’t bring much comfort, you are not alone! We teachers are here to help support each other!

  34. Nichelle Fox says:

    Thank you for sharing the words and sentiments we re all feeling right now. I think many of us are on the verge of quitting and trying to make the decision that is best for our families and mental health.

  35. Scott Keats says:

    I commend you for all you are doing! Thank you for keeping our future leaders educated and engaged. I would only add that there are millions that have lost their jobs, houses, cant pay bills and worse, cant put food on their tables. While I wish things were different, I’m sure if you asked to trade places with those who have nothing, they would be more than happy to work double what your already doing!

  36. Casey says:

    Thanks for sharing that. In our house, teachers were heroes long before the pandemic and, of course, remain so now.
    Our son, an instructor at our local community college, is struggling with remote teaching.

  37. Al says:

    I am so with you ❤ I had a breakdown this weekend after 5 hrs of trying to figure out classroom. I am pretty sure I cried for about 2 hours straight, at first an ugly cry then just a slow weep. Hugs

  38. Ivanetta says:

    I recently resigned because of my concerns with COVID-19 and students coming back to school, so I know where you are coming from. I had hoped to stay, but it’s apparent, that this mode (whatever it may be) is not sustainable and administration keeps asking for more outside of what I already do. I’m no slacker either and I know the rest of our teachers aren’t either. They are told to do one thing in one meeting and the exact opposite in the next meeting, when in reality, administration expects them to do both. They are instructed to do SMART goals, and to realize that they won’t get outstanding TTESS evaluations even though they are working harder than ever. They are supposed to be engaging students constantly, providing rigorous content, but not failing anybody for not doing their work. It’s insane. I enjoyed being with my students. This is not their fault, but the administrators have not handled this in a compassionate way for teachers. Also, I don’t believe they are taking the COVID-19 virus seriously. They won’t be in the trenches like the teachers, so its fine for them to say that everything is okay, when it is not. It is a lie and I’m done. I wish I could do something for the teachers who for whatever reason feel they must stay. Teachers are heroes. I support teachers and the support staff. No one really knows all you do.

  39. Maria says:

    You’ve summed up perfectly what I have been feeling for the last five weeks. I remember after the first week my boss asking how things are going and I said… this is not sustainable. I don’t know how long I can keep this up. Hybrid is a damn near impossible task yet every non-teacher is a quick critic. Hugs to you!

  40. Deanne Quinn says:

    I understand that this situation is an extreme version of ill-prepared districts and financially abandoned schools that have gone without adequate structural and technological updates needed for safe, flexible schools. However, with adequate training, things could be so much better. With creative problem solving, support people who are not working could be retrained to help support teachers. This can be solved but administrators, legislators, and taxpayers need the resolve…

  41. Paul says:

    THANK YOU! I Wish there was a way to channel Strength, Energy and Hope to You and All Teachers. You are VERY appreciated and your message was so poignant and Heartfelt.

    Please know that you are tremendously valued.

    Please Stay Strong OUR children need You! ❤️

  42. Phil Samuelson says:

    I’m a former vocal music teacher. My choirs had 90 students & my elementary music classes often had 35 students. Those days cannot currently be replicated. It’s just not safe, & the skills & equipment needed for virtual choral performance is beyond the vast majority of school districts & music teachers. I know because I just did a virtual church anthem. I sang my part alone for the mic/camera & the other 11 men did likewise. We’re suffering a terrible loss in student growth due to inept pandemic leadership!

  43. Megan says:

    I don’t know you, my children attend school in a different state. I just want you to know that there are still parents out here who see you and who love you. I’m still in the same mindset I was last March and April that teachers are angels among us. I see how truly hard my sons kindergarten teacher is working when she is messaging me at 8 pm at night when she should be able to spend time with her own kids. My daughters second grade teacher has children in the same grades as mine and has commiserated that she has all the same fears and worries as I do, yet my daughter comes home happy and with a ton of stories about how amazing her day was in her class. You all are truly super heroes. YOU are the ones keeping this world going. And we love you. Some people are just too self absorbed to tell you.

  44. Deborah says:

    Most of my teaching career was working hours on end and through the weekends. I’ve almost always been the last one to leave campus even after the principal has already left. If I saw cars in the parking lot when I left I thought I must have forgot something. You are not alone. Many teachers work more than 40 hours a week. Many teachers have just sat and cried when they couldn’t get everything done and kids are doing very little in comparison. You’ll know when you have had enough.

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