Why I Quit Teaching

Letting go of my lifelong dream

Meg Mullens
Human Parts
Published in
10 min readNov 28, 2023

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Photo by alam kusuma on Unsplash

When I was 11 years old, I decided I wanted to be a teacher. Fifteen years later, I left the profession after only three years in the classroom.

I come from a teaching family. My dad has been a teacher for 29 years, two of my grandparents are retired teachers, and another was a school secretary. My mom volunteered at our school for a decade before she went back to university when I was in grade 12 to get her Bachelor’s of Education, and she now teaches kindergarten.

They didn’t push me to go into teaching. Growing up in a teaching family allowed me to see exactly how challenging and how rewarding a career it was. In most of my childhood memories, the never-ending responsibilities of teaching were always there. I knew my parents barely had any friends. They were too busy. But they loved their work.

I thought I was prepared for the realities of teaching. I had a head-start because I knew how hard it would be, and I still wanted to do this.

Every job I accepted from high school onward was with the goal of better equipping myself to be the best teacher I could be. I struggled with public speaking, so I became a performer in a historical reenactment troupe and participated in public speaking competitions, where I went on to the national finals. During my undergrad, I worked part-time as a museum tour guide and I continued there as an educator after I graduated. I got co-op placements teaching with an IT department, designing eLearning modules and writing educational materials. Everything was to prepare me for my dream.

I moved back home to start my Bachelor’s of Education in spring 2019. To my delight, my plan had worked. My courses were a breeze because I could pull from my years of experience in teaching-adjacent roles. I loved discussing how we could be our best professional selves for our future students.

Then, I started my practicum.

Even though everyone told me I was doing really well, I struggled. This was still a new set of skills I didn’t know how to navigate, even with my experience in similar roles. Problems at home made it worse when I needed to move back in with my parents because of a dangerous roommate. My supervising teacher was great and taught me a…

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Meg Mullens
Human Parts

With a curious heart and an open mind. My thoughts on navigating queerness, work, relationships and mental health.