I Almost Quit Teaching My First Year. 20 Years Later, I’m Glad I Didn’t.


Teaching is a noble profession that requires dedication, patience, and resilience. However, it’s not always smooth sailing, especially for new teachers. As a rookie educator, I faced numerous challenges that nearly pushed me to the verge of quitting. But looking back now, after two decades in the field, I can confidently say that I’m glad I didn’t give up. This article aims to reflect on my journey, highlighting the reasons I considered quitting, the lessons I learned, and the rewards that came with perseverance.

Challenges Faced: My first year of teaching was nothing short of overwhelming. The workload seemed insurmountable, with lesson planning, grading, and extracurricular commitments consuming every waking moment. Balancing the needs of a diverse student population was also a daunting task, as I grappled with behavior management issues, varying learning abilities, and the realization that not every student would share my enthusiasm for the subject matter. The constant pressure to meet academic expectations, coupled with the emotional toll of dealing with difficult situations, made me question my decision to pursue a career in education.

Self-Doubt and Burnout: The immense workload and seemingly endless challenges took a toll on my mental and physical well-being. I constantly questioned my abilities as a teacher, plagued by self-doubt and the fear of failing my students. Exhaustion became my constant companion, pushing me closer to the breaking point. The long hours spent preparing lesson plans and grading papers left little time for self-care, further exacerbating my feelings of burnout. It was during this period that I seriously contemplated quitting and pursuing a different path.

Support and Mentorship: Amidst the darkness, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of support and mentorship. I was fortunate to have colleagues who empathized with my struggles and offered guidance. Their words of encouragement and willingness to share their own experiences reignited my passion for teaching. Seeking advice from more experienced educators proved to be invaluable, as they provided valuable strategies to manage classroom dynamics and cope with the demands of the profession. Realizing that I wasn’t alone in my struggles and that there was a supportive community behind me, I found the strength to persevere.

Lessons Learned: Through the challenges and moments of doubt, I learned some valuable lessons that have shaped my teaching career. Firstly, I discovered the importance of self-care and finding a work-life balance. Prioritizing my well-being enabled me to be more effective in the classroom and prevented burnout. Secondly, I recognized the power of reflection and continuous improvement. Admitting my shortcomings and seeking ways to grow as an educator helped me evolve and adapt to the ever-changing needs of my students. Lastly, I understood that teaching is a journey, and mistakes are inevitable. Embracing my imperfections and using them as opportunities for growth allowed me to become a more resilient and compassionate teacher.

Rewards of Perseverance: Looking back now, I can confidently say that persevering through the challenges of my first year was one of the best decisions I made. Over the years, I have witnessed countless moments of triumph and growth among my students. The joy of seeing a struggling student grasp a concept, the pride in their achievements, and the connections formed are priceless rewards that reaffirm my passion for teaching. Every year, I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of young individuals, and that is a privilege I wouldn’t trade for anything.


Teaching is a calling that requires endurance and a resilient spirit. My first year of teaching tested me in ways I never could have imagined, but it also shaped me into the educator I am today. I’m grateful that I didn’t give up when faced with adversity, as the rewards of perseverance have far outweighed the initial struggles. To all the aspiring teachers out there who may be on the verge of quitting, I encourage you to stay strong, seek support, and remember that the impact you can have on the lives of your students is immeasurable.