Why I Left the Classroom

Why I left Teaching
Why I Left the Classroom

The Struggle

I am so thankful for everything that is part of my life right now including you!  My life is drastically different than it was a couple years ago!  I’ve never talked about it openly because I was fearful, insecure, and riddled with anxiety.

A couple years ago, it was my 20th year of teaching.  My son was in 5th grade at our school.  For me, it was a year of H-E (double hockey sticks!)  For the first time in my career, I had a principal who hated me. Still not sure why.  Not only did she hate me, but she got the rest of the staff, who I considered my family for 18 years, to pretty much dislike and/or avoid me too.  I was threatened with my evaluation, lied to, challenged with impossible tasks, given 5 MAJOR behavior problem students who physically hurt me and the other children regularly, and faced life-threatening health problems because of the stress.  Prior to the last year, I had been a well-liked and highly effective teacher who loved her career path.

Depression

Without going into a lot of detail, I suffered from depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety/panic attacks.  For the first time, I had been broken.  My mind, my spirit, and my body were broken!  I consider myself lucky that prior to that difficult year, I had never been on any kind of prescription drugs.  But I knew after waking up in fetal position next to my husband, crying that I didn’t want to go to school, and losing 16 lbs. in one week due to stress, that I had to give in to what my Dr. suggested…  A good therapist and drugs.  I was on anti-depressants, blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medication, and XANAX!  So basically, I was drugging myself to go to work. I even developed an eye twitch.  If I wasn’t at work, I was fine, but the thought of going every morning would begin a cycle that was dangerous to my health.  I fought it because I wanted to stay in the classroom.  I loved the students and figured I could transfer the next school year.  It was important to me to be there for my own son who was in 5th grade.  But, even on the medication, I continued to be harassed.

Abuse

After getting beat with a chair again, punched in the stomach, calling the front office for help, and realizing no one was coming to help me, I knew I had to leave the classroom.  Seeing the scared faces and hearing the ear-piercing screams of the other kindergarten students as they watched their teacher get hit repeatedly, shook me to the core.  I knew the only reason they were in this situation was because the principal didn’t like me.  So, I had to remove myself.  Now, if you question, why didn’t you report it? Why didn’t you collect data on the principal? etc.… Let me tell you, I did.  On doctors orders, I left two months before the school year was over.  I still had to pick up my son at school, so Xanax to the rescue. I dealt with a staff who wanted to know what was wrong with me, and because I wasn’t ready to tell them, they made up their own inaccurate stories of why I left my dream career.

My husband planned several mini vacations because I was told to relax.  I know he was thinking this was the end of the wife he knew when we married.  These getaways were frowned upon by staff (according to the county investigator’s report) because I was on sick leave.  Little did everyone know the pain I was suffered from because WHY would I post that on Facebook?  In hindsight, I should have never posted pictures of me relaxing on social media.  But, in my defense, at the time I was on medication. Maybe it was also the need to let people know that I wasn’t completely broken too.

The LAST STRAW

It wasn’t until my son’s 5th grade graduation where his Certificate of Completion was conveniently removed from the pile that I pushed for a harassment investigation with the school board.  Seeing her smirking face as my son sat alone in a row as his friends got their certificate knowing she was behind it as my son signaled to us that he was okay was a total mind-blowing experience.  I had to beg my husband to leave before he made a scene as anger filled his “un-Xanaxed” body. Other parents were stunned, taking video and making noises to get staff’s attention that a student was forgotten.  I had to stand up to tell them they forgot my son.  Anyway, an investigation was done which amounted to nothing even though 9 other teachers came forward with their painful stories of harassment they endured from the principal.

The New Chapter

After that experience, even though I was offered other jobs, I decided I could not go back to teaching in this district.  I took me about 6 months to wane by body off all the medication that was mandatory for my survival.  Crazy how stress can mess up your entire body!  I tell you this story for two reasons. One is if you are experiencing anything like this, you can know that you can come out of it stronger than you were prior to the experience.  That you can find confidence, security, and begin a new beautiful chapter to your life.  I found a love and passion for making educational resources that I didn’t know existed.  Through this experience, I developed strategies to build my confidence back up and to become healthy again. Keep up with this blog in the future, and I will share some of the strategies that helped me.  I would have never left the classroom to discover this passion without that crazy experience. The second reason is I want you to know that YOU are part of my new chapter.  I love making teaching resources and helping teachers like you save time and money.  This is one reason why I offer freebies and discounts regularly.  Thank you for being there for me and for your students! My heart will always be in education. I value you!

Here is a Forever FREEBIE:

Spaceman Finger Spacing for Writing
Spaceman Finger Spacing Tool for Writing

Teachers Accept the Ron Clark’s #GradingPapersChallenge

If you are like most teachers, you keep up with the amazing founder of Ron Clark Academy.  Ron Clark is a visionary who transforms classrooms around the world by demonstrating high quality techniques that are game changers in the education field.  Not only are students engaged in energized lessons, but teachers dream of visiting his school to have some of that inspiration and creativity rubbed off on them to take back to their classrooms.

Recently the hashtag #gradingpaperschallenge has taken off on Instagram due to a challenge that came out of him being bored while grading papers.  He recorded himself grading papers while lip syncing Lady Gaga.  Then, he added the hashtag, and challenged teachers to have a little fun while doing this tedious task of grading papers. Check out his post.

Teachers all over the world have been responding to his challenge with some impressive video clips.  Here are some of my favorites, so far.  (You may even see mine at the end. Not going to lie… this #gradingpaperschallenge was fun!)

Wade King @_wadeking

 

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@_wadeking is on deck!! ROCK-ING-OUT!!!! #gradingpaperschallenge #teachersofinstagram

A post shared by Ron Clark (@ronclark__) on

 Mary Beth @houseofnichols

Barry White Jr @thatsbwhite

Sarah Barnett @simply_steam

Sparkle & Sprinkles @first_grade_teacher_life

Junior Bernadin @mrjbernadin

@thereactionwithkarachante

Me! Cindy Martin @teachersbrain

 

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Teachers, it’s your turn! Join @ronclark__ for the #GradingPapersChallenge !I am not in the classroom anymore, but was also challenged by by daughter to do this, and remember the long days of grading papers. 😉 What do you rock out to while working or grading papers? A little THRILLER keeps me pumped in October! 🎃🤣❤️🎃 I challenge all you EDUCATORS to take a fun 15 seconds out of your life to make your video. Smile & please tag me in yours, if you do. My IG is @teachersbrain teachers I expect to tag me: @the_whimsical_teacher @teachingthestars @mrsaverysisland @simply_steam @teachwithtori @jamieprncs #betherevolution #ronclarkacademy #GradingPapersChallenge #teachersfollowteachers #teachers #teacherspayteachers #friends👭 #elementaryteacher #edu #educhat #thriller #teachersofinstagram #teacherstyle #teacherlife

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So, get out there and take the challenge! Please share yours with me by tagging me in the post. ( @teachersbrain )  Learning should be fun, and so should teaching! There is no shame in your game.

$1000 Teacher Giveaway

The MEGA Labor Day Giveaway is here! We have teamed up with some AMAZING TpT authors to bring you 5 SHOPPING SPREES just for TEACHERS! We KNOW your job is a LABOR of LOVE  and want to THANK YOU for your dedication to your students!

We will raffle off:
 5 $200 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Cards ($1000 in TpT gift cards)

Enter the raffle here: http://gvwy.io/ycgbefy

Refer your teacher friends to increase your chances to win daily! Raffle Ends at 11:59 PM EST on 9/7/18. The lucky winners will be announced by 9/9/18. #LABORDAYLOVE

💚 Good Luck to you and all your Teacher Friends!

You must be a teacher to win and provide proof by providing your school name and grade level within 48 hours after contacted or a new random winner will be selected. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Teachers Pay Teachers. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to Facebook or Teachers Pay Teachers. No Purchase Required.

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Teachers Pay Teachers 2017 Conference

If you want to know what it is like to be lucky enough to work for Teachers Pay Teachers and attend the conference in Anaheim, you are in the right place! The BEST part of this conference is making connections in person with all the other teacher-authors you only knew on-line. Here is a picture of the Fabulous Five (well, that is the name I gave us after meeting at the 2016 conference in Florida), posing with our Peace, Love, TpT shirts. Meet Tori from Teach with Tori, Kelly from Mrs. Avery’s Island, Lisa from Lisa Taylor Teaching the Stars, and Shelly from Appletastic!

 

Attending the 9 Step Process workshop with Shelly Rees, is a MUST! She offers an awesome course for teacher-authors who need to focus on how to plan a product from start to finish! PRICELESS! There is a great Facebook group you can join if you are in the course. This is how the five of us became close friends. The group is a positive place to gain valuable information to help you grow and connect with others. This year I had the honor to sit with educational expert, Deanna Jump! She is such an inspirational person who is down-to-earth and easy to talk to about the business.

 

Erin Cobb and Catherine Reed were the inspirational teacher-author speakers who told their personal stories. They both inspired the rest of us that hard work and dedication can produce great success.

If you never met our “Director of Happiness”, Amy Borrell Berner, you HAVE to take the initiative to meet her. She is exactly what her title conveys.

 

After a long day of doing what teachers love… LEARNING, TpT hosted a happy hour to help us all decompress and meet other teacher-authors. This is where a few of us were able to talk to the BEST CEO, Adam Freed. I totally felt like I was one of the girls in The Bachelor, willing to interrupt other teacher-authors to steal him away for a chance to talk to him. (Sorry, to whoever I booted out of the way.) It was happy hour though, so I can blame it on the wine. ? I don’t regret it!

Another super nice, intelligent and fun teacher-author is Chris Kesler. He is the best for learning how to build an email list and engage a TpT audience! We attended his session and discovered a lot of tips and tricks to grow our businesses. You can see him below with me and fellow teacher-author Sarah Barnett, who is my new TpT BFF. ? We hit it off as if we have been friends forever. We danced at the Happy Hour with awesome Shem, leading us as DJ/Motivator. She lead a great session about how to Put Some STEAM in your STEP. This is what the conference is all about, meeting people who share your interests, inspire you and help you along your journey.

Should you bring your family? YES! My family went to enjoy the tourist attractions while I was busy learning at the conference. I loved seeing them at the end of the day!

I learned so much! My head feels like it is going to explode with new information, but I’m excited, motivated and (a little) exhausted at the same time. This Dr. Seuss quote sums it up. I’m looking forward to next year in NASHVILLE! So, plan now, if you need some inspiration, tips and tricks.

TEACHER Giveaway BETTER Life Bag and $100 TpT Gift Card

I’ve teamed up with some great teacher authors to bring you this great giveaway raffle! Thank you for all the follows and trusting my resources. We are ready to give away 2 AMAZING prizes to 2 lucky teachers! A $200 Better Life Bag Gift Card (custom with a cause beautiful bags) and a $100 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers! There are 12 different ways to win. See below. Good Luck!
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Win a Teacher POT OF GOLD for a $400 Shopping Spree

I’ve teamed up with some awesome teacher authors to give some lucky TEACHERS a chance to win up to $400 in a Raffle.  Go to this link   CLICK HERE to enter the RAFFLECOPTER Giveaway! (or see the links at the bottom to go right to each entry.)  Share with your teacher friends too by re-posting this blog. 🙂 There are 7 lucky giveaways to enter.  Just choose which ones you want to enter or enter all of them to increase your chances to win.  This is one way I can say thank you for following my blog and/or my store.  Good Luck!  I hope you win! #teacherpotofgold

*Contest ENDS Tuesday at MIDNIGHT. 
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HTML Codes – Make TpT Listings POP!

I’m constantly trying to get my Teachers Pay Teachers product listings to stand out and POP among the thousands of other great product listings.  Here are some “cheat sheets” to help you make your listings SHINE!

Make it BOLD by inserting <stong>YOUR TEXT HERE</stong>

Underline it by inserting <span style=”text-decoration:line-through;”>YOUR TEXT HERE</span>

Copy and Paste These:

A round bullet: &bull;
An arrow pointing right: &rarr;
An arrow pointing left: &larr;
A heart-shaped bullet: &hearts;
A diamond-shaped bullet: &diams;
A star-shaped bullet: &#9733;

Teachers Are Winners HUGE GIVEAWAY

Teachers and Homeschoolers,

I have partnered with a HUGE group of TpT authors to give two lucky winners twenty chances at winning an “AMAZIN” $300 gift card to Amazon or a $100 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card. All teachers are WINNERS, and I want you to really feel it with this Giveaway!

*****Directions for entering:*********
1. LIKE this post
2. SHARE this post
3. CLICK the link below and enter to win the raffle. (The more entries you complete, the greater your chances are of winning.)

http://gvwy.io/ycgbefy

Want to find the other TWO HUGE Giveaways? Search #TeachersAreWinners to find Giveaway #2 and Giveaway #3!  Good Luck!  I hope YOU win!
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Transform Your Classroom into a Movie Theater

I always like to go “all out” during the holidays for my students.  Transforming your classroom is the easiest way to create a magical day for your students to remember forever.  In the past, I used the Polar Express theme for the holidays, but this year I looped up with several of my students from kindergarten to first grade, so I wanted to change my theme to provide a different experience.  I thought about Frozen or WIMG_5905inter Wonder Land, but when I thought about making my classroom into a Movie Theater, it felt perfect!   I could incorporate any movie with the props that I would design or get donated this year and save for future years. The first thing I did was have my students brainstorm ideas for a holiday movie theFullSizeRender (23)y
would like to watch.  They decided on classic holiday movies, like Rudolph, Frosty and The Muppets.  The Muppet’s Christmas Carol was a great fit for the day.  I then found a version of the story on YouTube to show the students the day before of movie day.  I use the story to compare and contrast the story to the movie.IMG_5982

Ask for HELP

I asked parents to for donations by sending a letter home. They donated boxes of various large boxed candies, water bottles wrapped in movie thIMG_5917emed labels, and plastic popcorn holders for the movie theater concession stand.  Our PTA let us borrow the popcorn maker they use at their events, and donated the popcorn. IMG_6112

I called the local movie theater, a local beverage distributor and several sign companies to donate props for the inside and outside of the room for the day.  They all easily said yes.  Just a phone call sometimes will work.  I had one parent agree to help decorate the day prior to the PJs at the Movies Day.  Students always like to wear their pajamas to school, so I wanted to incorporate it.  Decorating took about 4 hours.  Of course you can skip several decoration ideas to make it less time consuming.  We used red bulletin board paper around the movie screen to look like a curtain, but then found cheap red plastic table clothes worked better.  We tied fishing line from the ceiling to hold them up.  The sign companies donated static window clings to stick to the FullSizeRender (21)windows which looked like movie posters, banners to hang in the classroom and Hollywood movie starts for the ground.  We used clear contact paper to write student’s names on and stuck the names on the stars in order to be able to peel them off and reuse them next year.IMG_6070

A parent donated PVC pipes they painted black with a base on the bottom to use and make an aisle.  The students loved waiting in line at the window (Ticket Booth) to get their ticket.  You can make tickets or just buy them from Oriental Trading.  I bought a huge roll and use them all the time for other activitiesFullSizeRender (22).  I also found a backdrop, camera center piece, gold starts to hang and a red carpet to roll out on-line for minimal cost.  At the “ticket booth” students are asked how they are going to pay for the ticket.  I quickly suggest something I see in their hands, like a backpack, folder or their shoe.  This takes about 10 minutes and provides photo opportunities for the parents.

Plan Early

A couple weeks prior to the PJs at the Movies Day, I had students work to create Bios for our Movie Star Bulletin Board.  It made a nice addition to the theme, and we could leave the bulletin up for January also.  You can find the free Bio Sheet at my TPT store.

Students wore pajamas, brought a stuffed animal, blanket and enjoyed the movie with a concession/bathroom break.  After the movie we did a Venn diagram of the book and the movie to compare them.  One student said, “This is the best day of my life!” at the end of the day.  It made all the hard work worth it!

Thankful for Teachers $550 Giveaway

Thanksgiving break is just around the corner, and it’s safe to say most of us are ready for a break with some great family time!  Several of my Teacher Author Friends have teamed up to bring you a chance to win $50.00 in Christmas CASH!  The Give Away is HUGE!  Just click the link below to have up to 50 chances to enter the raffle.   You may enter Sunday, November 13th through midnight on Tuesday, November 15th.  Prizes will be awarded on Wednesday, November 16th.  Please share this on all your social media sites with you teacher friends.  There are plenty of chances to win!  11 winners will get $50.00 in Gift Cards.  Good Luck!  I hope it is one of you!

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