Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why I Left Teaching


Lots and lots and lots and lots of people have asked me the following questions the last few months:

1. Why did you leave teaching?
2. Do you miss teaching?
3. Will you ever go back?
4. Do you like your new job?

On June 6, I embarked on a new adventure. After six years of teaching, I said goodbye to summer breaks and field trips and the three R's and stepped into a new role at my church, Watkinsville First Baptist.

So here's the skinny, folks. I'll give you the answers to these questions, and more!

1. Why did you leave teaching? 
I left teaching because I knew that teaching was not the only way for me to be a part of children's lives. When I was studying education at UGA,  my reasons for pursuing the degree were rooted in relationship. I loved school as a child, and I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children at an early and impressionable age. Some of my teachers were people I looked up to greatly and wanted to emulate. I still have great respect for them and was inspired by their legacy of care when I pursued the field. Everything for me is rooted in Christ. I wanted to talk to kids about Jesus. Praise God, I was able to do that at Downtown Academy. :)

However, as many of you know, some personally, teaching is a mentally, physically, and emotionally draining career. There are many needs within the classroom that you just cannot meet. The responsibility is great. Lesson plans and classroom management are things that change and grow with time, but they cannot be "fudged" or thought up at the last minute. Teaching takes intentionality.

I have always been of the mindset that a job should be a job, not your whole life. And teaching, my friends, pretty much has to be your life if you want to do it well. At least if you want to do it really well. And I just wasn't ok with that. My primary calling is to take care of Rory, and when the time comes, kids. I'm not ok with giving the leftovers to my spouse, and that's what I felt like I was doing.

2. Do you miss teaching?
I miss my kids a lot. I think about them often and pray for them. Each week, I go to school to have lunch with them and catch up. I will also be serving on the Downtown Academy school board. But I don't miss teaching all that much. It was a wild ride, and I miss the relationships that are a part of that ministry. But y'all, I really like being able to visit my kiddos and knowing that I am no longer ultimately responsible for their academic success. It's a great weight that has been lifted!

3. Will you ever go back? 
I don't know. I like the idea of being a part of after school programs and extra-curricular activities, but I doubt I will go back full time.

4. Do you like your new job?
YES. I really, really like my new job. A lot of the skills I had to hone through my six years of teaching- organization, planning, scheduling, communication, etc- transfer quite well. I knew for a while that teaching was not going to be my thirty year gig, but I honestly didn't know what else I might be good at. But I am really enjoying the opportunity to use my administrative side to help my church, and I have gained a lot of confidence in my professional skills as a result. I also have had a lot more time to invest in my writing, which is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. God has been good to provide time to be able to do that.

I tell you (my friends) all of this to say that if you're afraid of trying something new because you've never known anything different, don't be! It can be easy to feel like you should stay where you're at because you just can't imagine life any other way. That's natural. But if you think that God could be calling you to use your gifts in another way somewhere else, pursue it! What's the worst that could happen? He is always, always, always faithful.

Grateful for you, friends.


  1. Loved reading this blog, Jessica! You are right...teaching consumes your life if you are a dedicated teacher. I know that you were a dedicated wonderful teacher! I also know from working with you in FBLA what a marvelous business person you would be! Your church is very fortunate to have you as an employee! Wishing you God's blessings in everything you do!

    1. Thank you Mrs. Smith! I am so grateful for your kind words of encouragement! :)



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