Why I decided to leave the classroom

By Natasha Coleman

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I enjoyed working with students and seeing the progress they made throughout the year. When I first became a teacher, it was stressful and I found myself always taking work home. I thought it was because I was a new teacher. However, a few years later I was still taking work home. I was being pressured to get students to a certain point by the end of the year knowing that they had come to me with very little. In my mind, I knew what students needed to be taught in addition to the curriculum, but I was constantly reminded to keep focus on the academics and push things like social skills to the side.

After a while, it wasn’t fun anymore.

Being in a test-driven instruction and learning environment was very frustrating for me and my colleagues. Many of them left. They decided to find new careers because they could not take the stress levels. It was sad to see so many great educators leaving the field. Like many of my colleagues, I knew that I did not want to teach anymore but I also know that I did not want to leave education entirely.

While being a teacher I enjoyed working with other teachers and providing professional development. I often found myself being a mentor and motivator to many teachers. I enjoyed working with teachers and brainstorming ways to help students succeed in the classroom. I knew that if we worked together it would make our jobs a little easier. I begin to think of different positions where I could still have a close relationship with the classroom, have an impact on students, but removed from the stresses of teaching in the classroom.

I decided to pursue an instructional coach role. My hope was that I could still have an impact on students learning by building capacity for teachers and help them grow. I am a firm believer that when teachers grow, students grow as well. My goal as an instructional coach is not only to help teachers succeed but to help make the hard job of being an educator a little easier. I know that we need great teachers for students and I wanted to help make this possible. I want to be a part of ensuring teachers enjoy their jobs again by providing support and helping them expand professionally. As an instructional coach, I feel like I have the best of both worlds – helping the leader and the students in the classroom.