Laney Lee


The Difference in My 8th Year

This blog post has been absolutely bursting to come out of me. My 8th year teaching is different. It just is.

Let me begin with just a little back story on my career so that you can fully appreciate my come up. I started teaching when I was 21 at a relatively low income school in Tennessee. Like all new teachers, I came in with low expectations for my abilities, but was excited to learn. After several leadership changes in my school, I began to struggle more and more. I tried to hide my classroom management problems (to no avail), and after waking up in the morning, my first emotion of every day was dread. Deep, deep dread.

In a move of what can only be called pure desperation, I took the leap into international teaching. A lot of my teaching experience changed in that instant, and I quickly realized that I did, in fact, love teaching. I didn’t love a lot of the things that were part of my reality in the states (heavy legal liability, standardized state testing, salary, etc.) and with those stressors removed I finally had the freedom I needed to begin truly developing professionally.

I will proudly admit that I studied the craft. I read books on classroom management, and I joined social media to discuss my job with other professionals. I spent some of my free time on this, but I would consider it normal to spend free time pursing a passion. I stopped expecting myself to be perfect at everything and I started opening up to my colleagues. I started to be vulnerable about my weaknesses.

In the end of last school year ( May 2019), I started to develop a sense that I was truly on the path that I was meant to be on. I enjoyed my students. I enjoyed my job. I enjoyed working on my TpT store. I had free time and money to spend. I drive a BMW now that I paid cash for. I’ve been to Japan, Morocco, Australia, Spain, and the list goes on. I’m saving for my future. But it’s more than all that.

When I wake up in the morning now, I feel confident. I know how to handle classroom management, and I know what to do when I feel like I can’t. I started this year knowing exactly what kind of teacher I’m going to be, and exactly how I’m going to do everything. Every last procedure! (I’m not against continuing to tweak things, but I won’t change things up on my sensitive children mid-year anymore without serious planning.)

I wanted to write this post because I want you to know that if you’re in a position that is making you unhappy, consider a change! I went from public to private. America to the Middle East. My experiences couldn’t be more different, and it’s made such an impact on me as a teacher. I’m so glad I never quit. It feels amazing to be 28 years old and to be this happy and excited for the future.

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