Sadielady3's Diary

A lot has happened since my last entry. My life is starting to change trajectory and I'm really excited about it.

I spent the rest of my week last week mulling over a career change. I knew it was going to come with some risks, even if they were relatively small and unlikely, but still there nonetheless. Then I went to my guitar lesson. My guitar teacher is a former public school teacher. We ended up not playing the guitar at all and talking for about two hours about leaving teaching. I started to realize over the course of this conversation how miserable teaching really makes me. At this point, I became determined to find a way out.

I spoke to my husband and his main concern isn't about money but instead about the amount of work I'd have to do to go back to school to change careers. I'm not worried about school- I've always been good at school, especially when I'm interested in the material. I have his complete support if I can come up with a reasonable plan.

I spoke to my former principal that I've stayed friends with on Sunday. I explained what I want to do and she thinks I'd make an incredible therapist. She is going to write one of my letters of recommendation that I will need for applications and is willing to help in any way that she can.

I spoke to one of my former department chairs and she also thinks I would be an amazing therapist. She is also going to write me a letter of recommendation.

I spoke to one of my current administrators today. He completely understood the need to leave the classroom, hence why he became an administrator himself. He thought my idea was great and where I want to go. He had suggestions for good local programs and organizations I could get involved with to start getting some experience once I got rolling with grad school. He is more than happy to help out with whatever he can- he said to just let him know. The most impactful thing he told me during our lengthy conversation was that he thinks my particular skills set and my deep love for students would be better utilized in a field like mental health services than in the classroom. He made it clear that he values me as a teacher and would always welcome me to teach at any school he works at but he feels like I could do more of the work he sees me trying to do in a mental health role instead of a teaching role.

I'm a little nervous to bring this idea up to my T though. I think he'll be in favor of it actually based on previous conversations. My BHT (BetterHelp Therapist) already knows about this and I plan to really talk through the idea of switching careers on Wednesday when I see her again. I genuinely think this is the right path for me and something I want to find a way to make happen.
On Wednesday, I had my BHT session. She really helped me to map some things out more specifically now that I was determined to move forward. I feel tremendously better about making this shift.

My day was horrible. If I had had any doubts about switching, the awful day I had at school eviscerated any doubts I had. It started Wednesday night. I was in a great mood after therapy but then S told me he wasn't coming to school. The biggest problem with this is that I had a meeting scheduled during our class and now I was thrown into chaos because I can't supervise the students while in a meeting.

When I got to school this morning, I left my keys in the car. My school keys, not my car keys (car keys would have been decided worse). This made me late to my first period class on the first day with kids back in full force. Ugh. But this was totally my fault. A kid came in and was nasty to me for no reason at the end of first period. Second period the school secretary decided to complicate my life by making the coverage of my third period class overly complicated. Still not sure what she was thinking.

My meeting third period was a disaster through and through. The interpreter (the mom only speaks Spanish) was the worst interpreter hands down I have ever worked with for a meeting. I know enough Spanish to know that some of what she was telling the mother was just wrong. My general educator didn't show up. The meeting took well over an hour and should have been much closer to 45 minutes.

My mom called me after school. She was surprisingly supportive at the idea of me leaving teaching. Granted, she has no clue what I'm thinking of doing (that is a conversation I am definitely not ready to have) but she actually pointed out how incredibly difficult teaching has been for me. This is currently year 8. Here's a breakdown of the 8 years so far:

  • Year 1- Hard year because I didn't know my head from my ass. Also, the principal resigned due to being sent to federal prison for embezzling 2 million dollars.
  • Year 2- My school was directly involved in starting the Baltimore riots.
  • Year 3- A student violently attacked me and put me on the floor of my classroom, pinned me down, and threatened to punch me in the face. He went on to punch two other teachers. No consequences. This kid got more and more menacing towards me. Used to come to my class and strip naked every day. I would spent a good chunk of time standing out in the hallway because there was no way I was going to be in a room with a naked fifteen year old boy.
  • Year 4- New school, new district. There were these bitchy female math teachers who spent the year hazing me and making my life difficult.
  • Year 5- The year from Hell. I got a new department chair in special education and she hated me from the moment she met me. No idea why. Will never know. She observed me multiple times per day and only wrote negative things. If she couldn't find anything negative to say, she didn't record the observation. Repeatedly failed me on every formal observation. Repeatedly rescheduled observations at the last minute. Told me I was a danger to the students and such a disgrace to the profession that I owed every teacher in the nation an apology.
  • Year 6- New school, new district, again. Had the co-teacher from Hell that I spent the entire year battling. My department chair was so cruel that I often cried at work. Was told repeatedly I was a great teacher though.
  • Year 7- Worked nearly full time with S. Unlike the year before, he now started taking days off often. Dumped all of his work on me. I got so stressed out that I missed a month of school. Then he proceeded to abandon me and the students once the building was shut down. This on top of having 10 IEP meetings in the fourth quarter. The person with the next most had 4. One of those was with the parent from Hell.
  • Year 8- Mostly distance learning where I have been worked within inches of my life. Everyone is in this boat but considering I have been doing someone else's job most of the year, I had it much worse.
There honestly hasn't been a relatively calm year. It's been horrible every year and for fun and exciting new ways each new year. Except for year 5, no one has ever been actively coming for me to where my job has been in danger. However, being treated like dirt has been common and is stressful. I can't help but believe that the universe is pushing me out of the profession. My love for my students has kept me going. But I honestly feel like I can service them better and in a more meaningful way as a therapist. I think mental health matters more than math does. Honestly, most of my students will never really use the math skills I teach them and although the goal is really to teach them logic and critical thinking, mental health matters so much more. But, even if I'm wrong, it's just time to move on. Teaching is taking a massive toll on me. Most of the horrible stuff is distinctly not my fault but I do think there comes a point where there is too much baggage to keep going on with something. You can only cry so many tears before the bad outweighs the good.

Still nervous about telling my T about all of this though. M says that he's going to take it as a win and that this is a major sign of growth- being able to recognize that something is toxic and harmful and making huge moves to change things. I'm still worried about it though.
I took Friday off last week to engage in self-care. That was a big deal for me- to admit I was getting run down and that I needed to recharge more than other people needed me. I got some sleep, did work for about five or so hours anyway, and started the conversations I needed to have with grad schools gathering information.

I found my dream program. It will cost about 90k from start to finish so in reality it's more likely going to remain just a dream. But I'm trying to find money to pay for any program and who knows what I might find.

I started working on my FAFSA this weekend. I'm almost done. I doubt I'll qualify for much but it didn't hurt to fill it out. I just need one piece of information from my husband to complete it. Then, we will see.

I've been scholarship hunting but haven't found much out there yet. A part of me wonders if it wouldn't be wise to wait another year to really hunt for money. A part of me wonders if it's worth sacrificing another year of my life being stuck in the classroom. In reality, I will need to keep teaching while I do grad school. Knowing that there is an end point to it helps though- I'm working my way out. The internet doesn't seem to have a lot of scholarships for grads in mental health counseling programs. Most schools don't really seem to offer a lot of money to accepted students either. But I firmly believe that there's got to be a way to do this. Other people have overcome greater odds than I'm trying to so I just need to find the path for me to take. I refuse to let something as ordinary as money get in my way.

Today I was a bit devious. S came in blustering about how he's done and wants to move to Florida. This is something he does every spring. This year, however, he seems to have a plan that he's working towards actually doing so. He's been looking at how to buy out the rest of his pension and spent all morning on Zillow pricing houses in the area he wants to move to. He was also busy taking phone calls from schools he's interested in teaching in when he gets down there. I can tolerate all of this ridiculously unprofessional behavior if it means he goes. I even told him today that I wish I could have co-taught with him ten years ago when he was still invested in his job. I openly encouraged him to go all day long and even told him I want his job if he does so that K can have my job and I could work with her. He was shocked and asked if I'd miss him at all. I told him getting K back would soften the blow quite a bit. He knows how close K and I are so this was acceptable to him but the truth is, even if I don't get her back, I'm very open to working with someone new.

I had X's group tonight. We discussed a great many topics but one thing I learned about was partial hospitalization programs. I didn't really understand what those were. I heard the word hospital in there and thought it was akin to being committed but maybe you get to go home on the weekends or something. I've been doing a lot better since I decided to get out of teaching. A lot of the SI has diminished and I don't hate being alive as much. However, this may be something that could be helpful in the future if I get to a place where I need more than my weekly groups. I'm hoping to keep moving forward with therapy and with life but stuff happens. This was good information for me to have so that I won't be quite as scared of the idea if it gets proposed in the future.
I'm going back to my old impulses of wanting to quit therapy again. I know that this is an avoidance behavior because I don't want to tell my T about my career and grad school plans. I know as a grown woman, I can do whatever I want and he can't actually stop me nor do I think that this particular decision in my life would be a reason for him to drop me as a patient. However, I know if he has a negative reaction to my goals, it will be soul crushing. I even doubt that he would based on previous conversations. Yet, I'm truly getting more and more worked up about telling him. I feel like it's dishonest not to mention something this big in my life to him so I feel like I have to tell him. So now I want to run away from that relationship so that I don't give him the chance to squash me like a bug, however unlikely that is. At least I know the reasons behind the feelings at this point. I fully understand that down deep, I view him as a parent, as messed up as that is.

Another thing I've really realized about myself due to the transference is how much I parentify people I view as having authority in general. I guess I still have this innate desire to make mommy proud. Usually, over time, I can move past that with people once I get to know them better. However, with my T, I still don't really know him (which is how it should be) so he looms as a parental figure. I don't have enough information to differentiate him completely, although the transference has gotten a lot better and a lot more manageable. But this is something inside of me that needs to heal somehow. Ultimately, I need to figure out how to become the authority figure in my life and stop looking to others for guidance and approval.

I have one more grad school to talk to before I can start figuring out what I'm doing. I also reached out to my financial advisor to schedule an appointment to see what his thoughts are on paying for this, as it is a major life decision and major expense. There may be good options that he knows of that I don't. I've already spoken to five different schools and eliminated one. The four remaining schools all have their strengths and weaknesses but the saddest part is that the weaknesses for two of the programs (Wake Forest and Pepperdine) are the cost. Pepperdine is significantly less expensive than Wake Forest but Wake Forest puts their counseling students through rigorous therapy to really weed out their issues and work on them before going into the field. I love that idea but it may be the case that I don't need all that due to how much work I've already been doing up to this point and the fact that I can continue to move forward in therapy while attending school. I plan on starting my applications to the four or five schools over the weekend. Once I have more information from the schools, accepted/not accepted, financial aid information, etc, I can make a better choice. I have the feeling that the application process may help weed out an option or two, although I don't think it'll be a major issue for me to be accepted somewhere as I had a 3.91 GPA for my graduate degree in education. This is stressful but good stress. It's the stress of possibilities.
I've been doing a lot of thinking today about the events of the last few days.

After my last post on Wednesday, I had my session with my BHT. This is going to sound weird in a way but I really like her as a person and want to be friends with her but I don't think I like having her as my therapist. Don't get me wrong, I don't intend to become her friend. But my sessions keep running long and she's been talking a lot about wanting me to come and work for her when I finish school. This relationship has made me realize that my T's boundaries actually do make me feel safe with him. I have no illusions that we're friends and I know if he agrees to something with me that it really is okay within the boundaries of therapy and I'm not asking for too much. I also weirdly feel like I have to continue being fun and interesting with the BHT because it feels so much like that relationship isn't a therapeutic one. Still can't exactly make sense of those feelings but there they are.

On Thursday, S told me that he was almost definitely staying at our school next year. Shit. I felt powerless to get out of that relationship and started to think that if I was going to leave teaching anyway, maybe I find a job and leave over the summer. Grad school has to be the priority and working with him could jeopardize my future. I refuse to give him that sort of power. I had scheduled a meeting on Thursday to meet with the principal to discuss the possibility of taking S's job if he actually does go but then I was determined to explain that I can't work with S anymore. However, my principal was a no show to the meeting. Normally, I melt down and take things like that personally but I didn't this time. My brain went straight to, "Something big must have come up and I'm sure he'll reschedule," instead of, "I shouldn't have bothered him with my stuff and he obviously didn't want to talk to me." Really big change from a year ago. When I told my husband about the meeting not happening and my thoughts, his eyes got really big and he was incredibly impressed that I didn't take it personally. I think he now has a little crush on my T as well.

On Friday, I overslept and was two hours late to work. This was mortifying to me. I've never been that late to work! No one seemed to care all that much and in truth, no one else was that affected by it. Still, I was embarrassed. I then found out that the school was moving S to the other building next year and I will no longer be working with him. I was giddy over this fact. That was amazing news. My new co-teacher is a little bit stiff and I'm not sure how well we'll work together but she comes to work every day and is an excellent teacher. I'm definitely open to working with her over S, no question. Then the principal blew me off again. I found out later that two people at our school tested positive for the virus. I'm sure he had his hands full with that. I had asked L if I should cancel once I heard the news about S being moved over and she told me to still meet to make sure he knew I was happy about the decision so that S couldn't pull some bullshit and try to have me moved to the other building as well.

After school I had my session with my T. We were supposed to do EMDR but instead we ended up just talking about my career change. I told him why I thought I can't get angry or reactive when people treat me badly. He agreed with my assessment. I then told him that I thought teaching was something that just relentlessly beats me down and that I need to get out of the career. My T chuckled and said that he wasn't at all surprised. He said that I didn't really seem like I enjoyed teaching as much as I seemed to want to enjoy it. He said it was definitely a major source of stress and if I was fulfilled by it, that's one thing, but since I'm clearly not that leaving does make sense. So he asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I told him about my plans and I even told him I'd been working through this with my BHT. He didn't seem thrilled about me working with someone else. He had some questions about that and seemed suspicious. I did make it clear that I wasn't doing any trauma work or anything else with her that would truly be considered therapeutic, just discussing the career change and working through that. He cautioned me not to do a masters program full time while working full time as he is concerned about me suffering mentally. He also suggested that I might try to go to a school in-state for lower tuition. He is of the opinion that the specific school isn't as important as getting the requirements met for licensure in the state. He also said that I might consider changing jobs now and finding something in the mental health field to start gaining some experience. He said that there are jobs that pay reasonably well that don't require a masters degree in psychology or licensure. This is definitely a good suggestion that I am going to work on. If I could find a job that my husband and I could live on that would let me start getting experience and possibly good contacts in the field, that is definitely a plus. Additionally, he said that an employer in the field of mental health might be able to help with tuition reimbursement. That would also definitely be a plus.

At first I took his advice to ease into a masters program as a sign that he thought I shouldn't do it. M doesn't think so though. She said that he's probably just worried that I'll get overwhelmed between S and grad school, since my T doesn't know that that problem is resolving soon. She also pointed out all of the positive advice he gave me on how to move forward. She thinks he's always been direct enough with me that he would have pointed out problems if he saw any glaring reasons I shouldn't do it. She said she wouldn't be surprised if he smiled as soon as I logged out of our session. She thinks I'll be fabulous in the field. And I do think it's the right move for me. I just hope I'm right.
I got a substantial amount of work done yesterday, which is good. I also got a call from my mom. She is very opposed to me leaving teaching. She doesn't know that I plan on going back to school to become a therapist, which would really make her crazy. She kept telling me what an excellent teacher I am and how the kids need me. I need to find some happiness and fulfillment and teaching just isn't it for me.

School went pretty well today. My crazy boss actually told me how much better I am doing with case management this school year and that she's super proud of me. This actually made me more determined to leave teaching. To me, that signals that I'm doing okay with my job and things are under control but I'm just not happy. Even if I have the wrong direction to move in at the moment, teaching isn't my future. I'm open to other possibilities should they come across my path but I can't stay where I am.
I'm genuinely getting scared. It seems really terrifying to leave a reasonably well paid job where I have a lot of job security and mostly know what I'm doing to chase after a job that is a risk. No one, especially my husband, is trying to talk me out of it. My financial advisor even came up with an easier way to pay for it, even if I went for the most expensive program. The stars are lining up and I can definitely make this happen.

But what if I'm wrong? What if I hate this job too? What happens if I look back ten years from now and realize that I have two worthless masters degrees and want nothing to do with either career I spent years and thousands of dollars preparing to do?

Maybe this is just cold feet. After all, it's a huge step and a risk, even if it's a fairly small one. It's unlikely this will capsize my whole life. Maybe I just don't trust myself to get this right and now that it's getting real I'm getting scared. My husband says that he doesn't know how someone could be more thorough and sees that I'm miserable in teaching.

Maybe it's because I've been so entangled with the identity of being a teacher for so long that I'm scared to death to change it, like I'm losing who I am instead of simply changing the way I make money.

I still honestly don't think I have 22 more years of teaching in me. I think the profession will kill me. But I don't actually know that that's true and this could be the biggest mistake of my life.
In any case, you will not be able to tell if you don't do it. If you continue with teaching, this will be a massive chip on your shoulder. Reading you and following you since a moment, I think there is more positivity attached to what you're aiming for. Perhaps, seeing more direct results of your actions by counseling rather than teaching. Top of it, you'll have a double set of skills. I think that counselling and teaching can be quite linked... Skills of one of the professions help the other profession. With this you might find even original ways to use this and find solutions that others don't envision.

Just my two cents. I'm of the adventurous type so I'll tend to recommend change when it's felt necessary. Have faith in yourself. At least I have in you. Seeing all your path, you're coming back from a long, long way. That's very impressive. You have the means to do it and thrive.

Gentle hugs, if you accept it.
In any case, you will not be able to tell if you don't do it. If you continue with teaching, this will be a massive chip on your shoulder. Reading you and following you since a moment, I think there is more positivity attached to what you're aiming for. Perhaps, seeing more direct results of your actions by counseling rather than teaching. Top of it, you'll have a double set of skills. I think that counselling and teaching can be quite linked... Skills of one of the professions help the other profession. With this you might find even original ways to use this and find solutions that others don't envision.

Just my two cents. I'm of the adventurous type so I'll tend to recommend change when it's felt necessary. Have faith in yourself. At least I have in you. Seeing all your path, you're coming back from a long, long way. That's very impressive. You have the means to do it and thrive.

Gentle hugs, if you accept it.
I know you're right. I know that this idea or project or plan has taken root and every bad day I would have in teaching would make me wonder what if. We have a relationship with our jobs of a sort and I feel like doing therapy would always be the one that got away. I think it's just really hard to want something that might not make the best logical sense and actually try to make it happen. I can't think of anything else I've ever done just because I want to. It's terrifying.
The grad school application process is taking a toll on me. Most of it has been easy but these personal statements are so hard. I want to sell myself but I struggle to say nice things about myself without feeling arrogant or even sometimes like I'm lying.

Yet, at the same time, school is getting more and more difficult to endure. This year has sucked thoroughly. I'm deeply concerned that next year will suck too. I know I need out. I keep searching through jobs looking for anything I might do that would pay the bills and hopefully be a lot less stressful while I am in school. This is not a great time to look for a job. I really wanted to resign today, effective at the end of the school year but my husband talked me out of it. Today was the last day to do so without possibly losing my teaching license. I guess I effectively signed up for at least one more year of this.

I'm not an overly religious person by any means but I do believe that there is some sort of higher power. I think doors keep opening down this path or at least signs that keep pointing down this road. I need to have faith that things will be okay if I keep going. Much like when I discovered all of this trauma that I have and started that journey, I know that I can't stay where I am. My job is slowly killing me. At some point the toll on my mental health will become too great. I need to be out before that happens or at least on the path to getting out so that it's more tolerable. Having a light at the end of the tunnel should help.

Let's just hope that I can actually get into grad school after all of this.
Had a bit of an irrational weekend. I was wholly convinced that my T was leaving the HMO because, drum roll please, his appointments for July weren't posted yet. I knew this was irrational but I couldn't stop the thoughts. Since then, they have posted and I have my appointments for EMDR for that month. August will have to be the end of EMDR for me. I can't process the trauma that intensely while working and doing grad school. Hopefully it will be enough to help me keep moving. I can always do it again next summer if needed and if my T is up for it.

I think I have the final list of grad schools for applications. I actually only had three and they were all online. I was very torn because the more affordable one has a bad reputation, the middle cost one seemed awesome but doesn't actually have any accreditations, and the expensive one is awesome and will definitely be a great place to study but is more than twice the cost of the more affordable one. My husband and I could have made any of them work financially but it would have cost us the down payment on our future house if I'd gone to a school that costs more than 90,000. Then my husband suggested that I might go to a brick and mortar college. I was against this because it's going to be impossible to balance work and school if I also have to drive to a program. However, the university near my work, literally a ten minute drive, has an excellent program for mental health counseling. And, it's much cheaper than even the least expensive online program. I would not only get the benefit of being in a live class, which I think is overall better, but I'd be less likely to be writing papers every single week like I did with my online masters program the first time. My professors will actually know who I am, which could lead to some great networking opportunities in the area. I would also be placed in an internship when the time comes instead of having to find my own.

I think the local college is the right choice if I am accepted. I'm a bit concerned with getting in because they want a 3.0 GPA from the undergrad and I only had a 2.8. I did have a 3.9 from my masters though so I'm hoping that will help. I was talking to one of our interns who attends there for her teaching degree and she said that she got in with only a 2.9 and didn't pass one of the required tests for her program. So maybe they don't adhere strictly to their own requirements. *Fingers Crossed*

I've been spending a lot of time job searching as well. I just need out of my job at the end of this year. I'm beyond over it.

I did a naughty thing today at school. One of the boys brought a volleyball with him to school. During our independent work time, I took the kids outside, let them take off their masks, and let them play around out in the grass for about twenty minutes. Haven't gotten an email about it so either no one really noticed or cared or I'll hear about it when I go back in the building on Thursday. I have no regrets though. The kids were so grateful to get to be outside (it's truly gorgeous out there today!) and be kids playing around for a few minutes. If it made a kid's day, I'll take the slap on the wrist.

I've just reached the point this year where the mental well-being of my students is so much more important to me than shoving more math down their throats. I've seen kids breaking down constantly and feeling so alone. My math department chair actually cried in the collaboration meeting last week because our numbers are down. I responded that we're all surviving a pandemic and maybe it's okay that this one year we have bad numbers. She went off about how much she enjoys getting paid and she's not losing her job without a fight. No one has been threatening her. No one. It's just that most teachers care deeply about performance. I don't. I generally try to push my kids to do well but only to a point. I've never been the teacher that has deeply cared about test scores. I think the fact that I am so misaligned to what other people in my profession are doing is a sign. I just can't value data over people.
I'm heading into another bad section of my depression cycle. I took Monday off to engage in self-care but it didn't seem to have a real effect. Group last night kind of triggered me. Last night's topic was about control. I know I can't really have control over my life, most of us can't really. I've been trying to exert my control lately and change some big things. I keep feeling so selfish about this.

I struggled to get out of bed this morning and I keep going back in to lay down. I just feel so drained. I was supposed to see my BHT today but she cancelled about 30 minutes before my session because she was helping her mom with something. My subscription to BetterHelp runs out on May 20. No point in cancelling right now when I still have half of a month before it runs out. But, this should have been our fifth session. Now she's cancelled once and been late to three of the four sessions we have had. And not a couple of minutes but sometimes 30 minutes or more late. Granted, she lets me know and that's nice and all but at 100 dollars per week I expect something a little less casual. I know it's cheap for therapy and all but still, it's a paid service. I also feel like she doesn't have as strong of boundaries as my T does and those boundaries, as much as they sometimes chafe at me a bit, are actually really reassuring. I may also be reacting this strongly because I really needed someone to talk to today and her canceling was a major disappointment.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to have my T's other group. Now, here's the weirdness with that. I called, as he requested, to get scheduled for the group. He has told us that it's not a big deal to just show up but it really helps him out if we can get ourselves scheduled. Somewhere in my trauma brain this equates to the rule is I must call or not go. Irrational, but right now that's how my brain is. So I called and got myself scheduled through the end of June for the Tuesday night group, no problem. The secretary couldn't schedule me for Thursday for some reason. So she sent T an email to let him know he has to schedule me. He didn't. So now I'm stuck and unsure if I should go or not. On the one hand, he could figure he'll just do the paperwork if I show up but on the crazy hand, he could not want me there. I'd like to believe that if he really didn't want me to come, upon receiving that email he would have either emailed me or talked to me after group last night. I'd like to think he'd be direct. The transference has been so strong since I told him I want to go back to school and be a therapist. He seemed approving and all but I still feel so much shame around it. This is probably the trigger on why I'm so depressed lately. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow.