Trauma from Teaching

Photo by Liza Summer on

There’s no way to beat around the bush with this one. I have trauma from teaching.

I’ve tried writing it out a thousand ways and each time I have so much to say, but I want it to come out just right so that people will hear it; so that it will be taken seriously; so that it will matter.

I have several drafts on my computer of articles or posts to draw attention to this topic, but every time I get overcome with passion and start typing, I relive the exhaustion. And then it doesn’t go anywhere; my words never leave my saved documents folder.

I can’t wait any longer or stay quiet anymore on this subject. I have so much to say and I just need to start. I want to get my words out there from my lived experience, and I’m allowing it to be messy. I am writing this because I strongly believe others outside of this profession need to hear and that those within it need to be heard.


A prominent shortcoming in current discussions, if any, on the teaching profession is that it targets the wrong population. Many messages are directed at the teachers, such as the following: “Teachers need to focus more on what matters”, “They need to block out the noise” or “As a teacher, remind yourself that you are a hero”.

Yes, and

…this puts the onus back on the teacher.

Teachers need the pressure taken off of them and instead, put on leaders and the community at large. They are holding more than enough right now, and they cannot hold anything else.

We really need to stop holding this fantasy story to teachers: “Do it for the kids”, “Stop putting pressure on yourself”, “You get summers off”, “Just do a little less”, “Keep going, you can do it”. This no longer has anything to do with each individual teacher. This is a much larger issue that unfortunately is entirely felt by the incredible hero standing at the front of the classroom.

The reality is that we have failed our teachers. They are exhausted. They are hurt. They are burnt out. And they are leaving the profession. I know, because I am one of them.

Pushed beyond limits

I’m beyond worried for my teacher colleagues out there. I can say that my health has changed 180% since I left teaching over half a year ago. But not everyone is in a position where they can navigate an entire career change. And let me be clear, I left teaching because I had to. My health and well-being were suffering from the climate, the conditions, the toxic culture, and the oppression. I couldn’t and didn’t want to do it anymore.

It is also essential to mention that this decision never had to do with the kids. This was about everything else. All the other noise weighed me down until I couldn’t breathe anymore.

My students were and will always be my whole heart.

And I hear new examples of teachers who are leaving the profession, on a regular basis, two of which I’ll share now.

I received a message from a fellow teacher, one I had only met once before, who was looking for support and knew that I had left the profession recently. I felt her words with every ounce of my being, “Every day, I dread going to work”.

Another example comes from a call this past week, where the leader of a women’s entrepreneurial group shared that among roughly 160 participants, half were teachers. Wow. For one, congratulations to those teachers for leaving what is draining them and for choosing themselves. But also, wow. There is such a staggering amount of teachers currently leaving the profession because it is not sustainable. It is not working. Teachers have no energy and no time for anything else in their lives.

The bottom line

So my message is this: no more. Teachers need real change. They need to be heard. They need a voice. They need more value from society. They need more resources. They need wellness incorporated into their working culture. They need community support. They need so much more than simply a positive outlook, a morning meditation, and some encouragement to keep going.

I’ll say it again for those in the back, teachers need and deserve change. They need it now. They needed it yesterday.

And to all my fellow teachers out there — I see you, I love you, I am you. You do not deserve to barely survive a workday any longer.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

How will you speak up for teachers? Can you help spark some serious change?



Writer, teacher, mindfulness facilitator, Reiki practitioner and embodiment & empowerment leader.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jessie Bri

Jessie Bri


Writer, teacher, mindfulness facilitator, Reiki practitioner and embodiment & empowerment leader.