I reckon (for me anyway) that HSP traits go hand-in-hand with high levels of intuition.
“Empathy can make for a wonderful teacher. However, the structure and red tape that surrounds public school or even just large group teaching means that it’s rare for school teachers to have the opportunity to actually carry out any ‘real’ teaching. Add to that the many wasted hours thanks to classroom management and dealing with ‘management’ or curricula and teaching suddenly becomes an HSP’s nightmare.”
“I’ve been a teacher/trainer/coach for adults at a private language school for the last 7 years and I think it will be impossible for me to ever find a job that is better suited to my personality. I work mainly one-on-one with either university students or business professionals who need to improve their English. The job is always stimulating and quite intellectual, which means every day is different and amazing – I get to work with everyone from all over the world.
I can’t recommend this type of work enough – it can satisfy your inner teacher while avoiding the rubbish that comes with the education profession, and is very flexible and allows for a freelance approach. You won’t ever make a fortune but the benefits far outweigh the lack of money!”
“I’ve taught English as a second language and overall I can confidently say that I loved it. Working with adults was fun and exciting as it allowed me to create games and exercises that helped them understand. And it was most fulfilling to see them grow.
“But adults can be just as bad as children. Many times their childish behavior made me feel like I was at school again. Which when it happened, it frustrated me and made me feel unconfident.”
“With children and teens however, it was a most daunting experience. It was harder to engage them and the classes soon became hectic and frustrating. Too much going on. So much so that after 6 months I quit working with children but carried on working with adults for another 6 months.”
Now I know myself better and am more confident. I feel and know that teaching feels natural, comes easily and it’s fulfilling. But, am also aware and accepting that I can’t cope with the pressure of teaching.
High School Math Teacher
“I am currently in my third year teaching high school math and I am really struggling with it. I absolutely love working with the kids but all of the hoops that I have to jump through stress me out. I constantly find myself thinking about why people can’t just leave me alone and let me teach the way I teach.
I graduated from college three years ago so I am in my mid 20s and this is the only career I have ever had. I have mentioned the possibility of switching careers to my husband, friends, and parents but everyone’s reaction is always to tell me that I was meant to be a teacher. They say that when they watch me teach I am in my element so I am torn.”
Private School Teacher
“I’ve been teaching for about ten years now. Some days, I would completely shut down and stare at a wall for 10 minutes or I would be breaking down in tears. The thing that helped me was that I found a school with a good culture. Perhaps look around for a transfer or a new district. Maybe you could consider private schools because they don’t have demands from the state (I work in private school now and I find it less stressful but more parent demanding. I’m still not sure which one I prefer). Basically the biggest factor for me was 1) coworkers and 2) my boss. Finding a boss that believes in you helps an HSP soar.”
Middle School Teacher
“I returned to teaching middle school after raising my own children and just resigned. I miss my students and colleagues but the new standards and required accommodations have added so much more time and stress to teaching. It has evolved into a different career in many ways than when I taught before. I am considering new directions.”
“I am an elementary school teacher and a HSP. I am desperately searching for a new career as I’ve been trying to be ‘normal’ for 10 years as a teacher, and it’s exhausting. I adore my students and teaching them, but I simply cannot handle trying to juggle all of the requirements from the state, the district, and our building administrators. I’m overwhelmed all the time.
To add to this, one of my co-workers went to the principal about me yesterday because she feels that I can’t handle my workload, and she feels that she has to walk on eggshells around me. My principal essentially said that I have to apologize to my co-worker for making her feel that way. Prior to that conversation, I felt we were collaborating well; in fact, I was having the best year I’ve ever had as a teacher. Yes, I am overwhelmed, but I do my part, work nights and weekends to accomplish everything, and manage to put on a smile each day for my students. Apparently, I’m not good enough at hiding my emotions during our daily planning meetings.
Heaven help me find a new career in which being a HSP is valuable because I feel lower than I’ve ever felt before even though I am a highly effective teacher (according to student surveys, test data, and parental feedback).”
“Every year became worse and worse with more/higher expectations, larger class size (30 kids), more technology/software changes (without training), more differentiation (providing different levels of work for each student; AKA more planning), overcrowding, and the new common core standards which are ridiculous. Now the kids are in charge of doing “project-based learning” rather than being directed by the teacher most of the time. TELL ME, DISTRICT. HOW MANY 7 & 8 YEAR-OLDS DO YOU KNOW WHO CAN MANAGE WORKING WITH OTHER KIDS ON PROJECTS? They’re still arguing over who gets which color pen! And whose turn it is to speak/write. And who gets to hold the iPad! It’s constant arguing! They have no problem-solving skills developed yet.
This year is my 2nd leave of absence (after 9 years at the better school and having created a “work family” who I love dearly). However, over the last 9 years I’ve been suffering from intense stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart palpitations, stomach issues, memory loss, and constant headaches/migraines. Plus a constant feeling of frustration, anger, overwhelmment and thoughts such as, “I’m working my tush off and still not able to do what the district wants!” All my time and energy was spent on work, my own 2 kids were being pushed aside, and I felt emotionally and physically exhausted ALL THE TIME.
After realizing the demands from the district were so unachievable for me, I reached a point where I was a DISadvantage to the kids (because I couldn’t handle multiple things going on in the classroom at once and still taught the “old-fashioned way”), I finally threw in the towel. Now I’m on my second leave of absence, but I have no intention of returning to teaching. I’m now trying to find a different career but have no idea which direction to turn…yet.
Private Music Tutor
“I lasted about 5 years of full-time teaching in the classroom and have gone to part-time and now tutor, mostly one-on-one. A couple days a week is all I can manage and mostly voice and flute. Look into working yourself into part-time work and tutoring, if at all possible and try to get specifics written down from your higher ups. Sometimes homeschooled groups are smaller, too.”
“I agree with going part-time and tutoring. The awesome teachers of this world have had such a big impact on our lives even into adulthood, where we might be confident in some area just because those teachers were awesome.”
“I was a substitute teacher for awhile, and I loved that position. The idea (and reality) of improvising and filling in when there were no lesson plans was something I was able to do, and the ability to change classrooms, settings, schools, kept it from getting monotonous.
Intuition is a huge benefit in the classroom–especially in a substitute teaching role. And a good substitute teacher is worth their weight in gold, really, so when you get established and known, you end up being requested and people are grateful you come to fill-in when you’re needed.
It’s a different dynamic than a regular teaching position, and well worth a try if you enjoy teaching but are struggling with the ‘set’ classroom situation.”
“I did some subbing and found it incredibly stressful, especially at the high school level. Students were often disrespectful and some would spend most of the class period trying to get out of class “I need to use the bathroom,” “I need to see my counselor now,” “I need to get something out of my locker.”
It was especially difficult if the regular teacher did not leave good lesson plans or enough work to keep the students occupied.”