Vlog: I Quit Teaching 2 Year Update

2 years ago this week I decided to resign from teaching. In that time I've had my work stolen, was mentored by Chelsea Fagan, and completely lost and found myself. I know myself better now than I ever thought I would, but only because of the challenges I faced the past two years.

Vlog: I Quit Teaching 2 Year Update

2 years ago this week I decided to resign from teaching. In that time I've had my work stolen, was mentored by Chelsea Fagan, and completely lost and found myself. I know myself better now than I ever thought I would, but only because of the challenges I faced the past two years.

This vlog was a cathartic experience for me to realize just how much I can count on myself. I hope it can be some inspiration for you too.

Sign up for my newsletter: https://newsletter.primaryfocus.tv/

About Primary Focus: Primary Focus is a Youtube channel, newsletter, and consulting business. I teach parents everything teachers wish they knew, from how to thrive in the classroom to how to keep learning at home. Parents and teachers working together is key to any child's success, and Primary Focus gives parents all the tools they need to make that happen.

Is your child struggling school? Have a frustrating concern with their school? Need a tutor? Contact me and we can solve the problem together: Hello@PrimaryFocus.tv

Hey, it's Natalie. Welcome back to Primary Focus. I'm so glad that you're here today.
As I post this in January 2024, this month marks two years since I decided to quit teaching. So much has happened in the last two years, and I've really grown and changed a lot as a person. I want to take a little bit of time to talk about what it's been like and maybe offer a shoulder to you if you're going through big changes as well.

I'm not much of a journaler, but I do make a habit of writing things down on important days or if I'm going through really strong emotions.

I found this journal entry from the day that I decided to quit. I actually wrote it on this same week that I'm filming right now,

this is a real journal entry. It's a little bit hard to go back and read this because I remember just how strongly that I felt . But I think it's worth noting, so that I can acknowledge who I was back then and honor all the struggle that I've been through to get to where I am now.

This past week has been so damn stressful. The past two weeks, really. Omicron, or however you spell this new variant, has taken over our nation and Charlotte's positivity rate is at 40%. Yet, the world moves on like nothing is happening. Last summer, North Carolina lawmakers passed a law saying we're not allowed to go remote.

It sucks, and this week sucked. Everyone is sick, so many staff members are out, and so many kids.

Then, on Wednesday, our seventh day back from break, very suddenly, our school district realized that all the bus drivers were out sick. Usually, we have around 20 buses at dismissal. We had three. Last Friday, we only had six. So, all the teachers had to take turns staying up to an hour after work, supervising the children until they could be picked up.

This is expected to continue on a daily basis this week.

Last Saturday, I woke up so sad and upset about my work. Mike, who's my husband, told me I should never wake up feeling that way about my job, except maybe on a short term basis. and all weekend made sure he knew how many options that I have.

He's so wonderful. I had been so stressed and so short tempered. was filled with anxiety. On Tuesday morning, I realized I might need to be out next year and find a new job.

On Monday and

I'm anxious, I'm sad, I'm hopeful. I realize some of my identity is based on being a teacher, which I really need to work through.

I went into teaching for joy, for wonder, for change, and to make this world a better place. And I did it for ten years. But it doesn't bring me joy, or even melancholy. It just takes, and takes, and takes from me. It's time to move on.

Since that journal entry, I've been on a really interesting ride as I started a business, closed out a career that I thought would last for 30 years, and grappled with my self identity.

And since part of my business is making videos on YouTube, I thought I would make a lot of videos about quitting teaching. And for a while I did. I vlogged about it, and I even made a video walking teachers through that process of quitting, I've got the links if you want to watch them.

But working through the baggage of leaving my job felt a lot more like a major breakup. I had a lot more healing to do than I realized, and I also needed the confidence to keep moving forward with primary focus.

Over the course of my first year out of the classroom, I realized two things. I didn't want to make a name for myself as the woman that quit teaching. And I want it to be a positive force for parents so that their children can thrive in school. I also realized that making these videos was hurting me.

Sure, it felt good to plan them, edit them, and blow off some steam. But watching them again and again and again to edit, going through the footage of seeing myself feeling so sad and hopeless was not good for me. It's important for everybody to reflect and walk through the rubble, but I was starting to lay down in it, roll around in it, and it was not healthy for my mindset.

I needed to rise from the ashes of my burnout.

So I took a step back from posting these vlogs. But now here I am two years later, and I have learned so many lessons.

I want to share them with you. Not only to assure you that I am okay, but also because if you're watching this and wondering where you'll be next year, I want you to know that you can be alright, too. So here's what I want to talk about.

The difference between my first and second years out of the classroom, especially related to rewriting my story and reclaiming my identity. want to talk about some of the unexpected things that happen to me that I think other teachers could be vulnerable And I want to talk about some unexpected highlights that

So let's get into the first part. Those changes between my first year out of the classroom and my second year out of the classroom. One thing that I really learned is that routine is so important to me. And I spent most of my first year out of the classroom building my new routine.

I think teaching is a job where you are so chained to the calendar and the schedule is so important. If you're running even a couple minutes off, your schedule, there can be a whole domino effect to your day. Moving from such a hyper structured schedule to working from home and starting my own business was difficult.

I think my schedule is less rigid than what other people may experience, but it makes it that much more important that I have a routine. one thing that's really important to me is keeping myself motivation. I find that on days where I have nothing on my schedule and I've blocked out huge periods of work time, I will end up being way less productive than the days where I have several different things I'm moving in between.

So I try to plan out my schedule so that I've got two hour chunks of time to work.

One of the next things that was really important to building this routine was building a network for guidance and support.

My whole world was teaching. Everybody that I knew was in teaching. All the networking I had done was with other teachers, and I found myself feeling like I had almost burned a lot of bridges.

A lot of people are still very supportive of me. I don't feel like I've lost friendships, but I did find that a lot of people that I thought I had things in common with, we don't have as much in common anymore.

So it was really important for me, that I built a new network of people to guide me and support me.

This is something that is a lot easier said than done, and I am constantly working to build my network and meet new people. Because I work alone, there's no guarantee that I'm gonna see anybody in a given day, and there's no guarantee that the people I network with are gonna keep showing up in my life.

It's not like a workplace where for most days of the year, you're gonna be there at 8 a. m. A lot of times you might meet with somebody and it might be another month until you talk again, which made me realize I needed to be really strategic about finding people who have similar work hours to me, to me, so that we can continue to meet and connect with each other.

I'm an extrovert, and even though I was really stressed out at my work, I loved being surrounded by people all day. It was really hard to go and be alone, and I've realized that if I go a whole week without having a lunch date or coffee date or a meeting on Zoom with somebody to catch up, it is really hard on my mental health.

I just need to talk things out and express with people be lifted up and celebrate what other people are doing. This was a really unexpectedly hard transition for me. And I was really lonely a lot of my first year out of the classroom.

Overall, because I've worked so hard on building my network, I've been able to have a lot more fulfilling interactions.

In that first year, and really still now as I'm in my second year out of the classroom, I've had to work a lot on my identity. How I view myself, and how I want other people to view me. I have been very self conscious the last two years in a way that I really wasn't expecting, and I think it crept up on me to realize that I had moved from a place where I was so secure and so excited about what I did and just very confident.

I knew what I was doing and people didn't have to ask me a lot of questions about what I was doing. It was very hard for me to burn all of that down and then start something new, but know that I didn't have all the answers to what I had made. And I think I. really have struggled with that. Not being able to put it all in a nice little box with a bow on it and describe it.

It was a work in progress. It still is a work in progress, but primary focus is a lot more of a solid business than it was before. I had to try and fail at a lot of things. I had to figure out what I did and didn't want to do with my business. But this was more than my business. It went into describing myself.

When people asked me what I'd been up to lately, I found myself not even able to answer. I feel like I was going through such a huge transition. It rocked my world in a way I wasn't expecting. I think leading up to it, people had told me to expect this, so I was just telling people, oh yeah, like I gotta figure out my identity.

But going through this the last two years has been a lot, and I don't think I gave myself the grace or the time to change and evolve in the way that I wanted to. I'm very lucky to have a lot of friends around me who are patient with me and sometimes pull these things out of me and make me realize just how much change I'm going through at once, and why I need to give myself a break sometimes and remember, confidence isn't having the answers to everything.

Confidence is knowing that you can handle yourself even if you have no idea what's going on.

I made a whole career out of knowing the answer to everything, so to burn that down, walk away, and to go into a situation where I am starting everything from scratch was just incredibly humbling

and with all that, I've learned a lot of lessons about managing stress. I know I was really stressed out in my last few years teaching. Actually, I was really stressed out the entire time I was teaching and when I quit, I felt so much relief in my first year.

One time somebody asked me if I was stressed anymore and I burst into laughter because I felt so free. I always had something on my mind. But what I've learned is with the absence of the all consuming stress for school is that sometimes my mind is grasping on for new things to be stressed about. So I'm really working about how to catch these signs and manage stress, and realize that a lot of my stress comes from not knowing the answer to things and really just understanding I don't need to know the answer.

I don't need to be perfect. People don't expect that from me. And if I have patience for other people not to know the answers to everything, then I need to have patience with my own self.

In my second year out of the classroom, I've become a lot more aware and better at managing these feelings. So I'm not going to be looking for validation from other people. I'm going to make sure that all of that is coming from within myself.

If you're enjoying this so far, make sure that you subscribe to primary focus and like this video, leave a comment telling me how this has resonated with you.

Now I want to dive into some unexpected things that happened to me that I think other teachers will be vulnerable to as well.

One thing that I really was looking for was I was expecting people to root for me. Teachers have a very special heart and the communities that are built within schools are one of a kind when you leave that environment, you realize that people are not rooting for you the same way that teachers are and you don't have this all for one one for all kind of mentality.

And so I've really had to learn that I need to root for myself, but also be careful with what I'm giving out to other people. I was really quick to give my all to people and expected the same back from them. And I realized that there's just a lot of people that take and take. I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing.

I think this is just how the world works. You have to look out for yourself first. I had an experience where I was working with somebody, they're kind of an online coach, influencer type person. I was really excited because they talked to me a little bit and I thought this person might take me under their wing.

Mind you, there was no promise of it, but the way that they were being nice to me, it just felt like maybe something's going on here. And that person ended up convincing me to write an article for them that would be featured on their website. Now, for me, somebody who's existing online on the internet.

Being featured on other people's websites is a really important thing for my credibility and also for people to find me. I worked my little tail off and I wrote a great article. I spent days writing this article and I researched it and it was so good. And then they put it on their site underneath their name.

And I don't know if I've ever cried so hard being so excited to check the website knowing that they had uploaded it and watch that person just completely take the credit for my work. They did at the very bottom have a teeny tiny thing saying this was contributed by Natalie, but really you would not have known it because up at the top it said article written by and their name.

You never would have noticed it. It blended right in with like the copyright and stuff. That was a really hard experience for me. I was so upset by it, and I felt like this whiplash of, Hey, what?

I thought that we had a thing going on here. All of a sudden, this person that had been super available via email and Instagram DMs just wasn't available anymore. And that, that sucked.

That was a really hard thing, but I think it was a really important lesson to learn. That I need to be looking out for myself, I need to make sure that I'm asking the right questions, and I also need to really double check how much time I'm investing in something, and not just assuming that I'm getting certain promises back.


I think I learned some of these same lessons with time wasted networking. I'm a huge proponent for networking and I am frequently going to new events and things, but being so extroverted and being so excited to be there,

I felt such strong disappointment when I left a networking event, having not made a strong connection with somebody. I was hoping to go into this and, find that new BFF who's exactly like me and find people who are like minded like me. while there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there and a lot of people doing interesting things, I have not met.

a lot of people like me. I don't think there's a lot of YouTubers in my area, and the ones that I have met are very kind and wonderful, but they are not educators like me. They might have a very specific niche. I really had to humble myself and realize, like, I'm not going to walk into everything and find a perfect match or be the belle of the ball or whatever I'm expecting in my head, that some of these you're going to strike out and it's okay.

But it didn't stop me, and I'm really glad it didn't stop me. These things are disappointing, and I just have to keep pushing myself to get out there. Because I have made some really important connections and I had a moment a couple weeks ago where I went to a networking event that I've been going to really consistently. I have left that networking event disappointed many times.

I realized when I went to this networking event again how big my web is after a year and a half of going to these events and that things aren't going to happen overnight, but if you look at what you've done over the course of time you can actually build out a really large network for yourself.

What I'm trying to say here is that I've had a lot of lessons of learning how to put myself out there, but putting boundaries with that too. I would rather network and make a couple of good friends than make 50 friends that I don't have much in common with and don't have common values with.

One of these coffee dates that I had with somebody, I really thought we would hit it off, we had some nice interactions online, and we went out for a coffee. This was a local, not a YouTuber. They're on some of the apps making short form videos.

I mean, we didn't have a ton in common, but we had a lot of the same struggles with our work, so we really bonded in that way, so I followed them. And then did something very strange where, this person, I think they scammed their audience, it's hard to ever get like a full picture of what happened, but my alarm bells were going off. This person put on a GoFundMe on their account and asked for a lot of money from their followers. And then they used the money for things that they hadn't promised to use the money for. I think they kind of over inflated their situation and were not actually in as much trouble as they were describing.

I think this person was in a little bit of trouble, but what they asked for was It's a lot of money. And then they were bragging on their social media about how they'd use the money for other things than what they promised. I didn't ever reach out to that person again. I was pretty surprised and shocked by that, especially because when you're putting things online, building a community and the loyalty and trust that you build with your online community is so important.

I was like, I don't think I want to be associated with you. This is absolutely not how I'm trying to run things.

Jumping off of that too, I've had experiences of meeting people that I admired or was told to admire and then figuring out that they're actually idiots.

The thing about the world of video is that you can script this out and you can write this out and edit this out and get it to be perfect and exactly what you want it to say.

And often times when you meet these people in real life, you realize that they are working with a team of people to make these videos and they are not the wonderful, intelligent person that they thought they were. I had the experience of meeting a YouTuber who has, I think, 2 million subscribers. It is quite the large account.

I met this person at a convention, at VidCon actually, I got to talk to them one on one. This person is an adult but has kids in their videos. , I was excited for their panel, and as they went through the panel, I realized this person, like, couldn't string two words together.

when I met them and asked for a little bit of advice, this person told me I would never succeed if I didn't have child actors in my videos, and they told me that I should stop uploading because it won't be worth my while.

You know, this person has clearly become very successful and is surrounded by great people, but in terms of mentoring and giving advice and listening to what people are saying and what their goals are, I, I don't think this person should be doing Q& A panels anymore because it was just, don't meet your heroes, kids, okay?

But I will say these experiences, though I've racked up a few very odd experiences in the last two years, have been important for me. I've become a lot more self aware and a lot more street smart from these experiences.

I wanted to talk about these things because I have heard stories from other teachers that left the classroom about getting rude awakenings like this, getting scammed, we need to keep our eyes open and not just have an optimistic view of the world and realize that you have to protect yourself as you get into these different endeavors.

If you're still watching this, thank you. Your actions on YouTube matter. Every time you like a video, comment, or hit that share button, it is like a vote saying this is something other people should know about too. So if you're with me on what I've been saying so far, I would love it if you did one of those things

I want to close out with some really unexpected highlights that I've cherished from these last two years. I was hoping to improve my quality of life a lot by leaving the classroom and I absolutely have. A lot of the things that I was permanently mad about, a lot of the issues I was permanently stressed about have just melted away from my life.

I sleep so well at night.

In addition to really good sleep, I get to spend a lot more time with my husband, which I really appreciate. I was always really preoccupied. I was working around the clock, and now I get to spend some time with my husband. He is an entrepreneurial spirit too, so we often are lifting each other up with our businesses and supporting each other.

I think one of the favorite things that we've started doing is co working together on Tuesday mornings. We'll get up early and we'll go to a coffee shop for a couple of hours and we'll just sit side by side and be working. I feel like I get to see this really different side of him, and I feel a lot closer to him through this too, like we're both building our empires together.

I feel like I've gotten to reconnect with friends that I had lost touch with before. So for me, because I was working at a school full time, that meant that as my friends were starting to have children, they were not available in evenings anymore. Well, working in a school, I was really only available on evenings and weekends to hang out with people. I realized over time that a lot of my friends were keeping in touch by grabbing lunch dates or having coffee together, during the daytime when their kids were at daycare or at school.

I was missing out and getting disconnected from my friends, but now I've been able to really get back in contact with these people that I might have lost touch with. This has been a really special time too because one of my closest friends just had a baby and she's at home on maternity leave, so I've been able to stop by and say hello and help out a little bit.

We've been catching a lunchtime walk together once a week, and it just feels so good because I know I never would have gotten this time with her. Another really amazing highlight was I went to the ConvertKit conference this past June. ConvertKit is an email company.

If you run a newsletter like I do every Tuesday if you want to sign up, they are the company that I use to run my email. I'm sure ConvertKit has a much better description than what I'm saying. But they are designed for creators like me. Right after I had quit teaching those first days in June, I received an email from ConvertKit saying that they were having a conference the following year. So, I saw the email in June 2022, the conference was in June 2023. And if I bought the tickets a year out, they would be at, you know, crazy reduced costs, you know how this goes.

And I was sitting there and I had just been feeling really upset about everything. And I said to myself, you know what? I'm going to buy a ticket. I don't know where I'm going to be this time next year. I don't know if this business that I'm starting is going to fail. this is going to be my accountability piece.

And I'm going to buy this ticket. And next year, I'm going to go to ConvertKit. And all year long, like every time I started to feel a little bit down, I was like, you know what, like, keep going. When I went to that conference, it's in Boise, Idaho.

It was. There were only a couple hundred people at this conference, which is very small. All of the keynote speakers were mingling and with everybody all weekend. It was such a community. for the first time ever, I walked into a room where people weren't asking me, What do you do? They're asking me, why do I do it?

How do you do it? I learned so much, but what I got the most from that conference was self esteem.

I think I realized that I had been downplaying what I was doing, I felt very, very alone with what I was doing. I didn't know anybody else who had taken such a leap and had started a business like me. In that whole weekend, I felt like I bloomed, I thrived, and I'm so excited.

the ConvertKit conference next June as well. Oh, I guess it's this June now, June 2024. So if you're going to that, make sure you come find me, okay?

And then last another really unexpected thing was getting mentored by Chelsea, the founder of The Financial Diet, and some of you watching today might have found me through Chelsea.

She has a course for YouTubers and it's all about how to run your YouTube like a business and how to take it to the next level so you're not just a personality that burns out, but you are actually building something and putting your stake in the ground long term. I took her course. It was, I believe, over four weeks on Zoom, and I loved it.

I learned so much. Chelsea and I got to talking after the course, and she ended up mentoring me for the better part of this past year, and my time working with Chelsea was so important she saw my vision, but she also saw that I didn't know how to talk about my vision.

Every time somebody asked me what I was doing, I was like melting down and like not knowing how to talk about it. she really worked with me to, get a elevator pitch going. This is your tagline. This is your bio Anyway, what I should say here is my channel has grown over 400 percent this past year and a lot of that is thanks to the mentoring done by Chelsea. I'm so happy to think that I received so much help from her, but I've also made a friend. I think we have a lot in common when she started mentoring me, I felt very determined, but there was this piece of me that felt like giving up. And now, my business has grown so much, and I just feel so much more confident and excited and assured about what I am doing.

So what do you think?

What were your experiences in the classroom? What's it been like leaving the classroom? Do you have more questions for me? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for watching Primary Focus. My name is Natalie.

I'll see you next time.