Teacher Argues That Anyone Happy In Education Is 'Faking It' — 'I’m Drowning At All Times'

You can be a great teacher, but at what cost?

Stressed out teacher, feels like she is drowning Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock

Whenever I tell someone I’m in school to be a teacher, I get the same response: “Wow, that's such a rewarding job,” or “You have to be a special type of person to do that.” 

And they’re not wrong. It is an incredibly rewarding experience that requires a specific type of person. But it can also be incredibly tiring and overwhelming if you don’t find the right balance for yourself.

One struggling teacher on Reddit questioned if she was going crazy or if her fellow teachers were all just faking it. 

"The other teachers who seemingly have it all together — the lesson planning, the grading, the teaching, the behavior management, the emails, the paperwork," the teacher wrote in a Reddit post. "Is it all a facade? Am I crazy for feeling like I’m drowning at all times?"


"Sometimes I will complain about the overwhelm of this job and I feel like I get blank stares from teachers on my team who seem so dedicated to not being able to relate," they continued. "I don’t get it! It makes me feel insane!"

Stressed out teacher in classroom Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock


RELATED: Teacher's Co-Workers Can't Believe She's Leaving For A Different Career — 'It's Not The 90s, My New Job Is Better'

Although this teacher's co-workers may not sympathize with their plight — or at least are unwilling to admit it — many teachers across America can relate. Teaching is not an easy job, and educators are frequently undervalued, underappreciated, and underpaid. 

Without the right balance, teaching can result in long, difficult workweeks.

In the U.S., school days are typically 6-7 hours long, depending on the grade and age of the students. The school day can start anywhere between 7:30 and 9 a.m., and end between 2 and 3:30 p.m. depending on the district policies. 

A typical teacher's day would also begin 30 minutes to an hour before the students arrive to prepare the classroom, print out any last-minute papers, prepare their agenda, and do anything else they may not have finished the day before. 


When the long day of teaching and caring for kids is over, they often have to help with pickup before returning to their classrooms, cleaning up, printing materials for the next day, and grading papers. 

Overwhelmed teacher working late Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock

But the work doesn't end there — some days, when there are too many papers to grade, it gets brought home, and educators end up sitting on the couch eating Chinese takeout and grading papers like in the movies.


RELATED: 16-Year-Old Asks Teachers If They'd Recommend Working In Education

Teachers must set boundaries with students, admin, and themselves.

It takes a special person to want to hang out in a room of kids all day, but that special person is usually empathetic as well — sometimes to a fault. As a teacher, you love your students and want what is best for them, but at the same time, it is important to set boundaries

If you are too friendly and buddy-buddy, students will not see you as an authority, and you will lose control of the classroom. Once that control is lost, it is hard to gain it back.

Boundaries also help ensure classroom safety by ensuring everyone is aware of who is in charge in case of an emergency. 


Given the long working hours discussed above, time boundaries are just as important for educators. Many teachers arrive early and stay late outside their contract hours, which can severely disrupt their personal lives and relationships. 

@_life.with.lyss Replying to @nat.schou10 boundaries i set right away as a first year teacher 🫶🏻 #teaching #teacher #firstyearteacher #teacherlife #teacherburnout #teachertok #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound - Alyssa🌻

When you are swamped with grading papers and know you won’t be able to finish them at school the next day, it can be easy to want to bring them home and grade them over dinner and a movie. However, this should not become a norm. 

It is important to have time to yourself at the end of the day to relax and unwind from work. You spent all day being a social backboard for 20+ children — it is more than OK to take an evening to yourself.


Self-care in this job, like any other, is crucial to avoiding burnout. 

After a day of teaching, invest in self-care by taking a bath, doing a facemask, and simply relaxing. 

In the comments of the original post, several teachers noted that once they started sticking to their contract hours, it made a world of difference in how they felt about their jobs and how it affected their day-to-day.

"I started teaching to the contract in 2018. I suddenly stopped feeling so stressed," one Reddit user shared. "You’ve got to do that. Work your contracted time — and if it doesn’t get done, [oh well]. You have to develop that mindset."


Taking care of yourself is important regardless of your job or lack thereof. But in a role as physically and mentally demanding as teaching, it is vital to take a step back and remind yourself that you chose this job because of what you would gain, not what it would take from you.

RELATED: Burnout Coach Shares 6 Ways To Set Boundaries At Work Without Saying Anything At All

Madison Piering is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team, specializing in human interest and pop culture topics.