I believe there's an old saying that says "winners never quit" and I have to say that whoever said that, is wrong. Sometimes quitting is the only way to acknowledge that maybe there are other things that you should be guiding your energy toward.
In May of 2014 I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, I quit my full time high school teaching job in pursuit of happiness. After 11 years of teaching in the inner city my work happiness was almost non-existent. All of the reasons I decided to teach in the inner city were still there, helping troubled youth that may not have been motivated to get out of their situation, being involved with the community, building relationships and empowering people, and just fulfilling my dharma as a teacher. I have always had the calling to be a teacher. I am not sure if it was brought on by wanting to follow in my mother's footsteps, or a true karmic calling, but when I was three I appeared on children's Puerto Rican television show reciting a poem, "Cuando yo sea grande quiero ser maestra." When I am bigger, I want to be a teacher. The feeling never changed, although the type of teacher I wanted to be did. Unfortunately in the the state of New Jersey, the teaching profession is undergoing a lot of scrutiny and many changes are taking place. Most of these changes directly affect the way teachers teach. Long gone are the days where creativity was encouraged, when thinking outside of the box was considered a good thing, the teaching profession is now guided by assessment after assessment, data analysis of said assessments, pre and post assessments, tests, tests, and more tests. Where is there creativity? Where are the classroom discussions about literature, and how a good piece of writing makes one feel? No longer are there discussions on how a good piece of writing can transform your entire outlook on life! Students are expected to read short stories, answer ten multiple choice questions, and two open ended responses. That's where literature studies is right now, and that is the spark of unhappiness for a teacher. Every day I asked myself the same question, how am I preparing my kids for success? Do students read short stories in college, in life, and have to answer ten multiple choice questions and two open ended questions every single time? Absolutely not. The educational system as it is in place right now is setting students up for failure. The work being done in high schools no longer prepare students for college and higher education. That is when I knew that I was definitely not happy, and although I decided to quit my job, it didn't mean that I was a failure, or that I was a loser. I meant that I was introspective enough to be able to look at a situation and know that it no longer served me. That is when I decided to go full steam ahead with my yoga teaching. I had been teaching yoga for as long as I had been teaching high school. Yoga offered me an outlet to still do all of the things that I set out to do when I set out to be a high school teacher. I am still helping people move past situations that they did not think they could move past, I am still building community and helping to empower others, and most importantly, I am still following my dharma. I cannot say that everyone thought my decision was a good one. I definitely got asked all of the questions of, how I would pay my bills, how could I live without my State Health and Benefits plan, etc. I guess saying you want to be a full time yoga teacher does not sound like an important job, or a lucrative job, well, I beg to differ. teaching yoga is one of the most important jobs I have ever done, and it is lucrative on so many levels beyond the financial, and yes, it can also be lucrative financially if you pursue teaching yoga like you would any other job. The last time I looked, no one (well, not no one, but not regular people) made six figures working only ten hours per week, and I don't intend to just work ten hours per week. As I move along in my process I will be blogging and documenting my time as a full-time yoga teacher. I hope many of you decide to follow me on my journey by reading my blog, maybe making changes in your life, and hopefully practicing some yoga with me. I am sure that the journey will be quite interesting and there may be many more opportunities for quitting one thing or another along the way. I welcome you into my process.