The Great Teacher Resignation

Dear Principal, I Resign

June 22, 2022 Camile Lofters Season 1 Episode 14
The Great Teacher Resignation
Dear Principal, I Resign
Show Notes Transcript

This week Ali and JoDee are joined by Camile Lofters, a teacher turned manager and representative for a school photography company after making her great resignation. They’ll discuss how teaching not only prepared her for a new role, but also  helped her land her a new job. And as someone who has an Instagram following of over 12,000 and has had a Reel go viral, Camile will also share her best tips for teachers who are looking to build a social media presence!

Connect with Camile:
Instagram: @inliteralcolor


Connect with Ali and JoDee:
Ali’s LinkedIn:
JoDee’s LinkedIn:

For episode transcriptions visit:

Ali  0:00  
All teachers are natural innovators, entertainers and problem solvers. They dream of growing old into the profession, teaching their kids kids. But sometimes career goals shift or change, and that makes opportunities outside of the classroom seem intangible questioning who am I? If I'm not a teacher, I'm your host, Alexandra Simon.

JoDee  0:31  
And I'm your co host, JoDee Scissors.

Ali  0:34  
This is The Great Teacher Resignation.

Today, we're joined with Camile Lofters. In January, Camile put in her great resignation. She is now the photography manager and representative for a school photography company after teaching high school English and journalism, newspaper and yearbook for 15 years.  Her blog, In Literal Color, now focuses on everyday style, motherhood and life after teaching. Welcome to the show.

Camile  1:09  
Thank you so much for having me.

JoDee  1:10  
Thanks for being here, Camile. We have been observing your content. And I would have to add content creator to your bio to because you do a really great job on your Instagram. And actually how we got to know you was people were sending us your content. And one of the more popular videos was when you were on your way to tell your principal about not returning next year and that you are leaving the profession. So that is huge. It's oftentimes, you know, there are mixed feelings about it. People are scared. People are relieved. And you wrote on your Instagram, "Over the last few months, I felt more and more freedom and excitement. Telling my principal early has meant that I am living out this last part of the school year with a lightness I haven't had in years." When I read that, I resonated so much with that because I felt a huge amount of relief once I made that step. But I had to build up the courage to do it. But when I did, it was very liberating. And it and it set up the rest of the year for a lot of wonderful things. 

Ali  2:18  
Yeah, I really want to hear more about your great resignation. And when you knew it was time to officially resign? 

Camile  2:26  
Well, honestly it was a process that took me a few years because I think leading up to everything sort of getting crazy with COVID, I was feeling a little bit burnt out. But you know, over a 15 year teaching careers, there's obviously highs and lows. So I had felt those feelings of burnout before and I had been able to kind of work through them and make changes. But then everything went crazy with COVID. You know, everything shut down in March 2020. And finishing out that school year wasn't too bad. But when we came back the next year, so 2020-2021, things were just really hectic for all teachers, I think across the board. But just in terms of what it meant for me, it kind of killed my joy.  Just it took that little bit of burnt out I was feeling and it just made it so big. And so kind of leading up to that resignation, I was going through that on the professional side and then on a personal side, I got pregnant. I had been going through a long process with infertility and finally was able to get pregnant. And so that, of course changes everything. You know, getting pregnant going through that process of becoming a mom. And so I think it just reached a point, actually, a year before I resigned in January of 2021. I reached a point where I said, you know what, I think I need to start looking for a different path. I don't think I can keep teaching realistically. I've been teaching for 15 years, I'm probably gonna have to teach another 20 something years until I reach full retirement. And that just doesn't seem like I can do that anymore. I think I'm reaching that place. So I did, I started looking for other positions. And honestly wasn't super successful. It was a very humbling process, I think, to go through just applying to hundreds and hundreds of jobs online. And, you know, doing a ton of interviews and lots of second, third and fourth interviews, but it wasn't going anywhere. And so, yeah, it got to a point where I said, you know, I went back from maternity leave in October of 2021. And I hadn't found a job by that point. You know, I'd been looking around 10 months. And I said, you know, okay, I'm just gonna keep teaching. You know, I know how to do this well. It'll be okay. But it really didn't feel great in my heart. And so I started just telling people. I was like, no, it can't hurt, right. Let me just tell people that I'm not super happy teaching anymore. And I really, you know, think that I need to pursue a different path. And I've been in the yearbook. Student yearbook journalism is like a whole world. Any yearbook teachers out there know that it's like, you've got so many contacts from your photography companies, a yearbook companies, there's so many different people. And so I started talking to them, I was like, hey, um, I want to get out of teaching, you know, let me know if you hear something that you think I'd be good for. And so it just worked out that this company that's been around for between 15 and 20 years in different capacities, they opened up a new division up here, where I live. And it's actually opening on Tuesday. And they were like, hey, we're gonna be opening up this new division, you would be perfect for it. Let's talk. And so we just started talking. And the next thing I knew I was getting a job offer from them, and terrifying at first to think about leaving, but like you said it once I kind of got my mind, right, that I was going to accept this position, going to tell my principal was like, just that final hurdle that I had, that I had to get over. And it was scary. Like you said, even when you have a good relationship with your principal, which I definitely do. She's a great. Wonderful administrative work for. It still can be extremely anxiety inducing to tell someone that you're going to leave, particularly when you're someone who has so many roles in your school. Because doing yearbook and newspaper is huge. There's so much that happens throughout the year. So luckily, she was extremely kind. I mean, I, I had didn't think that she wouldn't be ready, just you know, it's, it had a lot of... I was nervous, but she was very kind and we talked about it. And once I told her, that was it. You know, the the weight kind of lifted. And then like you said, I just had that, that second half of the school year to prepare. And so that's, that's really what inspired me to write that caption. Because, like I was able to, to look at teaching and to look at those final months as something where it's like, oh, this is gonna be my last time doing this project. So let's make it great. You know, this is going to be my last... This is the last essay I'm gonna grade. You know, just like little things like that, that I hate. I like I don't love grading essays. I don't know any teacher that does. But yeah, I was able to look at it with a different light and a different perspective. So that's not to say it was all sunshine and rainbows, but it certainly was very different having told her early, I guess.

Ali  7:27  
Yeah, and I know, JoDee, you've talked about how you were able to tell your school earlier in the year also, and then kind of let go of things that you no longer needed to take on and pass the torch along to other educators to take on those responsibilities. I agree with like the lightness that you feel. It's also challenging though. Teachers that do these extracurriculars, these extras, like yearbook and newspaper. I did Speech and Debate. That's a real passion of ours. And we love the students that we're supporting. And the jobs that we're doing that are extra. And we definitely don't get paid that amount of time that we put into them. But what I love about your story is that that extra stuff helped you get your next job. And I think that there's a lot to be said for leveraging those skills that we develop. So we have our teacher brain. We do all these amazing things in the classroom. But we also support a lot of things outside of the classroom. So you may have a yearbook class, I'm not sure if you did or just might be an after school activity. But that gives teachers the opportunity to learn a lot of other valuable skills besides classroom teaching. So I was wondering if you might be able to tell us a little bit about how sponsoring yearbook, teaching English and journalism prepared you for the management position that you're in? 

Camile  8:48  
Yeah, I mean, you're absolutely right. I mean, running newspaper and yearbook is very similar to running a small business, except your employees or students. And they've got six other classes. In my case, yearbook and newspaper, were each their own class. And so having learned, you know, I spent 15 years... before I did newspaper and yearbook, I actually did literary magazine and online news at my old school. So truly, journalism has been a part of my career almost since the very beginning. And it teaches you so many things. I mean, if you're running a small business, you've got to treat your students, sort of like employees. I mean, they're also students and children and you have to have that understanding but teaching them how to be leaders, teaching them how to work together, teaching them how to manage assignments, and make lists about what needs to be done. Also, from a financial standpoint. You know, my school's huge school, you know, 3400 students. Our yearbook is about $95,000. All said and done. You know, and that's a significant amount of money that I am overseeing and handling and making sure everything is the way that it's supposed to. Also just in terms of other skills, I mean, everything from the way that we make the books. So learning InDesign and learning... in my case, I actually came in with a photography background. I've done photography on my own professionally since 2008. But just honing those skills, even more than I already had. Writing skills, obviously, I majored in creative writing in college. So it gave me an opportunity to, to use those writing skills and help my students with editing. And so I think all of those managerial skills were really important because I had that unique perspective. And then also just in terms of networking, when you are a journalism teacher, you often go to these conferences and conventions with other journalism teachers, and you're constantly talking with them, and, and networking with them. And so I think that was a big piece as well, because part of my new position is not only managing the staff at the photography studios. I manage the employees, you know, that takes... the photographers that takes the photos. I manage the customer service reps, all of those people. But I also manage the relationships between our company and schools. So helping, you know, my fellow yearbook, teachers, helping administrators helping, you know, students get their photography needs met. So whether that's underclass photos, senior photos, event photos, all that kind of stuff. And so knowing what it's like on the back end, to be the yearbook teacher and what I need, really helps me in my new role. Because I know exactly what that yearbook teacher needs. And I know exactly where they're coming from when they asked for something that might seem ridiculous to someone else. So that's been really nice. It really helped me get my position now, because as the owner of the company said, he's like, I can't find you anywhere else. There isn't a lot of people who have your exact skill set, who have the teacher side, who have the photography side, who have the yearbook side, all of that. And then on top of that, I worked retail all through college and was always like an assistant manager. And I even used to work part time while I was teaching still at a retail store, just because teachers always need a second and third, and fourth job.

JoDee  11:57  
You're right, you are the right fit. Like I can't think of a better candidate for the role that you're in now. And on top of the skills that come with it. You mentioned, you know, the yearbook in the end is is 95k. And something that I wish someone would have told me when I was applying for jobsm was there questions about budgets. Have you managed a budget? And the first time someone asked me that I really didn't know how to answer that question. And so I had to go back to school and think, well, when am I engaged in budget decision making? How much is this budget that I have helped plan for? To be able to share that information. Because when you go into the corporate world, or the private sector, you become part of the budget conversation. And so teachers are a part of that. You were able to manage that on the yearbook side. But teachers help plan teacher allocation budgets. They have their team budgets. And how does that translate over? And how can you communicate that on your resume, or during an interview? And I think that that really set you up really well, because you are like, Ali talks about all the time, is kind of that, like backward design. Like, you're on the yearbook and you planned all of those things. And now you're on the other side of it, but because you were on the other end, you understand the full scope much better. And you will after, you know, pursuing this job for a while, you'll understand the full scope of it very well. 

Ali  13:22  
Yeah, I really like how you were able to take all the things that you were already doing and bring them into your new role. But one of the other things that we were interested in talking to you about is your social media presence. And with over 12,000 followers on Instagram, for teachers that might be interested in building a social media community, I was wondering if you could share some tips for them?

Camile  13:45  
Sure, that's been a long time coming. Social media, and blogging, and Instagram, and all of that has been something that I just started sort of doing for fun. I have always loved fashion. And so I would see all these people posting outfits on Instagram, and I thought I could post outfits on Instagram. That sounds like a you know, fun thing to do. And so that's where it started six years ago. I wasn't taking it super seriously yet. I just did it for fun. And then around three years ago, I started to realize that people consider themselves to be actual content creators. Like it's not just posting an outfit. It's what do I bring to my audience? What do I want my content to be about? And what do I want to speak to? And so for me, teaching was a huge part of that. I discovered teacher grams. I didn't know it existed before. And so discovering teachergram was huge, because I was like, Okay, there's so many teachers out there creating content about the classroom, and it's resonating with other teachers. And then you know, I've always just posted lifestyle content about things that I'm passionate about. And actually at the time travel was my other big content pillar. So speaking three things that I could focus on. So I used to focus on teaching, style and travel. And so my advice you know, if you're getting out there and you want to start growing a social media following or doing this, is really to choose what it is that you're going to focus on. And that can change. Because that used to be my content. And then when COVID happened, travel kind of fell by the wayside. There was no more travel. And so for a while, I didn't know what else I really wanted to post. I mean, I still posting teaching and still posting lifestyle. Gradually that grew into posting about motherhood and that process to me. So that's become another one of my content pillars. So yeah, just really focusing on on what value you can bring to your audience, I think is really important. And then for me, I had to think of a schedule as to how am I going to make sure that I'm consistently posting those things. So in my head, I kind of do like a mama Monday. So something about motherhood happens on Monday. A teacher Tuesday. Something about being in the classroom. Although now it'll probably focus more on transitioning out of the classroom and former teacher life. And then on Wednesday, I kind of think of it as like what I wore Wednesday, and I try to do something fashion related. And then the other days of the week just is whatever content comes out. So it might be you know, fun trending sound or, you know, something like that. And I try to have fun with it. To be honest, I don't make a ton of money from my social media. I'm kind of working on it now as to how I can take what I'm doing and make that actually into a side business. But I think I've had a lot of fun with it. And the Reel that you mentioned where I was going to tell my principal I was leaving, went incredibly viral. And so I went from I don't know, I think it was like 9200 followers to over 12,000 followers in the span of a couple of weeks. And that was cool. Also, a lot of anxiety were like what's happening? I'm blowing up. People who weren't following me already, of course, were making these judgments off this quick 15 second video. And it just went a little crazy for a while, but it slows down right now. And I still kind of wonder how over 7 million people viewed this silly video of me walking through just one of those trending sounds. But yeah, I mean, if you're looking to grow on social media, Reels has been a big part of that. Finding trending audio, making things that feel authentic and feel important to me. I mean, I think that's kind of, I think, been my strength because I just am who I am online. I mean, of course, it's edited, and I don't share everything. But I, I try to be as authentic as I can and share good things, and bad things, and my struggles. My struggles with infertility, for example, was a big thing that a lot of people resonated with. And so that's how. I just try to be myself, I think. 

JoDee  17:31  
You touch on, you know, motherhood. You touch on school safety. You touch on trending topics. So it's super relatable. And you do a really great job with your content. And you documenting your transition, I think that's going to be really helpful to a lot of people who are having reservations, but you documenting that I'm sure will be very supportive to others.

Camile  17:55  
Yeah. Thank you so much. Yeah, I think that already I've seen people sort of message me and say like, oh, my gosh, thank you for saying that. You know, this has been good for you. I want to leave. I don't know how. So that's definitely started. So I'm sure like it'll continue as I, like you said, document that transition a little bit more and open up on how it's going.

Ali  18:15  
I really love following you and I couldn't agree more. I was actually had written down to say you're so authentic. And you, you already said it. But that's what I think makes people connect is authenticity and being real and being down to earth. And I really feel like that's the conversation that we've had today was hearing about your story. And I'm excited to follow you and see how this transition goes. I hope our listeners will too. So if you're interested in following Camile, you can follow her on Instagram at in literal color, and check out her blog In Literal

JoDee  18:50  
Hi, Ari, are you going to have a birthday?

Ali  18:54  
Happy birthday Ari. Should we do it on the count of three. Should we say happy birthday? Okay, one.

JoDee  19:00  
Yeah, yeah, three. Okay.

Ali  19:02  
Happy birthday, Ari!

JoDee  19:05  
Happy Birthday, Ari!

Ali  19:16  
If you liked the great teacher resignation, give us a five star rating and follow us on Instagram, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Audible. This episode was written and recorded by me Alexandra Simon, and my co-host JoDee Scissors. Produced by JoDee Scissors. Original Music, Emoji by Tubebackr. Special thanks to our sponsor, Paper Planes Ed.