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Teacher Loi-Natalie Laing
  • Name: Loi-Natalie Laing
  • Hometown: Miami

I've been teaching three years now, high school and eighth grade. I used to be an attorney and I tell people that my first year as a teacher was more stressful than my 10 years in law.

When you're an attorney, you have a support system -- paralegals, secretaries and colleagues. As a teacher, you're doing it all yourself. It's 'Here's the class, figure it out.'

A lot of the methods and instruction we use comes from the top down. Politicians and administrators dictate what and how we teach. You feel out of control, especially when there's a big exam and you're told that's what you need to focus on.

Related: Hungry, tired, and stressed out

It is rewarding, though. I know I'm contributing to young people's lives, but I'm making a tenth of what I earned as an attorney.

They say 50% of new teachers do not make it past the fifth year. I can see why, but I don't want to become a statistic.

First published June 30, 2014: 5:49 PM ET

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