The Bachelorette star Michelle Young has announced she's leaving her job as an elementary school teacher despite her repeated mentions that being an educator is her passion.

Michelle, 28, worked as a fifth-grade teacher when she joined Matt James' The Bachelor season, which aired in early 2021, and she even postponed the subsequent filming her The Bachelorette edition later that year so she wouldn't have to disrupt the school year.


While Michelle has pressed how teaching is her passion and priority since joining The Bachelor franchise, she is embarking on a career change and revealed her plans for 2023 during Tuesday's episode of the "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast.

"I've decided to step out of the classroom," Michelle declared.

"Because I need to make sure that one, I'm taking care of myself, but two, teachers and those who are in the profession know that teaching is a profession that is completely built on passion. Our foundation is passion; it's not money, it's not materials, it's not benefits."

The Minnesota native, who is making a long-distance relationship work with her fiance Nayte Olukoya -- who currently lives in Austin, TX -- spoke on the verge of tears and admitted this is an "emotional" time for her as well as "a heavy conversation."

Michelle said the "difficult" and "realistic" side of teaching out of passion is that the people in those roles are "not valued, supported, taken care of or listened to."

"That foundation starts to crack, and I think you can talk to pretty much any teacher and they will tell you that these last two years have been really difficult with the pandemic," Michelle shared.

Michelle noted the foundation was already "starting to crack" even before the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020.

"And these things keep piling and piling and piling, and honestly, we kind of call it this, like, big game of Jenga, where you just keep stacking things on and you keep pulling out from underneath and it gets more wobbly and less supported -- and eventually, it's going to tumble down," she explained.

"We need to repair those cracks and repair those holes... These last two years have really amplified those cracks. And the result of that, and a big part of that, is teacher mental health and not valuing our teachers."


Michelle said being in the classroom and working with students is "incredibly close to [her] heart."

"With this cracked foundation, I see myself moving forward outside of the classroom, giving back and raising awareness for teachers... Being in the classroom right now isn't the way to do that, for me," Michelle noted.

Michelle told her listeners that while she loves teaching, she's "also burnt out" on teaching.

"I'm also more than just a teacher," Michelle said, adding how she respects the teachers who will be returning to the classroom next year as well as those who have chosen not to. "It's not an easy [choice]."

Michelle acknowledged how it's "been hard to hold back" this decision from the world and she's discussed her career change thoroughly with Nayte as well as family and friends.

"June 8 is not going to be an easy day for Miss Young, as I'm sure there will be many tears," she said.

"But I appreciate my supporters and those who understand... It's okay if everyone doesn't see the big picture... of where I'm headed."

Michelle -- who confessed there will be some "teacher guilt" -- said she began mulling over her career change when sitting down with a co-worker. The pair had apparently discussed being in "survival mode" working at their school.

"My co-worker asked me, 'Michelle, how long have you been in survival mode?' And when she asked that, it kind of caught me off guard, to actually stop and think how long I've been in this position," Michelle recalled.

"And my response was, 'Two years.' I've been in this survival mode [for] two years, where I have just been flying by the seat of my pants but really not necessarily living. [I was just] surviving."


Michelle was apparently in "survival mode" even before she competed on Matt James' The Bachelor season and went "through some crazy and awesome changes because of the show."

After finishing as Matt's runner-up on The Bachelor's 25th season, Michelle starred on The Bachelorette's eighteenth season. (ABC made plans around Michelle's teaching schedule, which resulted in Katie Thurston starring on The Bachelorette's seventeenth season in the first half of 2021 and Michelle's season premiering in Fall 2021).

Michelle accepted a marriage proposal from Nayte during her The Bachelorette season finale.

"And with getting a fiance, there's just so much going on," Michelle pointed out during her podcast.

"And as I kind of sat and thought about that and thought about the position that I'm in, it really just highlighted the fact that there's so much going on with our education system."

But Michelle insisted her exit from the classroom does not mean she'll never step back into classroom down the road.

"[And] this doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not going to continue working towards a Master's [degree] in administration and potentially get back into that direct line of education," Michelle shared.

"But it's me stepping away for a year to truly capitalize and push forward and put all of my energy and efforts into my passion in a different way, and really, truly try to push for that change."

She reiterated how "staying in the classroom and seeing and feeling that weight" just showed her that "something has to be done."

Michelle, however, admitted she's also going to continue reaping the benefits of having starred on The Bachelor franchise by promoting different products in skin and fashion.

She also intends to do work for nonprofit organizations and maybe even start up one of her own.

"It's definitely going to be a balance," Michelle noted of her new goals. "But that balance means I'm one, not in survival mode, and that the balance is also me utilizing that passion I still have for education."

Michelle concluded of her decision, which she expects will be heavily criticized, is "the right decision" for herself, even if The Bachelor fans accuse her of turning into "an influencer," which she said "isn't necessarily a bad thing."

"It's a weird pressure... [but] I'm really moving closer to changing the world, and I'm not moving away from that," Michelle insisted.

Michelle also confirmed her choice has nothing to do with the recent shooting at a Texas elementary school.

Nayte later joined the podcast and said he believes Michelle is breaking up with the classroom but not breaking up with teaching, and Michelle said she totally agreed.

The Bachelorette's nineteenth season is set to premiere Monday, July 11 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.