TL;DR: I'm a pure math graduate student who doesn't like research mathematics. Should I continue and get the PhD because I suspect I might like teaching at a 4-year liberal arts college?
I am currently in a pure math PhD program at a fairly good university. I just finished my second year there, and after passing qualifying exams have been awarded a Master's.
Ever since I arrived in grad school, I have been fairly dissatisfied. I went to grad school because math in undergrad felt relevant, and I loved the feeling of leaping from logical lily-pad to logical lily-pad en route to proving something. In grad school, though, these feelings have become fewer and far between. I feel like things have become more mechanical and more like banging my head against a wall. For the most part, I find it very difficult to motivate myself to do my work; I never look forward to getting started in the morning. I have finished required courses and qualifying exams, but the difficulty continues as I do a reading course in preparation for work with an advisor.
Overall, I have realized that research math is not for me. I have quite enjoyed my teaching experiences, which so far consist of leading recitation sessions, tutoring, and the first week of teaching a summer course. Because of the heavy emphasis on "teaching to the test" in secondary education, among other things, I suspect I would enjoy teaching at, say, a liberal arts college more than teaching at a secondary school. However, I feel pretty inexperienced in teaching, and so I don't feel certain by any means about these feelings. This is now the only reason I would want to stay in graduate school. Is this enough reason to continue for the next 3-4 years to the PhD?
According to my advisor, I would be in graduate school another 3-3.5 years for the PhD. I would love to work at a liberal arts institution in the US, but ideally one where the research load is minimal/nonexistent. The impression I got from skimming MathJobs recently was that such positions were relatively rare compared to research-intensive positions. Do you feel like I would be very likely to find such a job if I stayed for the PhD?
Any advice is much appreciated! Thank you, everyone.