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Advice about Moving On...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by bps5, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. bps5

    bps5 New commenter

    Hi, would appreciate some advice on the following situation.

    I started a new role in January as I thought it would be a good career change. On paper, it would seem like the 'dream job' for a teacher: high achieving students, good position in league tables, outstanding, chance to teach a range of subjects, etc. Although I've no real reason to 'complain' about the place - staff are pleasant and the students generally seem OK, I have come to the conclusion that the role isn't right for me and is not going to work out as I first thought (a lot of stuff not mentioned at interview is now coming to light.) In particular, I dislike the 'pressured environment' (on staff & students) and am not too keen on having to constantly focus on results at the expense of everything else. I have tried to see if I would 'settle in' to the job during the past term, however after a long think, I feel that I am unlikely to stay in the role long-term.

    Initially, I thought that my decision to leave was overhasty and I was going to give the role until Christmas. However, I have since seen a job advertised in another school for September. I know people who work at the school and whilst it isn't anywhere near the same standard as my current position, it is somewhere that I would be interested in working in. I am going to e-mail the school and see if I can arrange a visit next week and have an informal discussion with their Head about the role. If the discussions are positive, it is highly likely that I will make an application. Whilst not desperately unhappy in my current role (I shouldn't moan too much as my problems are small compared to others on this forum!), I feel I would be happier elsewhere.

    Here is my dilemma. Whilst the SLT are generally pleasant towards me at the moment, I know that there will be a real backlash against me if I announce that I am applying for another job. Several members of staff who have other jobs have been pressured into leaving earlier, whilst others have had their timetables entirely rewritten, taking away exam classes or are subject to endless learning walks/observations (I've had 3 observations already since January and another is scheduled for later this month). As I have only been at the school since January, I am not entirely sure whether I would get a positive reference. In this situation, I may be stuck in my current role if I was unsuccessful with this application. The fact that I have no real reason to complain, other than just not feeling the job is for me, is unlikely to help. However, I know that I am not going to stay at my current role much longer. I am also, ashamed to admit, afraid of the storm that would hit if I announced that I was looking to leave.

    Any advice on dealing with this would be most welcome.
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    If this is a genuine post I can only say that imo you would be very unwise to pursue another teaching job so soon after taking up your current employment. Your head would be justified in being very annoyed and - as there is no guarantee that you would be successful you would be building up a whole load of trouble. And why would the head of the new school be interested in someone who has such an unprofessional approach to their employer. At the very least stay until July, and I think that is pushing it frankly. 12 / 18months seems more reasonable to me. Enjoy all the benefits you identified and learn to deal with the pressure ( I don't say that lightly but you say you are not unhappy)
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I think you should discuss this with your current HT, explaining why you think this might be a good move for both you and (especially) your current school. Your HT might agree, and actually encourage you to apply...You won't know unless you ask him/her...

    PS If you do speak to the HT, I'd be tactful about what you say obviously, speak more in sorrow that 'iy hasn't worked out' and 'how this might be the bes move for the school'. But if you don't get the job you like the look of...? What then?
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    That's part of the trouble, isn't it? This "dream job" concept, wherein all the information available suggests that a school will be a great place to work - and then within 6 or 7 weeks of starting, you find you're not happy and fancy a move elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, the other part of the trouble is you now cannot be sure that you'll be any happier elsewhere - knowing people who work in a different school is no guarantee that you'll find working here any better than you do in your present place.

    To give the perspective of the head of the school to which you now fancy going - s/he's likely to look at your track record and not want to touch you with a barge pole, because you look on paper (if you start applying before you've even completed a term, let alone at least a year, which is what I'd want to see) as if you're either not coping in your current school (and remember - if it looked on paper to you as if it would be a great place to work, it probably looks that way to other heads, too) or have had other problems which might well make you a difficult person to employ.

    My advice - and you may not like it - is to dig in and make a go of it in your present school for at least a year. They spent time and money appointing you and so have invested in you already - so don't be at all surprised or upset if the only reference your current head is willing to write says something like:

    "Mr/Ms bps5 has been employed as a teacher of taxidermy and began work at Sunnytrees school since January 1st. I was, therefore, surprised when s/he told me s/he intended to apply for other posts after only half a term here. Yours sincerely....."
  5. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I don't think there's anything wrong/unprofessional about leaving in July. You're not leaving them at a loose end/having a detrimental impact on exam classes as though you were leaving mid-year, and if you are successful in getting another post now then they have plenty of time to appoint your successor for September.

    If they want to keep staff, they should consider not doing insane things like 3 observations in a month! 3 observations in a year is a lot if you're not an NQT...

    But it is an abrupt move having only been there for half a term, and it won't look good. These things do happen though - I know teachers who have only done a term in my current school and have then moved on. It will depend on how picky the prospective employer is (and I get the impression that in the current climate, many are really scraping the barrel!).

    But of course you haven't yet been offered a post in another school and may not be. But you need to tell your Head you're applying as they will be contacted for references and you will need time off to attend an interview. So as others have said, approach it tactfully. Not as an "I want to get out of here" situation but what is the other school offering you. Remain positive about your current workplace as you may need to stay there if you don't get a job elsewhere.
  6. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    A difficult one

    People move about so much in teaching now and teachers are in such short supply that situations like your are becoming much more common. We all know that some schools are now hellish places to work in terms of pressure being placed upon staff to get results at the expense of everything else and It looks like your in one of those schools. It is very unlikely to improve so you have a problem.

    If you let them know you intend to leave and may have an interview coming up, you lay yourself open to all manner of ill-treatment - as happens in your current and as you have described in your post.

    I wouldn't work in a place like that anyway. It used to look "unprofessional" to move quickly, but your school hasn't delivered on things they said in interview and the way other members of staff who wish to leave have been treated, is also far from professional. This isn't much of a profession any more thanks to things like that. An NQT second-in-dept I know started in Sept '15 on an inflated salary (M5), did a half term, handed notice in and walked into a new job in same city - no break in work -, after making up a BS reason for leaving. I think the new school were glad to have a qualified teacher.

    However, do the professional thing - talk to them, let them know what's happening and cross your fingers you'll be treated better than others. If you are met with an unpleasant, and it seems from your post, a bullying and vindictive response, then in my view you are within your rights to do whatever you need to get out of there asap.

    Good luck, hope it goes well
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I have some sympathy for this but I do wonder how you thought the school achieved good league table results, outstanding Ofsted judgements etc. without pressure and a focus on results at the expense of other things.

    I think I would wait a bit longer. I hated my current school when I started here but about a year in, something clicked and I realised their ethos and mine were actually a pretty good match. I'm also good friends now with many of the colleagues I was wary of at the start.

    I also worry about how you would sell a desire to leave your current workplace (and is the position a step down or did I pick that up wrongly?) for somewhere with less status. It would be different if you could go to your current HT and say that your dream job had come up and you didn't think you'd get it but you had to give it a shot - in this case it sounds more like you're willing to do anything to leave.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  8. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Is this the sort of place any of us would "enjoy"?
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    We only have the OP's view. I confess that most of what is posted about schools here makes me think I wouldn't last two weeks in an English state-funded school but many accept all these observations and pages of planning and marking as normal.

    I also think, as a manager, knowing someone is leaving must colour how you plan. I wouldn't give someone planning on leaving halfway through a year exam classes either, and I would keep them away from the ones who need consistency too. But then we don't have these stupid rules about notice here. You see a job, apply for it, tell your line manager if you get an interview and if appointed you start work in four weeks (sometimes less). People aren't hanging around in jobs they don't want when they have another one to go to.
    19sunflower, DYNAMO67 and Scintillant like this.
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I see no reason to infer that the statements are not true

    Being aware that they happen and accepting it as normal are different matters. I'd be surprised if many teachers at all thought that what is going on in some English schools in terms of planning/marking and observations is "acceptable". In fact, I don't know a single teacher who thinks that.
  11. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Once took a position and it seemed at interview to be the dream job. However what transpired in September seemed to bear no relation to what was promised.
    Having managed it to Christmas saw the HT and simply told her how I felt and that I would be moving on at the first opportunity. Explained that promises were not kept and unhappy.
    I moved on at Easter and felt so much better but the last 2 months were not so good. I was asked to no longer attend SLT meetings and found myself doing a lot of cover.
    However 2 years later the school was in special measures and the HT gone. Felt for my ex colleagues but at the end of the day it is a job and you are very soon forgotten.
    FrankWolley and Scintillant like this.
  12. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I didn't mean that the OP wasn't telling the truth - as I said, I hated my school at first and perceptions can change.
    I'm not so sure about the second point. I think there are still plenty of workload martyrs out there who do accept working every night and weekend as normal.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  13. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Think that @Flere-Imsaho is spot o with their first reply.

    You have only been there for two minutes, sorry. Unless you have totally screwed up and you know your wellbeing is at risk by staying, I would give it a bit more time. According to your post it isn't that bad.... The damage to your position if you were not to get the job could be worse.

    On top of that you don't know 1) the new school is any better 2) that a new school wouldn't look at you with some suspicion for going.

    You have to give a job some time. Likewise it should be obvious that all schools are result driven now. At any level, particularly in secondary.
    Jamietzu likes this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    New posts often seem really lovely at first, then utterly terrible and you wonder what the heck you have got into, and then reasonably manageable for as long as needed.

    If your school is a reasonably pleasant place to work, then stick it out for a fair while longer. You don't want to end up in a nightmare place!
  15. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    Have you talked to your HT or anyone about your first half term at the school? I wonder if the extra pressure of 3 obs per half term etc is just keeping tabs on a newcomer rather than a normal pressure for everyone, if so then it might be worth waiting a while before applying elsewhere. Have they explained the purpose of the observations?
  16. bps5

    bps5 New commenter

    Many thanks for the replies. I have certainly been given 'food for thought' and some useful advice. I certainly knew that applying for other jobs would not look good and could have serious career consequences, hence why I aired my thoughts here first before taking any action. It is difficult when you are the only person in your social circle/family who is a teacher - many can't understand the leaving and notice periods.

    Interestingly enough, my Line Manager called me in for a review yesterday. As far as he was concerned, the school are very positive and happy with what I am doing. When he saw the look of utter surprise on my face, he acknowledged that the school is an extremely high pressured environment and that many staff find it a difficult working environment. It seems as if many of the things that I was promised are due to appear in September, which did make me feel a bit better (he acknowledged that the school have been slow off the mark with these).

    I am not naive enough to know that outstanding schools do not come without pressures. I think joining this school mid-year was a lot harder than I anticipated. I also think I've joined at a period where staff aren't happy - a large number have resigned - and that has affected my ability to settle. I will see how things go and, if I still want a change, my look at a move later on.
  17. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I have just joined a school in January and am finding it difficult to settle in. Admittedly, my post is temporary until the end of August at present, so I am applying for September and my school are aware of this but I've never started a new job part way through a teaching year and I definitely don't like it. I've found that staff are already well on with the 'getting ready for the exams' stress which seems to come earlier and earlier (particularly if in a core subject) and nobody has got time to check the newbie is settling in ok.

    OP, it sounds like things have been a bit slow off the mark and most new initiatives and changes usually appear in the new academic year so it might be best to see how it goes however I'm also a big believer in gut instinct too so only you know how you feel. Remember heads do not look well on teachers who don't give anything a chance and when comparing to other candidates that will be a factor if there's not much to choose between. Your current school doesn't have to allow you any time to visit this other school either remember, so if you did apply, you might have to apply 'cold' without a visit to see what it was like.

    Best of luck in whatever you decide to do however!

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