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Career break?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by boxoftricks, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. boxoftricks

    boxoftricks New commenter

    Hello and thanks for reading. I'm afraid I am another teacher thinking of joining the ranks of those leaving the profession.

    After only six years as a primary teacher, I am finding myself disillusioned and actually a little bit worried about the direction the job seems to heading in. I'm not ready to throw the towel in completely yet. I think what I need is a break from the classroom to try something different for a little while, maybe supply or even something unrelated to teaching.

    I recently bought a house so have a mortgage to pay, and my wife would like children soon. This is where my dilemma is: I'm afraid to hand in my notice without a new job to go to, but aware that this could be my last chance to try something different before we have 'mouths to feed'.

    Am I crazy to consider handing in my notice?
  2. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Please don't rely on Supply if you have financial commitments.

    Primary is more in demand than secondary but even so...

    Look at the Supply Teachers Forum. The consensus seems to be it's been a bad year so far.

    Good luck.
  3. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I don't really think a career break is what you are after. You are not in a position where you can take life as it comes, due to you having a mortgage, nor do you have any plan lined up. Not saying you have to stay for good, but you will have to get a plan in place. Supply isn't the answer. What about a change of school?

    Without meaning to state the obvious, as soon as you got a financial commitment like a mortgage you anchored yourself. The last thing you need now is children. You need to take a step back, decide what you want to do and plan for it. Does your wife even know you are considering this? It us a convo you need to have
  4. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    I took a break - aged 40 - best thing I ever did in my life. Lots of folks telling me I was throwing a career down the pan before I did it. Took a full year out, travelling, advisory work, training support with university then did supply and other bits and bobs for a year and then back to teaching and been teaching again for 10 years, though I hasten to add no longer in the UK.

    Career wise - yes it was suicide. I was on the "Headteacher" path.
    Life choice wise - wonderful and I regained my love of teaching by finding somewhere I could do it and financially I am more or less secure, although one never really knows what lies around the corner.
  5. boxoftricks

    boxoftricks New commenter

    Thanks for your replies.

    I think I would consider supply only as a last resort. Ideally, I would like a job outside of the classroom to give me a break from teaching and some perspective.

    rouxx - I worry that I'd be throwing my career away and that future prospective employers would not look on me leaving my current role favourably.
  6. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Realistically mate if you are going to move out of the classroom into something new then it is going to come with a significant drop in salary. You will probably be on a decent wage now.... You have to decide what 1) a job outside of teaching is 2) how much you can afford to drop.
  7. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    I did the supply as a way back in after being out of the classroom for a year and I dovetailed it with other jobs. The situation has probably changed now, but once they realised you were a sound teacher, they were almost falling over themselves to give me ´full time´ . Yes - 10 years ago I did experience a significant salary drop.

    I was told I was throwing my career away - but I certainly didn´t throw my teaching career away and I think that if I had wanted to rejoin the leadership path, I would have been fine to get back on that particular treadmill. What the year did was tell me I wanted to teach in the classroom full time.

    Regarding future employers - it´s the ´spin´ you put on your reasons for leaving, if you make it sound totally hedonistic then maybe it will have a bigger effect. Reasons for leaving - along the lines of evaluation of my future considering I have been in education all/most of my life. Then leap VERY quickly on to how your experience elsewhere can be of use to them. Don´t focus too much on what you have learnt, but stress what it means you can bring them. Employer doesn´t really care about you, but more about what you can bring to the post.

    Finance - you do need to look long and hard at what you can afford. At 40 I was a little more established with my house, but of course had other commitments by then. Do the maths before you leap. And use figures with worst case scenarios rather than what you hope might happen.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  8. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Following on from Rouxx's excellent post, it seems to me that they left the classroom but did not entirely leave teaching? Advisory work and training with the universities i assume were in/with schools or training providers? I imagine it was easier for them to get back as they still had been involved and probably had middle management experience. Also it seems like they were only 'out' for one year what makes a massive difference.

    Second everything they say though. Do the maths and work out what you need to earn. I will also reiterate that you need to quit having something to go to. Don't just jump into the unknown expecting to find something out of nothing.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I have only one thing to add to this excellent advice.

    Although there are better paid jobs than teaching, they are not jobs that you can walk into now.

    The sort of jobs that are open to you with your skills and experience will pay less than you are now earning after 6 years in teaching.

    And maternity pay is less than a salary too...

    Have you seen the alternative careers post at the top? That might be a starter for re-thinking the possibilities.

    Best wishes

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