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Desperate to leave teaching before I have a break down

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by sicilia, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. sicilia

    sicilia New commenter

    I qualified as a primary teacher 3 years ago and am currently working full time. Three years on and I hate my job. I feel that I made the biggest mistake of my life going in to teaching.

    I am very good at it and get excellent results for the children. On the surface I am super organised and efficient and my management think I am great and and ofsted graded me as 'outstanding'. But I hate the job. I have stress related illnesses and suffer from anxiety, insomnia and IBS. love the kids but hate the long hours, paper work, constant anxiety and feeling of having to tread water and watch my back all of the time. All I do when I get home on an evening/weekend/school holiday is job hunt and cry. I really want to get out of teaching but have no idea what I could do instead.

    I come from a predominantly retail/child care background. I have sought careers advice on numerous occasions and have been told I will find it difficult to find an employer willing to take me on as I am now labelled as "Public sector".

    All I want is a 9 - 5 and to have my life and my health back. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I don't know how much longer I can hold it together.

    Thank you.
    BetterNow and scarletthughes like this.
  2. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Would you be able to request part time for a while? ( I think I know the answer already, but may be worth a try). That way, you can still have a bit of income while you look at other options. I would take careers advice with a pinch of salt and just find out about things yourself, perhaps by ringing employers you are interested in ...we worked in international schools for many years and were told we would never be able to return to the UK on a proper salary...but we did. I think there is a lot to be said for being proactive and don't see why teaching should not have many transferable skills.
  3. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    Have you spoken to your line manager in school as to how you are feeling? At least give school a chance to help/support you. I am also not naive enough to think all SMT's will be sympathetic. There are still some sympathetic/human headteachers around but they all have the 'cloud of the big O looming' so are very twitchy (in my opinion)

    Theo has a document she points people in the direction of


    Also send you a big hug as know how @@@@this job can make you feel.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Hullo Sicilia, I am so sorry to hear how you are feeling. It must be pretty grim for you, so I think that you need to do several things.

    1) Make your current life better. Speak to someone at school, say that you are stressed, and ask how the school will help you. They have an obligation to support you

    2) Get other help. I assume that your Dr is sympathetic and also supportive. But do also try


    Phone, text, e-mail, chat - they do it all, 24/7. So don't go home and cry, go home and contact them.

    3) Make your mind up about leaving or staying.

    If you really want out, you will have to wait until Christmas, I'm afraid.

    But just knowing that it's only X weeks until you hand in your notice, and then only another 6 or 7 working weeks until you leave, can make it seem not so bad.

    As for other jobs, have a look at this:

    There are suggestions there for possible jobs that make the most of the skills and experience that you have.

    And do remember that here on this forum you have a whole load of supportive friends - come back and post again.

    If a blog is helpful, don't forget to Red-Heart it by clicking on the black heart at the end. And click on the Share icon to show it to your friends too.


    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
    pepper5 and elvin163 like this.
  5. This pretty much sums up how I felt about the job, only it took me less than three years in the job to realise how much I loathed it! Similar to you, I had no issues with behaviour management or observations, but that didn't stop me getting home every night and cutting myself off from everyone at home just so I could mull over and get anxious about things that needed to be done at work. It always seemed as no matter how organised I was, there would soon be a load of other tasks to add to the never ending 'to do' list, so I'd never end up with free time at work to do other jobs. Thus, there was never any job satisfaction in it for me, things never felt like they were getting 'done'. Added to that feeling you described of having to watch your back all the time, it was just hell.

    You really have to base your decision on YOU. I'm not sure whether you're married/have children/have a mortgage, but if you don't, get out now before you get trapped in the job. If you are settled down, take the suggestion of other posters and try and go part time. One (and only one) benefit of the awkward resignation dates in teaching, is if you hand in your notice before October half term, at least you will have the time between now and Christmas to sort out another job whilst still being in work. I did that, but unfortunately had no luck on a non teaching job and am still looking now.

    You've got to think, if you're not happy now, are you going to be happier in another three years time? Remember when everyone used to say after you're NQT year, teaching gets easier? I believed it at first, but now I don't. How can it? Your NQT time gets taken away, you get given a subject to look after, the pressure rises the longer you're in the job to be more of an outstanding teacher. When really it shouldn't be like that at all. There are a lot of hard workers out there, but no one ever wants to work even harder, especially in teaching which is such a thankless job in my eyes.

    Finally, I'm not saying it will be easy once you're out of teaching, the process is slow to find a non teaching job, others can be really lucky. But just bear that in mind. For me, I'd be going on for a while, thinking things would get easier in the job all the way from starting my training, but there came a point where I had had enough, it didn't matter how quickly I'd find an alternative job, I just needed to hold my hands up and get out. And I feel back to my normal positive self for it! The thought of not having to 'put on a show' or be a 100% every minute of every day is a good feeling.

    Be kind to yourself and think of the best possible route that will get you back to your normal, positive and balanced self. Do you want a job that ruins your personal time out of work because you're so anxious thinking about it? Or do you want a job that you can get home and not give it the time of day, and dare I say it, have a social life! Take care and do what's best for you. Listen to you gut!
    xxxamyzxxx06, henrypm0 and bertie2612 like this.
  6. sicilia

    sicilia New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your messages of support, I have been unable to reply until tonight. Just knowing I have a support network on here and reading your replies and suggestions has really helped me feel I'm not on my own with this. In answer to your questions:-

    hairdo: Going part time is not an option. I am engaged to be married next February and we are also saving for a deposit for a house and to start a family. So I would not be able to go part time unfortunately. My other half sees what the job is doing to me and until recently thought I should tough it out but he is now admitting he thinks I should maybe look at other career options. Although he isn't open to me quitting without having another job lined up or going part time for financial reasons

    bigbev: Thank you for the hugs :) I have considered speaking to my line manager/management team, however from watching other people doing this I have noticed that as soon as you make it known that you are finding the job difficult people are soon filtered out or leave suddenly. SMT always say we can go to them if we feel we have a problem but I don't believe that this is genuine and would not feel comfortable doing so. I feel it is just a box they have to tick to say they are thinking of staff well being. Thank you for the link too. I am about to have a good read through it. :)

    TheoGriff: Thank you so much for your reply and the helpful links and advice. I don't think I will speak to my school management and have decided I want to leave. it is just a matter of finding the right career path/job to change to now. My Dr isn't really anyone I could talk to about this, he made a snide comment recently about "All those holidays you teachers get" and "Working 6 hours per day" so I doubt he would be sympathetic. I will however contact the teachers support. :)

    Blind_Faith: I totally agree that the job seems to get harder each year as more work and expectations get piled on with less time to do them in. I also feel the job is completely thankless. Not from the children (They're lovely and appreciate me!) but from SMT, government, public attitudes. Eventually all the negativity and constant bashing just gets you down.

    Thanks again everyone for the good advice. I really do appreciate it. :)

  7. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    That's dreadful your GP mine is utterly sympathetic and supportive....your GP clearly knows no one who is a teacher!

    Take care and glad you sound a little brighter! x
  8. sicilia

    sicilia New commenter

    Thank you Bev. xxx I am currently looking into educational recruitment. It's nothing I have considered before but keeps popping up when I search for jobs.
  9. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    If you have a childcare/retail background, have you considered Assessing/training as a career? Much less stressful! (I find). If you're an organised person it's not difficult and you get your evenings and weekends back!
  10. sicilia

    sicilia New commenter

    Aw27 thank you for your reply. I hadn't thought of that but I'd be interested to find out more. Would that be GNVQ assessing? That sounds like a really good idea and I can still use my teaching/childcare experience.
  11. crusell

    crusell New commenter

    Funding for post 24 apprenticeships has been withdrawn from July 13 and therefore assessing work is less and less. Still exists up to 24 I think. I trained as an assessor through brightassessing for the TAQA. www.brightassessing.com. Work tends to be freelance and some training organisations are quite spurious. e.g I never got paid by one so I was working for less than the minimum wage overall for the year. There are piles of meaningless paperwork. However it may suit you.

    As for other alternatives listed in the booklet , they seem like pie in the sky. I'm a trained counsellor and therapist and paid work in this field is non existent, mostly voluntary. Also as a former art, music, drama teacher, as well as maths ,English and practically everything else in primary, secondary , special ed - community arts work and private music teaching is very hard to come by and sustain. I think the booklet was produced before austerity cutbacks.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes, as most of the suggestions are public-sector posts, they are not areas with large numbers of opportunities.

    The people that I know who have made a happy new career, have actually done so in retail with large companies - M&S and John Lewis spring to mind. These offer prospects for moving on and moving up.

    But, of course, the salary is much lower than teaching. That's the problem really - no other career with the same qualification requirements offers anything like the level of salary that teaching does. So it's money versus stress . . .

    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
  13. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    Hi Sicilia, I have sent you a PM with some more info regarding my experience of assessing. I have not had the problems mentioned above but, like every job, some people have good experiences and some bad. I can rant on about primary teaching til the cows come home!
  14. merturtle

    merturtle New commenter

    Sorry to hear that you are having such a bad time. Sending you some {{hugs}} as no-one should have to feel so bad because of work.

    I know you said you can't afford to consider part time because of your personal circumstances, and I do understand your desire to get a mortgage and start a family, but I would suggest that your health is more important, and you need to sort out your job situation first as it is making you ill, even if you have to delay the mortgage/ family until you are more settled. Bear in mind that leaving teaching may mean a pay cut anyway. I am speaking as someone who had my first child while on a temporary (non-teaching and very poorly paid) contract, made redundant while on maternity leave. It wasn't an ideal situation and wouldn't have been my choice, but we coped.

    Please consider changing your GP/ asking to see a different GP in the practice as yours sounds awful - and call the teacher support network.

    Really hope you feel better soon.
  15. Totally agree about seeing different GPs within the practice. I had one GP who would only sign me off for two weeks and then told me to stop being silly and get back to work. I avoided him thereafter. When you contact your doctors, just name the GP you would like to see from your practice, then ask for their next available appointment. If the one you want is not going to be available to see you for some time then pick another name from the list. You don't have to put up with an unsupportive GP.

    I managed to leave teaching by doing some voluntary work, for a few months, with an organisation I wanted to work for. I wouldn't have been able to get a job with them if I had applied for a paid position, as the transferable skills we have as teachers, are rarely seen as being good enough to do something unrelated to teaching. I did some evening and weekend call centre shifts to get me by financially.

    I don't earn as much but I have time to live my life and be there for my family. Hope things work out for you whatever you decide to do.
  16. 321jamesedwards

    321jamesedwards New commenter

    Work abroad. You can still be a teacher but everything will be a lot more relaxed. I just got a great paying job in the Emirates. Personally I have been working a lot in the Muslim world because I like history and most of the ancient stuff is now in Muslim lands. But pick a country go out there and enjoy your life for a year or two, or as long as you like. Some jobs pay well, if you're good then with a proven track record then you could expect a higher salary than average. I dunno.....fancy Thailand?
  17. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    To the last poster

    This thread is three years old so I suspect that the OP has now long gone (notice how posts are dated in the bottom left hand corner).

    But more importantly You need to change your username very quickly. It might identify you (or someone else incorrectly).
  18. thehouseofliteracy

    thehouseofliteracy New commenter

  19. thehouseofliteracy

    thehouseofliteracy New commenter

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