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Feel trapped, lost my sparkle

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ames1983, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. ames1983

    ames1983 New commenter

    I feel trapped in my career. I’ve worked as a teacher for children with very special needs for 10 years.
    I love the kids to bits, but feel I’ve really lost my sparkle. I pride myself on making their days fun and full of wonder, but lately I feel I’m just going through the motions.

    The thing is, I don’t know what else I can do. I feel trapped in my career. I don’t know what else my skill sets would lend themselves to, and financially, so many alternative careers would mean a considerable pay cut which I can afford currently.

    Surely I can’t be the only one in this position!? I’ve read previous posts on alternative teaching careers, I just feel so stuck! ☹️
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    You and 100,000 others I'm afraid
  3. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    As you say yourself, this is a common problem, but that doesn't make it less difficult for you to get through.
    If you are stuck financially for the moment, can you work out a time scale by when you might be more flexible?
    Can you make a change in your job at the school you are working at - for example a different age range? Another group of students? Could you and a colleague manage team-teachng or swap some lessons, anything to create a change for you. You sound a little bit stuck in a rut, to be honest (I don't mean to cause offence here) and a change might just be a challenge to perk you up a little.
    phlogiston likes this.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think sometimes it's difficult to have the same excitement about doing something you've done for years, even though it's still just as new and full of wonder for the kids, who are doing it for the first time.
    A complete change of age-group seems well worth considering - getting your teeth into coming up with different activities might provide some new interest.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Was it in the same school? Those ten years?

    I'd go with what @frustum said. As a first step.
    Curae and Pomza like this.
  6. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Would you consider moving away from the special needs sector? Mainstream might give you a chance to get your sparkle back and is less niche. If you wanted to test the water and finances would allow, some supply work would give you experience, but less pressure.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Would you like to lead on your specialism and change enhance whole school policy? Special needs consists of so many aspects. Investigate how you could implement more of it into whole school. You could ntro a snippet of it each morning during registration ? Do things to get noticed for the right reasons organise events to educate all staff on certain aspects of SEN that you excell on. Any ideas on cognitive thinking? ? Speak to your HT ^ SENCO.
    Why am I making so many suggestions. ..well you sound too passionate about education and should not leave. However you sound bored and possibly little over looked. So create a positive stir get noticed and if you want to look forward to new roles where you can manage promote your ideas with fellow colleagues.
    Remember only you can add sparkle so get out there and start shining. ...I hope my ideas provide a little glitter.
    Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    phlogiston likes this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    These children are often lovely, but also hard work and often very emotionally draining. You could well be a bit burnt out.
    Maybe you need to have a break from these kids with these particular needs.
    In addition to the good suggestions above, I'd think about the possibilities of some sort of sabbatical period. It might be a whole term off, it might be you work two or three days a week and do a course somewhere on the other days so get some fresh ideas and talk to some adults.
    If your manager is civilised, have a chat, they may come up with some suggestions especially if they value you and don't want to completely lose you.
    pepper5 and Curae like this.
  9. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Think of the children. They obviously don't think you've lost your sparkle and how they'll miss you if you leave. Do some fun things with them that will cheer up both them and you - and for myself, little children always seem to cheer me up. They can be so funny!
    ames1983 likes this.
  10. Taboo71

    Taboo71 New commenter

    You have a specialised skill set in teaching children with diverse needs and obviously can plan for their learning needs on an individual basis, that in itself is an asset to behold.
    All the above is great advice.
    If you really want a change of career maybe look how you could utilise your degree, with some extra training via courses, if you did not take the four year education route.
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. ames1983

    ames1983 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your responses. I really do think the world of my class. They’re incredible. I’ve been at the same school for my whole career. Have had leadership positions etc and chose to step down to full time class teacher.
    I feel there are constant boxes to tick, and an unsustainable pace. And on reflection, it is that which is dulling my enthusiasm. I just want to concentrate on my class, doing the best I can for them. I’ve implemented a number of things which school have taken on board.
    I don’t know whether it’s more that I’m perhaps ready for a change of school? I’ve experienced different age ranges. The kids I work with are the kids I want to spend every day with. I think on reflection it’s the pressures and expectations. I am consistently outstanding in my practise which I am proud of. And I want to give my all to my class. It all just feels so led by paper and projects!!!!
    But I’m sure this is how 99% of teachers feel at the moment!!
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Are you an entertainer?
  13. ames1983

    ames1983 New commenter

    When your children are developmentally functioning approx 2-5 months, with very limited responses, then yes, I am.
    To gain intentional responses, and therefore repeat resposnes, you do what you need to do. If that means ‘entertaining’, grabbing their attention and interest by building the atmosphere of the room, presenting experiences to them in different ways. Celebrating and extending responses. Yes I am.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    There is your answer. Leave school work behind and become a professional children's entertainer, as educational as you wish, or remain where you are and push on through what is likely a temporary period of difficulty. There is also the option of taking a loan and increasing your academic & professional qualification, you would seem to be capable.
    ames1983 likes this.
  15. zippygeorgeandben

    zippygeorgeandben Occasional commenter

    Hi @ames1983 I'm sorry to hear that you feel you've lost your sparkle. I don't comment on many posts on here but I felt similar when I moved to my second school. Yes it was a promotion but I felt the school was not a patch on my previous school and I could sense my teaching dropping from the usually excellent standards I built a reputation from. Lesson observations didn't show this but I just felt that I'd go the extra mile, not the usual ten I did previously.
    I moved to a different school in September, really enjoy it and would you believe, I've got my sparkle back. I'm back to being Mr. Sunshine and Brightness with my children and above all I respect my HT/DH immensely. They are fair, incredibly hard working and a pleasure to work alongside.
    Perhaps you need to move schools? Different staff? Different building? Different commute?!
    Good luck
    PS You sound positively wonderful in your role ;)
    MarieAnn18, Curae and Pomza like this.

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