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I'm out physically....

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cakebytheocean, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. cakebytheocean

    cakebytheocean New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have recently left teaching in FE after 10 years and am now working in tech company.

    For the last 2 years of my teaching career, I had various ups and downs, as is expected from the job but also due to the additional level of pressure there was in the Team Leader role I was working in. I was almost on capability, hating going in to work and decided to step down from the TL role to focus on teaching. I improved, avoided capability and started enjoying teaching again. Partly due to some new recruits in the team bring some much needed new blood in and partly down to just being a lecturer, so I enjoyed going in to work again.

    Then slowly there were some changes that changed my outlook again; my close friends and colleagues in the job left, colleagues who had been there years left taking much needed experience with them. The new Curriculum Manager came in and decided to shuffle the pack. The government constantly changing policies and slashing FE funding from the once great institution it was to the barebones shell it seems to be now.

    The years before that were good - I completed my PGCE, I managed to plan my lessons, I managed to do everything. Yes, there was stress but it was manageable but more importantly, the environment was enjoyable and what we as educators are ask.

    So I thought I still liked teaching enough to stick with it but if I hated my work place, I should try looking somewhere else. I joined another college, which you could say was almost a "frying pan/fire" scenario but the only way to describe it is, everywhere is a fire and there is no frying pan anywhere!

    The new college was ok, but they were just preparing for a re-inspection so the level of stress was just too intense. Everything had to be documented, every single student issue logged, Personal Learning Plans updated, SOW meticulously created, lesson plans completed using new and more intense templates.

    The job, something I had been doing for years, quite successfully I must add, reduced me to tears, I had severe anxiety followed by more tears in office. No job before has ever forced me into tears. When I was too sick to go in, and the Curriculum Manager had rung me 4 times on one night when I was off, I thought enough is enough - time to walk away.

    So I resigned before I had anything to go to but everyone was trying to convince me to stay, the principal even asked me to change my mind. He said if I ever decide to come back that I should contact him directly, bypassing HR. I was told by my colleagues, CM and the students that the students really enjoyed my lessons and I was best lecturer they had. That was the high I wanted to leave on.

    However, with the change in rules forcing teens into education till they're 18, the students that we were getting in the classrooms were not as high achieving as I was used to, as schools were keeping the more academically able. So the teaching was becoming a challenge, or more of a challenge. Then you have to contend barrages of information in meetings, with Deputy Principals telling you that you are no longer a lecturer, you are data manager. Everything I started teaching to achieve had been slowly eroded so that bums on seats, targets and tables were the focus.

    The reason I chose to post was to (vent a little!) but mainly to ask if anyone else who has left teaching has had doubts whether they have made the decision. I am going to miss the students who want to attend, want to achieve, want to further themselves but I am not going to miss the above stuff.

    The other worry I have is things like money, holidays and pension is not as good in the scary new world. I am in my first few weeks so this anxiety I feel is probably magnified. I have managed to catch up with some of my ex colleagues and they all say how I will not regret my move.

    I even had thoughts I might go back as it's what I know! And I never thought I'd say that!
    JeanL likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Leave 'em wanting more. Yes, you'll take a financial hit and only you know whether you can cope with that but as an early-retired I don't regret it for a second. It was going down the tubes in 2013 and I know it's got steadily worse.

    I too left on a high on my own terms. You were a data manager, were you? No wonder you got out. Good luck and best wishes.
    JeannieMc and schoolsout4summer like this.
  3. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    I left a role last summer because I felt so stressed and depressed. I didn't have another job to go to, but I have enough finance to tick over for a while. It's taking me longer to get back to my former self than I thought and I do occasionally wonder if I should not have taken such drastic action. But then we only have one life, so need to make the most of it. And when I spoke to an ex-colleague at the weekend who didn't know I'd left, and she immediately referred to the backstabbing, toxic environment, I knew I'd done the right thing. It's natural for you to wonder, but it sounds to me as if you made the right decision.
  4. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I left teaching mainly due to the workload and behaviour management issues. I enjoy what I do now (I wont clarify as it could identify) which is a support role but of course the pay is les and I am full time (ie not 13 weeks holiday per year.)
    There are occasions when I feel a bit 'left out' not being a teacher and sometimes I see what goes on in lessons and am sure I could do a better job. But then I remember the feelings of dread when certain classes were due to come in and the stress of it all, early morning waking not being able to get back to sleep etc.
  5. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Nearly six months since I left and the best thing I ever did.

    Had to take a hit financially but pay is going up next month to not far off teaching levels.

    As for less holidays, this is an interesting one. I have less 'holiday' but more free time than ever. I am time rich! Every weekend is free as is every evening. Treated like an adult rather than a child and not micromanaged to death.

    I do miss the buzz in the classroom but doubt I will ever go back. I do hear the continuing horror stories of my last school. One teacher of Physics who arrived in September is leaving next week as he's had enough. Another physics teacher (with excellent GCSE class results I might add) has been told she's 'cause for concern' due to her marking. She's looking for the door as well.

    Schools just seem to want to shoot themselves in the foot and are losing staff in shortage subjects who know they can be better off elsewhere.
  6. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    I've gone from being adamant that I'm not going back, to realising that I miss the kids (obviously nothing else!) and going back in a very small way (121 tutoring with perm excl child), it's reminding me of all the good things, but also the bad things. Every week I spend about 4 hours planning and assessing, 4 1/2 hours travelling and 6 hours teaching. I get paid for 6 hours. I'm right back where I was - I love the teaching side of things, it's brilliant, but I'm spending far too much time on the rest and it's taking over more than it should.
    Don't go back, keep it as a happy memory!
    Anonymity and JeannieMc like this.
  7. cakebytheocean

    cakebytheocean New commenter

    Thanks for your responses, and sorry for the delay - I tried to be nowhere near my computer over the long weekend.

    I do miss the kids, they kept the job varied. as well as the not-so-much-backstabby colleagues. Financially, I'll get by - food will be on the table and bills will be paid.

    So I'm probably more mourning my career I think :confused:
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Nail on the head.

    You still operate mentally on a career basis as if these were the days when education was valued and educators were respected. Well, those days are gone.

    What's wanted is a drone. Many drones. Many dispensable, cheap, suggestible drones. There's a race to the bottom. Pay less. Sell off assets. It's a quickly accelerating process and some of us haven't wanted to acknowledge it because it traduces the job we loved. Sad.

    Best wishes.
    Anonymity likes this.
  9. JeanL

    JeanL New commenter

    Some coaching might help. When I left teaching last year I did 6 sessions of personal coaching to get over the grief of leaving/losing my profession and embarking on something new and scary.

    What I found out was that my identity & self worth are tightly tied to my profession, so suddenly no profession = no identity or self worth.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  10. cakebytheocean

    cakebytheocean New commenter

    Thank you to the both of you - I was having trouble understanding why I was feeling the way I was and you've helped so much.

    I have arranged to see someone to discuss things and hopefully I get some closure like you did.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good luck to you all


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