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Is the grass really greener? Come on, be honest!

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by TheGentleman, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Are there any forum members out there who have left the profession for pastures new/greener, but in time realised that said pasture is not all it's cracked up to be and either (i) returned to old pasture or (ii) is yearning for old pasture?

    Rather than hear from those who have found a greener/nicer pasture (I am truly happy for you), it would be good to hear from those who had or are having regrets.

  2. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Not yet. The struggle to be accepted into a new role is more challenging than others may admit. Having broken through to the interview stages, the latest personal battle, so to speak, include an offering of a position. Employers, in my opinion, tend to belittle teachers if they're cynical about your intentions of a career change.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  3. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Well done on making the break for the border. I do hope pasture is greener for you ....... It takes time.
    thekillers likes this.
  4. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Oh god no. 35 days leave a year and I have more holidays than I ever had as a teacher. Sundays are mine and I don't lurch from holiday to holiday like a zombie. And I really don't miss the horrendous annual shriek fest that was results day with the churning and a-gurning.

    But I miss teaching for sure. I quite liked it. Miss my lovely classes. But never going back. The work life balance and injustice of being accountable for results which are affected by factors beyond my control means that the job I loved has gone.

    Shedman, BioEm, rizzrazz and 17 others like this.
  5. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    But, can you hand on heart say that life outside education is as great as you always thought it would be.

    I suppose what I am trying to establish is whether teachers have unrealistic expectations of what life is really like outside education. Does working outside the classroom live up to your expectations or do you have to tell yourself (and others) it does (even if it doesn't) because admitting it doesn't would mean admitting you were wrong to leave.
    Sinnamon likes this.
  6. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    What's your job?
  7. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Thanks mate
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I was talking to someone the other day about union casework and so on. She has left teaching, but continues to work for the union, I've only left state school teaching for the independent sector.

    She feels the grass isn't greener, just a a different shade of green and tries hard to get that across to people who want her to help them out of teaching altogether.

    A different school, or different sector can be greener.
  9. lars

    lars New commenter

    I left teaching after a few years and worked in a few different jobs - careers adviser, team leader of careers advisers and then went to work for the Home Office. In the end those jobs turned out to be boring!! I certainly didn't miss the holidays and I didn't suffer financially. So after just over 5 years I came back to teaching. I'm part-time and have absolutely no intention of working full time. That's how it stays manageable for me.
  10. lprandall21

    lprandall21 New commenter

    I don't know if this counts, but I did quite the opposite. Having graduated with a semi-useless degree and refusing to return home I turned my part-time job into a full time thing. It was mildly challenging, good money, career progression and allowed me plenty of time and opportunity for a good social life. After 5 years and no passion for my career or job satisfaction I decided to go for a new vocation. I'd been volunteering with rainbows, brownies and guides on a night and really enjoyed planning fun activities and working with children so decided to try being a teaching assistant. After 2 years at this I knew it was where my passion lay so completed the school direct teacher training route.

    Having just completed my NQT year, in what I must say has been a fairly turbulent year for education, I am sure I will never look back! The job satisfaction and daily fun far outweigh the workload and various other drawbacks. I'm not saying we shouldn't keep advocating for better work conditions and stable curriculum, but this is absolutely the best and most rewarding job in the world!
  11. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    I am in the same boat - moving from working outside education towards the classroom. The reason for my post is the fact that I have worked in various jobs/sectors that never floated my boat - boring, not challenging, pressurised, political, sharp elbows, micro-managed bla blah blah. It wasnt until I started working at a school (c. 3 years ago in a unqualified capacity) that work started to feel like.....well not work.

    I know it is horses for courses, but I sometimes worry when I hear a lot if forum members deriding teaching (albeit for very good and genuine reasons) that life beyond education might leave them cold and not be everything they hoped it would be. Same poo; different smell.

    I hope not and they find the grass greener, but I also hope they don't see life outside the classroom as gold plated and rose tinted.

  12. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    That describes the teaching environment I left.

    (Well it was challenging - but not,I think, in the way you mean)
    BioEm, agathamorse and ilovesooty like this.
  13. MonstieBags

    MonstieBags Occasional commenter

    This is so refreshing to hear - I am finally taking the PGCE this year after years of god awful work (accounting and project management- so not humdrum or low paid). After I had my son, I started working as a lecturer in ICT in FE - I loved it - I spent hours every evening planning. I knew straight away that teaching was for me so took a degree with the OU and then spent three years as a TA in different years to see what age group I preferred. I can't wait to get started - i tutor so already spend every spare minute I have researching and planning lessons - it's my hobby so I am hoping that teaching will mean just doing my hobby all day.
    I will probably get a massive reality check at some point but I know for a fact that it won't come from the work life balance aspect.
    I hope you continue to love what you are doing, and hope that I am as lucky.
  14. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Good for you. I suspect you will soon be hit by a barrage of posts saying how naive and green you are and how your rose tinted glasses will slip quickly. I suspect that yes, you, me and others who are excited about the future in education will have the wind taken out of our sails at some point, but don't let the naysayers put you off and deflate and deride your confidence and enthusiasm. genuine horror stories abound on this community forum, but it doesn't have to be the same for you, me, others.

    Education offers different shades of green to different people (as @caterpillartobutterfly so eloquently put it. Find your shade and don't look back.
  15. MonstieBags

    MonstieBags Occasional commenter

    If all the yay sayers could be together in one school, then something truly magical might happen!
    lprandall21 likes this.
  16. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Teaching can be a fantastic way of life. Good luck with finding a school that suits you, that is probably the most important factor.
    But do expect it to be very tiring and to leave little room for other parts of your life.
    I now regard it as an extended shift system. 6 weeks on, 1 week a little less, 6 weeks on... and so on.
    BioEm, BYusuf and agathamorse like this.
  17. lprandall21

    lprandall21 New commenter

    I am so glad there are others who love it as much as I do. I totally agree that the school you are in has a huge impact on your experience, you have to agree with most of the policies and share an ethos. I know many teachers in schools where too much is asked of them and expectations are unrealistic, but I've also seen that in many jobs outside of education.
    I too see it as a hobby that I don't mind spending all that extra time on because I get so much out of it too!
    Good luck on your PGCE it's a tough year but totally worth it!
    Ps I'm sure much of this enthusiasm come from the fact that it's nearing the end of summer hols, speak to me the last few days of an 8 week term and I can barely string a sentence together, but after a few days rest I'm ready to jump back in!
    Enjoying your job is important because you spend half your life there, whether in or out of education, everybody needs a good quality of life.
    MonstieBags and (deleted member) like this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No it doesn't have to be the same, but sometimes there is no choice about becoming a victim of bullying. It happens to you before you even realise it and then you wonder what the heck you will do now. BUT make sure you are in a union, they will support you in fighting or getting out. And make sure you try other schools before you give up entirely. Some schools are horrific places to work, but the profession is still a fabulous one.

    Ohhhh yes...the end of the summer holidays is always the easiest time to be super positive. But if you still like it, even when utterly knackered, you know you are doing the right thing.

    I've stuck it out for 20 years now, so it can't be all bad!
    BioEm, bob79, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  19. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    I think to be happy in teaching, two things have to happen:

    (a) You have to have the kind of personality that makes you well suited to teaching
    (b) You have to find yourself in at least a half decent working environment

    If these two things click, then you have to prospect of an enjoyable career, although even then you have to accept that teaching comes with its drawbacks.

    The myriad of posts on this board are probably from people who don't fit one of these two criteria. There are plenty of people who don't meet point (a) but battle on. I think especially when it comes to behaviour management it's a personality thing, if you don't have it you've gotta accept that and it's the right thing to move on.

    But on point (b) there are some, indeed many, schools where the climate is so bad that no one is likely to succeed and flourish. These teachers are best advised to try somewhere else first before leaving I think.

    But overall since there are all too many bad schools and since there are many drawbacks of teaching even if you do have the right personality, teaching is not a career that I could even recommend to anyone else in good conscience.
    BioEm, wanet, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  20. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Shift system - I think that is a great way of approaching the job. When I left education (as a student) 17 odd years ago, the biggest shock on joining the workforce was the fact that there never seemed like there was any light at the end of the tunnel. Work just seemed to stretch in front of me forever, with just the odd holiday to break it up. Teaching holidays provide that light (and yes it is deserved), were other jobs just don't.

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