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

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

  1. Purplepasta326

    Purplepasta326 New commenter

    A really interesting thread. My experience is similar to many on here- drained, burnt out and bitter I 'left' nearly 3 years ago, but ended up doing some supply, then changing from primary to secondary and I love it! It has nothing to do with where I was or where I am now, but with my own perspective.

    Time away from things and supply teaching made me change my opinion of what good teaching, good schools etc really look like. I am very cynical over 'grades' and hoop jumping, and I no longer feel a desperate need to please. I do still work hard, but my focus has returned to the children rather than those above me, I'm selective in where I focus my attention and I stay out of drama. I no longer strive for pay progression or leadership, and am happy just being a good teacher, and as a result my lessons and books are the best they have ever been!
    Shedman and (deleted member) like this.
  2. aayaf24

    aayaf24 New commenter

    I can completely empathise with those commentators who feel graviated towards a different sector, especially after a few years in teaching.

    The fundamental factor is a passion for educating kids. We don't do it for money, it's simply feeling rewarded that a child goes: 'Ohh...yeah that makes sense' when they come to their own conclusion.

    I must admit, working in schools as an Inclusion Officer was not my first job choice. Too many personal negative experiences being a terrible school. However I have began to love what I do especially when I lead interventions of between two to eight kids. That's where I see efficient, focused learning.

    To those who feel the 'niggling' of 'is this the right career for me?' I have one piece of advice: don't jump ship. Gain experience in another sector, whether that's NGO, creative arts, PR by volunteering or freelancing sustainably in your free time. You can judge how much time you wish to free for other pursuits, whether that's three nights a week or 2 hours a fortnight.

    Over the course of a six months you will gain a picture of whether your hobby will remain a hobby of whether it's something you wish to pursue full time. This can be anything, wedding planning, photography, playing in a band...

    On a personal note, I'm gonna give stand up comedy a stab as I've always felt I've got a funny bone.
    eleanorms likes this.
  3. minceandquince

    minceandquince New commenter

    I say for me, yes, the grass was certainly greener.

    I had a lovely job as an environmental education officer. A really fun and interesting job. But the best part of it was that I did my 37 hours a week and did not have to think about work when I got home, unless I wanted to.

    Unfortunately it was only a fixed term contract as it was part of a funded project, as a lot of these jobs are. I loved it though.
    BioEm likes this.
  4. MissBee741

    MissBee741 New commenter

    I left teaching in July 2015 after 2 years (including my NQT year).

    Do I miss it?

    Not. At. All.

    I am extremely lucky to have a job as an HLTA working with children in care on a 1:1 basis. I still get to use my teaching skills but without the pressures of marking, rigid lesson planning and jumping through numerous flaming hoops.

    The only thing I am yearning for is further training - I am interested in dyslexia and also therapeutic writing but am confident I'll get there.

    For me, I wrangled with the decision to leave and for me and my health, it was the best decision I could have made. I won't lie - I do miss the money!
    BioEm, henrypm0 and ValentinoRossi like this.
  5. MissBee741

    MissBee741 New commenter

    Think about what you do enjoy about it and look into alternative education - try the local authority, charities or virtual schools. Perhaps consider tutoring?
  6. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Is the grass greener? Yes and no. I left the classroom to become a Science consultant and thoroughly enjoyed the experience / opportunities. Even though I supported schools in a variety of ways, in time I realised that I really did miss teaching my own class on a regular basis and I missed being part of a school community. When the opportunity came for me to go back into a school, I grabbed it with both hands. The whole experience made me realise that in spite of any challenges, teaching is what I genuinely love. Becoming a consultant also allowed me to discover a love for coaching and training others. So it's great to have these skills that I can also utilise.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  7. nailed

    nailed New commenter

    This thread is very interesting! I am considering my options as I have been a teacher (primary) for 15 years and have started to wonder about life in the future. I have worked in a couple of schools during this time (left one due to bad management etc) and have done a fantastic term of supply after leaving that school.
    My family became larger by one child recently and I want to spend more time with them rather than the whole weekend on the laptop and I'm just getting fed up of the constant changing views in education.
    I suppose I want to know what my career could become and what my qualifications could direct me towards - I like education and wouldn't rule that out in future but I also think about leaving education totally.
    Apart from those others who have stated what they have done since leaving teaching, what job has anyone else started and how did you get there?
  8. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    Relevant suggestions will all depends on which aspects of education that you have a preference for...

    Do you have particular skills that you want to utilise more?

    What, within education, presently appeals to you?
  9. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    I've left industry to teach then going right back there again ... can't do this anymore.
  10. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    How long have you been teaching for?

    Was there anything in particular, which made you decide to return back to industry?
  11. nailed

    nailed New commenter

    Thanks or your reply BYusuf, I have recently been told how children become calmer when they are with me - mainly because of my high expectations for behaviour, structured lessons and routines in the classroom so I guess this would be a plus point for what I want.

    I love to learn and present new things and ideas to children who have limited experience as well. I am also a science leader within school and have brought a lot of new experiences to the school, including whole-school challenges, assessment systems, a new investigation format and ideas to improve practice so I guess these work in my favour also.

    I suppose I still have a lot to offer education but am feeling quite tired from all of the governmental changes that have filtered into schools. The pressure is so much these days and I wonder if it's all worth continuing to flog myself with the efffort until my retirement years (I'm only 43)!!

  12. Cadman1979

    Cadman1979 New commenter

    I thought I would add my experience to this thread.

    I worked in industry for 8 years before teaching, then taught for 11 years. During that time, I worked up through the ranks and ended up in Middle Leadership where a bad experience left me completely worn out & disillusioned.

    I always knew that I wanted to teach but also that it wouldn't be sustainable forever and my school were supportive in finding me a position in exams.

    The money is worse and that has been the main struggle and the holidays were scary but working in exams meant that I built up a lot of time in lieu and the fact that I am completely 'there' when I am at home with my children instead of working and I get home at a reasonable time is great.

    I don't miss teaching but I do miss the relationships with students and seeing them 'take flight' as they grow & learn.

    As for the grass being greener, the thing I miss most is having a direction of travel - I always like to have a career path / plan which I don't have in my job now and the reason I ended up on this thread is because I am trawling the forums looking for ideas - I am considering a project management qualification or possibly an MBA to open up some new routes. My main problem now is that there seem to be a number of routes to take so I don't know what to do for the best!
    Ashleystar and BioEm like this.
  13. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    I miss aspects of my former pasture (the challenge, the kids, talking about History all day...) but mainly I miss being on my PGCE course with my training-colleagues as it was genuinely the best year of my life. I was in the wrong pasture, so others may have been greener, but I did not have the strength to try and sift through and find the right one. I will always yearn for the pasture I could have had.

    This new, non-teaching pasture is a little thinner financially and not as interesting, but at least i'm not lonely, missing my family or seriously damaging my health.

    I appreciate money (I work in recruitment now, kind of a given.) but my health and family is so much more valuable.
    BioEm likes this.
  14. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    Literally couldn't be greener for me!

    I fell into my dream job with a group of colleagues I really enjoy working with. The pay isn't great but I top it up with tutoring, which doesn't feel like work, and I'm in the middle of setting up my own business. I feel better than my old self, confident, determined and I laugh all the time. My employer respects me and my opinions are valued. I earn more now too. Sure I work long hours but nowhere near what I worked as a teacher and I have time to do things for myself.

    I loved teaching. Loved it and I was good at it. I HATED being a teacher. I do miss it though which is why I come here - to remind myself not to go back...

    Although every time I read one of caterpillar to butterfly's posts I really want to work in her school.
  15. hardyfan

    hardyfan New commenter

    What was the dream job you fell into, Billie?
  16. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    It started as an entry level stock analysis and data entry role, now I'm a buyer/ copywriter/project manager. It's totally random but I really enjoy it. Being a teacher definitely helped as my transferable skills have put me in a management role that didn't exist until I showed them what I could do.
    Shedman, BioEm and Tinycat1234 like this.
  17. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    What I will say is, while the grass was defintely greener, there are a lot of weeds and bramble to wrestle with in order to enjoy the lawn.
    Some days the stress and workload is almost unbearable and I feel burned out but I have to compare those days with the school year being like that.
    Deirds likes this.
  18. GoGoTeacherArms

    GoGoTeacherArms Occasional commenter

    For me the grass has definitely been greener. But the journey getting here has not been the most pleasant of meadows. Beautiful wild flowers yes, but also plenty of nettles.

    I taught for 8 years working my way up to head of year and subject leader. Over the years my enthusiasm slowly disappeared to be replaced by worry and stress. I ached for the weekends and the holidays. Then I spent a week in hospital in Jan 2015 with pneumonia. I made the decision at that point that it was time to leave. I left that summer.

    But I am lucky. My partner was/is in a very well paid job. We reassessed everything - finances, where we were going to live, what we wanted to do with our lives! Although it was going to be trickier than a magician's cupboard, we embarked on a new chapter of our lives.

    I had no idea what to do and was in no mans land for a good three months. Then I started buying vintage typewriters and doing them up to sell on (I'd been doing this since I was a teenager but had never sold them on before!) I soon realised I didn't want to spend my life sending heavy parcels to the USA and got bored.

    My partner suggested I write. She knows I have always loved it and was eager for me to try it for a living. My partner was fully supportive in every which way, especially financially! And so I began writing.

    For the past six months I have been a "proper" freelance writer. I earn money (nowhere near at the level as I was when teaching) but this is improving weekly. I get commissioned to write articles on a variety of topics. I'm never bored. I love being creative and I am my own boss.

    My partner and I moved from down south to the Peak District to be closer to family and my partner has also moved into contracting work. So we are both now self employed and loving every minute of it.

    I am hopeful that in the next 9-12 months I'll be at a much more comfortable place financially. If I didn't have my partner, I wouldnt have been able to change my career. I'm hugely fortunate.
    BioEm and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  19. September

    September New commenter

    I have just came across this Thread and it has given me inspiration to look for an alternative career. Yesterday was my first official day as a person with no job. I have left my school and don't know what the future holds but I am optimistic after reading this Thread. I have not totally ruled out a return to a school but I am going to be very selective about what I apply for if I do. In the meantime I am going to enjoy next week and the following weeks. Some posters commented that there are a lot of ex teachers who stay on the TES forums; I think it is a good idea as there is always someone that you can give support to even if you leave the profession. Once a teacher always a teacher and we can empathise with teachers who are going through their struggles.
    BioEm and peggylu like this.
  20. PGstudent

    PGstudent New commenter

    I'm considering a return. I had a rough PGCE year then an okay pre-reg year in primary but I was far too stressed, too young, had zero confidence and didn't know how to ask for extra support as I thought it was a sign of weakness. I've done HE admin, local government admin, tefl in China. All with interesting aspects although admin quickly gets boring. However pay and promotion prospects were poor.

    I've felt a lack of identity since I left teaching but had also felt a bit of an 'other' when I was teaching- imposter syndrome. I still see books and kids' toys and think about which ones would make good classroom resources. I'm trying to remember why I left in the first place and be honest with myself if I really have changed so much. Will I be able to handle the pressure? I used to wake up regularly in the middle of the night trying to teach a reading group in my bedroom. I lost my voice. Even the thought of observations makes me feel sick! Am I being lured in by what I think is a good wage instead of the reality of the job? I'm aiming to do voluntary work in a school which should help with figuring out some of my feelings.

    I have to admit, I'm also considering going into HR. I enjoy working with adults and my observations of my work interviewing at Citizens Advice have been good so I've got more self- confidence in this area. However. I have less knowledge of what it would actually entail despite reading quite a bit on the subject. Admin posts are also hard to come by to get a first foot in the door. Maybe I'm choosing teaching as it seems an easier option to get into? I don't know. I'm extremely confused by the whole situation.

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