1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Leaving teaching - Am I weak?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by dancermegz, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. dancermegz

    dancermegz New commenter

    I'm very seriously considering leaving teaching, because I simply don't enjoy it and don't want to do it any more.
    I've had an unsettled year, and have just started work at school number 3 for this year (having just moved 300 miles from home). This job isn't what I expected it to be, it's much further away from my new home than I would have wanted (I spend 2 hours a day driving there and back). The staff are nice and welcoming, and the children are lovely too, but it's not a good fit. I've not been here long but I know it's not for me. There's a potential I may be moved closer to home in September but even so, I don't want to be onto school number 4 in the space of a year, and the bottom line is, I don't want to teach right now.
    I've been considering this decision since last summer, and the only reason I can think to stay is that teaching pays better than another job I could get - But I can't stay just for the money.
    I was signed off sick for a month before I moved, and I was dreading starting my new job. While I feel better, and less horrid, I still don't feel great and hate the stress teaching places on my life.
    I also can't stand the idea of staying til Christmas, so if I'm going I need to get on with it.
    I've only been teaching for 4 years, and while I haven't always enjoyed my experiences, especially this last year, I know that others have it so much worse and are still sticking with it - am I being weak by giving in?
    Also, any advice for career changes from teaching? This job is what I've worked towards since I was 15 so I hate that I'm considering chucking it away, but my heart just isn't in it any more. My degree before teacher training was English Literature and Creative Writing if that helps.
    My brain is muddled with all this and so I'm hoping someone can get my thoughts in order.
  2. BurntOutTeacher35

    BurntOutTeacher35 New commenter

    No, you are not weak!
  3. BurntOutTeacher35

    BurntOutTeacher35 New commenter

    Didnt meant post incomplete message so went to edit it and lost all I wrote! Sigh.

    You are not weak!

    It is a difficult decision to make especially when you say it's been your dream job since 15. You said the job is not what you thought and that doesn't mean you have to stick with it just because that was your plan. Plans change.

    I've handed in my notice this morning and currently awaiting a response! It was a difficult decision to make but when it came down to it my main reasons for to stay were the pay, holidays and status of being a teacher!

    I'm sure others will be alone shortly to offer advice - I've had some amazing advice and support over the past few months and didnt want to just read and run!

  4. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    I don't see that as weak at all. In my eyes, weak is when you don't have the courage to change something so important.

    Not sure that's helpful though.
  5. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Lil's right.

    Don't. A job like teaching isn't for everyone especially in these toxic times.

    As for what you can do? I have no answer to that, but many people have gone from teaching into productive jobs elsewhere. Keep looking.
    Good luck.
  6. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    You are not weak.
  7. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Not weak at all!
    It takes courage to leave. I know, I’ve done it twice.
    Don’t hang around because the pay trap will only get worse.

    Good luck.
  8. geraldbeattie

    geraldbeattie New commenter

    Try not to do yourself down. You have a degree. That in itself shows a potential employer that you can study to a particular level. It is in English Literature and Creative Writing, with all the skills that entails. You can analyse literature and come to conclusions. You can write creatively. You need to analyse your own skills and try to see where that can fit to something other than teaching. There is life outside teaching. Have a look at some of the skills analysis websites. Also the University you graduated from may still allow access to some of their help and support in pursuing a different career. Best wishes.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Look on job sites. Guardian jobs. Charity sector jobs. Everything!

    dropped out after one year at uni
    bank clerk for 3 years
    uni for 3 years
    PGCE for a year
    teaching/having kids for the next 32 years - lots of school changes - lots
    voluntary work

    Have I failed?
    Yeah. Multiple times. Still am failing. Still can't dance. My pianistic ability is declining. But look on the bright side. I have three dogs and a wonderful wife.

    Have I failed?
    No. I have just been a human being and human beings do crazy, good, bad, amazing, destructive things.

    Failure is GOOD anyway. Towards the end of my career I became really alarmed by students telling me about their fear of failure. Embrace it! It's OK! It's fine. It's no BAD. It's annoying sometimes. And inconvenient. Sometimes embarrassing. But we've all dropped our mobile down the toilet or taken our eyes off the speedo and done 32 in a 30 or forgotten to put sugar in the scones. It's all OK.
  10. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    No. You are sensible. Not weak.
    Go for it.
    There are lots of opportunities out there.
    If you feel like it you can always return in 5 years time when schools will be desperate for teachers.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Are you interested in law? How about nursing? Social work?

    Dont forget the trades either like plumbing or electrician.

    You will have to retrain but it woll be worth it and as saluki says you can always go back. You are not weak but brave.
  12. BioEm

    BioEm Occasional commenter

    Not weak, you're strong for knowing it's not working and wanting to address that rather than festering in a job that isn't right for you and making you miserable. Good luck!
  13. theschoolcounsellor

    theschoolcounsellor New commenter

    I was in a similar position to you. I realised I did not want to be a teacher any more after about 4 years in the profession.

    I began to retrain to be a counsellor. While training I had 2 children, taught music in 2 schools for 2 afternoons a week, did the odd bit of supply and worked as a family support worker.

    I now am back working 3 days in a school as a counsellor and love my job very much.

    There are lots of things out there that you can do - your teaching qualification, like mine, will always be extremely useful in opening other doors and has always been respected by other employers, particularly when applying to work with children and young people in other capacities.

    Good luck!
    caress, agcb256, dancermegz and 3 others like this.
  14. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    It’s not a case of being strong or weak, it’s a case of following the right option :) Your first sentence is reason enough to leave without a backward glance.

    But... just to play devil’s advocate... I’ve been in possibly up to 12 schools in 8 years. Beat that! Started off salaried staff, moved on from some horrid schools, started supply. Did up to three different schools a year. Despite all the odds, my mother said “don’t leave teaching”. Thanks to her, i finally have my dream job of a part time languages job at a brilliant school. I’m so bloody glad I didn’t change my career. I do feel as if i have been on a Crusade or something, (haha) but I’m experienced as any SLT.

    Good luck!
  15. Mooseydog

    Mooseydog New commenter

    You are being far too hard on yourself; teachers often are. The job has failed you in the sense that it wasn't what you thought it was. Don't make yourself ill or pass on stress to your family. Time to start afresh and use your degree as a way of changing career, it doesn't have to be anything related to your degree. Interviewers will be sympathetic.
  16. pwtin

    pwtin Star commenter

    Not weak at all, it takes strength to admit to yourself something is not for you and be prepared to do something about it.
  17. ET1984

    ET1984 New commenter

    Can I ask how long the training took you and was it expensive? Counselling is always something that has interested me. Thank you
    jlishman2158, agcb256 and dancermegz like this.
  18. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    I spent at least 10 years too long in mainstream. During that time I missed a huge chunk of my son growing up. Work out your hourly rate - that will open up new thinking.
    Personally I think getting out is brave, I was too scared for too long and did immeasurable damage to my health and relationships. This was mostly because my perspective was utterly off.
    Believe it or not one of my biggest fears about leaving was that my parents would be embarrassed! It was actually a real fear which seems ridiculous now.
    Do what's best for you, put yourself first and enjoy the journey :)
    Best wishes xx
  19. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Nothing wrong with changing career path - lots of people do it and the experience you have gained in teaching will still be of great value in another area of work.

    Finding another job can be daunting but think about the careers that the other students who graduated with the same degree as you are doing - are you still in contact with any of them, those connections can be a good way into another career.
    You may not earn as much to start with, you might earn more, but you may discover that the extra time and energy you have in another job allows you to do additional part time work to supplement your income while you are training. People often forget that most jobs finish when you leave the workplace - teaching doesn't. Which is why teachers are often too exhausted to do anything extra.

    Good luck with your future - there is so much you will find that you can do once you get past this point in your life.
  20. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    A tactical retreat is never weakness it is admitting you are not in a position to win the battle.

    Sometimes you need to go away and look at your options look at life outside of teaching get a different perspective if this is all you have worked towards maybe you need to see outside the profession. You may enjoy it or you may come back with a different focus and mindset.

Share This Page