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Leaving teaching?

Discussion in 'Professional development' started by stormysky, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. I have nearly cried whilst reading the whole of this forum. I'm so sad that so many people are so unhappy in their jobs but at the same time, so relieved that I'm not alone.
    I've just started my fourth year of teaching; I love my class, I love TEACHING, I love my colleagues. BUT I'm so so unhappy. The Head cannot manage at all, the parental pressure is unbearable (independent school), there's always something I feel I'm not doing right, even though I work my backside off. The Head does not know the meaning of support - or didn't, until I handed in my notice two weeks ago... only now has she realised just how much pressure I'm under and how much I feel I'm drowning. It's not because I haven't mentioned anything, it's just she's never taken me seriously.
    I think I'm a really good teacher - my lessons are fun, I get on really well with my class, I'm lucky not to have any behavioural issues (only mild ones) and I get good results from the kids... but I just feel sick to go to school anymore.
    The main reason is parental pressure - so many times I've been blamed for things that I have no control over. I'm constantly questioned about my teaching methods, always being complained about (one complaint was when I didn't mark some work on the same day - I actually got sent home ill that day and was off the next... and I was made to apologise and told to 'prioritise'...)... I'm actually feeling paranoid. Everytime I hear that the Head is in a meeting with a parent (which is a regular occurence), I get worried thinking it's one of mine and I start scanning and thinking about everything I've done over the last few weeks - what might have been misinterpreted, what didn't I mark by accident, or what did I say?
    And you know, this wouldn't be a problem, IF we got support from the Head, but she's so petrified of parents taking their kids out of school, meaning we lose funding, that she will do and say almost anything to keep them, even if it's completely detrimental to the child (e.g. pushing a child onto a higher reading level than they're actually able to read, just because the parent think they should be there - doesn't matter the fact it will wreck the child's confidence when they can't read it and will end up with them slipping backwards!).
    So, I want to get out. I'm literally writing a job application but I don't even know if I want to teach anymore. The new school seems fantastic, but I don't know if my heart's in it. I'm worried about moving from independent to state and the class has 37 children...
    I'm worried that I don't have a life, I'm worried I'll change schools and it will be worse than the school I'm in. I have to go because I've handed my notice in but I'm just scared about the future. I've tried looking for jobs that are in education but aren't teaching (like education officers for charities and animal charities) but there are just none in the area that I live and I can't just up and move because of my husband's job.
    My Mum has been so upset recently because she says I've really changed from the bright and bubbly person I used to be. I don't have any energy when I get home to do anything but just crash on the sofa and I'm constantly feeling guilty if I do have an evening where I don't do any work, because there's always something I could be doing.
    I hate feeling like this and although I have a way out of my school (bring on Easter...!) and I don't know if I should be trying to leave teaching for good, too.
    Good luck to all those in similar situations - you are not alone, worryingly.. x
  2. Whata nightmare. How did we all end up like this? It's weird, because I've dropped to 3 days a week and moved to an independent school too, but the reality is it hasn't made one jot of difference. I too seem to have lost all my spark and it takes me all my time to smile. Just feel like it's sucking the life out of me and I spend all day thinking about what else I could do. Desperate to have a job working from home so I can have a cup of tea when I want and go to the loo when I want!!
    Any ideas???
    People often seem to post messages about working from home or starting up a business but they never seem to divulge what it is - would love to know. I think for me as for most people, it's the loss of income that frightens me the most. OH situation very bad, not a lot of work at the mo, so relying on my income. Would be great do do something that makes me want to get up in the morning and put my make-up on again, rather than going to work looking an unhappy mess!
  3. I've written a thread myself about my unhappiness in schools. I'm waiting for a decision from the bank on a business loan tomorrow mornin. If successful, my partner and I will become the landlords of a country local village pub not far from us. I've been in teaching for 3 years and started out with loads of 'wow' and energy and optimism. I've been covering maternities over 2 schools since my GTP year and although I loved the last school, I've realised that as a person, I'm feeling totally caged in, like a battery hen just ther to do what I'm told and lay my eggs on time, with little room for manouver.
    An ealier post on here said about losing their personality - I can definitely identify with this. I was off for 2 weeks after the recent half term and it gave me a lot ot thinking time. Up to then I had been increasingly losing faith and confidence in myself and wondering why I felt so weak. I was feeling a total sap, unable to cope with little things and had started to take 'Kalms' tablets to keep me calm and stop the nightly panic attacks. I am normally a very strong willed guy ( yet a bit shy admittedly with colleagues) and after being bullied in a previous job as a manager years ago (I'm 27), I swore I'd never let myself lose faith in myself again. Yet teaching crushed me to a pulp and after my 2 week absence I was having panic attacks getting to school.
    I felt so ashamed at myself for giving in at first but fortunately, I have a strong 'angry' side when it comes to feeling like I'm being unjustly treated. Once this kicked in and I accepted that I should no longer just accept the status quo and soldier on until i got better at coping, my strong will and self-belief returned and my drive and energy is now channelled into getting myself outta there ASAP. I don't take offence if I'm left out of staff conversations or plans for the dept (which has been since my absence) and now nothing phases me at all - I'll take it in my stride until I'm gone.
    My point is that my way of coping was to accept that in my case, teaching didn't suit me and I had to REALLY accept it. Once that happened, there was no reason to beat myself up as the escape plan was being made every day.

    I hope that others in the same boat are able to realise whether it's for them or not. My observations, including during a recent inspection said that I was a very good teacher. I didn't let that stop me taking control of my life, if it isn't for you (and you'll know in your gut if it isn't), then take heart, have strength and resolve to help yourself - it's bloody hard to do - but you deserve it!!

  4. and I agree totally with another recent post - don't wait if your gut tells you you should go - do it before the pay kicks in - I'm on MPS 2 thanksfully so not a huge drop to go running a pub, but if it were 3 more years down the line...I don't know if I could do it (although I don't have kids so may be in a better position)
  5. Well, well, well. It certainly is interesting to see what other people's reactions have been.
    Many thanks for the people that bothered to reply and react to me. Much appreciated.
    Although things are going pretty well at the new school I am still working on a long term plan to get out. I want to start a part-time Masters next year (not education related). Unfortunately it's part-time during the day (how dumb is that?!) and so I've said to myself that the school will just have to let me continue part-time or get rid of me. I'm not bothered. I'd like to stay at the school at all costs really, but if they can't accomodate 3/4 days a week then I'm off. I'll do supply and maybe some tutoring to make ends meet if I need to, I'm not giving up moving my life on just because I can't keep my current job.
    So it's kind of strange. I HAVE gone back into teaching, but yet I haven't really. This is just to keep me ticking over until the other long-term solutions come through, which are in place and in motion.
    However, a word to many of you on here - you need to learn when to stop working and say no to more. I'm not talking about taking on responsibilities, I'm talking about the basics of planning, marking, *** meetings etc. I go in early to school (about 7:30/45am) work all day and through the lunchtimes and free periods - I stay in my room and crack on. I'm too talkative and end up wasting time chatting to people! Anyway, I also stay late until we're chucked out of the building at 5:30/5:45. And then I go home and take nothing with me, and don't take anything home at the weekends either.
    The other day I worked out how many hours this is. It's about 50 hours a week give or take. That means that even though as a teacher I have 13 weeks holiday, I still work about 200-250 hours more a year than someone who does 37.5 a week with only 4 weeks holiday.
    This fact made me feel much better about my work regime (which I was slight concerned was 'too lazy'!). Most people who work 50 hours a week in other industries get a damn site more than me (MPS 3 in Outer London).
    YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO STOP. I work my nuts off at work, come home and have a life, go to work the next day and do the same. It means I'm better at work, not bitter at home and I'm looking after my mental health - which many of you are obviously not doing here.
    This *is* a choice that you can make. Teaching is infinite. There is no end to it. There is always more marking, more coursework, better marking to be done, better planning/resources to be done/found. More initiatives to take on. More books to read. Better displays to stick up in the room. And there will always be complaints regardless of how good you are! You get the picture. So *you* have to say where stop is.
    Like I said, I've made my boundaries.Whatever isn't done in that time, just doesn't get done. End of. Of course, you have to work smart and be aware of how efficiently you're spending your time to get away with this (something that I didn't do in my training year - seeing my working week spiral up to 80 hours a week or more, particularly in the last 3 months. No efficiency + no boundaries = no life!).
    I strongly feel that for many of you, you need to set your own. Even if teaching is still not for you, you still need to get that work/life balance sorted. In most other jobs the balance is kind of set for you. But in teaching this isn't the case. Think about it and see what you can do for yourself.
    I hope this helps some of you with either dealing with teaching for the long haul or dealing with day-to-day whilst you consider your options.
  6. I handed my notice in 2 weeks ago after finding a job outside teaching, luckly I was given permission to leave at Christmas.
    It's such a relief, it's hard to express how great the feeling is. Knowing that in two and a half weeks time I will no longer have to face classes full of children, along with and end to the endless planning and preperation. It's fantastic.
    While a normal 9 to 5 job may pay less than teaching, the pay doenst justify the lifestyle I've lead for the last 3 years, I'm looking forward to getting my life back!
  7. I am so relieved to have found that topic! I have had my doubts about teaching. I have been working as a French assistant (like aurorem I am a native speaker) for 2 years in a school and have decided that I wanted to teach. However, like I said I have never been 100% sure about it. Still I applied for a GTP i have been accepted but cannot manage to find a school where to train and I have no support from the coordinator at the GTP which gave me time to think about my choice of career. I must add here that even though I am officially an assistant I do fill in some duties as a teacher as I work in an independent boarding school for girls and that therefore I am being used for other duties!
    Last summer I had to find a job (when you are an assistant you do not get paid during the summer holidays) to pay my bills. I found one in a tourist information centre where I worked from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. It was so great not having to bring work back home or prepare lessons during the weekend! My boyfriend and friends did notice that I was much happier and less stressed and I really enjoyed being able to use my language skills everyday!
    This job made me realise that teaching is not the only career and that it's never too late to change! Like many of you said why keep working in a job you hate when you can have a better life?
    Financially it did not affect me to work in toursim as as an assistant in the school I dont get much!
    So i have decided to not go for teaching and find a job where I can use my language skills and other skills I develop at the school! I live in the Lake District and there are lots of opportunities here in Tourism and Hospitality even though I might have to start at the bottom of the ladder!
    Good luck to everyone and thanks for this topic!
  8. ho1y I hope you don't mind but I have emailed you! Thank you Monkeyme.
  9. h01y

    h01y New commenter

    Monkey you have mail x
  10. Thanks ho1y I have replied!
  11. avoca75

    avoca75 New commenter

    I completely agree! My notice is going in on my birthday in May and I am counting the days off!
    I love working with the children but I really cant't stand how this job completely envelops my whole personal life. I too dropped down to three days but I get paid PPA so I do all my planning at home. I recently had a meeting with the Head abot 'directed time' and I really think this is at the heart of the rotten terms and conditions we work under. The 1265 hours per year is really an antiquated way to organise teachers hours and it gives Heads the power to decide the most ridiculous working conditions for staff and state its 'directed time'. One recent suggestion was a morning meeting all staff should attend commencing at 7.45! how many office workers would be prepared to put up with that!
    As to business opportunities , I can understand people not wanting to divulge their ideas, they have worked hard to put their business plans together. I would say to anyone ,look for something that you are great at,if you bake fabulous cakes that could be the start of a business.
    Don't expect to make a teacher's salary initially, but to be honest I would be prepared to stack shelves or work in a bar if it got my own business off the ground.
    My own plans are coming along and on my day off I have been booking courses with business link.....you should have seen the Heads face when she asked me to attend a training day on my day off and I told her I was pre booked on a business course!
    To all of you I would say that fear is the biggest barrier....go for it and make a life for yourself that you will enjoy.
    Good luck to everyone and enjoy the Christmas break
  12. I really liked your message. I'd be glad of any ideas. I'm in my NQT year and have just taken a fixed term job in a National Challenge School. Well I turned up 3 weeks before christmas, to find no schemes of work, that I teach in 9 different classrooms and my NQT mentor was off sick. The HoD was appointed a week after I started and was pure panicked with the amount of work she had to take on. I have spent a miserable christmas stressing about going back. The kids hate the subject (PSHE), I'm teaching all over the school so have to carry 3 bags of resources and a laptop. I spend my time either feeling humiliated, stressed or exhausted. I expected it not to be easy but I am really struggling, I keep ending up in tears, panicky or anxious and I'm not even at school for another 6 days.
    As it stands I'm not even in a contract as the school hasn't even got round to issuing me one. I could walk away now and not even put it on my CV or I could go back and struggle on. Then have to give a terms notice. I feel an utter failure. I don't really care that much about the school, the subject or the kids. I've spent loads of time working with disaffected children which has been easier than this school. Maybe its that I don't like the position of authority, which I do struggle with, I can't bear to be nagging at pupils to behave. I've had kids crawling around the floor, climbing out the window and a whole class who ignores me for the full hour lesson!
    Any ideas would be most gratefully received. Is this how teaching is? or is it just not for me! would love to hear some ideas
  13. I've also decided to leave teaching after eight years. I've reached the point where I am no longer prepared to have my life dominated by my job or thoughts about my job. What was once a job that I loved is now one that leaves me unable to sleep, relax or switch off.
    I long to be able to go out socially in the evenings again, just to the cinema or for an evening class, without feeling utterly knackered or worried about having to stay in and mark / plan for the next day. I look forward to weekends that are actually my own, instead of filled with work-related preparations for the week ahead.
    I'm tired of pointless two hour twighlight meetings after school when I've already done the equivalent of 9-5. I'm fed up of being made to feel guilty for leaving 'early' if I go before 4pm, despite having already done a 8 hour day. I'm sick of 7.45am meetings and 'quick catch-ups' during my lunch or free periods.
    I'm sick of SMT, NQT, QTS, GTC, GTP, SEN, CRB, EAL, EFL, G&T, IEP, OFSTED, WAMG, TA, CPD, PPA, TLR and the like.
    I'm fed up of only being able to go for a bloody wee between 11-11.20am and 12.35-1.25pm. I'm also weary of needing a break after teaching non-stop, only to spend said break doing a duty.
    I'm tired of eating lunch whilst responding to stupid 'all staff' emails about kids I've never heard of, and not being able to carry a cup of tea in case I get sued for spilling it.
    I'm worried about spending more than two seconds alone with a child in case I get accused of something. I'm afraid to take in any valuables, after having cash and a camera stolen by pupils.
    I'm annoyed by colleagues dropping into my lessons unannounced because it's 'good practice'. Can you imagine an office where you can just perch on a colleague's desk and listen in to their phone calls or watch them filling in forms, just for their own development?
    I'm disgruntled about holidays which I can't choose the times of, and consequently having to beg for a day off for a wedding.
    I'm irritated by the way ill staff are treated with suspicion, despite them working in one of the most stressful jobs around and in one of the most bug-ridden environments possible. Is it so implausible that we may get ill? Or are we robots?
    It is for all these reasons that I will be resigning on 28th February.

    I have never felt so checked upon
  14. I am so "glad" to hear others speak of so many of the causes of what has turned me away from teaching.
    Am now in a situation where I cannot face returning in January and tbh my Kommandant has pretty much made it impossible for me to do so.
    Am applying for totally different jobs, nothing at all to do with me teaching, but am in a situation where I know from previous experiences with said Kommandant that I am unlikely to even get to interview stage due to the likelihood of a poor reference.
    Am willing to halve my salary and sell up my home, just to walk away - yet know to do this would be utterly foolish. Am I suppose lucky in that I assured I have an "openng" I can pursue with the cost ultimately being my current frugal life!
    I have even posted under an anonymous username due to fear of being recognised!

  15. I have read the thread and am dismayed to find so many people unhappy. I am just the same. I left my previous job due to overwork. I was on SMT, maths cood, ks1 leader and teacher and mentor. After 2 weeks of meetings every evening an lunch time I'd had enough and handed in my notice. This was on top of constantly disrupted lunch breaks of just to discuss... , last minute-can you just..., I'm sure I told/ asked/ e-mailed.. etc.
    I supplied and could not believe the lack of paper work. Some schools and staff were great and some just plain rude but it was less stressful. I supplied for a term in one school and was offered the job, which I took. Now it's OFSTED, LEA 'pop in observations, a deputy who changes her mind like the wind and asks to observe first thing on a mon as you walk in and then rearranges lessons to fit an LEA inspector in and wonders why I'm not quite prepared!! I mean I had my guided reading books out and she wants maths observed! When I mentioned this she said that all of my resources should be ready as I get in early!! Err I can't pile it all up, I need to go to the cupboard across the corridor!! Hard to do on your own with 30 kids. Working wall display changed with every block and unit, phonics displays changed weekly, curriculum boards kept up to date and a 1 TA assigned to 2 statemented children. Extra help has been off sick since end sept and no replacement (it was only for a day half a day anyway! She could not even hole punch work or put up a display and is on an official warning). I now hide out for my PPA time as I kept getting disturbed and having 10 minute (2 hours) meetings with SMT. I am having an LEA person to observe and help with guided reaing and a maths advisor to team teach and advise in the first week back! I have started to have head aches and when I try to plan I feel my heart rate increasing.
    I have gone from being an outstanding teacher to a stressed and panicked teacher who can't even think of a clear learning objective!!
    After discussion with my husband I will return and hand in my notice by February and look forward to leaving the profession. I loved teaching but now hate it! I just need to find something else to do. My health is suffering and I know it's something I MUST do not want to do.
  16. c84moose

    c84moose New commenter

    Having read all the posts, I feel a little bit better about the fact it isn't just me. I am in my second year of teaching as a science teacher. I nearly quit during my PGCE, but stubbornly got through it. I didn't know whether I really wanted to be a teacher, but decided that I would do my NQT, as I could always return to teaching later on. After a horrible year I decided to stay as it could only get better, right? I'm still in the same school now, but am really not sure whether it's for me.
    Like a lot of people, on a good day, when the kids are behaving themselves and the lesson goes right, I love TEACHING, but unfortunatly this seems to be a rare occurance. When I go back next week, i've got a woman from the LEA coming to observe me, supposedly to help me move towards being an outstanding teacher. Yeah right.
    Lucky for me i'm still young and if I decide to leave the profession, which i'm strongly considering, it won't be too bad hopefully. I'm thinking about going back to my original plan of working in the food industry, or being an education officer.
  17. This thread has made me feel a bit better that I am not alone in these thoughts!

    I'm in my 2nd year of teaching at a brilliant school, lovely kids, staff etc which people would give their right arm to teach at- but I really feel like I don't want to teach anymore. I love working with the kids, but I find myself enjoying the 'extra' bits such as Christmas plays, the unannounced snow that we play in, pretty much the disruptive parts that make every other teacher pull their hair out over! I'm fed up of endless marking/assessing/planning, I just want to have a normal job that I can leave behind at the end of everyday! ...Speaks volumes that instead of planning I'm writing on here!

    I did supply teaching for a year and absolutely loved it, I loved the fact I turned up for 8:30 and left at 4:30- perfect! Yes, there was marking, and in some cases a bit of planning, but it was great! I could just name days I wanted to work and not work. Bliss.

    Anyway, I am seriously confused as to what I want to do- I have always wanted to be a kids holiday rep abroad, but then I'm left with the feeling that I've failed and taking an 'easy way out' as well as losing out on the pay! Then again I'm 23 and don't want to be stuck in a career that I am not enjoying!

  18. God, me too! I love fire drills, trips, exams, end of year assemblies - basically, anything that breaks up the routine that is my working week. I was over the moon about the snow. I'm looking for a job that is more flexible and that I can cheerfully - and without guilt- leave behind when I get my coat at the end of the day.
  19. [​IMG] What a powerful and captivating thread! So many people talented and professional people feeling inadequate and disillusioned by a career that is all consuming and draining,
    We all enter this profession with a desire to make a difference but are worn down by constant change and pressure of workload.
    Myself and my husband have now left teaching to set up our own business. Our goal is to gain financial freedom enabling us to live life to the full. We have taken a bold step towards this and are clear that we didn't want to look back in years to come at what might have been!
    Part of our dream is to help and support others to confidently step into life after teaching. We are doing this by running workshops that bring together like minded teachers who long to escape and need space to talk and dare to dream once more.
    PM me for details of our next workshop

  20. I am trying to escape!!! Please could you let me know details for your next workshop!

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