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Leaving teaching?

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

  1. i am coming to the end of my fifth year of teaching and have bitten the bullet! i have taught in different boroughs and abroad and just cant go on teaching in this country! i have considered teaching in 'one more school' but honestly, i want my life back! i am looking into all sorts really but even bar work will do! for now, i am thinking that this will be a temp break from teaching- i dont a family to worry about so its now or never for me! i think it is so sad that so many teachers are in this position, but youve got to put yourself first- best of luck whatever you decide!
  2. I'm in my fifth year of my teaching career, and have decided to resign from my permanent post. I am on medication for stress and depression, and I have had enough of the paperwork, lack of respect, and unsupportive SMT.
    I went into teaching in my 30's, thinking the job was for people who care about kids, but I have found it is more for those who can suck up to the boss and play games!
    I don't want to quit teaching altogether, though. I love being in the classroom...I'm going to look for a part time or temporary post, and do supply in the meantime. Yes, I have a mortgage, kids, etc, but I feel my health is more important than my job and the money. I'd rather be happy and poor than ill, unhappy and ok (not well off...) with money. It's number 1 first from now on!
  3. This thread has been a revelation. I am a (mature!) PGCE student. I am 36 and I am considering leaving teaching before I even started it.

    I had a job in the music industry, but I wanted my life back so I thought teaching would be a good idea, little did I know! I thought that the work load would lessen with experience but from what you are all saying, it does not really get easier.

    I can't say I went into teaching because I had the vocation, but I wanted a rewarding job. I am now really stressed, grumpy, fatter, I have spent weekends, evening and holiday working.... if it is not going to ease off, I think I should listen to my instinct and run. However, money is an issue and with the lack of work out there, I feel I may have to give it a go. I may try supply as I assume you don't need to prepare lessons. All I want, like so many of you, is a 9 to 5 job that I leave behind at the end of the day. I am happy to forgo the holidays for that, and get a life and smile back.

    Has anyone tried teaching adults? Or private tuitions? Or working with Connexions?

  4. interesting: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/10093529.stm
  5. The article is very good, but I doubt anything will be done about the numbers of teachers leaving the profession - just think about the numbers leaving teacher training every year. There isn't enough jobs for all of them, so the government aren't going to worry about the numbers leaving the profession...
  6. So glad I found this! So glad I am not alone in what I am feeling. Have been teaching for 8 years now and over the last 2 have been finding it all too much. Like others, been on anti-depressants for stress and panic attacks but now the lack of self confidence in my ability as a teacher is at an all time low. It’s got to the point now if anyone said ‘but you’re a good teacher’ it will mean nothing, I am past the point of no return! It’s been two and a half years since our last OFSTED and now I am a year group co-ordinator I am stressing like mad that I’m going to put us in special measures because I don’t think I’m any good any more, I have tried my best but it seems its not good enough anymore. I am hoping and praying that I can get out before they come or god knows how I’ll react! I’m already having sleepless nights and we have not even had the call! But I have made the decision that I must leave all this behind me and move on to other things. Telling the head is going to be fun! The trouble is I don’t know what these new things are! All I have ever done my whole life is train to work with children and now I am leaving it behind. I now realise health and happiness should come first, life is too short but the uncertainty of what my future career will look like is yet another ball to my increasingly heavy chain! Any advice will be very well received. Thanks!
  7. Glad I have found this thread and to read some more honest views on teaching. I am considering going into teaching, mainly because of its stability, working with young people and the rewarding pay and holiday, however I am beginning to get a picture that the profession is somewhat all consuming, and that wordloads between subjects seem to be greatly disproportionate.
    For instance, my old english teacher warned me that the marking for english is unbelievable, and that on top her work day she spends at least 2 hours in the evenings working still. The reason for this being english coursework comprises lots of written work, which takes time to be marked. On the other hand, a DT teacher would have considerably less marking, and also because this isnt a main subject. Would you agree with this seemingly disproportionate workload? Ideas v welcome!
    Im now considering going into FE teaching, i know it doesnt have the same 'academic' status as secondary, but seems like the bureaucratic side would be less, and perhaps smaller classes? I'm also interested in SEN teaching, I think this would impose different challenges, being the social/psychological development of children which really interests me, but with perhaps less planning and marking? I have a degree in french with english but not sure of how to get into this from there, would I still need a PGCE?
    Any advice very helpful!
    Ross44: I completely agree with you that health and happiness should really come before work, and there is really no point in doing a job that you hate, what are you trying to prove staying on? I feel a conflict between academic ability and lifestyle choice, for instance I know my academic abilities are good enough to make a good teacher, but I would like a job which allows me a bit of free time to have other interests! As for life after teaching, there are many courses you can look into, prospects.ac.uk explores jobs in all sectors, tells you the entry requirements/salary and job descriptions. Changing career may seem like a huge upheaval, but at the end of the day you only live once and attempting to fulfil your dreams and hopes is very admirable! I don't think its ever too late to have a change in direction.
    Good luck :)
  8. Brilliant and funny post that sums up exactly how I feel. And I'm just ending my second year... Do you mind me asking what you are doing now?
  9. Sorry, that was aimed at the below poster:

    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
  10. Have you resigned too?- I have, and now worried about whether I've done the right thing! I love what I do and I know I'm good at teaching and making the children happy but do my own children need me more?
  11. Hi,
    Have a look at my new blog, souds like we're in a similar situation.
    Good luck.
  12. Honestly, it's like I wrote that, really it is. Except I'm just starting my third year. I've been thinking about it all over the last month, and I really think I have to leave teaching. The kids are the best part, and maybe I'll find another way to work with children, but I can't take the unrelenting pressure anymore. I need to regain my evenings, my energy and my weekends. The holidays don't make up for it in my view, and I really am fed up with hating the thought of going to work.
    I remember when I used to work from 9 am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and that was enough to get my job done. I want that back. Does anyone, especially people who've done it before, know which are the best office jobs to get if you've got teaching skills? I do have a lot of experience as a PA, office manager and receptionist.
    Thanks, any and all advice accepted.
  13. I too would like to know the answers to the questions asked by the above poster.
  14. mjfp509

    mjfp509 New commenter

    Reading all the other comments on here has cheered me up and, I think, has given me the motivation to call it a day.

    I have been teaching nearly 20 years now and in my early 40s, but I am becoming more and more fed up and depressed with teaching. In my case, it's not the actual kids who are the problem, but 'the system'. I am becoming so frustrated with tick boxes, targets, lesson observations, 'pop ins', learning walks, Ofsted, Gove, Wilmshaw, headteachers who give no praise, only criticism, etc. The list is almost endless ! It is really starting to affect my health - teaching constantly on my mind, panic attacks, feeling constantly under pressure, never feeling good enough. I have decided to take the plunge and go and see the doctor next week about it. No job should make you feel like that. This is NOT what I went into teaching for.

    It is such a shame as I actually quite like teaching, have always got on well with the children in my care and their parents, but just wish I could be left alone to do what I feel the kids need, using my professional judgement, without all the scrunity, monitoring and targets. It is a thankless, demoralising job, which I am beginnning to not cope with any more. The negatives are outweighing the positives.

    My dad's wife was a teacher (now retired) and she said before the government started meddling in the late 80's, teaching was a lovely job, as you didn't have any the burdens highlighted above. This is echoed by many other more experienced teachers I've spoken to in the past.

    Ironically, I don't feel feel the children are any better academically nowadays compared to when I was at school - in many ways they are worse ! So what good is it doing?

    Yes, I am concerned about finding another job and taking a pay cut, but am starting to feel it is worth it to feel happy again - and to hopefully feel valued and less stressed. After all, your health is the most important thing in your life.

  15. Hi all,

    I've also heard the stories of days before 90% of the rulebook was written...if only it were still like that everywhere. However, there are some places where it is.

    After having an intensely stressful NQT year in secondary (lovely staff, many nice kids but equal numbers of hellish ones, and an all-pervading sense of apathy and hatred from the students) I've moved to a mix of Primary PPA cover (where, in answer to a previous question, you must and will be paid as a qualified teacher if you have QTS), private tutoring and teaching adults.

    Much better. I was counselled against this unorthodox career move by some very well-meaning people who told me I was destroying my 'career trajectory' etc. - but it's done 2 very important things: 1, it saved me from quitting teaching full stop, which I think I would regret eventually; 2, it's restoring my enthusiasm for the job, bit by bit.

    Like many other posters, I have frequently felt the guilt that comes with being a 'lazy' teacher (working 7.30-5.00 despite having no convenient children to pick up from nursery. Why are childless teachers expected to work more hours?! But that's another thread in itself) and feeling the eyes of observers constantly on me and my work. The upshot is, I think that sooner or later you have to let go of that guilt (you're working as much as you can - you're a teacher!) and look for some of those more unorthodox career moves - despite the fact that it may mean that you never become a member of SMT *hollow laugh*.
  16. Hi everyone,

    I've just read through most of the posts in this thread and it really has made me feel better to know I am not the only one who feels this way. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I'm 24, have only just finished my primary PGCE and I'm already thinking of leaving teaching.

    I've wanted to be a teacher for many years and was delighted to be offered a place on the PGCE course, thinking I was entering my dream profession. Unfortunately my first placement was a nightmare. I was placed in a really unfriendly school with a mentor who would spend days at a time barely saying a word to me despite us being in a class room together all day. If she did speak to me, it would be to criticise or tell me I shouldn't teach and would probably fail the course anyway. By Christmas I' d had enough of coming home every day from school crying and asked my University to move me and was told to 'stick it out another 5 weeks'. After spending the Christmas break feeling constantly anxious I went back and scraped through the next 5 weeks and finished feeling sick and exhausted with stress.

    Luckily my second placement was in a completely different school. I had a fantastic mentor, who I still talk to now, and passed with 'outstanding'. It was a very challenging school (just out of special measures and with a bad reputation) with children who had absolutely no respect for the teachers or the rules. I honestly did enjoy it, though, and my time there restored the confidence I had lost at the previous school... but there was still this niggling thought at the back of my mind that I had made a big mistake.

    I strongly believe that if I'm going to do any job, I should put everything into it to do it properly and like most other teachers I would be in school 7:30-6 and go home to finish another 2-3 hours of work. I would spend my weekends working and the times I would decide to have a day off during the weekend I would have to leave the house to stop myself working... and then I would spend the whole day feeling guilty that I hadn't done anything.

    I really do enjoy the actual teaching part of being a teacher but I really don't want to give up my whole life to the profession and I feel that nowadays that seems to be a requirement. Before going into teaching I had an office job and would work shifts which at the time I didn't enjoy but now it seems like a dream... even if I would finish work at 9pm on a Friday night I would be able to come home and not have to worry about work until my next shift, wouldn't feel constantly guilty and watched.... and it paid the same as the salary I can expect as an NQT!

    I feel like quitting now would prove my first mentor right and that it would also mean that my PGCE year was a complete waste of time (not to mention feeling guilty that I had taken a valuable place on the PGCE course).

    Does any one have any advice? Do I keep trying for that first NQT job or do I 'escape' now?
  17. My advice would be leave. Ive had the same thoughts on and off for the whole time ive been teaching and am now in a situation where I have a mortgage to pay, and tlr points which makes it difficult to move because it will mean a pay cut. Plus if I leave teaching now it would take ages to build up things like a decent maternity pay package. Thoroughly depressing, and im not even 2 full weeks back at work yet! :(
  18. Starting my 9th year as a chemistry teacher in a secondary school. Due to various reasons, there are only two full-time chemists in a dept of 13. Consequently my entire timetable, bar 6 lessons a fortnight is exam classes (18 of which are Alevel). I love the kids, but the system has worn me down to the point that this is the first year where I've made absolutely NO effort with any of my classes this year and arrive at work angry and disgruntled. All good reasons to leave, i know. However, I'm the main breadwinner at home with two small kids at home and don't want to leave a secure post if I'm not certain about my options for employment after teaching. There are some great posts here, but really would like some suggestions on possible jobs that I could actively search for. Looking to leave teaching this year.
  19. Hi, I've just come across this during what is probably my millionth search for thoughts and ideas about leaving teaching. I noticed the date you posted was in 2009 - did you leave or stay in the end?

    I'm 27, in my third year of secondary teaching and at my second school (my second year here). I have been going mad and am tortured by the thought of whether I should leave teaching or not. I work all day and night and over the weekends and frankly I want a life back! I have spoken to the Hod and head about my thoughts, they have been supportive but everyone tells me I just need to find a work life balance. I try to ensure I don't work Friday night's and Saturday's but this usually just means that I am extra busy and stressed in the week. When I'm not working I often feel guilty or panicked about how much I have to do as it has to be done eventually! (This is what my holidays are like also). I know this is my problem but then maybe I am not suited to teaching for my 'perfectionist' nature. People tell me that it gets better with experience but I look at other teachers and they seem just as stressed and am worried If I stay I will be trapped (but equally worried that I'd I leave I might want to go back eventually!). I have looked into avenues of getting out and have discovered that as someone who has not had an admin role for over three years I would even struggle to get an admin role - which I think is ridiculous! I know I'd be taking a pay cut but have worked out what will work for me. Isn't the pay cut worth it for the life, relationships, hobbies, enjoyment I will get back?

    I am constantly back tracking as I do enjoy the job itself and am asking myself if I am mad to throw away a career I have worked so hard to get...but I can't get rid of that gutt feeling and when I look at life simply I think surely it shouldn't be like this? For the above admin dilemma, I have even looked into supply teaching (£90-£100 a day and most can guarantee you 4-5 days where I am) and temp office Work to just get out and give myself more time to apply and look for something else. Taking that big step is a difficult one.

    Sorry for the essay,would just love to hear what you did and anyone's thoughts...

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