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Need a way to last four more years...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by 2020K, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. 2020K

    2020K New commenter

    I am a very experienced science teacher and lead a subject within a STEM team.

    Our school had a new HT appointed in September 2018 and since then the workplace has become miserable. During lockdown, our Head of Sciences jumped ship and joined a school where our former Deputy Head is now HT. He has taken three of our staff with him, including one from my subject. They were effectively bullied out of their posts, to the extent that one resigned after the cut off and has taken a one year maternity cover post.

    Being close to retirement, I was not expecting to be "poached" and I am very happy for the escapees as they are now in a good school with a very competent Head of Sciences and a gentleman for a HT.

    We now have the added issue of a staff shortage both in the Sciences and in the wider STEM team (as well as across the school I think but everyone has retreated into their shells so I am not sure what is going on).

    We were told in July that we had replacements, this has either not materialised or the replacements who arrived have went off sick. I doubt we will see one of the girls again. We are four staff down in sciences and the temporary Head of Sciences is sinking and lacks the experience to share the load.

    I am 54 and have taught for 32 years in this school. I want to retire at 58. I need to navigate 4 more years but I am not sure I can. My former Head of Sciences is helping at least one member of staff with an application to another post and I know others are desperate to go. I just do not think the HT will be willing to change course and I do not want to be the last one standing.
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Why not take your pension at 55, and then do supply/short term contracts until you are 58 (Science teachers are usually in short supply)? Or simply do the supply/short term contracts until you reach 58, then take your pension?
    tall tales, Marshall, strawbs and 3 others like this.
  3. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    You could consider Science GCSE and A Level tutoring?
    Or 4 years is long enough to look for a new job, surely. There must be a shortage of good Science teachers. Good luck. I feel sorry for the kids at the school too.
  4. 2020K

    2020K New commenter

    Yeah I feel very sorry for the pupils :(

    There is a shortage, just think I am too old and too expensive and not sure I could interview.
  5. 2020K

    2020K New commenter

    Yeah there could well be supply and contracts, sometimes hard to look at other options when you just feel like you are permanently battling to survive the day.
  6. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Checkout your pension. If you can just manage another year, you can access a reduced pension, but the reduction may be less than you expect.
    If you stay another four years, will your health continue to be good? Will you be utterly ground down or will you be able to look ahead positively?
    I assume you're paid some sort of extra for leading your subject. Can you do without the extra? In my experience, the extra hours of work are simply not worth the pittance you are paid. You sound as if you are not keen on promotion, so why are you doing it?
    If you do go at 55, there is a world elsewhere. You don't have to retire, you can do whatever you want. Perhaps a p/t easy job, such as on the till somewhere. or tutoring or perhaps your own business? Or you could do supply (science supply is one of the areas where you should be able to find work) Start by looking now at the financial situation. What can you cut down on? How can you build up more capital? Can you pay off your mortgage early?
    You may find you need less money than you think to live on.
    Good luck...
    strawbs, 2020K and Morninglover like this.
  7. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    [QUOTE="mothorchid, post: 13265222, member: 21392480]
    You may find you need less money than you think to live on.

    I certainly did - and I'm glad I didn't wait until I was 58 to retire!
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    In times when there is a surplus of excellent teachers, you could well be right.
    At the moment, many schools would snap you up.
    Four years is longer than many people stay at a school these days.
  9. 2020K

    2020K New commenter

    I am beginning to feel increasingly worn out by both the culture and the impact I see it having on colleagues.

    Yeah I get extra money for my role- not much and I could live without it. I was never a chaser of promotion but I loved the job and school and took on this role many years ago when it was on offer. I have led my subject for 27 of my 32 years.

    Financially, I am divorced, no children and mortgage free. No savings of any note. I have not looked into any supply or other jobs. I do not think I have the confidence any more. I am living on my last nerve.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Something similar has just happened to us - I expect that we will lose lots of our current teachers during the course of this year.

    I have two more years to go - right now it seems like a long time.
    2020K and agathamorse like this.
  11. 2020K

    2020K New commenter

    I appreciate that, just hard to see clearly and value the contribution you can make when you are low on confidence. I have taught GCSE and A Level successfully for nearly three decades as a subject lead.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Check this with your scheme, but a friend of mine retired at 55, 3 or 4 years ago: he lost 5% for every year that he went early, so 25% in total. I'm pretty sure this is (was?) the maximum allowed. This was Teachers Superannuation. As I said, check for up-to-date info from the scheme or your union. I went at 58, have done some supply, but didn't take my pension until I was 60 so I got the lot.
    2020K, agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  13. roydenkeith

    roydenkeith New commenter

    You need expert financial advice about your pension I took this and it so opened my eyes. People think if you take your pension early that you get a reduced pension. This is only true in the sense that you miss years of paying in. In terms of what you get out, it is the same but just spread over a longer period of time. If you have a mortgage you can pay it off and save the interest payments. I sumplemented my pension by working part time and was actually on more than working full time. I worked in an independent school after 33 years in the state sector Guess what - they respect teachers as professionals and leave you to get on with it I intended to do a year and stayed five. It did not only help me financially but also mentally I had be worn down by the state sector and forgotten the joys of teaching. When i did retire I retired happy not bitter as i would have done on leaving or being forced out of the state sector
  14. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    In that case, I'd go ASAP and enjoy a longer retirement...
    Sally006, 2020K, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  15. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Check your pension out. Then set yourself a date - maybe the end of this academic year? Or next. Then (maybe) step back from your role as subject leader - allow someone young and keen to take it on. They will be grateful!
    And spend the in between time saving hard, so you have a cushion for if you need a new car, or boiler or whatever.
    You are worth much more than a job which is making you so ground down.
    2020K, agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  16. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry to hear you're in this place. A school I knew well had similar "churn" problems with their science staff. I think the dust has settled now.
    Maybe you can sit it out, but it can be pretty miserable trying to keep a semblance of normality in an understaffed department where morale is low.
    Maybe better jobs are out there, no harm in having a look and polishing the CV.
    When I've been faced with tricky times, I've tried to take mental control of work, doing things because I choose to (co-operate with managers this time). I've also tried to limit extra stuff.
    Most importantly, I've set aside time for non school stuff, including night time curfews.
    If it's really too much of a battle, there I'd no shame in stepping out and doing something different. My teachers' pension enables me to work in a charity for a salary I couldn't live on in isolation. They appreciate me, I've rediscovered my mojo.
    I also found all sorts of other opportunities jumped out on me when my time was no longer filled with teaching.
    Good luck!
    agathamorse, 2020K and mothorchid like this.
  17. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    32 years in one school is a heck of an achievement - I would argue you deserve to retire a bit earlier than 58!

    But, four years. As others have said, look into your pension and consider dates. You sound like a hard working, committed, excellent teacher. There are HTs who will be impressed, and will see you as someone who has earned their stripes and wants to take a step back to get ready for retirement. My current school has a 59 year old teaching Physics, three days a week, to Sixth Form. He came in at age 57 - wanting to continue teaching but not full time. I have a colleague from a former school who retired and then took a post as an "intervention tutor" at another. Or, if its feasible, an independent or prep school. There are schools that will value your experience very much.
    agathamorse, 2020K and mothorchid like this.
  18. 2020K

    2020K New commenter

    Ijust wonder what the management have to gain.... :(
  19. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't try to survive 4 years in your school with the problems you describe. That's probably longer than the new HT will be there. It could easily damage or kill you.
    Why not just go get another job? You have decades of experience, and good science teachers are still like hens teeth. Covid may have made more people want to go into teaching, doesn't mean they are all scientists. I suspect most of them are squidgy subjects. I have been out of supply for a couple of years now, but the agencies still phone me up all the time which suggests there is no glut of scientists.
    Alternatively, hold your nose and do supply. As long as you treat agencies like ignorant toddlers, and make sure they behave, it's ok. I did it for about three years and made UPS3 plus a bit on average (the trick is to talk about how great a physics and/or chemistry teacher you are).
  20. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    If only this were so! :(
    2020K likes this.

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