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Practicalities of leaving...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by fredtheguava, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. fredtheguava

    fredtheguava New commenter

    Hi all - I've had a search through the forum but since the changeover, I'm struggling a bit!

    I'm a secondary teacher, on my second year at current school, 8th year overall. I believe the time has come for me to leave teaching.

    What I'm struggling with is the practical side of things... Obviously I have to give notice, and would ideally like to do so in October to leave at Christmas. However, how does one go about applying for other jobs in the meantime? I imagine most non-education employers would expect an applicant to need to give a month's notice, max, not the two I will have given. Do I simply wait and start applying in December?

    Additionally, my only real experience is teaching. I had part time jobs to support uni, and worked in a call centre full time to fund a post-undergrad gap year... But since then, it's only teaching. I fear I am unqualified for anything, and a little on the scrap heap at the grand old age of 30-something. Nobody is going to want a new employee with zero experience, or at least want to pay them a salary which I can reasonably accept :(

    I'm on the edge, here. Just holding on. I'm on some pretty epic ADs and my doctor is gagging to sign me off. Leaving really does seem to be my only option.
    mark6243 likes this.
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


    I can't really give you many ideas re: what you can do outside teaching - a lot would depend on your degree/area of expertise - so it might be easier if you are a Music, Art, D & T or MFL teacher than (say) an RE, English or History teacher. If one of the latter type, maybe think more about changing the type of school (size, comprehensive or selective, independent rather than state etc.) because finding a job that pays anything like the same as teaching will be difficult, perhaps impossible. Maybe sound out your old University careers department for ideas/advice?

    Re: starting dates, I would ask your HT if they will consider an early release should you get another job (doesn't hurt to ask...), but even f they say 'no', I'd still start applying now - if a firm really want you, they'll work round your leaving date...

    Good luck...
  3. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    I wouldn't. The more jobs you apply for the better you will get at it - you may be offered the dream job and they may want to wait.... you may be offered a job but they could be unwilling to wait, in which case be assured that you are employable, and there will be others. My tip would be to 'apply, apply, apply'. Use the notice period to sign up with somebody like Reed online, where you can choose the areas you want to work in, and peruse available jobs (and get notified when they appear) at your leisure. Trawl the local paper. Get acquainted as much as possible with the sort of jobs that are out there. Apply for anything that looks even remotely interesting - it's excellent practice at getting the application right; you might get an interview, you might be offered a job, they may offer you something else that you didn't apply for, and at the very worst, it gets that mental blockage out of your head about it. Plus which, you don't HAVE to take the job.

    Please don't believe this. You have far more transferable skills than you know - particularly 'soft skills' which are, apparently, in short supply. Just for experience, look out jobs that look as though they might be interesting, and download the person and job specs. Then see how well you can match up these requirements from your own experience. Eg. 'Must be self-motivated' - did you ever organise and run a club at school? 'must be able to deal with people at all levels' - you have dealt with all ages, with parents and professionals'; 'must keep to deadlines' - what teacher doesn't?; 'must be innovative and creative' - did you ever write your own lesson plans/plan assemblies/step in at short notice to cover someone else's absence with no resources etc. etc. Once you start practising it's not difficult to match up your experiences in school with skills wanted in other jobs.

    What subject is your degree in? Presumably it's in something that interested you at the time, so look in and around that field, and try to think outside the box a little. The saddest thing is the number of teachers who think they can't do anything else (working in a school does institutionalise you!), but it's simply not true.

    You do not have 'zero' experience - you have been employed and employable in an environment which is pressured (so you can cope with this); people oriented (so you can cope with this); demands high levels of accuracy, flexibility, planning, IT skills......

    The one thing I have to agree on is the salary. You are probably unlikely to match this unless you are lucky, or you go into shiftwork (and not like a nurse or carer sort of shiftwork!). That said, if you can afford to take the cut, you will have time for yourself at evenings and weekends and there are all sorts of courses out there that you could take to boost the CV a little bit more.

    It can be very scary to resign without anything to go to, but it can be done.
    snowyhead, solvacrime and mark6243 like this.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    It's the 6th of October. Lets say you see a job you want to go for, the closing date is realistically going to be maybe 2 weeks away, that's the 20th of October. Interview say 1-2 weeks after that, job offer given, another week for refs and acceptance, you're now in mid Nov. A months notice and it's the middle of December when you start.

    It's possible these dates might move earlier, I don't think the practicalities will put you at a particular disadvantage and they will be largely irrelevant anyway in 2-3 weeks time.

    Good luck.
    solvacrime and monicabilongame like this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You could try supply teaching while you are looking around for something more permanent. On supply you work only the days you want and go to the schools you want to. It won't make you super rich, but it would be something coming in and it starts to get busy around January. It would give you some breathing space to find out what you want to do.

    While on supply you could also retrain on your days off to do something entirely different ( think of your interests and abilities), set up a small network marketing business ( I am part of one with my husband and it cost only £100 to set up with no stock and that is very good compared to starting a traditional business), private tutoring, or a combination of several different things.

    A lot will of course depend on your unique set of circumstances and whether you have a family, mortgage and other commitments. In that case, you might not have the luxury of working in fields that have a uncertain income.

    For all those teachers just starting out and reading this, I would recommend to all to think about getting alternative skills/business interests to supplement your income should you find yourself in the same position one day as this poster.

    Teaching is a gruelling job and it sends even the strongest to the brink at times. It really should not be like this and it is sad to see another person pushed to the point of leaving.
    snowyhead and mark6243 like this.
  6. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Afternoon OP

    Suffice to say I was in your position circa 2012, and ended up being signed off sick. And I was. Friends and family say I have never fully (mentally ) recovered. I left an awful school and returned to where I did my training, which had since become an academy. I lasted a single term, leaving when my position became untenable as I refused to do Y10 coursework for them. Like Pepper5's suggestion, been doing supply ever since.

    My degree is in science, and unless you're willing (and able) to take minimum wage or move to London, serious alternatives, I have found, are rare. The economy, despite what the Tories say, has in no way recovered. Supply has its benefits, but you don't get holiday pay or if you're ill, like myself today.

    I desperately want to make a clean break but have found that the sheer expense of just bare essentials makes it impossible. Gove, Wilshaw et al knew exactly what they were doing picking the fight.

    But I have to say reading Monica's post has definitely made me feel more positive about my skills and experience. I'd urge you to take my post as comforting that you're by no means on your own, but Monica's offers a far more positive perspective and sound advice. It's advice I'll be taking, as I apply for a couple of jobs myself this afternoon.

    Best wishes
    monicabilongame likes this.
  7. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I think the notice periods for teaching can be a hindrance for employers outside of teaching.

    I was offered a job in early September, fortunately my new employer is willing to wait until January. I know that other jobs I have applied for have been put off by the long notice period and understand completely why teachers find it difficult to leave.

    In a strange way though, working my notice has allowed me to enjoy teaching again. No paperwork, no evidence gathering, no observations and scrutinies. Just teaching.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Mark

    You are right the economy has no way picked up and the job market is competitive in all fields. I know someone whose partner lost his job and applied for another one with 600 applicants. Somehow he got the job, so he was in a good position.

    I can understand why you want a clean break, but at least you are blessed with a science degree which is a shortage subject and if you are able to you can always supplement supply with private tutoring. I have a friend who teaches many private students and does supply to top up the private tutoring.

    I know supply has so many disadvantages, but it has been a source of income that has allowed my husband and I to scrape through. We are at the last stretch now of paying all our debts off, but it has been very hard for us because of the facts you mention.

    The economy still hasn't recovered as you say.

    I would highly recommend network marketing too as a side line to supplement any job whether supply or permanent - anything that brings in that little bit of cash to try and save.

    Best wishes to you on your job search.
    solvacrime and mark6243 like this.
  9. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Don't let it fool you back into teaching again tho Compassman - enjoy it as a gift.
    snowyhead, solvacrime and mark6243 like this.
  10. mysterycat

    mysterycat New commenter

    I handed in my notice in teaching 3 years ago without a job to go to and there are many things you can do. The education industry is very large and there are all sort of companies involved in it. Go to the website of a major education trade show like The Education Show, download the list of exhibitors and check out their websites for vacancies or maybe just send of some CVs. No idea what your degree is in but you could get a job in M&S or Waitrose and sign up for some re-training whilst you are earning a living - Christmas is coming up and they are taking on temporary seasonal staff and the pay is good. If you don't plan to continue in teaching or return to it then just tell the school you are leaving when you are offered another job. They can threaten you with all sorts of things but in actual fact they are unlikely to actually do anything. One of the worst things about the 'profession' is the way that it expects so much but gives little back apart from so called job satisfaction and the notice period is a good example of this. Many companies like ex-teachers. Have you thought of applying to work at an exam board? They all have lots of proper employees rather than just markers. What about a training company?
    You sound like you need a break so don't give up but you have to go out there and make it happen. I left in the July and started a new career at the end of August so you can make it work.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    How about considering some of these alternatives to teaching? they build on the skills and experience that you have gained.

    Good luck.

    Attached Files:

    snowyhead and solvacrime like this.
  12. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    You are joking, right? Maybe maths isn't your thing, but £7.50ph (and that's generous in retail) doing 40hrs and you'll be lucky to take home £250 a week, £1,000 in a month. And that's FT, not considering the zero hrs contracts that Tory MP's tell us everyone loves these days. So the pay is ANYTHING but good, and this is exactly why Gove and Wilshaw are happy to pick a fight with us.
  13. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Don't worry it won't. I'm trying to point out that if the job just entailed preparing lessons and teaching then it would be so much more bearable.
    monicabilongame and mark6243 like this.
  14. mysterycat

    mysterycat New commenter

    I am almost tempted to be rude but I won't of course. I have worked in retail and places like M&S have good t&c so don't knock it - this is why I chose the two retailers which I did as examples. It depends on how desperate you are to leave and how great is your need to pay you bills and a part time job in Waitrose can pay your mortgage while you train for something better. I suggest perhaps you climb down out of your ivory tower.
  15. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Maybe you have a partner who also earns, so taking that cut would be ok for you. many teachers, myself included, are on their own (possibly, as in my case, as a direct result of the demands of this awful job) and need £1,500 just to survive and pay essentials. Unless I'm willing to go live in my folks' shed it's simply not an option. That's all I was saying.

    We're all on the same side, are we not? Maybe as I climb down my ivory tower, you could consider trying the decaf and not being so touchy when someone points out that life isn't as simplistic and everyone has different situations...
  16. mysterycat

    mysterycat New commenter

    Sorry Mark I wasn't being touchy but I was trying to be very positive and for a person who is clearly in a bad place and taking a part time job is better than being on the dole. Oh dear, it sounds like you are having your own issues with teaching :-(. My advice to those who wish to move on is that you can, teaching gives you fantastic skills but you might have start thinking out of the box and take tough decisions.
  17. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    I've had my issues with teaching for the best part of five years. I despise what it has become, the sacrifices I have made, the pain and suffering I have endured.

    I'm not being over-dramatic, I have indeed been head-butted, punched, spat at by students, who got a long weekend at home smoking pot as a punishment, and mental abuse from 'colleagues' who believe they can climb the greasy pole by using others to gain a footing.

    I'm a 15st ex-rugby player, and I was reduced to a gibbering wreck by a bunch of careerist misandrists who would push and push and emasculate me until I snapped, then complain I had a short fuse and was 'difficult' to work with.

    These are the kinds of people infesting our schools now.
  18. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I once tried to get a Christmas job at Boots, but failed the online psychometric test. Bah!
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Fred & Mark, I have a good friend who makes a very good living running a private tuition business. He is a science and maths specialist and charges £45 an hour for A level tuition in a group of up to four students, and £60 an hour 1:1. GCSE tuition is less per hour - these are outside of London rates too. The only downside is that much of the tuition takes place in the evenings, on Saturdays and during school holidays, which might suit some people with other things to do during the day. Most of his business comes through recommendation, although he does have a website.

    He only employs himself and occasionally contracts out some tuition to another teacher friend, usually in the run up to exams. Setting yourself up as self-employed (through HMRC) or as company limited by guarantee (through Companies House) takes about an hour and can be done on-line.

    It's worth a thought.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  20. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    don't want anything to do with teaching anymore I'm afraid, damaged goods I think. I'm aware, since returning to supply in September, I'm slipping back into depression.

    I need to make the clean break, once and for all

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