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Ready to throw the towel in...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Weezyjayne, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. Weezyjayne

    Weezyjayne New commenter

    I completed my NQT year last year and really enjoyed it, despite the stress etc which is to be expected. Since returning in September the school seems to have really changed. Everyone seems to be 'bitching' and there's really high tension throughout the school. I can feel it when I walk through the doors. Everyone is worried about getting 'in trouble' and everyone is striving to be the best, which leads to a horribly over competitive atmosphere and not the team feeling we used to have.

    I feel so overwhelmed and I'm so fed up, I haven't slept properly all week because I know I'm going back next week, which is completely ridiculous. I feel really sad to say this but I feel burnt out already, I always push myself and, like everyone I work long hours etc and I know I'm a good teacher but I dread going in, in the morning. I come in and shut my door and teach and hope I don't get another pile of paperwork on my desk.

    I desperately want my life back and I want to stop feeling so anxious and worried but I know the only solution for that is to leave, trying to 'coast' etc is just not for me. I just really need some honest advice please. My family have told me to leave as 'life is short' but they don't understand the guilt that comes with that.

    Please help!
  2. zanybutton

    zanybutton New commenter

    I'm in exactly the same position. Currently in my 3rd year but fed up to my back teeth. I'm desperate to leave but haven't got a clue what else I could do. My family have said exactly the same thing to me"Life is too short, you need to leave." I'm planning to see it out until July for the sake of the children (they are, after all, the ONLY good part of the job) and then spend the summer searching for another job. I'd happily give back the 13 weeks off a year for a normal job with my evenings and weekends back. The idea of having my boyfriend, family, friends and hobbies back in my life eventually makes me so happy I could cry!!!! Bring on July.
    joannagb, KS23 and JRiley1 like this.
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Listen to your family! Get out ASAP, before you end up more burnt out, stressed, and develop the back-biting behaviour of your colleagues.

    If you still want to teach then think about going abroad. While not all international schools are wonderful, you stand a much better chance of getting a decent work/life balance, and having nice colleagues to work with.
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    You could also consider moving into independent schools - we do have longer days but my class size and paper work are so much less. I had a one-year fixed term at a state school -lovely colleagues but the time demands were insane and I moved back into the independent sector. Perhaps instead of leaving full stop, perhaps consider other types of schools or simply, another school?

    Good luck!
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    KS23 likes this.
  6. Weezyjayne

    Weezyjayne New commenter

    Thank you all for your replies. I suppose I don't want to feel like I'm giving up and like @zanybutton said, I don't want to let the children down. I've been looking into youth work as I enjoy working with challenging children. My friend works for an independent school and loves it. All options to seriously consider!
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  8. gregometer

    gregometer Occasional commenter

    I'm in a similar situation to you and reached the same conclusion this year. If you are without commitments and want to teach whilst moving forwards, now might be a great time to do a few years abroad. There are a steady stream of jobs being advertised now in China, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. Closer to home, Spain might be a great experience and a chance to learn a language, not too far from home, although the money isn't so good. Counties like Poland could be interesting if you like skiing. I ruled out working in Arab states like Dubai on moral grounds, often no freedom of religion, poor rights for women, a poor legal system if you get into trouble and of course, the continued use of slavery of Asians. Alternatively, a move towards independent schools might work. I'm told all schools are different so take your time and do your research. Visit schools if possible.
  9. scruff77

    scruff77 New commenter

    I was in the same position as you a few years back. When I did leave, it was like an enormous weight had been lifted from me. It sounds ridiculous, but suddenly things like going to the bank or shopping were possible, during what would have been term time!!

    The hardest decision is plucking up the courage to leave - whatever the unions believe, a teachers' salary is excellent (in my opinion). I signed with a supply agency, although to work as a TA, and not a teacher. What I discovered, is that you have a more relaxed approach and very quickly, the school begins to ask you to cover the odd lesson. I found that more opportunities opened up, such as covering maternity leave or long term absence and eventually you are a permanent member of the staff!

    Here's where I slightly contradict myself...
    Because I was content with TA work, I actually turned down long term cover, which obviously sounds ludicrous, but I simply wasn't ready for it.

    Next, I looked at ways of boosting my income. I have a yearly contract to mark the national tests in Maths, which pays very well. This can be done online, at home, after a days training in May. This opened up further opportunities and for the first time, this year I will be administering some tests in school which test the validity of the tests. After this training, the company asked if I wanted a contract to mark. I actually had to decline this, as I was too busy with other marking contracts and work. This work, together with my TA work, although well short of a teachers' salary, is enough to pay a mortgage and live off.

    My point is that there is life outside of teaching. In situations like this, the children's education should be the last thing on your mind, as there will be another ten people waiting to take over your job. Ironically, I think that testing children so extensively is bordering on pointless, but as long as they pay me a silly amount to mark, long may they continue.

    Incidentally, the closing date for new markers is soon.

    Good luck.
    indusant likes this.
  10. Weezyjayne

    Weezyjayne New commenter

    Thanks for your reply! I did look into teaching abroad but my boyfriend has a business here and as much as he has been supportive in me going I wouldn't want to spend 2 years going backwards and forwards. I have quite a few friends that have chosen this option though and none have regretted it so if it was an option for someone, I would go for it! :)
  11. Weezyjayne

    Weezyjayne New commenter

    Thanks for your reply, it's good to hear people having positive experience of supply. I have looked into this as well as I know that there is a lot of work in my area and to be honest, I'd even be happy working 3/4 days a week and making up the rest elsewhere. I'm lucky that I have the support of a wonderful boyfriend who has said he would help financially should I need it but I REALLY don't want to be in that position. I want to carry on teaching but I feel that I need to find the right school for me, and this school is making me want to leave altogether at the moment. Thank you so much for your positive advice, I really appreciate it. :)
  12. Buttercream

    Buttercream New commenter

    Hello! I just wanted to say that you are not alone.
    Ive just thrown the towel in after 9 years. Like another poster has said, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I can finally relax after what can only be described as an horrendous 18 months in the school I have been in.
    I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, I have appointments set up next week with supply agencies, but I'm thinking of cancelling as I just don't think I can face being back in a school at the moment. Luckily the hubby brings in enough to pay the bills with a little left over. If it wasn't for his support im not sure what I would do!
    I wouldn't worry about leaving mid year, you need to look after your health and wellbeing. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  13. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    These kind of stories seem to be so common. Sometimes it's down to the kids, sometimes SLT, and sometimes both. Then there are many, many cases of jobs not being filled by qualified teachers who want them, mainly because they are too expensive. Yet none of the media seem to want to do a decent expose that will show parents what a terrible mess so much of the education system is in.
    eljefeb90 and JRiley1 like this.
  14. scruff77

    scruff77 New commenter

    When I finished, I took a few months off, mainly as breathing space. Then I contacted supply agencies. It's important not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

    If teaching is what you want to do; two of my friends have worked with supply agencies, impressing the HT so much, they ended being given a few days a week supply, which then eventually became full time. It also allowed them to see what the HT / SLT were like, as those in positions of power often form your negative opinions of the profession as a whole. Perhaps supply might give you the opportunity of gradually working your way back up to full time teaching, in a school that supports and cares for you, as well as the children.

    For me, it was not just the HT / SLT that made me leave, but the marking, preparation, planning, reports... and that it was starting to consume me. I am now content with TA work, a huge drop in pay, but its lovely not to dread the return to work. My partner is also a low wage earner, so I didn't even have their salary to fall back on (no disrespect meant).

    Finally, you must avoid the temptation to make snap decisions. Plan any moves with care and thought. This time of year is particularly difficult, as the festive period ends so abruptly and the reality of returning to work begins to hit home.

    Best wishes to those in this position - I have been through it and survived!
    Resolve, JRiley1 and rachelpaula008 like this.
  15. burntoutteacher

    burntoutteacher Occasional commenter

    I'm also ready to leave. I don't think it's the school....it's the job. My motivation to even plan exciting lessons has been sucked dry thanks to all the time I have to spend pushing paper.
    The thing that scares me is I don't know what else I can do - I'm not really qualified to do anything else! I'm fairly young and happy to have a drop in pay in order to work my way up again in another career, but going back to university for another degree isn't an option at the moment. Don't fancy doing TA work because of the salary.
  16. Weezyjayne

    Weezyjayne New commenter

    Thank you again for your helpful replies. I suppose it feels like the whole world is ending when you're in the middle of it all. It's a really scary thing to do, especially so early in my career and knowing how much I actually want to stay in the profession. I'll speak to some supply agencies next week I think and have a look at my options, I think I'll feel much better once I've actually made a decision, one way or the other!
  17. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    There are so many people it seems feeling the same way; myself included. Dreading going into work tomorrow, I'm still trying to get through my to do list now, my motivation is low but I think once I'm back in routine I'll perk up just enough to push through to half term. Thankfully this term is only short! Then after easter we're in summer term which I always think flies by, roll on July when I'm planning on leaving too. @burntoutteacher
    you don't need to go back to university to get another degree to get a job, there are options out there. Look @TheoGriff posts about other jobs that's a good place to start. I've been looking on different websites just to get a feel for what is out there; with all our skills there's something else you can do, just think creatively! Areas I've looked at: being an assessor (for nvq courses) being an educator in museums, zoos, leading workshops for companies, or even student work at university or colleges. It depends whether you want to still work with children; in education; or none of the above!
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Possible other careers

    Best wishes - and good luck - to you all for 2016. You are taking a brave step to re-gain your lives.

  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You could just be in the wrong school. Start to look around at jobs being advertised for Easter and September and get applying. There are fabulous schools out there where it is a pleasure to work. Like Sabrinakat, I now teach in an independent and the work is much more focussed on good teaching rather than ridiculous paperwork.

    You don't sound like you are utterly desperate to Get Out Now, so take your time and look about. Supply is a great job, and gives you a fab work/life balance but isn't really a career move. I've done it for a year several times through my career because it suited me then, but pay and the use of TAs to cover mean it isn't so good now. If you can stay where you are and simply move schools in the usual way, then I'd recommend that.
  20. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Before anyone dives head first into agency supply work, take a look on the supply forum and weigh up the pro's and cons. You take a massive drop in pay, you have no guarantee of work. It's a different game with its own rules which chews you up and spits you out unless you know how to drive your own deal.
    schoolsout4summer likes this.

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