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Sad but I'm not sure I want to be a teacher anymore......

Discussion in 'Personal' started by unloved, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Sorry to post this on personal, but I wasn't sure where else to ask for some advice!!
    Basically, I'm having a really bad "I don't want to be a teacher anymore" phase but I'm not convinced it's a phase anymore. I feel really negative about work at the moment and I know it could be down to going back after the holidays, but I am constantly asking myself whether there is more to life than this. I work bloody hard, get paid OK money but don't feel at all like I have a work/life balance. Having this holiday has really made me realise how much I value having a life, spending time with my fiance and family. I'm getting married this year too and I just feel like I want to be spending my time on organising during the evenings and weekends but just don't have the bloody time to even get excited about it all.
    I've been a teacher now for 6 years and have usually enjoyed the job. I have, however, gone through 4 different headteachers now and the pressure is getting more and more intense. The things I love about teaching are the challenges I face everyday, how everyday is never the same and always being on the ball and not getting bored. I know I could never go back to office work as I've done that previously and it would seriously numb my brain. However, my dream is to work for myself (as my partner does) and I would absolutely love to start my own business.
    I don't really know what advice I would like from people but if anyone has any words they think might help, I would be grateful for any advice. I don't want to regret leaving but then I don't want to regret not doing something different too!!
  2. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    No one else has replied, so i thought i would so that you wouldn't feel lonely and 'unloved'!
    My personal advice would be as follows: times for setting up a business are not good right now, and teaching is a fairly secure job. You will need a steady income, especially if you are getting married. We all have times when we could jack it in, but i say stay, stay put for now. You're probably pretty young and there may well be a point in the future when conditions are more favourable, to start your own business.
    Enjoy planning for your wedding, secure in the knowledge that you have some financial stability, and keep thinking of all the holidays we get. best wishes.
  3. I think you have to think of all the positives.
    We do get longer holidays so if you accept you will need to work evenings and weekends. Other professions don't have such holoidays and often work a longer day if the boss says stay. they have to.
    We have contracts that make it difficult to be sacked. Well we used to.
    The majority of the students depend on you and respect you. There is great job satisfaction and for most of the day you do things the way you want to.
    Okay so there is a lot of pressure to meet targets and to be exhausted most of the time is the norm for a lot of people. Students are challenging. None of this is going to change. The only factor you can alter is to change schools and hope you find a more supportive staff and Headteacher. But this is a risk as you may find the school you move to is worse.
    Some people seem to have the life/ work balance right. You have lots to look forward to. Set up a business and try and work part-time until it takes off.
    I have no illusions about starting up a business. You will probably work much longer hours and pay your self peanuts and have the worry of it 24/7. At least you can forget about school.
    Good luck in whatever you choose.
  4. phatsals

    phatsals Occasional commenter

    The average teaching career is 5 years, and everyone hits the wall at some point. If you're young you have plenty of time to try other things. It's a long life and if the only thing that keeps you in a job is the thought of a pension it will also be a dreary one.
    Take stock, look at your options and start to make changes. You may come out of this and think it's the best job in the world, on the other hand you can try something else and if it doesn't work out come back to it.
    Don't be afraid to make changes, better to regret doing something than to regret never trying.
  5. Hello,
    I have been teaching for nearly16 years now and have been experiencing many of the feelings you are. I'm dreading returning to the workload and stress which I had two weeks ago
    My solution which I began working on this year, may be helpful to you also. It's a bit longer term but is perhaps worth considering and could be done easily in conjunction with tutoring and supply work.
    I decided to try all the free ways of making money on line with the aim of matching my current take home and taking the pressure off any career move. (There's always the hope that this project will take off further and take away the need for a new career altogether). So far, with a small amount of effort and in about three months, I have built up to a few hundred of income - encouraging enough to continue with the plan. I obviously haven't made it to freedom yet but I have high hopes that in a year's time, I will be able to call the shots.
    I've started a blog to say what I'm doing and show how to go about some of it so have a look if you think it might work for you - it's at http://cashinthearmchair.blogspot.com/
    So far I've done a couple of articles on some of the first successes I've had such as
    If nothing else, it's a fun hobby which pays you good money but for me, it's my tunnel to freedom!
    Good luck!
  6. Hi Unloved. Yeah, pity about that.It happens to teachers from time to time. It's tough if you really enjoy teaching. I taught for 30 + years and still love being in a classroom with a bunch of highly creative individuals. The thing is, I used to teach for around five years at a stretch and then head off and do something else for a year or three, then go back to teaching. I notice you've been at it now for 6 years and you're starting to feel the pain. Maybe it's time for a sabbatical. Don't go back to an office. I've had some great jobs (and some really crappy ones). I've worked on fishing boats, timber camps, kitchens, car-parks, as a musician, radio, roadie, you name it, and it's been so much fun. Currently I'm on another "break" and working as a caretaker on an estate in England. The thing is, you have to decide why you really want to be a teacher. If you're there because you love being in a classroom and you're passionately caught up in the creative process of learning along with your students, then take a break to recharge your batteries, go and do something completely different for a year, even two, and then get back into it. If you're in education for a 'career' and hope to progress up through the hierarchy, give yourself and your students a break and find something you are passionate about.
  7. I think that sums up how many teachers feel. School work always takes precedence...and if you are not doing it you are worrying about it or at least preparing for what the next day will bring.
    You also mention the intense pressure. I can put my hand on my heart and say that in the last ten years of my career (spent in two very different schools) I felt the pressure grow and grow...not just my own personal pressure...everyone in the staff room felt it. The ethos changed...and one was a good school, a nice place to work usually, in the leafy suburbs. The demands made on teachers became silly.
    Some people seem able to ride the waves, but I'd say they are in the minority. Many continue to do a good job and appear calm and organised on the surface but they are paddling away like mad just to stay afloat. Yes, the long holidays are a bonus but I wasn't the only one who felt completely shattered for the first two weeks of the summer break.
    I suspect finding a work-life balance is very hard for most teachers. The tiredness you feel DOES impact on home life. Like you say...the job also drains enthusiasm and energy for things that should matter. It's like living a half-life being a teacher....
    However - as others have mentioned - you have a steady income and that in itself is a bit of a blessing in the present economic climate. If your decision boils down to finances you'll have to do the sums. If you can possibly afford to get out and do something different I'd say do it. Life is short. It doesn't seem it when you are young but with hindsight I know I felt pretty trapped (and shattered) for most of my career, even though I really enjoyed the 'teaching' part. If only that were all there was to working in a school eh?
    Best wishes for whatever you decide to do.
  8. Thanks for all your messages.
    Giving it some more thought, kids back today, so will see how it goes. I'm considering a move to, possibly, HE. The thought of not giving up teaching, but maybe moving to a different sector might give me back some enthusiasm, I hope. I don't feel that moving schools in Primary would help and the thought of moving to another school feels me with more dread in terms of having to change everything again.
    I think it is really sad that teaching must be losing more and more people every year. I know of several who haven't even made their first year due to pressure. I'm sure there must be more that can be done to try to improve conditions and make this a career people would want to stay in without it requiring them to give up their personal lives! I look at our school and wonder how it all changed so much. We were always a brilliant school without all the extra work that now needs to be done but our results are worse. How does that make sense?
  9. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    How true. One day someone has to wake up and smell the cabbages! I can't see that happening any time soon though. Everyone is running scared and watching their backs and don't seem to be able to say, "This is unreasonable!" without being seen as some sort of recalcitrant subversive.
  10. Sorry to be harsh, but your terms and conditions as a teacher are a lot more generous than most professions or other jobs.
    Fiddling round with thoughts about the fairness of it all and what you would ideally like to do, makes me smart. If you can't cope with teaching you should not consider a business.
    Just goes to show how far detatched the teaching profession is from the real world, in my humble opinion.
    I wouldn't go before they push you if I were you.
  11. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    We all get run down by it from time to time. I know people who've transferred from other careers who've quit after a couple of years because of the sheer intensity of the job. It may be that you need to look for a job in another school rather than quit teaching altogether. Good luck. And don't pat any heed to the " teachers have it easy " brigade. If they thought it was such a doddle they'd try it instead of spending their time in teaching websites making snide remarks.
  12. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    I think that is probably down to the fact the whole system is detached from the real world.
  13. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    I fell out of love with teaching a long time ago and it actually made me quite ill at one point.
    I am still here plodding away though.
    I am on a good salary (for my age it is a SUPERB salary!!) and have a good team that work with me.
    I live for the holidays - let's face it - it's what keeps us sane.
    If you are in a position to start your own business then go for it. There's no reward without a certain element of risk.
  14. The problem might be that education has been taken over by a corporate mindset which thinks that "...the aim of education is to produce units to serve the economy..." as it was so delicately put in a paper I read a few days ago. That brought up some chilling images. As a result teachers find themselves saddled with concepts that just don't apply in a stimulating and creative classroom. Concepts like "Preselected Specific Learning Outcomes." and a raft of others that have thankfully fallen out of my head since I bailed on the last regime that invaded my classroom. I have so much admiration for the talented young (and not so young) teachers who are battling to try and fulfill a completely unrealistic set of requirements which get in the way of them being able to perform at their naturally gifted and creative levels. I'm not out of teaching and learning yet however and when I return this time it's going to be on my terms. It's time teachers wrested their classrooms back from the bureaucracy,handed the paper work back to them, told them to meet their own targetsand fill in their tick boxes (or whatever) while we get on with the brilliantly unpredictable art of teaching our students the art and science of learning. (And don't take any notice of anyone standing on the sidelines waving their opinion)
  15. I assume you're not a teacher.
    Why would you find it irritating that someone would think about what they would ideally like to do? Are you one of the "that's what you sign up for" brigade? That makes me "smart" as you put it, as conditions will never change as long as there are people who accept everything because it's a "vocation" and you should accept your lot. I'm sorry, but this is not what teaching used to be. Even in my relatively short teaching career, I have seen a huge increase in intiatives, ridiculous hoops to jump through and teachers held to accountability over the slightest thing.
    I can cope, thank you, it's whether I want to. My post very clearly stated that I have doubts about whether I want it to be my life. I don't want to feel guilty that I don't care enough to be living and breathing it. Why that would annoy you, I really don't know.
  16. Well I'm fed up reading the NUT magazine. The thought of working till I'm 66 to get my pension.
    Do I have to pay in any money to my pension? I'll probably be dead at this rate by then.[​IMG]
    But hey ho a lot of people "in the real world" don't have a pension scheme.
    Doom and gloom [​IMG]

  17. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Huevosrancheros is annoyed by teachers in general, which makes one wonder why she chooses to spend so much time on an education website which is bound to attract many teachers. Nowt so queer as folk.
  18. Takes all sorts, I suppose.
    Still considering HE - spoke to a friend who is a lecturer and she told me to go for it. Not sure the vacancy I'm seen is right for me, but I will keep my eyes peeled. Looks like I'll probably stick at it for another year - two teachers are already leaving my school and I couldn't imagine how I could go aswell.
    Hate this feeling of not doing the best I can.
  19. I left teaching after 9 yrs and had a three year break. At the time I left, I had lost all interest in the job and arrived at meetings thinking I have absolutely nothing to say, I was bored of the same old topics going around and around. It was the best decision I ever made. I did not have a job to go to and was single with no dependents so I could afford to be a bit reckless. I went on supply for a bit then took a job as a sales rep which I thought I would hate and ended up loving. To cut a long story short I eventually returned to teaching and Im really enjoying it again. A break does you the world of good and makes you appreciate that teaching is not that bad a proffession. Its all about your attitude to the job at the time. I felt exactly as you described and as soon as I handed in my notice my freedom returned. Good luck!
  20. Please don't change your plans just because others are leaving too. Schools can and will carry on. At the end of the day, they will find someone else - if they are replacing two already, finding a third won't be a problem.

    I was talking to a former colleague this week. Interestingly both of us have felt really disheartened this year - lost our career drive and just wanted a job without responsibilities. We're 'expensive' and feel that we have to do more that our fair share to earn our keep so to speak. She has considered quitting because she has had enough.

    I had a student last term who was amazing - she gave me lots of inspiration for doing things differently and I have approached my planning with a bit more enthusiasm. I had found my life being overtaken by planning and everything else and have spent quite a bit of the hols working and do begrudge it. I stayed in the same year group this year, thought it would be easier - but no! Am changing year groups next term and can't wait.

    As for a business, my sister opened a shop with a friend last year - it is a very very demanding thing - every waking hour is taken over with the shop - if she is not in the shop, then she is looking at stock ideas for the forthcoming months. She was even starting to think about Christmas stock before Easter. Pay wise, their take home pay (after all their costs) is less than what they pay their staff and half of what she used to earn. It is hard and they have to keep ahead of their competitors, keep on top of trends and even when she does have time off, if she is out she is always looking at potential stock ideas.

    (And please can someone tell me why all line breaks disappear when I post.)

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