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Thinking of Leaving Teaching: any advice?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by milkchocwrapper, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter


    I've read these forums for a while now and thought I'd ask for anyone's advice. I start work tomorrow and have eight weeks left of my NQT assuming everything goea according to plan. I am thinking of leaving teaching due to how unhappy I am working at my current school and the difference in my from being an optimistic enthusiastic teacher to one which dreads each day and literally ticks off the days!

    If I leave at Christmas I will be handing in my resignation the same week I complete my NQT year. Even if I do not complete on schedule I still believe I may quit then. My real problem is I have absolutely no idea of where to go from here or if I am making the right decision. I know I have to leave my current job due to how it is effecting me physically and emotionally (it's not a nice place to be). And I am very much running from this job as opposed to running to anything else. I have no idea of where the experiences from teacing can realistically take me.

    I have received consistently good grades all year and have a good reputation within the school for my teaching, but this is very much a case of me being good for teaching... but teaching not being good for me.

    If anyone has any advice or experience it would be massivey appreciated.
  2. thepinkrachael

    thepinkrachael New commenter

    I'm a bit unsure here of whether it's teaching you're not enjoying, or the school you're in? I know a friend who has just qualified alongside me, and is a fantastic teacher, but because he was very unhappy in his last placement was put off the job. My advice to him was to go on supply for a while to get back into it and make a better decision about whether it is for him or not - maybe this is something to consider?
    Otherwise, what did you specialise in in your degree - is there another aspect of this you would be interested in working in? ~Or, if its not the children but the job, what about youth or social work?
    Sorry I can't be much help, as it's not a situation I have found myself in (yet!), but I hope you make the right decision for you in the end!
  3. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    I would suggest trying another school, start applying for jobs with a Jan start. Often it can be that you made a bad choice in where to work as you were so desperate to get a job as a trainee!
  4. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter

    I'm a little unsure of whether it's teaching or the school too... I'd definitely give supply a go to take a step back and go into some more schools before I make a choice. That's a good idea.
  5. I was in the same situation as you last year milkchocwrapper. I used to dread going to work and couldn't believe how I came to hate a job I previously loved! I was in an extremely challenging school with poor support from SMT and started to think that was the 'norm' in teaching. I was in two minds but applied for a job in a neighbouring school and haven't looked back. I have only taught two days in my new school but feel that I have my 'spark' back now. I was like you, thinking that teaching wasn't for me. I would strongly recommend that you try somewhere else before giving up altogether. It could be that the school is just not for you! Good luck.
  6. This is your first school, all schools are different and your experience will vary immensely. Think carefully before leaving, we have a challenging job but we are also extremely priveleged. Be wary of supply, which schools do you suspect require the most supply?!
  7. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter

    update: I went back for the Autumn term... lasted a week and a half and had to take a week off due to stress. The doctor wanted me to take more but I thought it best to get back in there quickly and I'm coping well again now but the school is so dreadful. Other staff openly recommend to find another school!!!

    Plan: I hand in my resignation in two weeks time, I'm so excited. Then I'm going to take some time off and have a think when my head is clear. If I do take another teaching post I will be handpicking ones which I think I can enjoy rather than desperately taking the first job that was offered in an area that doesn't value education in the slightest.

    Fingers crossed!!....
  8. What's your degree? What other experience do you have? I too was in this situation last year and eventually decided to leave teaching and move to another career.

    It was quite hard moving over, I don't think the private sector thinks much of a PGCE qualification. But maybe that was just my experience.
  9. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    When you leave register with a supply agency or two, it'll mean if you don't find other work straight away you can at least get some money coming in.

    But i agree with leaving the school. I had to do that in my first teaching post only in feb, gave myself a couple of weeks of space and then registered with a supply agency, once the final term of the year was going i found that not only was i enjoying teaching again but that i had plenty of work on supply.
  10. From working with NQTs in the past I have found that often NQTs forget they are high quality graduates and they also forget their reason for entering education. What they do not realise is that they end up battling the children and the system. A double dose of battling both the children and the system you work in or the actual school can be too much for a lot of NQTs and indeed new staff.

    You should first ask the question why did you come into teaching? When you have asked this then you have to identify the real reason you are not enjoying the job. If it is the pupils then I?m afraid this is unfortunately part of your learning curve when becoming a teacher and I believe you should stick with it. If there is a lot of politics at the school and a lack of support then it is worth considering a change of job. Unfortunately a lot of schools still employ people who they feel will ?fit in? and you can get real grief when it turns out you don?t. After all everyone acts like they fit in at interview but it might not be the real them. Just out of interest modern leadership relies on people recruiting people who do not fit the mould, and this is for many reasons. However a lot of schools are still behind business unfortunately.

    However if you do not fit the mould this is a horrible situation to be in. If you apply for another job you should have a clear and positive reason for moving so quickly as interviewers will read into this that you might not be able to handle the job and what happens if you have the same problems, whatever they may be in their school. You have to paint yourself as a quality teacher, non-problematic and non-complaining and with a simple genuine reason for leaving. Get a good reference that contrasts with the Heads one to represent your qualities and your good character. You may need to be honest when asked but in a professional and reflective manner not a complaining one. Whatever you do decide to do, take time to reflect.

    You have two battles in education, the pupils and the system and PGCE courses don?t train you well for both! Education and learning is also about younger teachers challenging and making sacrifices. Some people should move schools as some schools are clearly backward in future education thinking and you need to find one that leads the way. For others you should start to see your NQT year as an intellectual challenge and working in a backward school could become a bit of a game to you. As long as you generally cross your T?s and dot your I?s. You might end up one of our future leaders and this is where you need to start battling.

    You might be potentially better than the staff working with you and the only thing they cling onto in the way they have done things, ?which is the right way? and the way they are used to. Take some time to reflect on the issues surrounding your unhappiness as this will be an important part of making your decision what ever you do.

  11. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter

    I'm an English graduate lol I got a 2:1... I read a post that said that NQT's forget they are good graduates... i think i'm in that boat. I came into the school full of confidence in my abilities and achievements over the past years and I am leaving with the hidden belief that no employer will touch me witha bargepole... that they dont respect any teaching skills outside of the teaching world and they I'm going to end up working in Macdonalds!! :(

    Though at least in Macdonalds I might get an actual lunch hour lolol... in all honesty though I would prefer to be unemployed than remain where I am and I now have seven weeks to my leaving date :) I'm all marked and planned in anticipation of my last half term:)


  12. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter

    oh yeah, I worked in retail (not for me but I enjoyed the time I spent there on the shop floor and customer desks lol) and I also did various voluntary roles for charity organisations. Teaching was my first and only direction in terms of my career that I wanted to go into and it turned out to be a real let down so far. I feel like I have no direction any more... like I'm wandering round one of those rubbish careers fairs with the army and some temping office agency there crowded round because there are no jobs!!
  13. Milkchocwapper,

    I disagree with you I?m afraid. If you went into graduate management at McDonalds you would be made to eat the Gherkins to set an example to staff. This would undoubtedly be worse than teaching.


  14. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    How did you feel on your PGCE placements? Did you enjoy them? Did you doubt your decision to teach during your training yr?

    What is exactly stressing you here, the staff? Are staff friendly and supportive or threatened by a newcomer? Do they include you or exclude you in the staffroom? I'm on GTp and have found some staff loathe to think that I may have an opinion worth listening to, "as if I know anything" since I'm only the trainee. This is fair up to a point but they are all a bit "You'll learn" in the face of my enthusiasm. Some schools have a very positive, nurturing ethos, others seem to revel in being negative and sitting around moaning.

    Are you a perfectionist? Are you allowing yourself time off to just relax and not think about work? Hobbies, friends, keeping those up? I do yoga once a week and make sure I have at least a few evenings and a whole day clear of work. You have to switch off and take time out. You have to make sure you look after yourself.

    Hope you sort it out......[​IMG]
  15. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter

    my friend likes the Gherkins!!!!!!!!!! I take them out and he eats mine too!! There's always one.... lol


  16. Hello there - I say leave teaching. If you feel it now, don;t hold on. I switched schools after 4 years thinking it could 'save' my waning enthusiasm, but realise I was better of just staying out. I am now embroiled in a situation where I want to leave but the nearest date is 30th Spril - that's 5 mnths from now! Each day is awful and it will get worse if you leave it. Its a case of mainstream secondary ed. being the same no matter where you go. management is often rubbish.

    good luck with freedom!

  17. milkchocwrapper

    milkchocwrapper New commenter


    I left teaching on Friday! It felt strange turning the classroom computer off and turning the lights out and looking back at an empty room. I'll miss some of the characters I taught but I wont miss my class until the memories fade a little and look better from a distance!

    I still feel stressed but I feel likea weight has been lifted and know it will take a while ot get back to my old self. I really believe that while I'm young I have made a good decision even if it took a lot of bottle, and maybe stupidness, to quit without any job or direction...I feel so much better!


  18. wow, although im not glad that u are obviously unhappy, i am glad to see that that im not alone in feeling this way! I too am an NQT and i completed 7 months of my induction year. I left because i hated the school i was working in and was overwhelmed by how difficult i found the job. I thought if maybe i gained a little more experience working in schools without the pressure of teaching, it might help, so i applied to be a teaching assistant in a new school.
    I love this school, the staff are amazing and the kids are great. I had alot of fun being a teaching assistant and learned alot from the experience and i definately felt like it gave the motivation and encouragement that i needed to stay in teaching. Now that im back to teaching all day everyday however, (still in the same school) im hating every second of it again and cant wait to find a new career path so i can leave and get my confidence and life back on track.
    i dont mean to put a downer on things but although the school you are working in can make a massive difference, at the end of the day is it just the job that u hate as opposed to the school? If so i think that it dosent matter where u go, the duties, responsibilities and day to day slog will be the same where ever u go. you will still have naughty children, you will still have masses of paperwork, planning, marking and assessments to get through, you will still have pressure to perform well and all eyes on you......and you will still have no life beacuse of all of this lol. i know it must get easier with time, but if its making you unhappy and your heart is not set on being a teacher, its probably not for you....or me!
    my plan is to get out asap! i just dont know what else to do!??? I have a 2.1 in psychology and criminology. any ideas???
    i hope u find the path that you are looking for and find a job that makes you happy :)


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