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Thinking of packing in Teaching.

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by MarkE70, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. Every weekend I seem to be going over and over the same thoughts. Should I continue teaching?
    My circumstances are pretty unique i would imagine. I actually enjoy teaching, I like the school I work at, I like the kids (although it is a very challenging inner city school), the kids seem to like me, the management have give me very positive feedback and I seem to fit into the role really well.
    So, what's the problem? Well in a nutshell it's my home circumstances. I am a single Dad of 2 girls (one of which has cerebral palsy) and I am finding it nearly impossible to get any time with them. The girls have been through a really tough time since their Mother died and I have worked very hard looking after them and went back to Uni to train as a teacher, to create a better life for them. But I'm not sure it's working out that way.
    I always said to myself I wouldn't ever work myself stupid to the point where the kids lose out. But, I can't help but think that is exactly what I am doing right now. I am always busy and knackered and seem to be so run down. I'm very reluctantly thinking of doing something else in order to spend more time with my kids and see them grow (while I can). I do have other strings to my bow and could apply for other jobs.
    I really don't know what to do. I'm not sure if I could sustain being a teacher for too much longer. I don't know if I am thinking about this more because I'm rapidly approaching 40 next month, but it really is doing my head in.
    Sorry for the doom and gloom rant, but I'm really confused what I should do. I haven't told anyone about this at school. The trouble with me sometimes is I can be really stubborn and don't like admitting I can't really cope with what I'm doing.
    If I did pack in would I have to see out my time until Easter or finsh the full year? The way I feel just now I don't really want to go back on Monday.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Sorry forgot to say I'm an NQT.
  3. I think the deadline to resign and leave at Easter is the end of Feb but it might be different for the NQT year.

    I'm still training myself but I would suggest completing the NQT as then at least you are qualified and will have more choice for the future. Even if you left after the NQT and did something else you could always go back to it another time.
  4. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I don't know how the Summer trem compares with the first two terms in Primary but, in Secondary, things really start to ease up in the Summer term, especially if you are working ahead of the SOWs. Your planning etc in the evenings will lessen and you'll have the 6 week holiday to spend time with your daughters.
    If you are getting good feedback at school, it seems a shame to jump ship when you could get the Induction out of the way. If you left and then gave teaching another try, you might end up doing the 3rd Induction term at a school where you don't fit in so well.
    remember that you can be absent for 29 days or fewer from your NQT year without it affecting your Induction. If you are not feeling right and really can't face work on Monday, you can self- certify and/or see your GP.
    If you decide to carry on, you can still make another evaluation before the end of May and resign by 31st may to leave at 31st August (it's really important to state the end of August finish date if you want to get paid for the summer holidays). That scenario would give you at least 3 full months to find more family-friendly employment.
  5. Hmm, this is a tricky one. I'm a late career changer with two young kids myself. It might be worth considering what you'd do instead, and comparing what life would be like REALISTICALLY from a financial and working hours point of view if you were doing another job. I work long hours now (60 per week roughly) but worked similar in the private sector (albeit for more money). I did those hours ALL YEAR, with only 28 days holiday entitlement, which I rarely took in its entirety anyway. Now, I get school holidays and manage not to work when my kids are around (I work every evening solidly after they go to bed) I also don't do a huge amount during holiday time. It works for me, but your workload may be higher than mine. Schools are different. Is your paperwork-intensive? Are there ways you could cut down on your workload? Think about changing schools/going part-time?
    I have a better work-life balance doing this job, but the main factor for me, is that I like going to work now, whereas I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning to go to my last one!
  6. Get your NQT year, then you can always come back to it years down the line

    Use the summer to think about it and see about other jobs. The problem is resigning for the right time keeping an income (teaching is annoying for that reason as you want a good reference). You could resign 31st May and you get paid over summer. Would you be OK for a job to fall into? It's really tricky I agree.
  7. HadleyDuffs

    HadleyDuffs New commenter

    Hi I have just read your thread and totally understand you. I too am struggling and working so many hours, feeling ill and run down. I work in a very challenging school and everyone around me keeps assuring me that after you have completed your NQT year, it really does get much easier. Once you have done that you could always go on supply, which pays well. I did a stint of supply and I can honestly say I loved it. I loved the fact that at the end of the day I could walk out of school and not worrry about it until the next day. This last week I have worked so many hours which included an nqt meeting on Monday, a department meeting on Tuesday, a twilight session on Wednesday and a catch up meeting on Thursday. I then stayed late on Friday to finish some GCSE marking and do a wall display. All in all I worked it out that I had done about 10 hours unpaid overtyime!! In addition I spend time at home planning and finding resources. I have never ever worked so many hours and have worked for 20 years in industry prior to coming into the profession. All you have to do it look around you, every week someone in my department is off ill. The stresses of the job are unrealistic! Then some days I can honestly say I love it, I love the kids, I love teaching my subject. The downside is all of the data and forms and planning and reports and meetings. Hang in there, you have come this far. We are on the final hurdle towards passing our NQT year. Once qualified you are in a stronger position, please don't give up all your hard work. You really only have a few months left now and then you will have all summer to spend with your children. Good luck
  8. You have my sympathy; what a tough situation to be in. You sound like you are doing brilliantly on all fronts, in very difficult circumstances, except for the work/life balance bit.

    Is there any way you can stick it out to finish the NQT year and then ask to go part-time? If the school likes you they may well prefer this to losing you altogether. If you work more than 16 hours a week you can still claim tax credits etc, so you could work three days and have two for your daughters. I don't know if that would be an option for you, financially, but if it is it might help.

    Good luck.

  9. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    I'd vote for that too. If you can stick it out (you managed to get through your training year - which I still might not!), do so.
    You could do supply or cover work after - not the security, but you wouldn't have planning responsibilities. It just keeps your options open really.
  10. It's amazing that you are managing all of this. I'm just finishing off my NQT year and have struggled at times with just myself to look after. Hats off to you.
    I agree that perhaps just take a bit of sick leave to recharge and get some perspective away from the school. If you can, do try to finish off your NQT year in a school where you are happy. I moved from a special school (which I loved but felt underqualifed and experienced in) to a mainstream school where I am now desperately unhappy as it's really not the right school for me. It's hard to ride it out in a school where you don't feel you fit in and I'm now only keeping going by sending out job apps and basically on hope. Hence why I would advise you to try to finish your NQT year in your current school.
    Have you spoken to your mentor or perhaps someone else in the school? I would strongly advice this as you never know what kind of support they may be able to offer you.
    Best of luck and I hope it all works out for you.
  11. lbrowne

    lbrowne New commenter

    Hi there,
    I think you are doing a brilliant job. I agree with everyone else - try to complete your NQT year and it really will get easier after that. You don't say what year group you have but some year groups are easier than others and you could do with discussing your worries with someone you trust at school with a view to changing to a different year group next year.
    It sounds like you are well suited to teaching if you can work out your home/life balance. I wonder if you can get any extra help with your girls given you have a daughter with special needs. You could talk to your daughter's school about this.
    Like someone else suggested, it may be that you need a week or so off to recharge your batteries and think about your next move. Talk to people as much as you can and you might be very surprised as to how much better you feel - a problem shared. ..
    All the best!
  12. I'd give the same advice - try to stick it out to the end of your NQT year. One of my daughters has special needs, and I think it does make you beat yourself up more about your parenting skills. I try to leave school promptly one or two evenings a week, get home by 4.30, drag up some energy from somewhere and try to do a fun activity or two, then work when they are in bed. Would this be feasible for you?
    I also remind myself that I have years and years ahead of me where I can teach other people's children, but only a few more to teach my own.
    I have worked a 3 day week and 4 day week in the past - really useful for fitting all those appointments in that children with special needs often have. Both times the job has been agreed in discussion with senior management - ask, but don't leave it too late as I know my head is working out next year's staffing at the moment.
  13. Well done you for what you are doing. I am a lone parent bringing up two girls. There is a father, but very much in the back ground with a tendancy to be out of work at times. The net result being that I am breadwinner, disciplinarian and knackered. It took a lot of thought before taking the step to go into teaching. What finally swung it was the holidays. There is no childcare or cover of any sort once children reach the age of 11. I am 56.
    Frankly, NQT year is tough. Also remember, it does pass and it does get easier.
    Consider asking for some extra support - inside school or outside. You have a lot on your plate. It also sounds as though you have been doing brilliantly - well done you. You are also almost at the end of your NQT.
    If you can find a way to stick it out - it may be a case of asking your or your wife's parents (I'm sure they will fall over themselves to help you) to help out more. Friends can also be brilliant. During my PGCE I had to leave my youngest at a friend's at 7.00 am to get to my placement school as no childminder would take her and school clubs only opened at 8.00 am. Other friends took my girls to their music lessons to I could have a half-hour on my own before they returned.
    It WILL be worth it in the end. However, it may be worth your while looking at jobs in slighly less challenging schools. Us Superparents can cope with only so much.
    Best of luck and I will be thinking of you.
  14. cj3


    Stick with the NQT year. Summer term is easier. Take time off as and when you feel overwhelmed. Do not spend hours planning every night - your kids must come first - not other people's - what kids want is a teacher they get on with and enjoyable lessons where they can feel they've learned something/experience success - you don't have to spend hours planning to give them this. Spend hours planning for your observation lessons - for all others, just do your best - that's what most teachers do.
    You have coped admirably - but I'd echo what another poster said - would the hours/holidays be so good if you went back to private sector?
  15. I too am an NQT and finding it really hard. I have 2 young boys and the guilt is dreadful, I drop them off at 7.30am and pick them up at 5pm. I don't seem to spend anytime with them at all, however, when the school holidays come it reminds me that this is the best job for me to have with them. After realising that there will never be enough hours in the day to do all the things that need to be done at school, I have finally relaxed and when we have our holidays together they are great as I switch off and only work in the evenings when they go to bed.
    I would also recommend talking to your children I did with mine and they have been fantastic as they say they understand that I have to work really hard during school time but they said they would rather have me at home during the holidays than having to be in school activity clubs, which is what I would have to do if I worked back in London.
    By the summer you will have many more options once you have passed the NQT.
    Most importantly keep smiling!

  16. bristolmover

    bristolmover New commenter

    deadline to leave at easter has passed now anyway... you must finish the NQT year - you'll have lots more options with QTS, and the last two terms are the easiest. Bear in mind you'll need to give plenty of notice if you don't intend coming back in Sept. Good luck
  17. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I think the first year of teaching is the worst. At least get NQT out of the way.
    The paid Summer holiday is good to have even if you decide to leave at the end of August.
    I have a disabled child and I did find Teaching a bit of a strain. I am not working at the moment but I am lucky in that I have a working husband.
    It might be worth talking to your Head about next year. Sometimes schools have part-time teachers to cover for Prep time. Once you have been in post for a year you are entitled to up to 18 weeks unpaid leave until your disabled child is 18. It is up to you how you arrange this time. Most schools are sympathetic and will give paid leave to attend things like hospiatl appointments for your child.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do. It might be worth finding out if you're entitled to support. Perhaps you need a couple of days off sick. Do try not to get signed off as stessed though because it can be more awkward getting back in.
    Take care.
  18. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to give me advice on my dilemma. I am actually off work today. I have a stomach bug, probably as a result of the job.
    Like most people have said, I need to ensure I complete my NQT year. Then at least I will be in a better position for the future.
    I'm still not sure what I will do beyond that. I don't think I will be able to manage the job full time, or rather I don't think I will choose to do that. My kids are the priority and at least when they get older I can concentrate on my career a bit more. It is so easy to get sucked along in teaching and devote so much of your life to it, to the detriment of your family.
    I think I will discuss this with my head of department and the headteacher. They have been really good to me so at least I need to be open and honest about what I intend to do. The ideal scenario would be to work part time there, but if this isn't an option I will look down the supply route. The thing is the school has had a massive turnover of staff over the last few years, so they will not be happy about this.
  19. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Beware the supply route unless you think you'll be able to get regular longer-term positions covering sick leaves and Maternity leaves.
    I've made a reasonable living from supply since 2003 but it all changed from September of this school year as more and more schools are using Cover Supervisors for short-term (and long-term) cover at about £50 per day or slightly more.
    I've had only 10.5 days of teaching work since 10th July 2009. I'm regularly approached to take CS work and some of the teaching work on offer is part days. I was asked to go to a school over 40 miles from my home last week for under 2 hours of teaching!
    Your best bet is likely to be a p/t contract post at your present school or another one, supplemented with supply work when you feel able to fit it in.
  20. I will discuss the possibly of a part-time contract at my current school. Otherwise I need to look at other options, including a different career route.
    What do you reckon the chances of changing from a full time to a part time contract are? Are schools normally flexible for people in my position?
    I have done well this year and as I've already said like working there. I think the staff will be surprised by what I tell them, as I haven't discussed my situation with them.
    Thanks again.

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