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What made you decide to leave teaching?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by toastandtea, Apr 1, 2019.

  1. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    @toastandtea I agree that you should go to the interview outside of teaching. It may be hold the solution, it may not. Keep all your options open and wish for the best to happen.
    lardylegs, pepper5 and simonCOAL like this.
  2. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I can only echo the advice and comments from previous posters. Definitely go for the interview you have lined up - you can always turn it down if you are offered the job and it doesn't seem right for you. Also, the interview experience itself is worth having.
    I think the final straw for me was being told (by a head who was trying to put me on capability) that I was 'old school' and all I did was 'teach the children'. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad - 32 years of teaching and that was my 'epitaph'. I now bumble along doing the odd day-to-day supply where I think my 'old school' approach goes down well. The job has sunk further than any of us 'oldies' on here could ever have foreseen when we were fresh-faced and shiny probationers.
  3. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

  4. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    The school was academised.
    pepper5 and livingstone83 like this.
  5. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Top advice.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. toastandtea

    toastandtea New commenter

    Thank you except I don’t have an interview lined up, it was @Dawn_teacher i think who said she had one lined up?
    pepper5 and Dawn_teacher like this.
  7. silversoo

    silversoo New commenter

    For me, it was the constant assessment of students and staff. There was never enough time to teach the children before it was deemed necessary to assess them on what they had learned. Except they hadn’t learned anything because we didn’t give them the time to do anything before they were tested again. The result: a constant cycle of disappointed children who felt they were never good enough, and piles and piles of test marking and data which only showed the same.

    And for the staff? Another endless cycle of book scrutinies, walk-ins, drop ins, learning walks, performance management observations, department review observations and ofsted preparatory visits. I felt constantly on edge.

    I agree with the comments about being ‘old school’. I started to lose the will to live when I was told I could no longer plan my own lessons. Or that the new thing was Kagan…or Teach it Yourself Learning…or Skill Based Education…or whatever the new shiny SMT person had decided that week…..until that shiny person left and someone else would come and tell us we needed to change all our teaching styles again in favour of the next new thing…
  8. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Sorry @toastandtea but to @Dawn_teacher go for it!

    @toastandtea Keep your options open. Because I am at a lost of what to say, I'm going to peddle some New Age junk. You ready! Okay,

    'The Universe loves you and wants only the best for you.'o_O
    'Therefore, whatever you want, simply ask the Universe.
    Remember, Ask and You will Receive.':rolleyes:

    Okay, back to sanity now. In others, leave the idea of what to do suspended for a while, return to it again and again and solutions will come up. I am no believer in the Universe being some Mega Argos store waiting to give you whatever you want, but I am a believer in putting it out there, moving on to some other thought and being open to solutions from whatever source. An idea will come to you and if it's a good one, you will pursue it. But, outside of teaching, it isn't all roses so whatever you decide to do, learn the fine art of dealing with idiots. This is the biggest skill needed these days and work your hardest never to allow the behaviour of others to make you ill.

    Wishing you the best.:)
  9. Matt994

    Matt994 New commenter

    I was an outstanding teacher with outstanding results for over a decade.

    When I first started out, I loved the challenge and thought of the 60 - 70 hour weeks as a badge of honour. I looked at the atmosphere of extreme accountability and micromanagement as a way to make sure we got the best outcomes possible for the kids. Then I became a year six teacher, and realised that the system was perverse. The "Sword of Damocles" feeling that had driven me early on in my career began to damage my mental and physical health, as I began to realise that the things I was being asked to do did not in fact have the best interests of the students in mind. I worked in very deprived schools with children who had a whole host of problems, and constantly drilling SATS papers was in no ones best interests whatsoever.

    I started a new job as a Civil Servant in January, and my mental and physical health has improved rapidly. My time is valued, and if I work late on a certain project I receive time off in lieu. I am trusted to do a good job, and I am supported very well by my managers. Teaching has given me a work ethic that really stands out, but it has also left me with hang ups - I work 8 - 4 and still feel guilty when I leave at 4, and I am slowly beginning to shake that "Sword of Damocles" feeling.

    I am proud of my teaching career, and I absolutely 100% miss time in class with the children. However, I am looking to start a family of my own now and if I had done this while teaching I would not have been able to be a Dad in the way I wanted. My wife told me that when I was teaching, she would feel guilty if she asked me to go somewhere or do something at the weekend or after school because of how exhausted I was. That is no longer the case, and I feel my new job will enable me to be the kind of Dad I want to be. Teaching was all consuming, and my new job is allowing me to rediscover parts of life that teaching had eradicated.

    I got a lot out of teaching. It helped me develop tremendously both personally and professionally, and it has definitely made me a better person. But it also took a lot out of me.

    I will always want to return to teaching. I still follow TES because I'm hoping that things will change enough to one day allow me to return, and I'm hoping this website will highlight when that happens.
  10. Ivesy

    Ivesy New commenter

    May I ask which sector of the civil service are you working in? Is it as challenging as working in schools?
    It's something I was seriously considering in the future. 2 of my close friends have both said its terrible but neither of them are teachers.
  11. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    HT was the direct reason I left. He wanted to run the dept down and get rid of the HoD. He hounded him into a breakdown via allegations of assault on a pupil, and told us all we'd be required to teach across all Specialisms.
    After a couple of terms, in which I'd flatly refused to teach a practical subject I'd no training in (upheld by union on H&S grounds), teachers no longer felt they were on top of their game, and left. I was on my own with daily supply and non-specialists who declined to do practicals. Faced with taking on 2 more GCSE groups mid-year and rewriting every SoW, I decided I'd had enough.
    He won. Department was subsumed into Art & Design, with his man in charge.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  12. Matt994

    Matt994 New commenter

    I'm happy to go into more specific detail if you message me!

    I will say however that I feel really well supported and highly valued.
    pepper5, bevdex and agathamorse like this.
  13. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Go for it if only for a look around a non-teaching environment and sussing out what life in the private sector is like. If you don't go you'll never know. It might be just the thing you could do and enjoy. If you don't like the job then you simply decline it if offered but at least you'll be acting on informed knowledge for the future. One thing's for sure, skilled and capable staff are valued in industry and things are done to retain them, not try to get them out when they become too expensive.
    pepper5, agathamorse and housesparrow like this.
  14. thegeologist

    thegeologist Occasional commenter

    What made me leave teaching? Quite a difficult question to answer, however nearly 2 1/2 years since leaving I have identified some things which happened earlier in my career as 'slow burns' and other more pronounced events. In simple terms it was a combination of burnout and associated mental health difficulties.

    For a lot of my seven years I was very happy, the last two were complete hell especially the start of 2015. Here is a list of things that I think contributed to me leaving over my 7 years in teacher;
    • Early in my career I taught in different (three) schools teaching different subjects from KS3 to A-Level, my workload was very high commonly working until 11pm.
    • I was a perfectionist and wanted to be outstanding
    • Early on I worked and was successful in a tough, but well led school.
    • I taught in a sixth-form college and 'forgot' what schools were like
    • I was too ambitious
    • I lost all my secondary resources due to a hard-drive failure in 2014
    Up to this point I felt I could deal with it, at the end of 2014 I wanted promotion and decided to back into a school which was led by what is best described as a maniac. From having a reasonable work life balance and teaching pretty much how I wanted albeit a bit burnt out but functional I prepared for the challenge. At this point things fell apart and happened as follows;
    • I had to work an 80 hour week
    • 7 different rooms in one day
    • Ridiculous policies
    • Relentless pressure
    • Ridiculous performance management
    This led to;
    • Being sick every morning
    • Night sweats
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Suicidal thoughts
    I quickly got out after a term, but sadly the damage was done, I came back to the rough school which was well led. I began to recover a bit but I was already beyond repair, the head was great and I got promoted but my heart was no longer in it and the results in the school were not great and I knew another aggressive academy chains CEO was waiting in the wind. As a result I decided I needed to get out. The new head was not as bad as I thought and he rated me but in my head I had already left.

    I sought careers advice but could not seem to find a way out or something I could do. I spent an entire summer holiday applying for jobs of all kinds and struggled to get any interviews. The most fruitful avenue was my first degree in Geology. To shorten this very long story I was taken on by a company as a Geo-Environmental Engineer but took a huge wage cut which 2.5 years later have still not caught up. I do as much extra-overtime as I can which is often working outside on a Saturday night on the Railway! However I am generally less stressed and don't dread every morning as I did in teaching and I have already been promoted to a Senior Engineer.

    If you are to escape you must cut your standard of living, as a counselor once said to me after mentioning my mortgage 'you can always sell your house and rent for a while' and 'you can start again'. You will have to work hard too, but you must believe that you can do it, I am proof it can be done.

    I am happier in my job (not as happy as the high point of my teaching career) and do feel I have done what many have not been able to do. I do miss working with children and most people in teaching are great. I would love to return to teaching one day but things would have to change a lot.

    Sorry for the long ramble but I hope people can relate to this and it helps.
    agcb256, borges33, Riverhorse and 4 others like this.
  15. hiddendavid

    hiddendavid New commenter

    cos it's a s*** job
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. Leigh1999

    Leigh1999 New commenter

    Too many careerists who didn’t care about the kids and wanted to escape the classroom.
  17. Dawn_teacher

    Dawn_teacher New commenter

    So after the encouragement on here, I went to the interview for the job outside teaching. I got down to the final 2 on the day and they are due to let me know tomorrow.

    I also had an interview today for a teaching job and they are also letting me know tomorrow.

    I don't know what happens if I get offered both tomorrow (That may be wishful thinking!)

    I would prefer the one outside of teaching as it's a great job and one I've been interested in for a while. Also, I'm not convinced I like the school I was at today but would take either if offered.
    Matt994, agathamorse, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  18. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    An interesting story thegeologist. thanks for posting.
  19. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I hope it works out well for you whatever you decide.
  20. pleasemiss__

    pleasemiss__ Occasional commenter

    I left because I realised I’d spent the whole of my twenties as nothing but a teacher. I had no time for thoughts outside of my career. I found love, family and hobbies and realised that I needed more time. I wanted space in my mind for my passions and a peaceful working life. I have that now, away from the classroom, and couldn’t be happier.

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