to quit my job in this climate?

(146 Posts)
burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 15:21:05

Hi all

Need some MN wisdom, regular ( although not on AIBU), have namechanged as I dont want to out myself. This is more of a wwyd to be honest.

I am a secondary school teacher, been in job 8 years, at top of pay scale and also have extra responsibilities. However I am miserable. School are heaping more and more work on me, I rarely leave the building before 6, later some nights, then im back in front of my computer screen when dd is in bed. Admittedly some parts of the year are worse than others and I am currently in the middle of one of the crap parts (exam season), but I want to leave. Other things are swamping me about the job, increasing targets, incredible scrutiny from parents, heads, bloody Gove, Ofsted. There also feels to be a culture of kids being encouraged by pastoral leaders to complain about teachers and I have spent the last month defending myself against things I'm supposed to have said or done to upset xyz kid. Its exhausting and so damaging for the self esteem, I feel crap at my job in spite of gettting good results.
Heres the thing, I want out of teaching completely because I feel done with it. My DP is postively encouraging me to resign and said he will finanacially support me through a careeer change (socia work or OT) and although it would be tight, he could cover it. I can't help but feel though that it is madness to walk out of a well paying job without another one to go to, and one that lots of people would love to have. .
I'm in my mid 30's, one child and the idea of being a full time student while dp works his backside off feels so self indulgent to me. There is a deadline to resign coming up (31stMay) and I just cant write the letter. DP is getting increasingly frustrated with my indecisiveness and feels that I am being unreasonable not to take his offer but then complain about being unhappy.

AIBU? does anyone else think that it would be crazy to just leave and sort out a course/another job after I've left? my mum is climbing the walls btw, thinks im throwing everything away, which fills me with more doubt, that I am indeed..... 'throwing it all away'

FingersCrossedLegsNot Sun 12-May-13 15:25:27

Go for it, you only live once, why be miserable every day....don't throw your life away! I'm a teacher btw!

Tiredmumno1 Sun 12-May-13 15:28:35

It's a hard one, as I can understand that you have a stable job and you may feel daft just giving that up, saying that you seem to have a lot of pressure on you, which sounds like its eating into your home life. Your DH has made a lovely offer and if it's doable then could be the answer to what you want to do.

Sometimes you have to do what you feel is best for you, and go into another career that you really feel interested in. Just explain to you DM you are widening your horizons smile

Tiredmumno1 Sun 12-May-13 15:29:03

sorry DP blush

HollyBerryBush Sun 12-May-13 15:29:46

I think teaching is a thankless job at the moment. Ofsted and it's frame work have seen to that; and the big academy chains sucking the life blood and enthusiasm out of people.

I'd be amazed if an NQT manages 5 years before thinking 'feck this, I can make much more working in up town', packs their bags and heads for Cannon Street, pronto!

Tiredmumno1 Sun 12-May-13 15:29:58

then that could blush whoops blush

Euphemia Sun 12-May-13 15:30:03

Do it. I'm a teacher too, thankfully in a Gove-free part of the UK. smile

I left a previous career to go into teaching, and had several years of no or little income. If DH can support you financially, go for it!

Imagine yourself this time next year, preparing to sit exams yourself ... smile

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 15:31:51

thanks both. My mum doesnt understand the 'widening horizons thing'. She thinks I can only afford to do that If I have another job to go to. I am terrifies of messing it all up, for example not being able to get onto a course, or end up bumming around unabvle to get another jobsad

JuliaScurr Sun 12-May-13 15:32:37

It's a terribly hard job.
Go part-time?
Home tutor to sick/excluded/whatever kids

Euphemia Sun 12-May-13 15:32:41

What course/job do you fancy?

HollyBerryBush Sun 12-May-13 15:33:52

Worse comes to the worst, you can go supply for a bit.

magimedi Sun 12-May-13 15:35:04

Your DH obviously sees how unhappy you are. I suspect you'd do the same for him. If you are mid 30's you've probably got another 30 years of working life - do you want to be unhappy for all of that?

And if it didn't work out I assume you could go back to teaching? You are not totally burning your boats.

MissAnnersley Sun 12-May-13 15:35:16

You should definitely go for it.

I'm in Scotland so things are not quite so bad yet, but if the things I read on here are just a small sample of education in England then YANBU.

jellybeans Sun 12-May-13 15:36:18

I would leave and find something that it satisfying. How great that you have the chance to do that-I would grab it. I am a SAHM and p/t student (OU) and don't feel bad at all that DH works full time to support us. I do all the childcare etc and house stuff, finances etc so do my share albeit it is in a different capacity. Good luck deciding.

enpointe Sun 12-May-13 15:36:38

going back to teaching is pretty difficult to be honest. I know few people who have done so successfully. That said, it's a terrible job in the wrong school.

SomethingOnce Sun 12-May-13 15:36:39

If you're in a position to be able, resign if your job makes you unhappy. Life really is too short.

From what I hear, social work may be the fire to teaching's frying pan so investigate your options before committing yourself.

Lj8893 Sun 12-May-13 15:37:07

Go for it! If dp can afford to support financially and emotionally then you should absolutely bite the bullet and do it!
Before you know it your studies will be over, and I'm sure there's bursarys etc you can get.

If you don't do it you will probably deeply regret it!

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 15:38:17

I am considering social work or occupational therapy. My DP isnt supportive of the idea of going for social work as he feels its a frying pan to fire situation. I dobt I'd get enough work as a tutor, and I guess I could go supply, but in terms of longer term solutions, I need to change my career. Actually I think im way too late to get onto a course starting this september, so suppply is probably a good option to tie me over ( if theres enough work)
We are lucky than DP earns a good salary, but I dont want to take the mick either.

mightbemine Sun 12-May-13 15:41:05

I don't think it's self-indulgent to be a f/t student with one child at all! I speak as someone in the final year of my second degree, supported entirely by DH's salary - it's a real challenge, and my subject is much 'fluffier' than the ones you're considering.

My motivation for going back to study was the realisation that life is too short to spend it doing something that makes you miserable and stressed. Your DH is happy to support you to help develop your own interests and that's exactly what he should be doing, as someone who loves you and wants you to be happy.

Agree with SomethingOnce about the move to social work though - I know teachers and social workers socially and, while both groups are stressed, the SWs are more so! But I understand that some people thrive on that sort of pressure (definitely not me, hence my choice of doing a non-vocational artsy subject).

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 15:43:10

crossn posts, thanks guys. You are all pretty much saying what DP is saying. I have heard about it being hard to get back into teaching, but the school should give me a decent reference and they cant deny my results, so perhaps this would stand me in good stead for the getting back in if I need to?

I thought about maybe trying to get a job as an OT's assistant this year to suppport my appplication to uni, and maybe see of I like it well enought to forge a career from it. There doesnt seem to many of those jobs around though. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I could do? Doubt very much I will get onto a course in sept, its very competitive I'm told. I would like to do the masters ( only 2 years) but its miles away from home and also very competitive to get in to)

It sounds like a good option personally. I think in your shoes I would do it, but only you can decide for yourself.

blueshoes Sun 12-May-13 15:44:35

Go supply and use the time to clear your head. You have been working too hard to make a clear and rational decision about what you want to go into next. Research your options and then go for it! Good luck.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 15:45:04

I'm sure right about now some of you will be wondering if I really am a teacher with my dreadful spelling and grammar! They are typos- honest! grin

manicinsomniac Sun 12-May-13 15:50:51

It's a tough one but, tbh, I don't think it's a good idea to leave a stable job without anyhting else to go on to. If you dislike teaching then absolutely look elsewhere but I woul secure another job before quitting.

Someone made a suggestion of part time which sounds ideal if you have a husband who can support you financially. Is part time an option?

Also, have you considered private schools? I teach in one and the paperwork and crazy, pointless tick box exercises are a fraction of what you get in the state sector. You would find that the physical hours on site are longer than what you do in a state school but they're more relaxed and enjoyable hours that you can spend focussing on the children not planning etc and you get longer holidays too.

Euphemia Sun 12-May-13 15:52:55

Where do you live?

newyearnewattitude Sun 12-May-13 15:56:42

Contact your local uni about OT places, they often accept late applicants... I applied in July to start that Sept! OT is good, I did a year and was lured back to psychology though but it is a versatile career....

Casmama Sun 12-May-13 16:00:39

I think in your shoes I would plan on doing one more year. Do some research into what you want to do and apply so you aim to start sept 2014.
If you are going to resign this month then I would think you need to have a stronger plan. That said if your DP is happy for you to be a sahm for a year while ou plan then go for it.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:04:56

Im in manchester.

That's really interesting about gettting onto OT so late! I looked at the Masters, but the closest is in Sheffield ( suppose I could drive every day?) but would be really worries about childcare when it comes to placements and getting back from late lectures. DP absolutely cant commit to looking after DD after school on anything other than the odd occassion, and to be honest, I wouldnt expect him to if I was gonig to be doign something like this.
The masters is only 2 years and I'd be able to register as an OT immediately, which sounds amazing, but jusging by soem forums I briefly looked at, they are scrapping each other for places on that course. The other option is to just start the undergraduate BSC from scratch ( 3 years), I thought I's long said goodbye to my studies, but I would just have to suck this up!

Bowlersarm Sun 12-May-13 16:06:45

Could you stay for another year and save like mad for that year so you would have a little independency money-wise? That way you know you will only be there for a limited time, get some money behind you, and it gives you a few months to further explore which direction and career you think you may want to go in.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:07:24

casamam, I know what you mean, and this is what my mum is getting at. I couldn't be a sahm mum tbh as dd isnt at school, but I would definitely maybe do some supply and maybe voluntary work in OT?

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:11:13

DD isat school ( another typo!) blush

I know the argument for staing another year is strong - it makes perfect sense, but I am really struggling to cope and the atmosphere where I work is really not nice. I feel bad about myself every day I work there, truly.
I do get though that my plans are very 'vague' and its that which makes me feel very self-indulgent.

LowLevelWhinging Sun 12-May-13 16:12:40

just to add to the social work comments, I recently qualified and the jobs are very very thin on the ground. Councils are letting social workers go rather than taking on, and the teams that are left are working under particularly stressful conditions.

So unless you have a passion for this sector, I wouldn't recommend it.

Life is too short to be that miserable.

You are more fortunate than most in that you have a supportive partner who is happy for you to leave and go on to do something else you will enjoy more.
Go for it!

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:17:50

gosh I'm shocked about social workers being thin on the ground when the courses are being funded and they are encouraging professionals from other jobs to retrain in it.

Does anyone know if there is a lot of OT work around?

Amilliondifferentpeople Sun 12-May-13 16:25:14

When I read your post I wondered if it was from an OT ... As shocked when I read you wanted to get in to it...

I'm a bit of a burnt out OT.... Same worries as you really. Increasing pressures, targets and demanding patients.

Having said that, it's a good career. I believe in what I do, and most of the time am happy with the choice I made. However, the jobs are drying up. If you check the nhs jobs website you'll see they're a bit few and far between.

Wrt place,nets and training, allowances are usually made for people with families so don't let that put you off.

Amilliondifferentpeople Sun 12-May-13 16:26:07

Sorry - didn't mean to sound negative!

On good days it is really good. Honestly!

trinity0097 Sun 12-May-13 16:27:10

I would second the consider the independent sector, I made the switch, and ok the days are longer, but I get more time in the day to do school work, less marking etc as the classes are smaller, and most importantly less admin! We are free to take on whatever we want and not adopt policies if we think that they are meaningless box ticking things! Holidays are longer too to make up for the intense term time.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:34:30

A million- didn't realise the jobs were thin on the groundconfused. I naively thought if courses were funded there was a job shortage.
what am I doing?! Argh!

goodoldgirl Sun 12-May-13 16:34:31

I say resign. Do some supply while you find a course/career you'd like to retrain for.

Our careers are so long these days that I don't think it's reasonable to expect everybody to stay in the career they chose at the age of 21 until they retire at 66. That's 45 years. Way too long to stay in a career that you've had enough of.

People change as they mature/get older, so naturally, what they're good at changes, and what makes them happy changes. It's only natural to change the direction of your career once in while during those 45 years (or 48 years if you start work at 18).

twinmummy24 Sun 12-May-13 16:34:59

I can't offer advice about courses etc but just wanted to let you know
that I did something similar last year. I had worked as a children's nurse for ten years but was at total burnout, heading towards a breakdown, i. was so stressed out, dreading going to work as the pressure and responsibility mounted and it was making me a rubbish mummy and horrible wife.
So, i walked, with no plan grin thankfully my DH was amazing and totally supported my decision. I was very lucky and things quickly fell into place, i started training as a TA and was offered a part time contract at easter which makes our homelife so much easier.
I think the biggest improvement has been with my homelife, because i am much less stressed life is calmer, the DC's are much happier and mine and DH's relationship has massively improve.
My vote is go for it, life is far to short to be miserable, and good luck smile

badguider Sun 12-May-13 16:37:26

YANBU if you really buckle down to your research for these next two weeks - I'm sure you could find a course to start in september or at least find the information you need to make the decision.
Post-grad courses fill remarkably late in my experience. And if you don't find one you can get into in Sep 13 then you've time to make a plan for a year that might include some combination of supply teaching, work experience in your new field of interest and online/access/OU course.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:38:14

I also thought OT was less stressful, less paperwork, leave your office at 5, no weekends etc. Have I got this all wrong?!

badguider Sun 12-May-13 16:38:16

Btw. your DH probably isn't entirely altrusitic in his support - it's probably in his interest too that you are happier and less stressed and not doing something which eats into your evenings so much.

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 16:41:32

I wouldnt because I recently lost my job through no fault of my own and know how hard it is to get one, even with qualifications and experience.

Retraining is all very well, but only of there are jobs out in what you are training for. Have you researched the job market in the careers you are interested in?

Confused40 Sun 12-May-13 16:44:48

I'd say go for it and take the leap of faith. You are clearly not happy, and from what you've said you will have lots of support. Life is too short for regret, and not only that you can work in the summer break from uni to earn extra money too. It'll do your self esteem the world of good too.
If you don't do it then shoulda woulda coulda will always play on your mind. Plus you can always fall back on your teaching skills if you change your mind.
Be happy whatever decision you make smile
Good luck

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:45:12

Thanks all so much, you've made me feel so much better.

And twin, what a lovely storygrin

specialsubject Sun 12-May-13 16:47:01

this is not a rehearsal. If you have the financial cushion to resign, do so. There is nothing worse than Monday-morning dread. And your misery will be making your partner miserable.

good luck.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 16:47:29

Badguider- dp is actually very honest about needing to see me happier because it stresses him out that I'm so miserable!

thebody Sun 12-May-13 16:48:31

Leave, if you are that miserable and can then leave.

Go supply, look up courses, clear your head, life is too short.

mumandboys123 Sun 12-May-13 16:48:32

surely it would make sense to know that you have a place on a course before you resign? if you have that under your belt for September, then I see no reason to continue in a job you're not happy with. However, if you're not sure what you're going to do come September then you will be sitting at home for at least a year before anything happens - and that may break you. Or it may not. You may love it!

I am currently retraining as a teacher but I didn't resign from my previous job until I had secured a place on the course.

mightbemine Sun 12-May-13 16:48:55

What kind of OT work are you interested in? I have a child with ASD and there is a huge shortage of decent OTs with an understanding of sensory integration therapy. I imagine that there are a lot of parents with dc on the spectrum who would be prepared to pay for private OT sessions in SIT, as it's very hard to get it funded through the NHS (and many NHS trusts don't seem to offer it at all). There is also a massive demand for independent OTs with an understanding of ASD to write reports or appear as expert witnesses at tribunals. But I expect you'd need quite a bit of experience and a track record to do this, I'm not sure where you'd build up the experience, probably not through the NHS. Perhaps through certain independent ASD schools which often have in-house OT services?

GoblinGranny Sun 12-May-13 16:53:08

I'd quit and go on supply until my head sorted itself out and I had a better idea of what I wanted to do. By going on supply, you instantly remove a huge amount of all the extra stress, which helps a lot.
Your DP is right, your mother is not. You will get to the point where you will either leave or crack into small pieces soon, and you want to seriously avoid that outcome.

GoblinGranny Sun 12-May-13 16:54:23

Just spotted you're in Manchester, supply in an urban situation is good, especially if you can be out the door and there in 20 mins.

Littlefish Sun 12-May-13 16:54:49

4 years ago I handed in my notice on the last possible day, without anything else to go on to. I just knew I didn't want to stay where I was. I then got a maternity cover in a lovely school which took me through from September to Easter. I then did a term of supply while looking for another job.

That year gave me the chance to "recover" from my previous job, re-build my self esteem and re-discover my love of teaching. I'm now back in a job I love, in a new year group, with different responsibilities.

Be brave. Take the plunge. Once you've done it, give yourself time to think about what you want to do before you jump in.

niceguy2 Sun 12-May-13 16:55:50

Would it be any better at another school? I know some schools are more challenging than others. If you have a lot of experience, maybe a change of school may help?

Or what about a complete change of gear? My DP works part time in an office whilst she studies and one day she hopes to be in OT too. So whilst it's not her dream job right now it works for us because it brings home a bit of money which helps pay for the luxuries, means more time at home with the kids and enables her to study.

The thing to bear in mind is that there are few well paying jobs which are not stressful to some degree. I don't think there are many jobs nowadays which are simple 9-5.

mizu Sun 12-May-13 16:56:17

I would resign as life is too short.

I am a teacher too (although in FE) and the increasing targets now are crazy. Lots of people I work with are feeling the pressure.

I still love being in the classroom though, it is just all the shit outside of it. I haven't even got the decent pay, think i would be on £26,000 if i was full time.

I would probably do another year though to be financially better off.

Bogeyface Sun 12-May-13 16:56:30

If you do go for it then you need to sort out finances. You say it would be tight, well that is based on minimal interest rates on your mortgage or on the mortgage of the person you rent from. What if mortgage rates go up? Do you have a savings buffer that could see you through the period of your retraining?

I dont think it is as simple as "Life is not a rehearsal" because while it could be the best thing you ever did, it could equally be the worst so you need to look at all the possible negatives and have a plan in place for each of them.

Personally I would live on your DHs wages alone for as long as it takes you to save all of your wages up to the point where you could cover the mortgage and bills for the period of your studies. Then you could do it safe in the knowledge that if the worst should happen, you will still have enough in the bank to survive.

guanosoup Sun 12-May-13 16:59:28

Another nurse that walked, here. I was working as a ward sister last year, and was burning out.
I had no job to go to, and spent eight months doing bank and agency work, with minimal responsibilty and able to leave the stress as I left the building, as it wasn't 'mine'
I re-learned what I love about nursing, and am back as a ward sister, but in a slower paced ward (and plenty of old men to flirt with wink )
I'd say, go for it, life is not a rehearsal.
The rest of my life has improved significantly, I am not stressy, shouty mum now, and dh and I get on so much better.

burntoutteacher Sun 12-May-13 17:02:46

Mightbe, I like older adult and mental health so far, but to be honest, I don't know enough about any of the fields to be able to say for sure which I'd prefer. Thanks for the input though and it's certainly food for thought.
I know it seems bonkers to leave now with no job, but I honestly can't face another night crying on the phone to a stranger at the teachers support network because yet another child has made a complaint. I just can't. If I don't get into a course this year I will certainly not be idle...I'm a very driven and motivated person and I would put that year to good use. If my DP had his way I would be doing a course in massage or something as I love that as well, but I just wouldn't pursue that as a career because it isn't viable.

Schooldidi Sun 12-May-13 17:11:24

I'm a teacher as well and 7 years ago I felt exactly the way you describe. I HATED teaching and I wanted out, I was even contemplating an "accident" so that I would be off sick for a few months. I did realise how unhinged that was though so didn't do it. I resigned instead, then found a job in another school, thinking that if it was the same in the other school I would know I needed to leave teaching altogether.

My new school was lovely, such a change from the old one. Much fewer challenging pupils, and proper support from SMT when there were incidents. Less paperwork as well, they actually trust us to be professional enough to be planning lessons without needing to hand in lesson plans a week in advance (as if things don't change from one lesson to the next), fewer meetings, etc.

I definitely say you should leave your current job, if it's making you this miserable you don't need to be doing it for another year. I would take some time to think carefully about what you want to do next, possibly supply, possibly some tutoring, possibly shelf stacking as a complete break from teaching. I wouldn't commit to a new career/course without doing some serious research into it and you probably don't have time to do that in time to get onto a course for September.

Morebiscuitsplease Sun 12-May-13 17:12:24

I too left teaching with nothing to go to. I gotta temp post in a lovely school and went on to do a maternity cover and then had my own children. My last years were infinitely better but once I had kids I switched with DH's full support. You will find a wAy. We regret what we don't do..also life is too short to stay in a job you hate, it can make you ill, as mine did. Go for it, you sound resourceful so will find something. Bet of luck go for it girl!

soimpressed Sun 12-May-13 17:16:21

I recently left teaching after feeling like you do. Unfortunately I left too late as my stress had got so bad that I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Six months later I am still not well enough to work but I'm loving being a SAHM (with a school age child). I am looking into new careers and my only regret is not leaving sooner.

StuntGirl Sun 12-May-13 17:17:13

Part of my job involves solving poblems before they even happen, and that's exactly what you're doing here. Life is too short to be miserable, so don't feel guilty for looking for a way to change that.

I quit a very well paid but soul destroyingly miserable job 3 years ago. I spent two years doing a basic, part time minimum wage job (was all I could get at the time) and have spent the past year studying for a new qualification.

Money wise its been tight and we've done without a lot of luxuries, and have relied on my partner to pick up most of the slack financially. He could see how miserable the job was making me and fully supported me doing whatever it took to make me happy again. Once I'm qualified we'll be in a much, much better financial position, and the job will offer a much better work/life balance, which I don't get right now.

I would say look into all your options, and budget to see how much wiggle room you will have financially. Can you apply for the courses before you resign so you know for definite you'll have something lined up? Can you have a supply agency lined up before you quit as a safety net? What about posibly doing other jobs to tide you over til you start your course?

If its financially viable then do it. Work is too big a part of your life to let it make you miserable.

niceguy2 Sun 12-May-13 17:19:48

Actually could you do what guanosoup did? Quit and do supply teacher for a bit? Since you don't NEED the money to pay the bills, this could be a good compromise.

ImagineJL Sun 12-May-13 17:20:59

I'm all in favour of leaving a job that makes you miserable, but I'm another one who would suggest you quit your current job and do supply teaching for a year, then see how you feel next year.

My reason for saying that is I wonder how much you know of the alternative careers you're considering. All private sector jobs have the same problems as far as I can see. Cuts, leading to redundancies, meaning that the people remaining are doing twice the work. There is a lot of misery in a recession, so people are more ready to complain if they feel unhappy, so litigation and complaints are increasing. Bureaucracy and box-ticking are now endemic in the public sector, often at the expense of care for clients.

My concern is that you would end up banging your head against the same brick walls as you are now, only with a fraction of the annual leave!

LegoLegoEverywhere Sun 12-May-13 17:24:02

I'm in my 30s and I'm in my first year of an MSc in OT. I love it! If you really want to do it, go for it, but my advice is to plan carefully. There were only 10 places on my MSc so you must show that you have relevant skills or experience and have done some research into OT. This is so you can say why you want to become an OT.

Ring your chosen University for advice. I had to do academic study prior to interview as my original post-grad was #ahem# too long ago. Paying for study is also a good way to show that you are committed to the programme.

As for your job, keep it as long as possible until you know you're on the course so you can save for the time when you're a student. Best of luck, you only live once!

Andmightbemine my particular interest is sensory integration therapy so I might see you in a couple of years. wink

DontmindifIdo Sun 12-May-13 17:24:38

OK - here's my take on it, if what you are finding stressful is government targets, paperwork, not being able to do the actual job, then you should not be looking at another career in the public sector, try looking outside that - careers that can be purely in the private sector.

In the short term, would you be less stressed if you went back to being solely a class teacher - give up the extra responsibility. Could you do that for next year for a year (look for another teaching job like that) - it will be a drop in income, but you might find you are a lot less stressed. Another option would be to look at private schools.

It might be worth thinking do you actually like classroom teaching, in which case trying to get a role closer to just that might be better for you. (You might get questionmarks about wanting to go 'backwards' in your career, but sod it, if you can afford not to work at all you can afford to take a drop in salary to go to a more junior role in a private school without the extra responsibility).

The pressures and the stresses of the state sector are pretty much universal for all careers with a caring aspect in the state sector, it could well be frying pan to fire situation if you don't think outside that. What's your original degree in?

GoblinGranny Sun 12-May-13 17:39:52

It's why supply worked for me, all the fun of teaching and children with no guilt or targets or politics or OFSTED pressure.
Bad day, you didn't have to go back to that school.It also showed me what mini-autocracies so many schools were, run by dictators who wanted their own queendom.
I never worked more than a week in any place, my choice. It was lovely.

BeyonceCastle Sun 12-May-13 17:42:26

A Mori poll did show that many teachers quit after 5 years due to the nature of the job.

I quit after six.

Like you I had responsibility points.
Like you I was pretty much top of the pay scale.
Like you I was burnt out and this was flagged up by the dread in the pit of my stomach at the end of Sunday night or holidays...

...and the fear - in spite of both good Ofsted and good results, positive residuals etc - that I would be 'found out' that I wasn't much cop after all. The job can really make your self esteem suffer especially if you haven't worked in a cross-section of schools.

Like you I had a supportive partner to support me financially.

Like you I wanted a career change and to see what else was out there as I feared I was 'institutionalised'.

Like you I worked in Manchester.

I have read Help! I'm a teacher get me out of here! and the Frank Chalk blog subsequently but when I quit I had just had enough. I had tried and failed (self sabotage on two occasions) to side step to another school so when May came round I too thought Life is too short.

I ought to point out we were double income, no kids at the time and also had no mortgage.

So what happened next? wink In the eleven years that have followed

I tried and failed at call centre work/working in IT
I tried and failed at cold calling work/sales and recruitment
I did supply work and realised how good a teacher I actually was and also how easy I had had it but not realised at the time
I considered community police service and midwifery but had a child by this time and couldn't do shift work - had done adult ed at night but did not see it as long term option, more an add-on when had no kids
I looked into traveller's education, outreach sex ed, museum ed but did not have the right experience
I applied for literacy and support roles including non-teaching pastoral but was overqualified, not qualified enough or passed over for internals/admin
I considered just being a teaching assistant for a while and did some of this on supply and inclusion work
I considered retraining for primary to find I couldn't actually do this but did do some primary on supply but number of jobs competitive
I did some long term maternity cover
I found supply work was paying 18k per year and work was drying up due to learning cover supervisors
I became a learning cover supervisor
I emigrated
I became a postman
I taught a bit of language school, a bit of private tuition and primary age group for a while.
I am currently on maternity leave but am a minimum-wage childcare creche worker. My partner is the 'breadwinner'.

My CV would look like a downward spiral and I would and will seriously need to buff it/explain my choices.

Some decisions were poor but it is easier to regret stuff you do rather than stuff you don't. Some decisions were influenced by pregnancy and some by sheer bad timing.

Beckett: ever tried and failed? Try again. Fail better.

What I do know:

Supply work is not easy nor constant nor lucrative, not any more.
A career change with further study involved better sooner than later.
If you are a born teacher you can leave school but it will never leave you!
If you put your partner in the financial support role you cannot complain if you find yourself the SAHM/homemaker.
Similarly he shouldn't resent you for it or throw it back if it was offered willingly at the time.
You need to keep up with new developments as teaching and the bs that goes with it is ever evolving.
You need to decide whether it is the job that sucks or your school or SMT/colleagues that suck more.

In hindsight knowing all I know now I would have changed schools first probably a couple of times before giving up on my career or I would have changed my responsibility/stepped down for a while (part time is for me half the pay for twice the hassle but not for everyone. Cover supervision is easier if you don't mind full contact time for 18k salary but easier if you know the school and the kids).

What I really would say to my 20something self would have been:'
You are good at what you do.
You are good with kids.
You worry too much.
You are doing too much.
Stand up to SMT/line managers/hod if unfairly criticised.
You know more than the average Ofsted inspector.
Strive to balance work and life - the odd book going unmarked or by the seat of your pants lesson is not going to kill you.

However if it is affecting your mental health to the extent that you cannot bear another day then it is a no-brainer: You get out (and live with the consequences later down the line if you do not find a viable alternative).

thanks brew wine

I hope my essay has not bored you too much or depressed you. I think I could go all the way i.e. management were I to re-enter the profession now - knowing all I know now - but that is the glory of hindsight and experience and besides my CV is now fucked diverse grin

Euphemia Sun 12-May-13 17:47:22

There are a load of suggestions here for non-school teaching opportunities - have a gander.

Amilliondifferentpeople Sun 12-May-13 17:47:26

To answer earlier queries... Most OT in a hospital/community NHS setting is leaning towards 7 day working. Quite right too. Rehab and assessments shouldn't stop for 2 days out of 7. although I'm glad my service isn't 7 day working yet

If you look on nhs job website for band 5 OT - see what it comes back with.

Funnily enough I left my last OT post as I was miserable and stressed. I thought I hated OT. I found a new job ad was much happier. Like others have said - maybe it's not teaching you hate, but the school you're at?

ImagineJL Sun 12-May-13 17:59:11

I meant to say "all public sector jobs have the same problems", not private sector

mumstaxis Sun 12-May-13 18:00:30

Hi burntoutteacher, this could have been me 10 years ago ! I retrained as an OT in my mid 30s via the undergraduate route and now also have an MSc. I don't regret my career change
a) as it has given me huge flexibility to be around far more for my child than would have been possible in my previous profession (a lot of international travel, long, long hours ) and allowed my DH to have more geographical flexibility in his subsequent career choices
b) I believe in the power of occupation and am very proud of the difference I and my colleagues can make to the lives of families we work with. I do feel that I make a far more meaningful contribution to society now, and that is really valuable to my self-esteem

However, in retrospect I am still 'me', being highly motivated to always be the 'max' as a mum and an OT and now I think I realise this can be a real source of internal challenge in any career. So nearly 10 years on, I think I could have also benefited from first taking a half way house "time out" in a less 'full on' version of my previous career, to see if this also could give the work/life balance we all so much want for ourselves and families. But when you are burnt out or questioning your purpose it can be hard to have the confidence to think you can make or secure these changes, right !!

My DH has worked as a teacher, so I have some insight into just how much time and commitment goes into being an educator "after 3.15". My experience is that OT now involves a not dis-similar level of extra commitment and pressure : the reality is that most professional development of any depth ends up being on your own time and self-funding of postgraduate courses necessary to practice in areas such as Sensory Integration seems to be becoming the norm. I see many staff working huge numbers of extra hours/days often at inconvenience to their own kids and family / preparing and sourcing resources on their own time/money and there is increasing juggling of managerial work alongside "being" an OT. Also, the NHS job market is somewhat limited at present : the number of qualified OTs also seeking NHS OTA posts seems to be on the rise , so increasing numbers of OTs are finding their feet in NGOs etc rather than the more structured NHS / social services posts of the past.

I know you feel that finances do not limit your decision, whereas I was very innocent about 'the real world' of public sector pay and benefits in the comfort of my previous profession and (maybe I should be ashamed of this, given what some people have to cope with) have found that transition to 'starter' pay levels hard at times, hence my lurking on credit crunch threads. Nevertheless, I would recommend really spending time investigating how you find working in a more flexible version / variation of your current profession. OT education is really great at supporting mature students, so you have lots of time to think such a major change through !

However, investigating change could be very inspiring and uplifting for you and give you a confidence boost about all the skills you already have ! If you find it hard to get to visit OT teams locally , then spend time with charitable / volunteer organisations working with similar client groups such as Mind, Scope, Stroke Association, Age UK etc etc or look at the Special Needs threads on mumsnet to hear first hand the experiences of people who want or need occupational support in their lives.

I wish you well in your search for occupational balance !

claig Sun 12-May-13 18:05:26

Very good post by BeyonceCastle.
I am not a teacher so don't know how bad it might be with reviews and rules etc.
But I think I would try and ride it out and see if things improve.

There are bad parts to the job, but there are also good parts - holidays being one advantage.

I think lots of jobs are bad and stressful etc and you might find yourself jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

You have invested a lot of time in training and in your career. I think I would try and move to another school with different colleagues first, before leaving it all behind.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 12-May-13 18:06:51

quit teaching if you hate it

but if hate it because of late nights, unmanageable workload, increasing targets and complaints, then do think v-e-r-y carefully before going into social work.

also agree that there are very few jobs for newly qualified SWs in the current environment (child protection excepting)

McNewPants2013 Sun 12-May-13 18:23:29

I would think very carefully, even as a NHS domestic I am feeling the strain. More work is being put on my team and the I do about 5 courses a year which are mandatory and even I have paperwork to do.

Trying to get annual leave is a nightmare and the shifts are told to you 2 weeks in advance. Unless you have a dedicated ward.

BeyonceCastle Sun 12-May-13 18:38:46

Coming back briefly to supply work- if you are Manchester based you will have Manchester, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Trafford and Tameside LEAs all within your radius - depending on how far you are prepared to travel (bearing in mind petrol/wear and tear on car will come out of whatever money you make).

You can sign on directly to the LEA pools and to as many supply agencies as you like - but unless you are attempting to get all your work with one agency (this is my main employer box) you do have to be careful re tax.
You will need to submit a tax return and possibly take a tax hit upfront if working with multiple agencies and get money back at end of year (if you want to avoid the opposite where each agency has you as a main employee then you face a tax bill later).

Bear in mind:

The agency is out to make money on you and will try and do the following unless you are firm about what you want:

Get you for the minimum amount per day - which they will then be inflating for the schools to make their profit
Get you in a school for the longest period of time - for which they continue to charge school per day or charge for a finders' fee
Get you as a newbie to travel the farthest
just to get the placement
Get you as a newbie to work in the most stressful schools
as you don't know any better

A lot of schools as I said have permanent cut price supply cover supervisors in place so this means the agencies are more competitive/cut throat

A lot of schools you are covering for therefore is stress-related illness i.e. burnt out teachers or long-term absence i.e. illness whereby the kids have had a succession of short term staff and buggering about

Or a vacancy they cannot fill ask yourself why

Or they have an Ofsted inspection grin

It is a great experience to find out just how good you are, strong you are, how inventive you can be...if times have changed while I have been away please let me know but often you might find you have to think on your feet and think fast before being heckled or told 'they did that last week etc'

Many kids will happily write off supply before you've opened your mouth
especially disaffected pupils because of long-term staff absence.
You will need to know as soon as you walk through the door:

The names of the five heads of year or equivalent (To namedrop)
The on-call policy/hod support and how it relates to supply
The usual - stand up at start,coats off, bags on floor, logbooks out etc for you to record or threaten to record poor behaviour
Copies of pupil lists or access to sims - else the piece of paper you send round will have Ben Dover Theresa Green Hugh Jarse etcetera
Have spare equipment with you but ensure you get it back
Have some kind of plan B (even if how many words can you get out of
longer word) while waiting for work to arrive if it has been set

Not trying to put you off honestly. But it can be a baptism of fire and although you leave it all behind at 3.30, keep your own spreadsheet of where you will go etc, it can be very stressful if you actually want to deliver something if you are happy letting them kill each other and make paper planes then it is probably entirely stress-free but then you perpetuate the supply myth/stereotype and you won't get asked back.

When I first started doing supply a decade ago I was on 85 pounds a day - when I threatened to go to another agency - suddenly this was upped to 100 pounds a day. My best was 125 pounds a day and this was ten years ago but it was before the advent of using non-qualified, hltas, LCS etc

i.e. when the supply agencies had schools by the short and curlies and the supply costs were a huge proportion of the budget.

No idea what you would get now - would be interested if a supply came on and told me - but although sums sounded astronomical back then the lack of work at starts of terms and in summer, petrol, car wear and tear and then the unpaid holidays meant you were still working at half rate (but fine if you didn't need all the days iyswim)

If doing a longer stint i.e. a maternity cover I would always be looking in the locals or the TES as opposed to via an agency but often an agency will get you the placement as an introduction so you are then stuck unless the school agrees the finders' fee instead (better to have school contract than agency as is cheaper for school and you can continue to pay into your pension)

Forgot to mention pensions - BIG plus for you staying in the profession but switching school is your pension/pension rights unless you were entirely screwed over

My teachers' pension is frozen and my local govt tiny one as a 'supervisor' not great - now also frozen. So whatever you choose to do in the future needs to take this into account too.

Good luck in whatever you decide x

OP I'm in almost exactly the same situation as you-I'm 29, one DD, hate my pretty-well-paid secondary English job. I've quit grin I'm going to be a SAHM and tutor. After nursery fees I was earning next to nothing for the privilege of being miserable at work. Follow your heart!

Inertia Sun 12-May-13 21:00:58

Just to say that you don't have to make the decision by 31st May or wait a year- you can leave at Christmas or Easter too if you don't feel ready to make a decision yet.

kim147 Sun 12-May-13 21:07:56

I left full time teaching 4 years ago - I had to make a mental health decision. Looking back, I think it was a mistake. I wish I had gone to another school just to get out of that environment.

Since then, I've done 1-1 tutoring and supply. Getting back to full time is very hard - I'm top of the MPS and expensive. It has cost me a lot of money and I've got no one to support me.

If you have someone to support you financially, that's great. I can understand the pressure. There are other jobs out there involving education that are just as rewarding, but a lot less pressure.

Supply is not easy and it's true what has been said about it on here.

Good luck

ubik Sun 12-May-13 21:13:48

By the way

Have you thought about Speech and Language therapy?

And a friend works as an OT in mental health and loves her job. smile

SageYourResoluteOracle Sun 12-May-13 21:20:20

I agree with others who've said to go for it!

In a past life I was a deputy head teacher and it was a nightmare. I was often working in excess of 80 hours per week and even pre-Gove, pre-ofsted changes, it was too much (there were other things going on in the school too). I was miserable with exhaustion and stress so I handed in my resignation at the start of the autumn term. The summer holiday had given me plenty time to reflect and the thought of another year at that place, doing that job made me feel physically sick. Very fortunately I landed a job quickly (still in education but consultancy) and it saved my sanity! I took a small pay cut but you can't put a price on happiness, I think.

More recently, after having DD, I've totally reassessed my priorities and although DH is earning half what he used to since losing his job, I took the plunge and now work with my little girl at a nursery. We are skint but happier than we've been in a long while.

FWIW, schools are generally very difficult places to work in at the moment and I'm glad I'm no longer teaching. I have friends who have taught all their adult lives also wanting out as tough just got tougher!

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Relaxedandhappyperson Sun 12-May-13 21:30:16

My sister's just resigned, with no particular plans, because all the OFSTED stuff is changing a tough job into an impossible one.

Go for it, I say. She has to do the rest of this terms but is a million times more relaxed even so as she knows it will soon come to an end. Find something you like to do, which gives you satisfaction and an enjoyable life.

Have you considered accountancy? (my field - and much more interesting than you'd think)

BendyBusBuggy Sun 12-May-13 21:30:33

I agree that you should change something if you're unhappy. Have you tried talking to your head? Do they know you're unhappy and thinking of leaving? If they don't they would probably appreciate the opportunity to improve things rather than lose you. Perhaps you could go part time while you're studying, that would mean you contribute financially and you keep your foot in? Or perhaps change to another school? I always find the colleagues make a huge difference to my happiness at work and you mentioned it's not a nice environment.

I wish you good luck with whatever choice you make.

nenevomito Sun 12-May-13 21:39:08

I'd go for it. I think your OH is right about social work being out of the frying pan into the fire though.

I got out of teaching many moons ago and have never regretted it for one moment.

snuffy143 Sun 12-May-13 21:58:35

I agree with all the above - I resigned 18 months ago after 15 years teaching for some of the reasons listed - mostly work/life balance was completely wrong. I now work for Cambridge Assessment (I actually work for OCR on GCE Sciences) and it is the most brilliant job. It is also why I am on MN at this time on a Sunday night and not frantically planning lessons or marking. I have my life back. Simples. Do it. ASAP.

Tanith Sun 12-May-13 22:55:38

Are you sure it's teaching you're sick of, and not just the job you're in?

There are many jobs you could take your skills to without requiring further study.
Perhaps you could move into the private sector, further education, private tutoring or prison teaching. It might help to try a different teaching job before you entirely burn your bridges.

MeNeedShoes Sun 12-May-13 23:17:03

Is a career break an option? Just to get some head space and the chance to find another job in a more chilled out school?

mummymeister Sun 12-May-13 23:22:12

exchanging one public sector job for another isn't necessarily going to deal with all the issues that you talk about OP. I gave up a public sector job 10 yrs ago to go self employed in the private sector. glad I did it but am under no illusions that it has been/continues to be damn hard. the school hols issue is ever present plus my pension was frozen when I left and try as I might I cannot afford anything like this in the private sector. Also how will you feel if you retrain then cannot get a job in the new also public sector profession? can you ask the school for a sabbatical - a term off so that you can have a think away from the stress as to what you need. not sure if this is possible but am worried about bridge burning when finding good decent well paid jobs is still damn tough. for as many people saying go for it there will be the same number telling you to hang on. only you know how desperately you hate your current job.

evilartsgraduate Sun 12-May-13 23:23:38

I agree with your husband. I'm a social worker and the hours are as bad as or worse than you describe and fewer "official" (I do realise that the 'long summer holiday' can be anything but for teachers) leave days. Plus there is a lot of computer time, possibly a lot more.

OT seems to be a bit more "defined" in terms of skill set, but mostly they work for Local Authorities as well and vacancies can be hard to come by.

Agree with others about finding something else before quitting as you need to keep up momentum (I'm sure this is the least of your worries atm though:-))

morethanpotatoprints Sun 12-May-13 23:23:45

You only live once and life is for living.
Go for it.
Your dp supports you and you can afford it, where's the problem?
Its not like you ever forget how to be a good teacher. The pace of change is so quick anyway and government never leave a system alone. You would be constantly retraining for something anyway.

claig Mon 13-May-13 00:31:46

'School are heaping more and more work on me, I rarely leave the building before 6, later some nights, then im back in front of my computer screen when dd is in bed.'

these sort of pressures may also be part of any new job that you do, particularly as it will be a job in which you have probably not had previous experience.

'Other things are swamping me about the job, increasing targets, incredible scrutiny from parents, heads, bloody Gove, Ofsted. There also feels to be a culture of kids being encouraged by pastoral leaders to complain about teachers and I have spent the last month defending myself against things I'm supposed to have said or done to upset xyz kid. Its exhausting and so damaging for the self esteem, I feel crap at my job in spite of gettting good results.'

It is possible that the pressure and criticism are undermining your self confidence and your belief that you are doing a good job. The negative thoughts can create a spiral and drag your self esteem further down which can make you feel out of your depth and depressed.

I think it might be worth breaking the negative spiral by thinking positively and concentrating on what you do well, on the successes that you have had and the help that you have given to students. Try to treat the pressures and management and Ofsted as hurdles and obstacles that prevent you from doing what you are good at. Try to minimise their importance and don't let them becomea focus. Always focus on the work you do that helps pupils learn. Believe in yourself and what you do and ignore the scrutiny and reviews. Turn the situation around, remember what you are good at, and ignore these obstacles that are put in your path.

We are living in a period where politicians believe in targets and reviews and monitoring and performance evaluation and child-centred criticism of teaching staff and ignore the great work that teachers do. Most of these reviews etc are for the sake of the system, so that politicians can report on increased performance, while ignoring the stress levels caused that reduce the quality of output. It is a culture of tickboxes, facts and figures and child-centred evaluation of teachers' performance that indicates a distancing from old-fashioned common sense policies on teaching. It will eventually change when the fashion changes. Things change, just like UKIP has shaken up the system and forced it to listen to ordinary people and common sense, so teaching will eventaully return to common sense.

Stay positive, focus on what you do well, try to ignore the hurdles they put in your path and don't let the bastards grind you down.

claig Mon 13-May-13 00:37:48

In a couple of years' time. the Tories may lose the election and Gove may no longer be in charge of education. the progressives may get back in, and they may change things.

Hang on in there, the fog will lift.

claig Mon 13-May-13 00:53:58

All of these targets and monitoring and scrutiny are the legacy of New Labour's target system - the same type of thing they introduced in hospitals, where they reported on high satisfaction rates and high service while the reality was different. It is the same in education. they told us standards were rising inexorably, while employers said the opposite.

They used to play a song at New Labour conferences which had the chorus "things will only get better". Of course it was a sick joke, and the health scandals finally showed it.

But it can't go on forever. Common sense will return, the people will demand change and they will vote politicians out and things really will get better in the end.

Teaching is a great job. Stick with it, there will eventually be a return to common sense, just as there will be in healthcare too.

The people have had enough and told them so at the ballot box, and you have had enough of teaching.

Don't let them drive you out of a good profession where you help children learn. The fashion has already started to change and things will really start to get better.

ComposHat Mon 13-May-13 01:21:20

I agree with those who say that it might be a good idea to wait until you have a firm plan in place and hopefully a place on a course, rather than just banging in your notice in.

I'd also look into your career options more closely - I can't see how social work would be an improvement on the situation you feel demoralised by?

If anything the hours are longer and even less predictable and unsociable hours are often the norm. Departments have to have duty social workers on call in the office on call throughout the night and everyone takes a turn on the rota Also if there's a problem with a case at five to five, you can't just walk away at five, sometimes you can be there until the wee small hours of the morning.

The stress, the huge caseloads, the pressure to take on more, the pressure to close cases when you feel the family still needs help, the hoop jumping, formal inspections, adults complaining, kids making unfounded allegations are also part of life in a social care department. (Been there, got the t-shirt)

You also get the added bonus of less holiday (and when you are away the caseload keeps mounting up) and lower pay too.

amigababy Mon 13-May-13 01:39:14

I recently left a school admin job with the support of dh as I was under too much pressure. It has been a huge relief since I left. At the same time one of the teachers left, she got a job with a charity project mentoring disaffected children for 3 years. Still hard work but out of the classroom, away from the Ofsted/Gove environment. I think we both made the right move out of school. If you can, I'd go for it.

Boomshackalack Mon 13-May-13 02:48:38

Haven't read all of the pages, but I could have written something similar a few years back. Felt over the career I trained in (OT funnily enough), worked full-time, increasing pressure all around, toxic workplace and culture, got as high as I wanted to on the 'ladder' but costs to mental health etc. Money was great though!

DP encouraged and supported me to leave, but I had the 'gotta find another job first' mentality, which was also what my parents had conditioned me to believe. Long story short, straw broke camels back and I quit without anything else to go to. Did part-time work here and there and finally started making a bit more money but a fraction of the income I was used to. But you know, I'm not a stressed out mess any more, I'm happy and feel like my life is more on track (despite a difficult few years for other reasons). We don't have mortgage or dependents at the time I changed direction though, which probably made the choice a wee bit more straightforward though.

Before all this, my response to you would probably be 'keep looking elsewhere and don't quit until you have something else to go to', however after 15 months of doing just this myself and not seeing any other opportunities that wouldn't be 'out of the frying pan into the fire', I'm inclined to say 'do what you need to, to keep yourself healthy'. You can't buy back your health.

OT assistant does sound like a good way to see if that role is really what you think it is . . . and I do think it would be a great job although iirc most of them are part-time posts?? Could you contact a local OT department and see if you could arrange a work shadowing role for a few weeks/days? During the holidays. there might be limitations for confidentiality on exactly what areas you might be able to do this (ie mental health), might be that you get to meet a few different OT's but not with client contact?

Its been a while since I trained (*cough cough* 15-18 years), so not sure how much things have changed in that time (feck that sounds like AGES!!) wrt intake requirements, but I seem to recall prior experience as being important - yeah a load of us went in straight from school, but the 'mature' students really seemed to have a lot more drive and actual life experience as I recall, so don't write off what you could bring to this. Its not impossible . . . just I know that going through uni (fees and tuition and loans) is a lot different now than it was at the time I was there.

Boomshackalack Mon 13-May-13 03:12:14

oh and on reflection, out of my 3 friends who I trained with . . . I think only one of us is still working as an OT in public health (except she's not as she's having babies!!) - there is a high burnout rate in OT, think I have seen/heard of studies on it.
There can be ridiculous amounts of paperwork to cover your arse not just patient notes. Last place I worked (not in UK) required 3 different forms to be filled out just to get a raised toilet seat to a patient. Basic equipment, not complex.

OK you can leave at 4.30/5/whenever and have set hours, but CPD and increased targets often see people working at home as well. And I rarely used to leave on time . . I know a co-worker routinely would work an extra 2 - unpaid - hours a day just to stay on track (and she was super-organised at the best of times, so wasn't just her crap time management) more common the higher up you progress, as with most things I reckon.

My DW's experience of Uk schools was evening meetings attended by worn-out teachers listening to someone droning on about some extra burden they had to shoulder. Questions about where the time to do this extra work were smothered with vapid droning about "efficiency savings".

This was in 1998.

Both Labour and the Tories have it in for public-sector workers. The Tories think they're lazy and need micro-managing. Labour don't hate them, but treat them just the same in the name of "accountability".

I expect only a Lib Dem-Green coalition would save the teaching profession. No chance of that. UKIP would probably just introduce mantatory beatings and recitations of Tennyson.

GoblinGranny Mon 13-May-13 05:31:42

'UKIP would probably just introduce mandatory beatings and recitations of Tennyson.'

For the teachers.

Tanith Mon 13-May-13 08:29:53

Claig: Ofsted, SATS, league tables, National Curriculum were all introduced by the last Conservative Government.

burntoutteacher Mon 13-May-13 08:35:56

Sorry that I didn't come back to the thread last night, I was taken away by ....a huge stack of marking!grin

Thank you all SO much for the replies, I was delighted to see so many this morning! The ones with specific advice on where to get work exp etc are really helpful and it's made me realise I probably don't know enough about being an OT to say I want a career in it.

For those of you who say I might regain my love of teaching elsewhere...I have to be honest and say I've never 'loved it' nor did I even plan to be a teacher ( always imagined I would end up in health care as that's my degree) but it just happened. I like it though and I think that's enough - not many people are fortunate to love the work they do, and I don't think I'm entitled to be passionately in love with my work when I'm lucky enough to have a career in the first place. That said, it's now affecting my well-being ( have developed a driving anxiety on the way to work which has seen me being put on beta blockers) and I just know I at least need to get out of the school I'm in.

Can anyone recommend any other job in health or care settings they think might give me the work kids balance I crave?! grin

ipswitch Mon 13-May-13 08:45:02

Sorry havent read all the posts but just wanted to say as a NHS worker and partner works for social services...both of which place hugely increasing demands on us and we are both at burn out in these without the long holidays to recharge. Both of us work many extra hours at weekends and evenings and feel our jobs are defined by poor managers and never ending targets and unobtainable targets. We are drowning too.

Maybe think of something less stressy . I dream of working PT in a cake shop!

LetMeAtTheWine Mon 13-May-13 08:53:25

I have just started a thread in chat about children's social work OP and a few people have raised some very good points. I am not sure how to link (sorry!) but if you head to fun and games and then chat it is called 'calling all children's social workers - is it the job for me?'

Good luck with your decision making!

burntoutteacher Mon 13-May-13 11:54:36

Thanks will have a look in chat

Thanks to the poster who gave all that great info about supply teaching as well!

DontmindifIdo Mon 13-May-13 12:03:29

I think the pressures you are complaining about are going to be there with any state sector job. sorry, but you are going to find the same problems with whatever area you go into if you are determined to stay public service employee. It might be worth looking at roles within the private sector at least for a year or two (private schools, boarding schools?)

burntoutteacher Mon 13-May-13 13:39:32

The more I read the posts on here the more I am swaying towards supply, which I know isn't great either but at least I could leave at a reasonable hour and choose to work less days if I needed to. ( I have missed almost every assembly my dd is in because the school wouldn't release me for 40 minutes, they don't mind me staying until 7pm though or running support sessions in the holidays unpaid( there is zero goodwill there, absolutely zero)

kim147 Mon 13-May-13 13:47:51

Supply is really really unreliable - especially in secondary. Sorry but there it goes. I've had 6 days with only 1 phone call. It really gets you down. Don't ask me what I earnt last year. sad

Sorry for sounding pessimistic. Secondaries use cover supervisors more now.

If you want a less pressurised job, there's always a TA or HLTA. Keeps you in contact with education but a lot less pressure.

ComposHat Mon 13-May-13 15:04:11

OP I don't know how to say this without it coming across as an attack (it really isn't meant like that at all)

Anyway here goes....

I think you have not wholly realistic understanding of what the world of work is like. Not many professions will allow you to head off for your daughter's assemblies when you feel like. Most jobs that pay anywhere near what a teacher earns will expect evening and out of hours work. It is perhaps unrealistic to want to earn a good professional salary and enjoy professional status, but have a clock on/clock off mentality of hourly paid casual staff.

It sounds like you might have fallen into the trap that teachers fall into of 'nobody has it as bad as teachers syndrome.' Yes, teaching is a demanding job and teachers are put upon by governments of all stripes, but not over and above nursing or social work.

I was a bit narked with the suggestion that social work would be 'easier' or 'less stressful' than teaching TBH. I can assure you it isn't.

DontmindifIdo Mon 13-May-13 15:36:58

ComposHat has a point, most other jobs paying a similar level would expect you to book time off to see your DD's assemblies out of your holiday allowance, which would be fine, but you would probably only get in the region of 20 - 25 days for the whole year and would have to cover school holidays in that - so in practice, most working parents don't feel they can take a morning off to go to a school assembly as that means an extra half day of paid childcare in the school Summer/Easter/Christmas/half term holidays.

If your DH can support you financially and you don't need your wage, then looking for supply or a part time role might be better.

burntoutteacher Mon 13-May-13 15:43:57

Compos, I don't think I did suggest that social work was easy. I absolutely know it isn't. I think you think I'm after a free ride, or that I'm lazy, but I can assure you that it isn't the case. The reason I mentioned my dd's assemblies is because I've worked in several schools before this one where if you are on a free lesson and it doesn't impact on teaching and learning, you will be allowed to go. My school does not, and they are resolute about it, without really giving a reason why they are saying no. I referred to goodwill, because I think it all professional jobs that a good manager will work from the basis that staff won't abuse a system if you meet them half way.

I don't think that teachers have it harder than other professional jobs either. I do know though, that (perhaps social work aside) there are few that have to deal with the abuse ( and I mean real abuse) and scrutiny that we face in some schools.
I was called a 'fucking fat cunt' on my first day at my current school, and I quickly came to realise that this was nothing compared to what I would face after that.

kim147 Mon 13-May-13 15:49:08

The hardest thing for me personally is the climate of fear - I've worked in other sectors before teaching so am familiar with "the real world".

Someones said to me "You're only as good as your last lesson" - pessimistic but you feel you're on show all the time and the constant pressure and feeling you're being judged by others all the time (especially SMT) can make you feel under pressure and worried, especially if you have a lack of confidence in yourself. Schools are good at children's welfare but some are useless when it comes to their staff.

I know social workers and would not want their job for a second. I now work as a supply teacher and have the different pressure of worrying about money all the time.

But you do have transferable skills to areas where people won't insult you or constantly judge you.

Schooldidi Mon 13-May-13 15:50:38

It really sounds to me as if it's your school that's the problem rather than teaching altogether. I've been in 2 schools where someone has called me vile names like you mentioned. The first school dealt with it absolutely brilliantly, the child was well known by the pastoral staff and I felt very, very supported over the incident. The other school, when I told the head of house, she was lovely and wanted to deal with it, but she was overruled by senior management and that child was back in my lessons the following day having received no punishment at all.

If you could get a different school with more support I think you would find it's not teaching that's driving you out, simply that particular school. I know I felt very differently about teaching once I got into a school that supported teachers in dealing with bad behaviour of pupils.

zenoushka Mon 13-May-13 16:04:34

Life is too short. Seriously. Follow your gut instinct. I quit my job as a journalist 3 months ago, and it was the best decision I ever made. I was unhappy, stressed, eating badly, not sleeping, crying all the time. Just a complete mess.

Like you I have a DH who I've been able to rely on and has supported me over these past 3 months while I take time to breathe again and get myself healthy. Yes it was a risk quitting a job in this current climate. Knowing that I was going to quit sooner rather than later had meant that my last 6 months in the job I tried to save as much as possible.

Feel so much better now and finally feel like I have my passion for life and working back again. Have begun freelancing, not making anywhere near what I was making financially, but for the sake of my sanity and health was the best decision I made. Good luck! X

ComposHat Mon 13-May-13 16:37:37

I do know though, that (perhaps social work aside) there are few that have to deal with the abuse ( and I mean real abuse) and scrutiny that we face in some schools.

I don't think that you are being lazy at all, but was a bit worried that you were thinking the 'grass is always greener.'

Most public sector public sector roles feature at least on a par with what either of us have experienced. Friends who are Nurses, coppers, carers (earning minimum wage) and friends who worked in council housing departments have stories that have topped mine.

As others have said, the problem seems to be the school you are at, maybe try to move before jacking it all in.

burntoutteacher Mon 13-May-13 17:44:37

I want to stop feeling afraid. Like another poster just said...the climate of fear is always there....hanging in the air, and like another poster said, she was always worried she would be found out to be a fraud. I feel the same- even in my last job where I loved the school and my results were excellent, I just can never shake off the feeling that I'm crap. I just want a job that doesn't do that to me. Like I said upthread - I don't need to love my job, as I think that's rather a luxury rather than a right, I just need to stop feeling so damn bad about myself. hmm

albertcamus Mon 13-May-13 17:54:05

As a teacher of 25 years' experience, currently in 10th year at a 'RI' school in a 'challenging area', I would echo Schooldidi's words : If you could get a different school with more support I think you would find it's not teaching that's driving you out, simply that particular school. I know I felt very differently about teaching once I got into a school that supported teachers in dealing with bad behaviour of pupils

It's only human for you to be upset about one 'claim' after another, of course you take it personally ... but this is a typical and very widespread feature of the blame culture in which we are working; you won't necessarily escape this in any job involving service users / vulnerable people / cr*p management which is not immediately obvious when you gratefully accept a job.

Please stop blaming yourself and see the 'pastoral leaders' for what they often are : complete failures who are promoted beyond their (often limited) ability for services rendered to manipulative SLT/Heads who lack the skills to create trusting cultures in their schools.

The best skill you can hone is resilience - dig deep, good luck with whatever you choose.

Apologies to any offended pastoral leader, I'm sorry to generalise here, but I'm basing my cynical observations on the four, varying, secondaries I've worked in. I lead four subjects KS3/4/5, but couldn't / wouldn't do a pastoral job.

hamdangle Mon 13-May-13 18:38:50

Have you thought about FE? I teach in college and there is no where near the pressure on results here. We are respected and treated like adults and trusted to teach in our own way. No one sits and goes through our students' results because there is also the understanding that students have responsibility for their own progress too.

Classes are mostly lovely to teach because they all actually want to be there and there is actual recourse if students don't do work or attend classes. There are no problems with behaviour. There is a lot of flexibility with hours too.

There is still a lot of marking for me but this is because I teach only A level so have to mark tons of coursework. Others here choose to teach other levels such as GCSE resits, adult learning and literacy to lighten the load as there is hardly any marking.

I have also worked in adult learning and that is also very rewarding and less stressful.

claig Mon 13-May-13 20:28:10

'she was always worried she would be found out to be a fraud. I feel the same- even in my last job where I loved the school and my results were excellent, I just can never shake off the feeling that I'm crap. I just want a job that doesn't do that to me.'

Is it that you are doing it to yourself rather than the job doing it to you? Is it to do with the way you are viewing it and thinking about it? You feel this way, but some teachers at the same school probably don't feel that way at all. I think you may end up doing the same to yourself in another job that you do, because you are to some extent creating the pressure by the way that you are viewing things.

It is difficult but it may be worth trying to change the perspective and think differently about it.

I don't know anything about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but I have read that it can help you to think in a different way and to focus on the positive. That might be worth looking in to.

I don't know how good teaching unions are, but maybe it is worth becoming active in the union in trying to change the pressure and reviews. This could help you to feel in charge of your fate rather than just being subject to the monitoring etc.

maddy68 Mon 13-May-13 20:32:18

I'm a teacher myself and wondering the same thing. It's becoming a thankless job. I spent all weekend working and for what ?
I think I will give it another year. Try to bank some cash and then I'm off.

GoblinGranny Mon 13-May-13 21:01:16

claig, it is the climate in a lot of schools. You're always in the crosshairs, and you often don't see it coming.

sweetsoulsister Mon 13-May-13 21:04:15

I took the plunge burnoutteacher and life has never been better.

I felt just like you did - I would be self indulgent, it would be ridiculous to leave a career that should be a life long career, I should find another career before I left the first one, what if something happens to DP and he can't work and I'm not working...and the excuses went on. My husband had had enough of my excuses as well.

It took me two years of stress and pain (two years ago I was in year 8 of teaching as well!!) and finally I handed in my notice to finish at the Easter break. So I have been officially off for a few weeks, the stress lifted off my shoulders in waves, each day I felt better and better, my creativity came back, ideas started flowing, I started enjoying my home, my kids, my husband, my LIFE! Teaching these days is sucking the life out of us. It's wrong!

As a back up for my financial/future worries I signed up with a supply agency who have offered me a lot of work - none of which I've taken yet. I've been doing a few hours for a head teacher I know as a casual staff member and it's okay although I'm doing this more as a favour and would rather not be in a school environment at the moment.

but what I'm trying to say to you is that if you are that unhappy it is not the right place for you. I know how you are feeling and I know that it is hard, but if you have your husband there to support you financially and emotionally just write that bloody letter and get your life back because your family needs you, you need you, life needs you and although teaching is an admirable profession it is not our fault that it has come to this point. The more teachers who leave due to the unreasonable workload and pressures of the job will hopefully bring about the changes needed to allow us back into it with our sanity intact.

And that is my other point - we can always go back to it when we feel ready. In the meantime, trust yourself.

(I apologise if this message is a bit repetitive, after reading your initial post I jumped right in without reading any of the other messages.)


I would. Sounds exhausting and stressful.

burntoutteacher Mon 13-May-13 21:10:22

Ah claig, maybe you're right and I need to change my thought processes but there is honestly so many things wrong (IMO) about the way my current school operates that I just can't bear to work there any longer. I'm wondering if a lot of people are right about needing to simply change schools rather than retrain. I just feel, well 'burnt out' and want to run away from teaching altogether, but appreciate that it is probably stress making me feel this way.
With regards to a FE, I originally trained in FE and although I've never actually taken a job in it, I always assumed it was a very insecure place a to work in terms of contracts etc, but it's certainly good for thought. I used to be such a positive person and literally don't know who I am any more. I am definitely negative and I know that's how I'm viewed where I now work. A colleague once described me sarcastically to another colleague by saying : oh, she's just a little ray of sunshine' . The same teacher also told new staff to stay away from me because I was 'mad'.

I'm pretty sure that's how I come across with my long face all the time!

MeNeedShoes Tue 14-May-13 11:42:42

Change schools before you change the job. The trouble is quite often it is other shit schools who have the high turnovers and vacancies - but it's worth a try.

SomethingOnce Tue 14-May-13 15:17:49

Pay attention at the back, Gove!

You see these intelligent, articulate, committed professionals on this thread, and the things they are saying? Can you see a theme?

[shakes head in despair]

holidaysarenice Tue 14-May-13 15:26:57

I wouldn't reisgn until accepted to another course. Being a sw is hell for all the reasons you hate teaching. Scrutiny, compaints, defending urself, late nights. You will always be the bad guy. Without the holidays to recover.

burntoutteacher Tue 14-May-13 16:08:14

Think I def won't be taking up social work ( though I was never considering child protection anyway, would have been interested in older adult).
Going back to my job in sept to start another term makes me feel so anxious. They have made massive changes to my dept from then which will massively impact on my work load. I know it seems bonkers to resign before having somewhere to go, ( and I know it's foolish) but I don't know if I could make myself go back. I'll also have to work all through the summer on the proposed changes.
Do you think another school will be reluctant to hire me if I've not come directly from another school?x

ssd Tue 14-May-13 16:28:15

your name says it all, you need a break from teaching, full stop

just be honest with yourself and stop waffling

claig Tue 14-May-13 16:39:25

I think if it is affecting your health and well-being to such an extent, then yiu should resign and get out of it. But, I think you need to be prepared for teh fact that you may not be able to earn a similar amount again for quite a while. But get out if it is doing your head in.

claig Tue 14-May-13 19:02:28

Could switching to primary be an option?
What about private schools? Is there less pressure and monitoring etc there?

I think you said you have been teaching for about 8 years, so your fears of being found out to be a fraud are unwarranted. Your confidence has been knocked and the situation is affecting your health and happiness. That is no good, and if there is no alternative, then I think you should resign and hope for the best in what happens next. Life and health are more important than a job that is doing your head in.

GoblinGranny Tue 14-May-13 19:08:30

claig, primary is a nightmare too.

claig Tue 14-May-13 19:16:58

Is it?
This is a disaster. Why is teaching so bad?

burntoutteacher Tue 14-May-13 19:20:53

Claig-thanks for the replies. Yeah I've heard that about primary as well, and I would have to retrain. You can't go from secondary to primary I don't think? ( might be wrong)
I do need a break. Of this I'm sure!

GoblinGranny Tue 14-May-13 19:22:44

I started off in a Middle school (9-13), but they're a bit thin on the ground.

Jestrin Tue 14-May-13 19:24:57

Then take that break, OP! Your DP is supporting you in your decision and considering all that has been said I think you should. I work in a school and see the pressure on the teachers. I'm not one, myself, but toyed with the idea but the politics, legislation and pressure made me realise it wasn't worth the effort and that was a very sad conclusion to make.

Nenufar Tue 14-May-13 19:25:03

My DH made a drastic career change last year. He worked crazy hours and was bringing home a six figure salary. He deliberated for the best part of a year about whether to give it up and retrain to do something else that would be better for us as a family.

He got a graduate job retraining in a completely different field. I got a part-time job (I wasn't working before). We now earn 25k between us (before tax).

Our family life is a million times better. I don't miss the money one little bit.

hettie Tue 14-May-13 20:16:30

is there something in between teaching and a completely different profession?.... So for example universities look for engagement workers to reach out to current 16-18 year olds .... or things like this. There are also of jobs in skills based teaching (for example working with unemployed/vulnerable adults....). Just trying to think maybe of some jobs were your teaching background is relevant rather than having to completely retrain..... Having just done it (not from teaching though).... it's a bloody hard slog and it sounds to me more like you are over teaching than into something else (ifykwim). To get through the slog of retraining it helps to be really passionate about the the 'new thing rather than just hating the old.....

burntoutteacher Tue 14-May-13 20:58:43

Hettie your post has really struck a chord with me. I think I'd like something 'inbetween'. I clicked on your link and though I'm way under qualified, I see where you're coming from and will give it a good look. ( I'd love to do something that had me moving around schools delivering sessions, changing scenes every day and kids appreciating the fresh face!wink


kim147 Tue 14-May-13 21:09:42

There's a course called PTTLS - which is the starter for teaching adults.
Less pressure - or a different pressure I suppose.

I did what you want to do 4 years ago. I was under a lot of stress at school. I had no one to support me financially but I had to get out or I would have had a breakdown. Unsupportive head, class from hell and no support. I was in tears everyday going to school.

Mentally, my health got better, But financially, well it's been very very hard. I do supply teaching and private tutoring but I worry about money a lot. I look a lot less stressed and have my weekends back.

I've looked at PTLLS and other forms of adult education. Financially, it's not good pay compared to teaching. You're looking at 18k - 20k. Better than nothing if you have the support of DH.

You said about getting back if you leave. It's hard - lots of qualified NQTS who are a lot cheaper than expensive main scale teachers. And the longer you are out....

Good luck with whatever you choose. I know what you are going through.

burntoutteacher Tue 14-May-13 21:21:50

Kim thanks for the info. Is that course the same as a pgce? I also have a pgce in post compulsory education x

kim147 Tue 14-May-13 21:27:35

It's a course designed for adult teaching. I think you need PTLLS even if you have a PGCE.

Then there's CTTLS and DTLLS. It's all a bit confusing but there are plenty of jobs in adult tutoring, employee teaching, NEETS etc. And prison education.

If you look for education jobs on sites like Jobsite or Fish4jobs, this stuff comes up.

burntoutteacher Tue 14-May-13 21:43:42

Oh right, so it's a course I would have to teach as well as already having a PGCE? Wonder why that's necessary? Is there plenty of work around?

burntoutteacher Tue 14-May-13 21:44:42

Sorry you just said there's plenty of work- that's looks really interesting!

williaminajetfighter Tue 14-May-13 22:16:57

OP I'm not a teacher but having worked in advertising/marketing for 20 yrs can understand the stress pressure and long hours.

My advice really depends on the kind of person you are. If you're a risk taker just go for it and resign.

I'm much more of a 'planner' and indecisive to boot. I'd give myself another term, knowing I was counting down the days to resign and use that time to research options and save money.

If you did that in your last term you'll feel a weight lifted knowing that you're leaving but not feel that you've just jumped off without a paddle. I know if I resigned today I would panic if I didn't have a plan. I would try to stick it out for another term and you may feel much more prepared for the future when you do leave.

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 22:29:16

ot and sw are high stress public sector jobs.big caseloads,targets,demanding role
if you're thinking of it try meet,shadow sw and realistic about their role
don't get misty eyed about any public sector career.vocationally fulfilling but v demanding and stressful

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