Leaving teaching for school office job - is this madness?

(52 Posts)
Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 10:09:38

I've been a teacher for 10 years. I work 4 days a week in a very difficult SEN school where I get hurt daily (bitten, kicked, scratched, neck injuries) because of lack of training, lack of support...

I also have chronic illnesses that mean I suffer chronic fatigue & so have several weeks off every year. My work situation doesn't help my health.

There is an office job coming up at the same school. 4 hours a day, 5 days a week... would I be mad to apply?

Would I regret leaving teaching?

Taking into account benefits, I'd lose £120 a month, I think. To only work 20 hours & be able to pick DS(8) up from school every day.

cowsarescary Fri 24-Jan-14 10:14:31

No brainer. Do It!!!! (If you can afford it)

Cataline Fri 24-Jan-14 10:19:26

I'd do it!!

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 10:30:04

I'm really scared! I've always been a teacher! I've had enough now though.

No Ofsted to worry about, no planning, no observations and still school holidays.

Things will be tight but I think, for my health and sanity, I need to do this.

CalorHousewifeoftheYear Fri 24-Jan-14 11:04:43

Sounds like a great plan!

flowery Fri 24-Jan-14 11:05:28

Is it teaching, or teaching in this school that's problem? If it's this school in particular, might it be worth exploring other teaching jobs?

If teaching itself is the problem and you're comfortable leaving it, then this sounds like a good plan.

MothratheMighty Fri 24-Jan-14 11:07:03

You'd be fantastic as office staff, you know the job from the other side, and the children and their families. How useful.
Go for it.

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 14:11:03

I don't know - I think it is teaching in general, made worse by teaching in this school.

I'm exhausted, stressed & tired of jumping through hoops. Paperwork & pressure would be worse in a different school, I think.

AmIGoingMad Fri 24-Jan-14 14:13:17

If I could afford it and that opportunity came up I'd jump at it!

Good luck whatever you decide!

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 14:13:19

I've recalculated and I'd be more like £400 less a month, which makes more sense. And makes it seem silly to ditch a well-paid professional job. BUt I don't think I can continue it.

twentyten Fri 24-Jan-14 14:14:58

Could you shadow someone in the role on your day off to see what you think of it? It sounds a great idea.You could always return to teaching or do some tutoring to bump up your salary.

MothratheMighty Fri 24-Jan-14 14:16:08

It's silly to do a job that's harming your health, working 4 days a week.
If you can't manage to have that amount of salary drop, try another school. The paperwork and hoops will be there, but the physical aggression won't be.

Haha sounds like a bizarre stealth boast!!

MothratheMighty Fri 24-Jan-14 14:17:03

How so Ken? confused

AliceAirhead Fri 24-Jan-14 14:20:42

Life's too damn short to do things that make you miserable. I left teaching in schools over 5 years ago and haven't regretted it for a second. Have done various part-time literacy teaching related jobs since - all of them a squillion times better than being a class teacher. When I speak to friends now who are still teaching I wince at the increasing pressure they're under. When my DD (12) recently mentioned being a teacher when she's older I tried my tactful best to put her off. Escape while you can!

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 14:34:01

grin Ken

escape while I can is what I feel. Life is too short. I don't see DS - I leave the house at 7.30, get home at 6 then work evenings and on my day off. DS eats breakfast and dinner at his childminders. I may as well not have a child at all for all I see him on my working days.

I am just SO scared of giving up my security. Job is 30 mins away as well so petrol would be an issue but I guess (since I'd be earning a lot less than I do now), if I like it, I could move to a more local school if something else comes up.

If I get an interview, I might ask if I can shadow but I hang out in the office a lot so I know roughly what goes on.

Because its a situation whereby the OP is in frankly an horrofic.sounding job and has been offered a wonderful one.

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 14:42:29

Well, wonderful other than I'd be poor! BUt I'm at the stage where money doesn't matter,. I just need to be able to pay my mortgage and feed DS.

OddFodd Fri 24-Jan-14 14:43:15

I'd work out finances using the Money Saving Expert budget calculator thingy. And don't forget about other benefits (although is there much of a pension left in teaching any more?)

As I get older though, I think life is far too short to do a job where the stresses outweigh the benefits. I'd rather have less money and more time.

tilliebob Fri 24-Jan-14 14:46:36

Hello Grockle - I'm still reading that other thread you linked me too!

Wish the same opportunity would come up in my school - I'd probably jump at it! But then you know my feeling only glorious career these days too wink

Shartibartfast Fri 24-Jan-14 14:47:01

You need to do what's best for your well-being, but you need to be mindful of the finances and the terms of the new job. What are the pension arrangements for the admin post? Is it term time only, or will it involve work in school hols, in which case will you have childcare to arrange?

WeAreSix Fri 24-Jan-14 14:48:09

I'm not a teacher but I chose my health and children over my career. I've recently tried giving it one last shot, but that just confirmed that I'd made the correct choice in the first place.

We are completely broke, but I see the DCs every day, take to school and pick up. The choice is yours, but if you can manage on less money I'd do it. Or start looking for something else because either way, you don't sound happy where you are.

Good luck!

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 14:56:09

My pension is getting crappier and crappier & at this rate, I won't live long enough to actually get it. That's how it feels anyway.

Tillie, I hope you find something else. I'll see what the job description says then decide. It's term-time only, I have another small income which helps.

The relief and excitement I felt when someone mentioned this job coming up was huge & really made me feel like I must get out of teaching. The only downside is that my Headteacher may not be keen on employing me to do something else (I think she wants me out & has put pressure on me to leave)

BackforGood Fri 24-Jan-14 14:57:56

What would concern me is that the management of the school don't sound great..."...lack of support..." so why would you want to apply for a job with the same management team ?

I don't blame you wanting to come out of that environment, but I think you'd have to think carefully about staying there. Is it possible to talk privaely to the member of staff who is leaving, and ask them the negatives about the job first ?
Or have you looked at vacancies in other schools ? I know when I came out of special school my experience was much sought after by mainstream schools... could you not look for a 3 day a week SENCo job or similar ?

AliceAirhead Fri 24-Jan-14 15:06:35

It's utterly understandable to be wary and nervous of forsaking the security that your current position provides. But it's the things that we don't do that we often regret - e.g. taking opportunities when they come along. If there's any way, financially, you can manage on less and get out of your current job that's having such a negative effect on your physical and mental health (and family life), I think you really need to do it.

Don't mean to pry, but are you single parent? Do you have a partner who could support you through transition? If you find the school office job's unsuitable or not financially viable, are there any other aspects of education you could work in? I have a friend that turned to supply teaching after working in an horrendous primary. She really enjoyed the control and flexibility she had over where and when she worked and she's just taken up a permanent p/t position in one of the schools she worked for as it was such a lovely, well-run school. 'Better the devil you know' is a load of crap! There's a job out there with your name on it where you'll be valued and have time to spend with your DS. Have courage!

slug Fri 24-Jan-14 15:20:51

Actually, as a teacher, especially one who has worked at the school, you are an attractive employment prospect. you know how the school functions already, know the key players, know how to arrange things to work best with the students and teaching staff and are used to the students, know their foibles and their parents.

The school would be daft not to take you on.

Shartibartfast Fri 24-Jan-14 15:25:32

I work in Admin for a school, and the last admin vacancy we posted (which was a term time only role) attracted a huge number of applications. Without wishing to dent your enthusiasm too much OP, you may find yourself with a lot of competition - term time roles are extremely attractive to many mums (and yes, it is mainly mums who applied to our role), many of whom may have relevant admin experience and qualifications. If you do decide to apply, you will have an "inner" by knowing the school, and you should give yourself an advantage by talking to the admin staff, finding our exactly what the job entails, and thinking how your previous teaching experience in that school will make you perfect for the role. Good luck!

Cherrypi Fri 24-Jan-14 15:29:21

I resigned my teaching role on Monday. Go for it. Life's too short.

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 16:01:16

I assumed I wouldn't get a job in a mainstream school...

By lack of support, I mean that there is never enough staff, head doesn't offer helpful suggestions but blames us when we get hurt then refuses to provide training, says one thing & means another, communicates poorly etc

For 4 hours a day when I'm not in a situation where my staff & I are being hurt all the time, I can deal with that. She'll retire soon anyway.

I am a single parent which is why my income matters.

I know there's be a lot of competition. I did speak with one of the managers on the quiet and mentioned my lack of experience & skills & she said 'You're a teacher, you have ALL the skills!' then listed my report writing, typing, communicating effectively, dealing with outside agencies, etc.

CherryPi, well done - do you have something else lined up? Do you feel amazing?

Cherrypi Fri 24-Jan-14 16:03:18

No and yes. I'm going to mark papers to pay the bills and live more frugally. Long term will get another job or be self employed but definitely not teaching.

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 16:08:14

I missed the deadlines for marking papers, unfortunately. Will have to look later in the year. Good luck.

Cherrypi Fri 24-Jan-14 19:16:49


LEMmingaround Fri 24-Jan-14 19:22:39

I think teachers are Gods!! I had a stint teaching at FE college and that was enough for me, not the students but all the bullshit that goes with it - it made me ill.

You know what - you've done your bit! Go for it - you could always supplement your income with tutoring.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Fri 24-Jan-14 19:27:36

If you can afford it, do it. I'm a cover supervisor at a secondary school, although i am qualified to teach. I may be paid loads less than teachers I go home at night, put my feet up and relax, whereas my colleagues go home, plan,mark and jump through hoops till they cry. If I could get paid similar without going into class I'd do it like a shot.

PatTheHammer Fri 24-Jan-14 19:32:07

I'm jealous OP.

I teach in really quite a a lovely school in comparison to yours and I've had enough after 12 years. I've been looking for something suitable for months that's the right amount of hours, term time only but also pays enough to cover my bills.

Be careful about notice. To start a job on the 30th April you have to give notice by 28th Feb, this effectively rules out any immediate start positions.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Fri 24-Jan-14 19:34:29

Oh and op, I'm in charge of cover and supply agencies love teachers who have worked in prus and such. Find a nice small agency, or approach other schools to see if they would give you supply work. Couple of days a week makes a difference.

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 21:23:50

See... I'm wondering if 2 days teaching a week would be better than 20 hours, 5 days a week in the office? I just don't know. It would mean some flexibility, potentially more income. But I really want a break from teaching, I think.

I get confused about giving notice... I was told it is a term I have to give? BUt then I thought it was half a term. I have no idea. I don't know where my contract is blush

Fairyliz Fri 24-Jan-14 22:36:01

Are you absolutely sure about the salary? Most admin jobs pay around about the £16,000 per year for full time (37 hours per week) unless you are a Business Manager in which case you will need specific qualifications/ lots of experience.
For 20 hours per week that would work out at about £7500 for 20 hours term time only, compared to about £24,000 per year for 4 days a week if you are on TMS6.
Both salaries gross of course.
Also remember school office jobs aren't an easy option, you generally work lots of unpaid overtime and having worked in a special needs school you still have to deal with the kids and are at risk of injury.

Fairyliz Fri 24-Jan-14 22:45:35

Sorry, can I also say that working in a school office is not just about knowing the school and parents. Do you know anything about accounting, using computer systems, HR, payroll processing,pensions legislation, Health & safety legislation, writing pay policies, sourcing supplies, putting in capital bids? (All things I have done this week)

I work in a school office but that doesn't mean I can teach children dexpite having a degree and professional qualifications in excess of most of the teaching staff. Likewise I don't feel that any of the teaching staff could just walk in and do my job and you are unlikely to get a lotof training by the sound of it.

Zaraorklara Sat 25-Jan-14 10:37:28

It sounds like you are ready for a change and slower pace.

If I were you, I'd apply for the office job but be prepared that the school may not be too pleased about your plan as they would loose a valuable teacher in the process. I think you need to prepare yourself very well for the interview and explain that you love working for this particular school but due to your health need something more mangabey and family friendly.

Once you have pocketed the job and you feel perhaps a bit under challenged you could always look at giving private tuition having an interesting hobby on the said.

Go for it!

Grockle Sat 25-Jan-14 15:52:34

Thank you.

I know it's not an 'easy' option but it would be less physically & emotionally challenging. I joked about applying initially until the senior manager said it was actually a really good idea. They know I may not continue to be there anyway - they are well aware of my health situation & know that a sitting down job with less pressure would be beneficial.

I know I lack skills and experience but they know I work hard, can learn quickly and am keen. I'll have a good look when the job description is written and decide if I really do want to do this.

Thank you for the support.

Grockle Sun 26-Jan-14 11:57:41

And, thinking about it, it's on a very small campus so only 2 people in office. Most of the work is done in the main office elsewhere so this is a very basic role, answering phones, typing letters etc. no big responsibilities.

manyhands Mon 27-Jan-14 06:53:01

If you did 2 days a week supply would you make a similar amount to the office role? Supply agencies are always short of teachers with a strong SEN background, in fact Axcis is an agency purely for SEN schools, you'd easily earn the same amount aas the office job but be out of the school.

Grockle Mon 27-Jan-14 17:24:48

Yes, I would. BUt I'd have to pay for childcare every day because I wouldn't know when I'd get work...

Not sure whether 20 hrs a week over 5 days is easier than 2 longer, more challenging ones. I need to be able to sit down and breathe. It's the running around & constant pressure that starts to make me ill. I'm shattered already & I wasn't even in class for more than an hour today - I'm in bed. This isn't manageable. sad

BranchingOut Tue 28-Jan-14 14:01:49

I say go for it, as you could always try supply teaching another time.

I left teaching and my stress levels are tiny compared to what they were - my most stressful work days are just about equivalent to the average day in teaching.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Wed 29-Jan-14 23:18:40

I would try and have a word with the office person who is leaving and find out exactly what the job entails and why they are leaving.
More and more tasks are being added to our office staff, and as we are at the bottom of the pecking order in school we don't ever get increased hours to match the workload. I know several school office staff who have left various schools because of the stress over the last couple of years.
You mention having to have several weeks off ill each year, do you think that will improve if you are not teaching, because as stupid as it sounds, it's easier to get a supply teacher in to cover teacher illness, than it is to get an admin person in to cover an office person, unless it is a really basic grade 1 job.
Saying all that I love my job (except the low pay) and would not want to be a teacher for any amount of money.

Grockle Thu 30-Jan-14 19:21:19

It's a new role and will be doing very basic stuff - typing letters, opening the door, answering the phone. Not much more because there are lots of other people to do that.

I could manage an office job for 4 hours a day - it wouldn't be nearly so physical as my current job, nor would it be emotionally draining or dangerous. So, yes, I do think I should be able to manage it without needing weeks off to recover.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Thu 30-Jan-14 22:25:33

In that case go for it . Just make sure they don't try and use you as a back up teacher on an admin salary.

BranchingOut Mon 03-Feb-14 16:15:57

any news Grockle?

Grockle Tue 04-Feb-14 16:45:46

Office job not been advertised yet but am debating staying in my job but asking to go down to 2.5 or 3 days a week... still very undecided and scared. But loving the idea of the office job still...


Thanks for asking smile

frugalfuzzpig Tue 04-Feb-14 17:09:53

I think it won't do any harm to apply smile

Finickynotfussy Sun 09-Feb-14 13:37:22

I would be concerned that if you stay on the premises and they are understaffed, that you would come under pressure to continue teaching whenever they are short-handed. However, as regards the notice, if you're moving jobs with the same employer, the term's notice may not apply.

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