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To leave my professional career for a low paid job?

(186 Posts)
raininginbaltimore Fri 18-Jan-13 20:39:26

I'm a teacher. Been teaching for 8 years, I'm a Headnof department for a small dept in secondary school.

I have bipolar disorder, diagnosed two years ago an have just had my second dc. As a family we have had a rough few months, I've been in a mother and baby unit and dd has been ill. I cannot face going back to work. Teaching just doesn't seem doable anymore. I can go back 4 days, but nothing less. I can't move schools as I am too expensive, and not many local jobs.

I am so exhausted with the job. I have been made aware of a job in a local charity. Two days a week, much lower salary etc. however after childcare costs etc we wouldn't be much worse off.

Has anyone done this?

PureQuintessence Thu 24-Jan-13 12:28:52

I just read that you could do tutoring.

This is actually quite well paid, in London the going rate is £40 per hour, and my sons tutor who used to be a secondary school teacher, has 3 students three days per week. (Cash in hand wink ) She taught in an independent secondary, and most her students are children sitting the 11+ for entry into the independent sector.

storynanny Thu 24-Jan-13 12:22:27

By the way, I agree with aris about the holidays with your own children, that is not going to happen in any other job you take outside of teaching. But unless you resign and take a part time post in school it still may not compensate for all the other complications of having a teaching career when your children are so young.
Re being expensive - in my experience unless the school is very small, it is not a major consideration when employing staff. I was initially concerned when I took early retirement from my TLr2 SENCo role last year that I would cost a school too much for supply. However the 4 schools I have become a regular at have told me they would rather employ an expensive supply teacher who is reliable, is flexible, can follow a plan at short notice and has good behaviour management, than going through an agency and getting someone they don't know just to save some money. All the admin officers told me they don't take the cost of a good supply teacher into consideration.
If you work part time in teaching you will pay so much less tax.
If I was in your position I would go with the charity job and a couple of days supply which would enable you to keep up to date and have a current teaching cv should you wish to return to teaching full time when your children are older.

Yfronts Wed 23-Jan-13 20:04:40

Do what is best for your health.

Arisbottle Wed 23-Jan-13 19:05:37

Well that is fair enough Branchingout, we all want different things and there is no point carrying on in a job that does not meet your basic life expectations.

I am happy to work six days a week for six weeks because I do bugger all in the holidays. To have a six week period with nothing else to do than be a parent is a huge luxury.

DumSpiroSpero Wed 23-Jan-13 18:37:33

If it's financially viable then go for it, in fact even if it's not you could take it for the short term perhaps while you find a middle ground.

Mental health & wellbeing vs career = no contest.

BranchingOut Wed 23-Jan-13 18:29:43

The thing is, Arisbottle, I regard one day per week free of work as fitting very low expectations of what my life should be... From time to time, yes, work at the weekend, but not every weekend in term time.

In the end the anxiety was creeping in to Saturday, because I was so conscious that day was my finite relaxation time and the work was already looming on Sunday.

TheArbiter Wed 23-Jan-13 17:24:09

raining - do it. Get out of there. I did. I ended up with staggering anxiety and depression because of teaching. I left and have steadily progressed in a non-teaching career ever since.

I would class training to teach as my biggest regret in life: I should have gone into publishing or journalism, which I actually have a flair for. Too many* teachers are very unpleasant people to work with (and I say this having worked with journalists).

*not all teachers, and not even the majority of teachers - just too many of them.

Schooldidi Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:13

raining I would do it, seriously. Look at your finances realistically, factor in the change in childcare, would there be less travel costs? How much tutoring could you reasonably expect to do? Could you sign up for a supply agency to do a little bit of extra if you needed to (this very much depends on the supply situation near you)?

Arisbottle I agree that you should be able to have one day completely free every week. I rarely work during the day on Saturday or Sunday and just work slightly longer hours on weekdays to get it done (mark 2 sets of books every Friday night - rock and roll). I don't do a massive amount in the holidays either, I always feel vaguely guilty when other teachers talk about how much they do in the holidays because I don't, but my classes are all making the expected progress, some exceeding their targets, so I must be doing something right.

Arisbottle Sun 20-Jan-13 01:16:00

At four years in you should be able to have one day a week completely free of work IME, are people being expected to do too much?

I have never worked Saturdays, even at peak time, and never do very much in the holidays.

raininginbaltimore Sat 19-Jan-13 23:26:54

I need to take a serious look at our finances. We have already given up sky, contract mobiles, we haven't been on any kind of holiday for 5 years. I think we could do it because the difference in childcare.

And I could still do exam marking and tutoring.

WillowFae Sat 19-Jan-13 23:18:56

I'm in my fourth year of teaching and I am seriously considering quitting. I want my life back while my children are still young. I want to enjoy the weekends with my family without worrying about the work I have to get done before Monday. But I don't know if we can afford it.

zalana Sat 19-Jan-13 22:57:50

Having not so long ago left a well paid job in teaching to work part time for a charity, I would wholeheartedly say go for it, my only regret that I did not do it years ago. I feel so much better and enjoy life now, teaching is not the job it once was!

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 19-Jan-13 21:32:33

Do it. Seriously, just do it. Fuck the pension, it is worth bugger all - certainly will be by the time you retire. The time with the kids and the lack of stress will be the key things here - should make a massive difference.

My plan is to teach for another ten years or so, then get a job in John Lewis.

Viviennemary Sat 19-Jan-13 21:24:42

grin at Countrykitten. Years ago an old school type Headteacher told somebody I knew struggling during their first year teaching. 'You're not here to be loved or even liked. You're here to teach and they are here to learn.' Don't suppose that would go down too well today!

storynanny Sat 19-Jan-13 20:54:13

Just make the decision to leave and cut back on non essentials, you will be so much happier. I've been a teacher for 34 years and left a senior post last year as I could no longer agree with all the rubbish that I was expected to do in the name of "progress". I now do the bare minimum on supply in a few local schools and make a point of not working on Mondays so I never get that Sunday afternoon sinking feeling. Unless you had intended working at a high level your pension would not be that amazing anyway. Best of luck to you in your new job.

SuffolkNWhat Sat 19-Jan-13 19:41:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

slambang Sat 19-Jan-13 19:32:08

FYI from

The Equality Act 2010

The EqA has restricted the questions that a prospective employer can ask about health or disability in an application form, therefore you do not normally have to provide any information about your health on your initial application form. An employer may still ask these questions but they should only be asked for specific reasons e.g. to enable the employer to make reasonable adjustments in the interview or to establish that an applicant can carry out tasks necessary for the job.

Arisbottle Sat 19-Jan-13 17:15:12

I don't think the issue is teaching as such, but poor management in some state schools.

Arisbottle Sat 19-Jan-13 17:14:43

We have 2 cover supervisors but they are trained teachers, but I agree it is an issue at many other schools. I am not saying that we don't employ NQTs but if we need a more experienced teacher or a more experienced one applies we will and have employed them.

If a government initiative comes along that is useful we will put it into action, otherwise standard teachers are generally shielded from them as much as is possible.

countrykitten Sat 19-Jan-13 17:11:09

In the state system no-one can be shielded completely from government initiatives - they have to comply and I abhor the way successive governments have kicked education around. I think most teachers will agree that many state schools (obviously not the one you work at) will often employ a cheaper teacher over a more experienced teacher as funds are tight. This is also how cover supervisors have become so popular in schools and supply teachers are now all but extinct. But that is another topic entirely!

Arisbottle Sat 19-Jan-13 16:50:14

Countrykitten I work in a state school that does employ the best teacher for the job. A good department has a balance of teachers, NQTs and experience. We appoint both. A good school will also shield teachers from endless new initiatives and interventions.

VestaCurry Sat 19-Jan-13 16:24:23

Have you talked to your union raining? My friend did and got a lot of support in terms of considering her options. She certainly felt she got good value for money (from the subs she had paid over the years). I expect you know you don't have to go through the school rep, just ring regional office.
Private sector is a good suggestion.
The charity job sounds fine, but have you thought carefully about what you'd really like to do as an alternative? Do you have the funds to go to a career analyst? SIL did this and found it invaluable, changed careers completely, did need planning though.

slambang Sat 19-Jan-13 16:17:13

It is no longer legal to ask about health until the point of job offer. (Since the new diversity legilsation.)

slambang Sat 19-Jan-13 16:15:51

Taking a different tack - as you have bipolar you would perhaps be entitled to consideration under disability discrimination legislation. Just a thought - but could you explain that this is the reason that the school needs to treat your situation as requiring additional consideration and that your 'reasonable adjustment' to allow you to continue to work whilst having a mental health condition could be returning part time (or without managerial responsibility.)

I'd ask your union for help on this.

raininginbaltimore Sat 19-Jan-13 16:14:53

I've often had to fill out a part of application with any medical conditions, number of days absent etc. I have a very good sick record in the last couple of years, but wonder if just seeing that diagnosis will put places off.

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