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AIBU to persevere with a career in teaching?

(14 Posts)
EstherGreenw00d Mon 10-Feb-14 19:24:26

I've been teaching for six years, mainly supply and short-term contracts of up to a year so lots of different schools. I'm by no means a perfectionist but I never have enough time to do everything I'm supposed to. In term time I generally work 7am to 5pm or sometimes 6pm at school and usually have more work to do when I get home. I also work at home one or sometimes two days at the weekend (doing planning, marking, assessment, tracking, evaluations, resources, paperwork etc. etc.) and will go in as much as I can at half-term. I'm absolutely exhausted and I know I cant do any more than I'm doing now even though I need to and I feel bad that the children I teach aren't getting the best of me; I've tried asking colleagues what they do and they mainly say, they're behind with stuff and worrying about it too. I had a 'requires improvement' lesson observation last week which made me feel even worse; I've always had a tendency toward anxiety and I know the stress isn't good for me (put on weight, not sleeping, nightmares, crying, headaches etc.).

If a friend told me the above I'm fairly sure I'd suggest the job wasn't for them and they should do something else (I can't change to part-time at current school and this job was very hard to get so I don't think I could easily find another part-time post). Every school I've worked at there's been some kind of problem (bullying head teacher, extreme behaviour, massive workload etc.) so I don't think it's the school I work at in particular, though it does make me wonder if there's something wrong with me!

If I had the remotest idea of what I wanted to do instead I would try to do that but I don't have a clue. I've had times before when I've been unemployed or living off sporadic supply teaching earnings and I have friends with better and more business-relevant qualifications than me who struggled to get any job so I worry that I would just be more miserable if I left teaching and ended up with no job at all. I'm afraid this has turned out to be longer than I expected, I suppose I'm asking; AIBU to find the stress of teaching too much but to carry on doing it because I feel like there's no alternative?

Nojustalurker Mon 10-Feb-14 19:26:50

I have no idea but feel the same way.

QueenofLouisiana Mon 10-Feb-14 19:33:29

TBH I think that there are many, many teachers who are now wondering if this is the career for them. Some days that includes me, which after 16 years in the classroom is pretty damning.
If you enjoy the actual teaching, sort out what you don't need to do- do you need to re-invent resources for instance? Can you include some activities which need less intensive marking? Can you develop a more effective way if marking (2 stars and a wish has altered my take on marking- quicker and more focussed)?
If the 6 hours a day teaching is not enjoyable- perhaps it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing? As dor the RI lesson, ask for help with planning, look at team teaching or a lesson study with a good/ outstanding colleague. We have just done a similar thing at work- it was interesting and vet useful.
Good luck!

missymarmite Mon 10-Feb-14 19:33:54

I don't think the problem is you. I work in a secondary school, and all my teacher colleagues say the same. There just isn't enough hours in the day to do all the things the job demands. And the often the OFSTED criteria that teachers are assessed by a a load of bull; constantly changing and impossible to do and to be honest, I doubt that half of them are really necessary to improve outcomes. It's just about jumping through hoops and ticking boxes.

I think the only problem you have is being, as you have said yourself, a perfectionist. Teaching is the most rewarding amazing career, but also one of the most stressful, frustrating and undervalued jobs out there in the UK at the moment. Cut yourself some slack, and accept that you aren't the problem. You are an amazing person doing an impossible job, that most other people out there would just not be able to do at all, let alone to your standards.

QueenofLouisiana Mon 10-Feb-14 19:34:32

Sorry about typos- hard to spot them on a phone!

EstherGreenw00d Mon 10-Feb-14 20:13:59

Thank you for the replies thanks

QueenofLouisiana Thank you for your suggestions I'm going to observe a colleague who recently got 'outstanding' next week hopefully and to go through some planning with a member of SLT.

missymarmite Thank you!

Notjustalurker Sorry to hear you feel the same sad

Nojustalurker Tue 11-Feb-14 16:52:11

Sorry for lack of help. I am was in a very bad mood.

I did not see the required improvements obs. I got result lfor obs today overall two but 3 for behaviour. What is is that got you the 3? Was it show progress in 20 mins?

Hope you are feeling better.

JT05 Tue 11-Feb-14 17:04:25

Hi popped over from gransnet again! Esther, you sound like a truly dedicated teacher. DON'T give up! Re adjust your day/ time. Try to concentrate on the immediate. I have just retired from 38 years in the teaching profession. There were many days when I felt as you do. Being in a senior position often didn't make anything better! I realised it was a matter of prioritising and looking after yourself. Make a list of what is really important in the next 24 hrs, 24 days, 24 weeks. Adjust what you do to meet these times scales.
The pressures are greater today. I wish you well. x flowers

Thymeout Tue 11-Feb-14 17:09:03

I think you might be happier if you could get a permanent teaching job. It takes at least a year to be accepted, both by pupils and staff, and you're missing out on a lot of job-satisfaction in being part of the school community, watching the pupils grow up and having a long term relationship with them.

Also, as far as work load goes, you start being able to repeat a year's work, have a stockpile of lessons and resources, so you're not doing everything from scratch.

If that's not a possibility for you, then, yes, I would start looking at alternative careers. It's miserable doing a job that takes up so much time and effort but you still feel you're being found wanting.

manicinsomniac Tue 11-Feb-14 17:29:41

NQT year is shit. Unbelievable amounts of work.

But, if you can get through it, it gets so much better.

In my NQT year I was at work from 7.30-6.00 then got home at 6.45 and worked till about 11. I also worked most of every weekend and significant proportions of each holiday. I failed term 1 and didn't do spectacularly well in term 2. I just about dragged myself through.

Now I am a very confident and experienced teacher. I have very erratic hours as I work as a boarding tutor and teach performing arts so at certain times of year I am pulling 90 hour weeks. However, on average, I'd say that I work 8-6 in school and do nothing else in the evenings, have Sundays off and work only 1-2 hours per day (on average) in holidays. Over the whole year I seriously doubt it's more than a 40 hour a week job.

It is now a brilliant job with excellent pay and a good work-life balance.

Hang in there if you can.

Purplepoodle Tue 11-Feb-14 18:00:36

My teaching friends are luckily in permanent roles. They all say the first couple of years are the worst as in first year your building everything from scratch and in the second year adding and refining. After that it's much less gruelling as you have everything virtually planned out and at your finger tips. Primary friends dread changing years as they have to start all over again.

EstherGreenw00d Tue 11-Feb-14 22:24:22

Thank you for all of your replies, you've all been very kind! The lesson observation had a range of things that 'required improvement' no one specific thing. The job I have now is permanent (well as permanent as it can be) which is why I was really hoping to do OK. Without giving too much information away I don't work in a mainstream school and have varied experience in terms of age range, type of school and sector, especially because I've changed jobs so much, so I've never really managed to build up to feeling confident in what I'm doing and have never worked for more than a year in the same school. I'm pleased to hear that there are people who came through a tough time and now enjoy their teaching jobs though as it gives me some hope! thanks

daffodildreams Tue 11-Feb-14 22:26:39

Well - you can be dedicated but, and I do mean this nicely, it doesn't mean the job is for you.

DangerousBeanz Tue 11-Feb-14 22:34:00

I could have written this thread in October. Then I handed in my notice and walked away from the profession after 12 years. I decided that my family life was suffering because of the stress and workload and that I was willing to put my job in front of my family. I'm currently training to be a childminder.

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