Teachers who have had other jobs(21 Posts)
This isn't really an AIBU so apologies in advance.
I'm a teacher and I'm currently seriously looking into alternative employment.
I'm very aware that teachers and other public sector workers are often perceived to be moaners with no clue about 'the real world'. I can't comment on this as teaching has been my only job other than part-time shop work when I was at college and uni.
I would love to hear from teachers with other experience about how teaching compares to their old careers, or how their new careers compare to teaching.
Do you regret leaving teaching?
My mum and sister where both teachers. Both left it now one is a nurse other is a midwife and neither would go back they say the satisfaction from looking after people in hospital is amazing depends on the person. They both had to retrain another 4 years of uni!
Thank you for starting this thread, I've just applied for voluntary redundancy from my teaching job so I'm watching with interest.
OP, I am not surprised you are considering leaving the profession. I'm a teacher too and seriously contemplating a career change, but, like you, I have only ever worked in teaching, so have no idea whether a change would be better. My DH is a teacher too, but only started teaching in his early 30s. He finds is stressful, but much prefers it to his previous jobs, so is able to deal more objectively with his feelings about wanting to leave when things are particularly tough.
Personally (worked in schools, offices & public sector) I found: interpersonal politics in schools are less mature/ professional but work pressure is quite high - certainly than public sector, I'd say public sector outside school is very sheltered about work pressures etc. Private offices are hit and miss and a lot of people in those environments have less pressure than they think as there's a lot of overstating what they do vs downtime.
But private sector moves very fast (changes, process, procedures). I think some teachers would find that stressful, because they may have a more theoretical / research first preference.
My BiL worked in a factory before retraining as a teacher. He is actually the only teacher I know who doesn't complain about it.
To be fair, I get the impression that he has few problems with class discipline and he is also single, so probably has more free time than many teachers.
I was in a different field before I came into teaching. I was in a high powered corporate role with lot of travel and money. But it was high pressure and not very friendly as everyone was looking out for themselves. If you didn't perform, you were out.
I was in it for 13 years and was mainly in it for the money. 5 years ago, I retrained as a teacher and love it!
Teaching is for me and I love being with the kids. Plus I am quite organised, so try to keep holidays (as much as possible) work free. In previous job, even though I didn't work during holidays (5 weeks off a year), it took me most of the holiday before I could relax and not think about work.
Also having been in a managerial position before, I relish being a classroom teacher now with no other responsibility for staff.
I do miss the money in my old job but I am sure that I can work myself up in teaching.
Anyway, coming back to your question - you should do the job you love. Being in a job that you love and not is the difference between night and day. I held on to my corporate job until I paid off my mortgage and so I had leeway to retrain. (Sorry not boasting, but just saying my retraining was well thought out).
I am happy I did it. I can't say it enough. You should do a job you love and the passion will make it easier to scale the heights and make your personal life better too. I worked hard at my old job to get up the ladder but as my heart was not in it, I was depressed a lot of the time.
Worked with a woman who managed a youth club and went into teaching. She said teaching was easier.
I worked in the private sector as a manager for about 7 years before teaching. It was so easy compared to teaching.
I worked with a woman who was quite high up in the civil service but had been an English teacher. She found her new role in Communications a better fit for her.
I was a teacher for more than 10 years. Have recently moved back to the career I had before I was a teacher. The difference is massive, my new job is infinitely less stressful, much more pleasant all round. I'm treated like an adult by senior staff, respected, trusted to do my job without micromanagement, I do no work in the evenings or at weekends or on my non-working days (I'm part time). It's such a relief compared to how stressed I got towards the end of my teaching job. I actually resigned without a job to go to as I had reached my limits, and my line manager explicitly stated that he didn't care whether I stayed or not. So I didn't.
In my job before I was a teacher, if a problem came up I could usually push my chair back, make a coffee or at least go to the toilet, to give myself a few minutes to think. In teaching if you say something out of place on the spur of the moment it's perfectly possible for you to be moaned about on Mumsnet, reported to the head teacher or even the press.
My other example is from a friend who was a talented language teacher who gave up teaching to become a travel guide. He loved it, lots of new people to meet and new places to go. He regularly received from his boss copies of letters and emails from customers praising his work. Very rare in teaching.
When I left school I started nursing training. I left after 18 months as it wasn't for me. Then I started working for a building society and stayed there for 6 years as I had to wait for the interest rates to fall so I could afford my mortgage at public rate rather than staff rate. I then did an office job in an energy consultancy for another 6 years, and during this time did my degree through the OU. I also got married and had a baby. I got a place to do my PGCE, then deferred for a year due to baby no 2. I've now been teaching for 15 years and I wouldn't do anything else. I work in a fantastic school with a lovely bunch of people and am very happy there.
I'm not a teacher but most of my family are or have been (I have worked in the private sector all my life so I know a bit about the other side of the coin).
I think the big difference you will find will be that in a decent company you'll be treated like a professional, and trusted to get on with your job, as long as you are reliable and effective. I've never worked anywhere where professionals are micromanaged to the extent that many teachers are.
I can't comment on the work load, as outside teaching it is more spread out over the year, but as a PP said, except in very junior roles you will probably have a lot more say over what you do, when.
Thank you for your replies. I've been reading them with interest. I think hottea sums it up. I don't love it anymore, so it's time to start doing some research and making a plan. Good luck to everyone else in the same position - teachers or not.
I worked as a manufacturing engineer for six years (two different companies). There was an awful lot of paperwork and very little actual engineering. There was a huge amount of 'office politics' and pussyfooting around union reps. Both factories were hugely inefficient and one has closed now. It was very frustrating. However, it was well-paid and there were lots of other perks (staff discount/corporate entertainment/travel). Both other employers had a final salary scheme. One was hugely generous - 50ths - but I'm guessing it's closed now.
Teaching is very differrent. It's very full-on - there's no time to wallow with a cold/headache and do paperwork as bottom-set Year 11 are on their way whether you are 'ready' for them or not. The holidays are great and the one thing that I appreciate is that everyone is on holiday at the same time. There's none of the 'while you were away this happened and you need to sort it now' or coming back to 345 unread emails.
The one thing I really don't like in teaching is the very directive management style. You can't question anything without being a 'troublemaker'. Staff meetings should really be called staff briefings as they are totally one-way. Managers have a tendency to talk to everyone as if they are children.
I still enjoy teaching. I just try to keep my head down and ignore the shite.
I got to final year of a 4 year teaching course before admitting I both hated it and was terrible at it. Fundraising now which I didn't realise was a career and love it
I can't comment on work outside teaching because I only did holiday jobs. But what is interesting is that teachers' complaints here are about the amount of micro-managing that goes on, not work loads, and it has just occurred to me that most of these micro-managers have no management experience, or training in how to handle adults; they are promoted because they are good teachers. It didn't used to be like this, which is why I loved teaching for the first 25 years.
My adult children work in business, and are certainly treated as professionals. They don't have the same job security as teaching, but that is rapidly being eroded. Go for it, there are so many different job opportunities available now.
Worked as a research chemist, manufacturing - management and shop floor, retail, catering, cleaning, accounts office, general office, receptionist, playgroup helper, teaching, nursing.
Teaching was possibly the worst. I don't think you are treated as professionals.
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