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Is it time to jump? Or am I having some kind of mid career crisis?

(27 Posts)
Finola1step Sun 23-Mar-14 17:05:26

Well here goes. The big decision has crept up on me. Do I make a break for it?

A bit of background. Qualified mid 90's. Have taught ever since in primary schools in inner city. Have been at my current school and been SLT for well over 10 years. Lovely school, good kids, great staff, just had an Ofsted. So what's the problem? I'm done. Really and truly done. Had a tricky Ofsted a while back. I promised the Head I would stay and help her get the school back on track for the next one. That job has been done.

The relentless pursuit of targets and progress measures has sapped all the energy out of me. I have a long commute and young dc. As they get older, I want to be at home more, not less.

I have no desire to go for a headship. I don't want to go to another school. I'm not being bullied or harassed. I am constantly ill and have had a very nasty illness recently. This is having a huge impact on my family life and dare I say it, my marraige.

I'm nearly 40. If I carry on, I think something serious will happen with my health before I'm 50. I'm still young enough to change directions, aren't I? My DH supports me in wanting to leave. The only thing that excites me professionally is setting up my own business as a self employed private tutor. Of course it's still target driven but to have the opportunity to work for myself would be wonderful. I live in an affluent town that us home to the 11+.

So what's holding me back? Fear, plain and simple. Fear that both DH and I would both be self employed. Fear that it could all backfire.

So if you have got to the end if this mammoth post, I salute you. And ask you your thoughts. Am I mad? Should I stick it out for the solid salary? Any thoughts would be most welcome.

Oh and I am not name changing as I have nowt to hide but if you recognise me, keep schtum please.

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 17:09:25

Interesting post. Some feedback from me. Make a list of pros and cons? Do things that will help you get your health back. It's hard to think when you're not well. Explore options. How much could you charge etc? It might be a pain to have to work after school if you have children yourself. Sabbaticals?
Or how about this? Imagine you walk in tomorrow and ask to speak to the head and officially resign. How does it feel?

LizzieVereker Sun 23-Mar-14 17:15:50

Sounds to me like you've done your stint and more thanks. I know I won't be able to sustain what I do now until I'm 68, and I think I'm sticking my head in the sand about the impact of being an "outstanding" teacher on my own family.

If you think you can make a living from tutoring, and DH is supportive, do it! FWIW I think the market for tutoring will increase exponentially as we move towards linear exams. Good luck, whatever you decide.

ShimmeringInTheSun Sun 23-Mar-14 17:25:33

I would say that no amount of money can make up for you being constantly ill, and its relevant side effects.

I taught in high school for a number of years until 3 events - one of them catastrophic - happened in short succession. This kicked off a major illness and an inability to face demanding pupils, ever unrealistic targets, and bullying unsympathetic colleagues (not that I wanted their sympathy, just their understanding).

So I left, became self employed, and love it.

Yes, funds are not guaranteed, but better health, and satisfaction in what I now do, is.And I have freedom and choice over my own life.

So no, you're not mad, think of it as an adventure. There is no point in worrying 'what if?' If it doesn't work out, you could always find another paid post.

But just think......if you don't do it, and reach retirement age, do you want to be looking back and thinking ' if only....?' or 'I wish I had.....'

Good luck smile

Finola1step Sun 23-Mar-14 17:58:03

Thank you so much for your replies.

nkf the pros and cons list was done a while ago. It's a really difficult one because there are reasons to stay. Solid salary, I'm well respected and I'm actually good at what I do. The problem is that it takes more and more to be good at what I do. More time, more effort, more energy.

No chance of a sabbatical. Have done lots if research into tutoring fees, my costs etc. Insurance and pension all investigated. Website domain purchased.

Lizzie I hear you about the impact on your own family. We moved nearly three years ago, resulting in me having a 3 hour daily commute. On top of all the school work. I use my train time to work but often fall asleep. And still get in when my dc are about to go to bed (if I'm lucky).

Shimmering it's good to hear from someone who has done it and lived to tell the tale. But I'm not being a drama queen when I say that if I carry on until 68, there's going to be very little retirement for me! Blimey, how crap is that thought?

But still the fear is there. I've always had a job from the day after I finished my GCSEs. I funded my own way through A levels and my degree. I've never not had a guaranteed income. But I know I don't want to go to another school. The thought of having to re establish myself all over again just fills me with dread.

I would do bits of supply, invigilating, exam marking. The mortgage is paid off.

I do daydream about actually resigning. I know it will be quite hard and even emotional. The while process will be. But if I don't make the move in the next 6-12 months, I fear I will be stuck.

Thank you for reading my ramblings. Can't really talk to my close friends about this one.

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 18:03:23

Good lord, woman. The mortgage is paid off. What are you waiting for?

Finola1step Sun 23-Mar-14 18:05:36

Oh and the plan is that I would do the mornings with my dc, take them to school. Pm tutoring would be covered by DH (as he already has them before and after school). I would do the bulk of the house and garden stuff during the school day as well as prep for tutoring. DH can work very flexibly from his office or study at home. I would also tutor on Saturdays while DH ferries our dc to various activities. Sunday would be a family day. Tutors in my area charge about £35 ph.

I've never been a big risk taker.

Finola1step Sun 23-Mar-14 18:06:41

nkf I'm probably waiting for someone to actually ask me that question! Thank you flowers

ShimmeringInTheSun Sun 23-Mar-14 18:18:09

Here in my workroom I have a torn out magazine paper pinned to the wall. Painted on it is a saying - life shrinks and expands according to ones courage and every time I falter I look at it, and think of what I've achieved in the years since I jumped's a heck of a lot, but there is still more for me to do!

So, put the fear in a box, grab that courage and colour your life in positivity, and new exciting times.

fatcheeks1 Sun 23-Mar-14 22:18:30

What resonates with me is the bit about wanting to be there more for your children as they get older.That is exactly how I feel.If you can do it. . . Do it, I don't think you will regret it.Health is something we all take for granted until we lose it:>( As you say, it takes so much of your time and energy and effort to sustain your position, and it all takes away from your family, which it will.I know it is scary but it sounds like it is something you have thought about for a long time now and something which you have researched and if your husband is supporting you than I'd be inclined to go for it!

HenriettaTurkey Sun 23-Mar-14 23:12:01

I hope I'm brave enough to do what you're considering.

Do it. Survive it. It's got to be better than being permanently run down like this and missing out on family life.

JumpingJetFlash Mon 24-Mar-14 19:53:34

I'm doing it. Qualified in 2000, taught ever since and I just can't/ don't want to do it anymore. Same as you, I'm not poor at my job but I can't sustain the levels needed without it impacting on my emotional and physical health. I hope to move into archives and am getting the experience I need alongside supply so that I can do the masters. Fewer holidays, "technically" longer hours at the archives, significant pay cut = far fewer actual hours worked and a lot more relaxed with my family! As long as I can pay the bills I don't care anymore!

I'm sad that this is how my career has ended and unfortunately I know so many people that are feeling the same. The large numbers leaving in first few years are not the biggest problem for teaching, the large numbers of experienced/ strong teachers in their 30s/40s leaving is the real crisis

phlebasconsidered Mon 24-Mar-14 21:28:59

I was in archives and libraries before teaching. I keep wondering about whether to return, but the jobs are few and far between, very fiercely competed for. Archivists tend to die in post! Plus they are being cut left right and centre, once the digitisation is done it's a grunt job, so the archives can be run by one bloke or woman and some school leavers with a scanner.

I keep a weather eye out. I was having a chat with the supply teacher today and I think that will be my best option for a while come September. Or Tesco.

funchum8am Mon 24-Mar-14 21:46:19

DH has gone from DHT to supply 3 days a week (primary) to spend more time with DD. I am full time. He is having a ball - very little marking, no planning, sees lots of different schools but can cut loose and go home guilt free every day. Supply is always there if you want more income beyond tutoring. If you have paid off the mortgage, seriously, what are you waiting for! <starts pondering own choices>

IHeartKingThistle Mon 24-Mar-14 21:58:30

I jumped and am now tutoring. I also teach one adult literacy class a week and mark GCSE papers. I love it and just have to persuade DH that it's in nobody's interests for me to go back ever

IHeartKingThistle Mon 24-Mar-14 21:59:06

Oh sorry! Good luck OP - for goodness' sake do it!

BranchingOut Mon 24-Mar-14 22:21:51

I jumped, even though I didn't realise it at the time. Primary SLT.

Seriously, once you are out you will wonder what the fuss was. There is a whole world out there of people in interesting, useful jobs that don't involve teaching.

Resign in May.

Finola1step Mon 24-Mar-14 22:22:21

Thank you all for your replies.

Shimmering it's inspiring to hear from someone who has done it and doesn't regret it.

Fatcheeks. Love the nickname. It could v easily be mine! As my dc grow, I feel that they need me more and more. I didn't expect that. I thought they would need me most when tiny. But they were happy to go to nursery, I was ok about going back to work after maternity leave. My youngest is still only 3, starts school in September next year. That's part of it too, I think. I work my arse off for other people's children and then have v little left for my own.

Henrietta, when I think of how much I spend in travel, yep it's got to be better!

Jumping I hear you on the droves leaving the profession. They only teachers who are going to stay in the next few years are the NQTs trying to build up their experience, those counting down to retirement and those who financially can't afford to move. Oh, and the unqualifieds of course. It is a very scary scenario. Especially as my own dc are so young.

Considered you've got experience in other fields to fall back on. That's got to be a good start. I have only ever taught (and worked in shops as a student!). There was a moment a few months ago when I was browsing in my local fancy homewares shop and I saw a job advert for pt staff. I was bloody tempted.

Fun I hope it's ok for me to ask this, but how do you feel about your dh's change in role. I've always been the solid salary earner and I know that my DH supports my wanting to leave. Do you resent your DH for the drop in salary?

My DH is currently working on a big contract which will finish in the autumn. He then has another big job starting January hopefully. I think the exit plan is going to be for Christmas. I know that sounds so far away. I want to give my Head at least a term's notice. I just don't think I'm ready to do that at Easter. But I really do see myself having the summer break and then resigning early on in Sept. Wish me luck people.

Finola1step Mon 24-Mar-14 22:25:43

X post with Thistle and Branching. You are both absolutely right. I'm beginning to think that it won't be a jump, it will be a ceiling high flipping somersault!

KinkyDorito Tue 25-Mar-14 07:04:49

You can always get another job in teaching. You can even supply whilst setting your business up. If you can afford to do it, go for it.

My DH is threatening me with divorce (hopefully in a joking way) as he says that I am never 'present' at home - I am always working in some way. I did over 30 hours this weekend. We have two kids and I have the guilt, but we are financially trapped for the time being.

I also have poor health because I feel I don't have time to look after myself properly.

As Lizzie says, it's the impact of the 'outstanding' culture on our own families .

ShimmeringInTheSun Tue 25-Mar-14 08:00:02

Finola many flowers flowersflowersflowersflowers, good wishes and cheering on from the side.

I hope everything works out.

GreatUncleEddie Tue 25-Mar-14 08:02:59

If you tutor in the evenings and Saturdays, will you actually be around more for your DCs? If you will, you should go for it.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 25-Mar-14 08:05:29

Remember there's always supply work to keep you topped up if needed. Could do this alongside tutoring?

Finola1step Tue 25-Mar-14 16:22:21

Thanks everyone. Do the decision is made in my own head at least

Will not actually say anything to work until after the summer break. I woke up this morning actually look

Finola1step Tue 25-Mar-14 16:24:36

Oops posted too soon..

I woke up this morning actually looking forward to the summer term - because it will be my last one. I think that says it all really.

Onwards and upwards.

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