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Is it OK for me to leave teaching?

(23 Posts)
nqtomg Sun 20-Jan-19 16:59:25

Hi everyone,

I've posted in the Staffroom before a few months ago about finding my NQT year very very difficult in the school I was in. I found another job in the school where I did my first PGCE placement and started there after Christmas. The problem is, I don't think the problem was the school - I think I'm the issue! WIBU to leave teaching at the end of my NQT? sad

I find teaching so unbearably hard. Actually standing up in front of thirty-odd teenagers and having to try and get their attention feels like the opposite of 'me'. My self-esteem is crumbling because (even in the 'new' school where I did my placement and where the behaviour management system is more robust) the students are rude and disrespectful, I'm spoken to like dirt even though I challenge it all the time, patiently and calmly. The staff are cliquey, hardly any adults speak to me during the day, and this week we had a whole-staff dressing down from the head because somebody had been looking for a new job without letting her know they were looking. Then there's the observations and targets etc, and we've already had two parents' evenings since Christmas. I think that during my training, I was a bit protected from all of this by my mentor, who's quite formidable, but on my own I can't cope. I don't think I'm cut out for teaching.

My undergraduate degree is in languages and I think I can find other short-term work while I retrain in translation part-time with the Open University. I would stay at my current school until the end of the academic year, so I'm not going to leave them in the lurch, and I'll have completed my NQT so I would have the full qualification if I really needed to go back to teaching.

I feel like I'm letting people down by wanting to leave, but I feel so miserable that last week I was in tears before going in to work and I've been having bad dreams for months. I live with my DP's parents while we save up for a house deposit, so (very very luckily) our rent is minimal and I have the savings to cover the OU degree. I can get freelance work or a lower-stress job after August while I study.

What do you all think about me leaving in these circumstances? Am I being a wet blanket?

If anyone wants to share their views, I'd be really grateful! TIA

OP’s posts: |
Mrskeats Sun 20-Jan-19 17:01:32

I left for all these reasons.
I now work as a tutor and have about 1% of the stress.

Detoxpup Sun 20-Jan-19 17:04:40

Absolutely leave teaching. You have a plan, you are financially able - teaching is making your stressed and unhappy it is a no brainer. Look forward and move on to other things.

flapjackfairy Sun 20-Jan-19 17:06:20

Life is short! Don't waste it being miserable x

Effic Sun 20-Jan-19 17:07:03

Of course you can!!
You’ve tried a different school so it’s not like you haven’t tried to see if it’s the job or the school. You don’t ‘owe’ anyone anything. You don’t like the job - please don’t ‘stick it out’ and be miserable and stressed until you become unwell. Leave now while you are young and while you aren’t ‘trapped’ by mortgage/salary etc. It’s ok to say this job isn’t for you.
Good luck in retraining - I should imagine with MFL subjects that you would be able to do 1-2-1 tutoring for gcse while you are re-training.

pasbeaucoupdegendarme Sun 20-Jan-19 17:09:15

Leave. I felt like you and didn’t leave. 10 years later I’m still miserable and I’m definitely not going back after maternity leave (which I haven’t started yet)! It feels liberating already to know I’m not going back into it.

YourEggnogIsBetterThanMine Sun 20-Jan-19 17:10:00

It's ok to leave. Definitely try to get your NQT year finished so you've got it but then do something else. Teaching is hard. I can afford to do 2 days a week and the holidays suit us for childcare reasons. No way would I do it otherwise.

Bobbiepin Sun 20-Jan-19 17:13:20

You aren't letting anyone down by leaving but I think its a shame to put two years into something to walk away admit I will be in the minority here.

I had a tough year post NQT but it got much easier once I had been at the school a while. ALL new teachers will have children push boundaries to see what they can get away with. It's likely you'll gain more respect in September.

I would only stay if there are parts you love about it though.

ilovesooty Sun 20-Jan-19 17:15:50

It's making you unhappy and you have a plan in place to leave. I'd say leave at the end of the year.

Make sure you tell your Head before anyone else though. I'm not surprised she was annoyed by people looking for other posts without telling her!

ChristmaspArti Sun 20-Jan-19 17:15:50

It is more than OK. It is sensible to see out the school year if you can face it, but other than that, eminently wise to seek an alternative career.

Arkos Sun 20-Jan-19 17:18:01

Yes leave....i wish I had retrained but now I've got kids myself I can't get out easily. I really love the holidays. I'm also part time now and work in a great school which really helps... but I will never work full time in one school again. I don't like the feeling of being owned by one place.

LauralovesLuke Sun 20-Jan-19 17:20:56

Leave! I left teaching in 2014 and have never looked back. I realised that my mental health was much more important.

nqtomg Sun 20-Jan-19 17:23:54

Thank you all for replying, I really appreciate it!

Bobbiepin people I've spoken to in real life say it gets easier too, but I don't think there are any bits of the job that I'm enjoying at the moment. I've read about people's experiences on here and they all say that they love the actual teaching bit but it's everything else that eventually drives them away - I don't even enjoy the actual teaching sad I think I'm just not cut out for it, personality-wise. I've always had quite low self-esteem and been quite introverted, but I wanted to have a go at teaching, maybe because I wanted to do something meaningful? But I don't feel like I'm having a positive impact on anyone's life, particularly mine and DP's at the moment. I do appreciate your point of view, though, thank you.

I'm really glad that a lot of you are echoing my thoughts about life being too short to do something that makes you unhappy etc., and really glad that you've all found/are finding things to make your lives happier too!

OP’s posts: |
Whatsnewwithyou Sun 20-Jan-19 17:25:20

I would leave teaching but would research different careers because the market for translators is oversaturated plus automation is taking more and more translator jobs.

Willow1992 Sun 20-Jan-19 17:25:38

I passed my NQT in the summer and am also thinking about leaving. I am pregnant and have just gone on mat leave so have a bit of time to plan.
I work in KS1, so behaviour isn't much of a problem, but since we were academised this year overbearing, bullying management is. I would look elsewhere, but everywhere I look it seems like things are going/have gone the same way! I loved one of my PGCE schools but was sad to hear that lots of staff who were well regarded, experienced teachers have left since they got a new head recently so it sounds like more of the same.
I know this sounds overdramatic, but since I have been so much more available for our 4 year old since going off on mat leave I feel like I have let him down a bit because developmentally he has come on so much and I wonder how things would be if I had just had a normal job I could have left at work in the evenings.
I would love to do tutoring, but am worried it would be just a bit too part time and financially we would struggle.
I have a history degree and my dream job would be to work in a museum or national trust place, possibly still with an education focus, but I get the sense this is quite competitive as a lot of people have the same idea!
You don't sound unreasonable at all.

Phineyj Sun 20-Jan-19 19:34:33

Teaching is really unusual in the expectation that you will tell your current head you are seeking a new post even before being interviewed. In other jobs you often don't mention it till you've got a job
offer!

I do think your current school sounds particularly unpleasant - having friendly colleagues and SMT you can talk to is really important so it may not be you at all. I had terrible imposter symptom my first couple of years of teaching but it did go.

However, as you don't have any serious financial commitments/DC the ball is is your court. Is it worth seeking a career counselling session?

nqtomg Sun 20-Jan-19 19:38:37

Whatsnewwithyou thank you, I will do. I'm already doing some translation so I know it can be a difficult sector to break in to. I'm prepared to supplement our income doing tutoring and other part-time work while I build up from the small portfolio I have at the moment.

Willow1992 I've thought about heritage education too - I think it is very competitive, but if you're in London or the SE, I think there are more opportunities around. It might be worth asking your local museums what sort of education/outreach opportunities there are in your area as well, because unfortunately a lot of council-run museums have cut their education teams to save money, but it's worth looking in to!

LauralovesLuke completely agree that our mental health is more important. I know that the kids should be the most important thing, but being in front of them with them giggling, rolling eyes, answering back etc is grinding down my self-esteem every day. It's by no means the worst behaved school in the world, but it's unpleasant and made more so when a lot of the adults in the school won't make eye contact with you either.

Ilovesooty I'll definitely tell the head when the time comes! Obviously I'd tell her before actually sending off an application, it was the insinuation that nobody could even look around without telling her that didn't sit well. And I couldn't help but think that it could/should have been dealt with with the individual member of staff rather than in front of everyone. I think you posted on my previous thread, thank you for your advice smile

OP’s posts: |
nqtomg Mon 21-Jan-19 09:49:51

@Willow1992, just wanted to say, have you looked at GEM (Group for Education in Museums)? They have a jobs section and advice on how to get in to the sector, etc. smile

OP’s posts: |
KarinandtheSeaUrchins Mon 21-Jan-19 15:43:52

Yes, it's okay to leave. I did. Life is too short.

monkeytoad35 Mon 21-Jan-19 16:48:49

I'm thinking of leaving actually I do want to leave. It's just so unbearable at the moment! I want to try another school just to be sure, but will leave at the end of the academic year and do supply and tutoring from September if I need to.

itsnnothere Mon 21-Jan-19 17:44:34

Do it now!! I'm a retired teacher and I wish, wish I'd been brave enough to get out early. I hated teaching, and I even hated my teaching practice. I ended up doing what a lot of teachers do who don't like working in schools full time or the classroom and got a job on a peripatetic team - mainly special needs and behaviour support - which was fine but never quite me.
I didn't leave teaching for many reasons - I didn't want to let my parents down who'd been so proud of me being a teacher, or my college tutors who'd encouraged me so much, thinking I was indispensable, pride, that it would get better with the right school, the right kids, the right colleagues, not wanting let the school and the kids down, feeling that I'd become a failure, money, status, holidays, etc etc

You don't want to be like me who looks back and wonders why she didn't get out. Ok I've a good pension and and a good happy life and I make sure I now do the things that matter to me

nqtomg Tue 22-Jan-19 08:33:38

itsnnothere I'm really sorry you hated teaching. I've thought of moving into a less classroom-based, front-and-centre role too, but for me I think it would be healthier to get out completely at the end of this year.

All of your reasons for staying are ones that have crossed my mind too! I think that my parents' attitudes towards work have influenced me too - they are both in solid jobs but have never been hugely happy, and teaching is a good job on paper with the holidays, pension, etc. But it really isn't me!

Thank you for your advice and I'm really glad you do things for yourself now flowers

OP’s posts: |
sarahC40 Tue 22-Jan-19 18:56:43

If you want to make a difference, do some tutoring. It’s really rewarding and you could probs pick up some motivated and pleasant a level students. Remember, not all schools are the same and even if you don’t like class teaching, you might find a niche that allows you to enjoy it and build your confidence. Having said that, I’m trying to find a route out (looking for daytime intervention teaching) so I should follow my own advice, maybe. Good luck.

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