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Help me with my dilemma(29 Posts)
I have recently returned to primary teaching in a state school after many years teaching secondary (Alevel). It has nearly broken me, I have a large number of SEND children and lots of behavioural issues. There is barely no money for support. This combined with the increasing expectations of planning, paperwork and so on has really taken a toll on my mental health and family life.
I have handed my notice in because I just can't face it anymore. I now find myself in a position where I need to choose my next steps. I can't really afford not to work.
I have the prospect of a primary teaching job in a private school or an office based 9-5 not term time only. I'm really struggling with the teaching or not teaching decision. I have done a pros and cons list and they balance each other out as the pay and holidays are better in the teaching role but the work load and hours and pressure will be less in the other. I still have school aged children so the holidays are an important factor.
Any advice?! (Not really sure what help anyone can give really!!) sorry it's so long!
Sorry should have added a please in the title
Could you try the private job? Give it a year and then if you don’t enjoy it, move on.
Your mental health is really key here though: are you feeling well enough to try another teaching post? If not then don’t give it a second thought and just get out. School holidays will be a bit if a faff to sort out but not impossible. Nothing is more important than your health.
Thank you for your reply. I keep swaying, the thought of teaching makes me feel panicky and sick at the moment but the interview observation lesson was so easy and different to my usual job that I think a lot of the stresses within a lesson will be removed. However the workload etc will be just as bad I think. I almost withdrew my application because I thought I definitely wanted to get out of teaching. But now I'm not so sure. I'm really struggling with the decision because partly I'm so unhappy and feel so anxious all the time!
Take a deep breath. No decision you make here has to be a permanent commitment. Teaching is one of those jobs where you start to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. But it is just a job (took me 12 years to work that out lol) How old are DC with regards to school hols?
I agree with @LittleLongDog. Give the Primary a go and keep in mind that there are a lot of non- teaching jobs out there to change to if it doesn't go well. I'd also make a real effort to do things for you, it will really help you to change focus and recover your MH and positivity. A sport if you're so inclined, or walking /reading/meditation /a new pet - anything that sparks inner-happy! See it as a fresh start and know you can apply for office work if it doesn't suit you so that you don't have that trapped, huge- responsibility feeling. Good luck!
Almost old enough but not quite! Youngest is due to start secondary in September. Oldest is Y9. I know it's not a permanent decision and I could always go back to teaching if I miss it (?!?!). I am not normally so pathetic and dithery!
@ChristinaMarlowe thanks! For some reason I am really overthinking the decision. I also have changed my mind twenty or so times in the last 48 hours!
Teaching can make you feel that way. You’re not yourself at the moment and that’s ok.
If you tell yourself you’re doing this to test the waters will that help? It’s not permanent - you’re just giving it a go to see if you like it, a bit like you’re interviewing them.
If you choose not to go for it, now or later, then that’s ok too. There is life on the other side and it doesn’t take away from the fact that you were a good teacher for however many years. It just means you’re ready to try a different life now.
I have small DC and I've decided that life is too short to worry about holidays etc and took the plunge to leave. I've been out since Easter and it's an absolute revelation! Sorting holiday clubs for the summer etc was a bit of a faff but it's all done now and it should work out well.
I'm still struggling a bit with learned behaviours from teaching- anxiety about not being late for appointments for example but lots of my team are ex teachers and they reckon it will take a few months to relax into it.
I'm not ruling out ever going back into teaching but for now, I need to step away.
Good luck with your decision
I left teaching over a year ago and still the only thing I miss is the printer!
Have you thought about tutoring - either primary or your A level subject? I'm really enjoying it so much more rewarding than class teaching, very flexible and well paid.
I have done a bit of tutoring before, I found the hours tricky with having children. I am worried that I'm having a bit of grass is greener syndrome and the realities of an office job with just present different stress... at least in teaching (especially private) you get long holidays to recover! But I don't want to spend my life counting down the days until the next holiday and I feel like I need a bit of a quiet life! I'm really struggling to see myself enjoying teaching again because this year has been so horrific.
As others have said, it's simply an opportunity to find out if it is greener grass you're after. If it turns out that no, you are just done with teaching, you'll have your answer. Maybe try the office work first if you're worried about burn out. Leaving teaching feels like a big thing which is why so many of us have colleagues that struggle on when they hate it, but in reality you can go to a different role and return to teaching as easily as you can go to an office job from the classroom. It's not a one way street! There are loads of non-teaching jobs out there, and there are loads of teaching roles out there too as so many teachers leave the profession. Put your happiness first and go for whichever will give you most time to recover mentally. You might do office work for a year then want to return to teaching at a Primary or private school with renewed passion. Your Y9 daughter is old enough to arrange clubs and things for during the school holidays so it's really not so limiting.
Do you need to choose now? If you can't choose between 2 good options then either is likely to be ok. You could go for both at this stage and see how you feel about the individual jobs when you get an offer. I wouldn't let the holidays drive the decision, but OTOH an office job with a generous holiday allowance is easier to juggle with children than an office job with statutory minimum leave, especially if you are a single parent so can't factor in 2 lots of A/L.
All else being equal, if you took the private teaching job and it didn't work out, you'd be as good a prospect for an office job next year as you are today. Whereas if you go for an office job now it perhaps might be harder to land a private school job after a year or 2 out of teaching? Maybe life is too short to worry about that kind of thing though.
If I'm lucky enough to get offered them both, I will have to decide on the teaching one before I know about the other one - I've had an interview for both. Of course I could end up not being offered either and I've no current options!!
In the independent school-
SEND issues will be different - there will be children with learning needs but these will be less and easier to manage.
Paperwork- this is entirely school dependent but there will be much less than in the state system.
Behavioural issues- these will be very different and I imagine with smaller classes you will find it much much easier to cope with.
The school will likely expect more of you in regards to supervising trips/extra curricular activities however it’s unlikely that anyone will look at your planning ever again.
The pay and the holidays will be amazing.
I would give it a go.
If it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world.
After teaching 7 years in a private primary, be wary - the children are brilliant, easy to teach and mostly eager to learn, but the hours are crippling. I was working until 10 pm most evenings. You can also forget holidays, they will be taken up with preparation, making costumes, writing plays .... Also the parents can be a PITA. (This is only my own experience though). I would have swapped it for an office job any day.
I forgot the pay. After counting up the actual hours I worked, I was being paid less than the cleaners!
Independent schools vary enormously. Your experience sounds horrid, but I’m not convinced it’s typical.
I was in a similar situation last year. I took the plunge and I moved to a private school and have found it such a good decision. It is a good school which looks after its staff. I am no longer working well into the night, my physical and mental health are so much better, and I still have the (longer) holidays to look after my children.
I am a better teacher for being less stressed, and a better mum too. I took a pay cut but it was manageable and so worth it. As a pp said, less paper work, less jumping through hoops, more involved parents and much calmer classes.
I'd try the new school if you get it. Good luck!
Go for it (teaching). Due to health reasons, I had to change schools or leave teaching. I went independent and I LOVE it. Unfortunately been off sick for 4 months but I'm desperate to get back. I can't stop smiling there! Work load is crazy at report times but holidays give you time to recover, go away and work without feeling exhausted before you go back. Give it a year. That's what I did.
I've been worn down and am leaving teaching. I start an education-based, non-class-teacher role in September. I can't wait to leave! It's a pay cut due to part-time but I'm excited about having my evenings and weekends free again - work can stay at work!
I know some people swear by independent schools but I just know that I would find the demands different but feel they would put the same pressure on me.
I can always go back but I feel I at least need a break. The thought of not being beholden to a bell anymore and never having a member of SLT at the back of the classroom with a clipboard again makes me want to sing with joy!
Just the last half-term to get through and the summer holidays can't come soon enough!
Lots of people saying give the primary a go as one last chance for teaching to suit you (which is what I'd have said too) but you still seem unsure so that to me would suggest in your heart you were hoping people would say the office job?
I don't mean that in a 'why ask for advice?' way like posters sometimes do, I think it's a genuine subconscious thing that you were hoping posting would affirm leaving teaching.
I make decisions like that if I'm torn- ask other people and if I feel a bit disappointed by their choice then I know I should go with the other one, although I'm talking about much less important things like where to go out for a meal!
@Heyha very perceptive! I think you might be right because I'm trying to imaging each job phoning me up and saying I haven't got it and I think I would be more gutted by the office one than the teaching one. But not sure if that's just because I know I could get a teaching job relatively easily as it is my comfort zone of expertise whereas the office is is a bit of an unknown and therefore more exciting! I'm still no close to a decision but very much appreciate everybody's input!
Finding it more exciting is a really good reason to go with the office one though! You'd also learn more about yourself.
Holidays are completely doable for most people. A Sept start would be helpful though.
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