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Career change- solicitor to teacher?

(16 Posts)
Ree121303 Sat 21-Sep-19 18:18:08

Considering a career change due to drastically falling out of love with my chosen career!!

Anyone else done this and if so, how did it work out for you?

Thinking primary school age and hoping for a better home/work life balance....

Concerned as I hear a lot of negative feedback about teaching at present and that teachers are leaving in their droves.

Any advice from current primary teachers and/or former lawyers?


OP’s posts: |
FlyingBanana Sat 21-Sep-19 18:19:46

Not sure primary teaching will have a better work life balance tbf. In schooln8-5 then working several hours each evening and a day at the weekend....

Yes to school holidays.
No to eger seeing your child do nativity, sports day, assembly.

I haven’t done this personally, but an acquaintance made the change from working in publishing to teaching maths last year and said it’s been one of the hardest things she’s ever done. It doesn’t sound like she has much work life balance, despite no longer having to commute to central London every day, and she left the party we were at last Saturday night early as she had work to do on the Sunday in preparation for Monday. Having said that, she doesn’t regret the move and seems to find it genuinely rewarding. Good luck if you decide to go for it!

2018mummytogirl Sun 29-Sep-19 13:13:11


I'm in exactly be same situation... please primary school teachers, speak up and let us know what your work life balance is like and whether it suits having a little one (a legal job in the city certainly doesn't!)


NumberblockNo1 Sun 29-Sep-19 14:45:35

There is no work life balance in term time teaching. Most teachers I know go part time or lots leave, especially once their own children start school and they miss all the school things, as well as not being able to spend evenings and much of the weekend doing things with their children due to prepping teaching.

It is a very odd career to choose if work life balance is the aim.

NumberblockNo1 Sun 29-Sep-19 14:46:33

Holidays are definitely good though! So its a choice in terms of pay off really.

Scarydinosaurs Sun 29-Sep-19 14:47:02

All depends on what you find doesn’t give you work life balance at the moment? What are your main complaints about your current job?

GeoffreyAndBungle Sun 29-Sep-19 14:49:29

What area of law do you work in? Rather than retraining, is there a job you could use your existing skills and experience in?

butterflywings37 Sun 29-Sep-19 14:50:03

What are your current hours and what do you dislike about your work/life balance. Once that is known people can advise on how different teaching would be

Springcleanish Sun 29-Sep-19 14:52:51

No work life balance 8-5 plus evening / weekend marking and planning. Chances are you will miss your own children’s nativity plays, sports days, assemblies etc as you will be at work. Holidays are great except I needed at least one day a week to plan displays etc ...
However if you love working with young children, want to make a difference and are committed, it is the most rewarding career.

Silvertincan Sun 29-Sep-19 15:25:20

I'm a primary school teacher, qualified to teacher 4-11 and currently working in reception, so hopefully I can help a little! I will try to be as transparent as possible.
The holidays are an undeniable plus, but just a heads up I usually spend at least a week of summer holidays (last summer we had five weeks, because of inset days) in school, preparing the room for the children. That's not including planning time, shopping for your class (from your own pocket), learning about/researching the curriculum you will teach that year ect...
During term time, I get in to school for 7:30 and leave at 6 most night, later if it's a staff meeting night. This helps with not having to take as much home, but especially during data and report season I can be working until 10pm sad and I usual work for around three hours each weekend, and then have to resource shop also for things the children need in class the following week.
In the day, I struggle to get everything done with the children that needs to be done, the expectation is very full on even for tiny humans, and sometimes you feel like a villain because you're pushing them to work. But you just have to make time for as much fun with them as you can!

There is also the abuse from parents, the tragic instances of neglect you will see if you work in an inner city school like mine, the lack of funding and support that often means you end up with lots of children with special needs and you can't give them the 1:1 time they need, because there isn't the funding. Makes you feel immense stress and guilt, at times which isn't great. But also, you have the chance to reach children and show them love and kindness.

The pay is fair, but questionable when you consider the hours that you will be working. The pension also takes a huge chunk out of your salary each money, around £200. Just something to keep in mind. Also, a lot of schools can't afford to move staff up the Payscale.

You will also have to listen to people harping on about the amazing holidays and the 9-3 hours (we wish!) grinwine

But I can honestly say the satisfaction you will get from working with children is amazing, but this and only this is the reason you should enter the profession. Poor work-life balance is the reason a lot of teachers leave, it is manageable but you have to be so very strict. For me, it's the emotional strain I find that has the biggest impact on work-life balance, rather than paperwork - it can be tricky to switch off, evenings and weekends the job is always at the front of my mind, and you have to be mindful not to neglect your own family because of that.

It's not all soon and gloom, I love my job and wouldn't do anything else. But I recognise it's not for everyone.

Hope my honest account helps you make an informed choice. Best of luck with your decision, and if you choose to join us then lucky you, you will have the privilege to shape young lives. flowers

PurpleDaisies Sun 29-Sep-19 15:31:39

Thinking primary school age and hoping for a better home/work life balance....

Teaching really isn’t one for you if you’re wanting a better work life balance, particularly in the short term. It’s incredibly satisfying but totally inflexible in terms of when you can take holiday etc and 60+ hour weeks for the first few years.

CloudRusting Sun 29-Sep-19 15:36:25

As a lawyer with family members who teach I certainly wouldn’t switch for a better work life balance.

Depends on what you do of course but certainly as you get more senior as a solicitor I’ve found it is generally easier to go to the special assembly, slip out early for the school nativity etc.

brittlestar Sun 29-Sep-19 15:44:01

Have you looked into working as an in house lawyer for civil service/ government/ defra type employers? Very flexible hours, not long hours and much better pay than a new teacher.

katalavenete Sun 29-Sep-19 15:45:55

Teaching is an odd choice for someone after better work/life balance!

And it's not an "at present" temporary glitch, it's been this way for decades. So if you're thinking it would have improved by the time you were qualified, think again.

suze28 Sun 29-Sep-19 15:49:04

As a training and then newly qualified primary teacher you will have no work life balance for a good few years. It's relentless and only getting worse with the increasing Ofsted pressures/changing goal posts. I love my primary teaching job but I'm years down the line now.

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