LEAVING TEACHING :: ONE YEAR ON
Who could deny that autumn is on its way? Darker nights are drawing in, mornings are laced with dew and there’s a cooler nip in the evening air. I’ve said it before but, to me, the change between August and September always feels greater than any other seasonal change. I used to relate this to the start of a new school year, but this is the first academic year that I won’t be returning to a classroom so I wanted to write about leaving teaching one year on.
This time last year, I was getting ready to start a new term as a supply teacher in East Lancashire. Whilst I admit I enjoyed the flexibility and challenge of supply teaching, there was no job security, no stable income and my interest in social media marketing was pulling me in an entirely different direction. A few people have asked if I’ve ever regretted my choice, or if I miss teaching. I rarely write personal posts, but selfishly, this one’s for me because lately, I’ve found myself pondering about my choice to leave and whether I did the right thing.
First of all, I don’t think I’d be normal if I didn’t think about this from time to time. In May 2015, I wrote about leaving teaching and the reasons why I felt handing in my resignation was the only option for me. It still feels incredibly raw to talk about; it didn’t feel fair that I had worked just as hard as others in the profession, yet the circumstances I found myself in and the pressures in my particular place of work meant I had to lose the career I’d given so much up for. I feel you should know that when I handed in my resignation, I was offered every option of support by my headteacher and colleagues; I had quite literally, taken all that I could.
Looking back, it’s nobody’s fault. We can blame the government, blame Gove, the local authority, the senior managers, whoever. Life is a series of choices we make for ourselves, always with our best interests at hearts. Some will come out on top, others will fall. Some are given better choices to make, better opportunities. I will never say it’s the luck of the draw, but I do believe chance plays a part. I felt I was delivered a rogue hand in teaching, but I believe I made the choices that lead me there. I accepted greater challenges, more responsibilities until it broke me. Quite literally, broke me. ECG heart monitors, constant nausea and heart palpitations laced with anxiety.
As you know from this post about my current job, at the end of February I finally left primary teaching to work as a social media for business tutor/assessor. Quite frankly, the job is perfect for me. I’m still using my teaching skills because the core of my job is learning and assessment, but I travel across the north west to teach learners in small businesses, which means I plan my work diary. Of course, it’s not stress free. Working for a business in education is no different than working for a council: targets are still set, progression in learning is vital, detailed marking still has to be completed, paperwork is paramount and regular performance meetings and observations are held. That said, it suits me; especially because I can turn my laptop off at the end of the day and enjoy my evening.
Do I miss teaching? Yes. I miss the brutal honesty and hilarity that children bring. A few of my friends are teachers, in primary and secondary, and whilst I’m no longer classroom based I always enjoy hearing their teaching tales. I’ll nod nostalgically and laugh along with them as they describe the residential trip they spent four nights camping for, or sympathise when they talk about their marking pile, or the latest marking scheme that’s been brought in. I’ll feel their pain when they talk about how much progress they need to make with their new class and offer to help them cut out display letters. I have the utmost respect and admiration for them, their profession is growing incredibly difficult and it’s something I have chosen not to do.
Do I regret my choice to leave? No.
As I sat in a well-known coffee shop earlier this week, connecting to WiFi and writing the mother of all to do lists, I felt a rare feeling that I haven’t felt in my job for years. Contentment. Deep down, I know I made the right choice for me. Leaving teaching still smarts but making this choice gave me my life back, a brighter future, which brings me back to this post.
I may have digressed. I intended to write an outfit post about my amazing sale buy: this Tu at Sainsburys rainbow dress. A light, happy piece about how I felt like sunshine in a dress. So, I will leave you with my £10 find and photographs that speak for themselves. If you’re a teacher, or you’re thinking of leaving teaching, or have left the profession entirely, I would love to hear from you even if it’s just to say hello! Tweet me- @Polkadot_Pinky
// Rainbow dress :: Tu at Sainsburys //
// Satchel :: Cambridge Satchel Company //
// Clogs :: Lotta from Stockholm //