This post is probably going to be a bit of a ramble so please bear with me!
So I’ve quit my job! 😱 I actually resigned back in November but couldn’t really say anything until now as the children I teach (and their parents) didn’t know. I have pretty mixed feelings about it to be honest – on one hand, I feel hugely relieved as I wasn’t happy, but on the other, I feel a bit of a failure and like I’ve given up. Throw in a huge amount of anxiety about the future and what I’m going to do with myself, and my head’s a bit all over the place at the moment.
Anyway I’ll rewind a bit to try and explain why I’ve left. I’m a primary school teacher (just in case you didn’t know!) and I got this job through a friend who works for the academy trust that the school is part of. They hadn’t been able to find enough teachers for the year as teacher recruitment is a nightmare at the moment, so I didn’t quite go down the usual route to get the job (apply, have an interview/ observation etc…) I met with the head and executive head over the summer holidays for an informal chat and agreed to start on a temporary basis to see if it worked for them and also for me. I was very honest about my situation – that I’d been out of teaching for three years and hadn’t necessarily been intending to go back this year but would like to give it a go. Anyway, the position was Year 3 which was perfect for me. I was hugely nervous when I started; having had such a long break and been in a whole different world of babies, playgroups, nappies, feeding etc, my confidence in terms of teaching was pretty much non-existent. Thankfully, it’s a bit like riding a bike and it did all come back to me pretty quickly. I had an interview and observation after a couple of days which went well. The class were super sweet and I felt it was all looking pretty positive. Unfortunately, in the time before my permanent contract was finalised, my job share partner (who was utterly lovely but employed through a supply agency) decided the school was too far for her to travel so she left. It all got very confusing with other teachers being employed and the school researching options for what my role could be, but the upshot was that I would need to move into Year 6. I had huge reservations about this, which again I was entirely upfront about. A lot of teachers don’t really like to teach Year 6 as the kids can get a bit big for their boots when they’re the top dogs in the school, but also because of the dreaded SATs. I really didn’t want that kind of pressure this year – it’s the last year before the twiglets start school so I wanted to at least attempt to have a bit of a balance and be able to enjoy my Thursday and Friday off with them while I can. However, I really liked the school, I got on well with all the staff and felt like I fitted in nicely, so at that point I didn’t want to leave. So I agreed to give it a try. I soon realised it was going to be hard – the class were challenging and had had a lot of inconsistency in terms of teachers so weren’t hugely receptive to another new teacher. I soon began to really feel the SATs pressure, especially after I was sent on a course which highlighted all the millions of things I needed to do. Then, my new jobshare partner was signed off long-term with stress. I began jobsharing with the deputy head, which was sort of ok as she was lovely, but I just felt like it was way more than I’d intended to take on this year. I found I had to stay in nearly every Sunday to work while the hubby took the twiglets out, and I felt really resentful that I was missing out on precious family time. Of course, I know that this is the nature of the job. I had taught for eight years before I had the twigs, and I always used to spend most evenings and a lot of the weekends working, but I just accepted it as part of the job. It was what I’d signed up for; I loved teaching (mainly!) and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. When you have your own children, as we all know, your whole outlook changes – your priorities, everything. My career isn’t quite so important to me as it once was. I realise that part isn’t the same for everyone, but it’s certainly true for me.
Anyway I got to the point where I was seriously considering handing in my notice. I spent days, maybe weeks, worrying and stressing over the decision. I’m a fairly determined (some might say stubborn) person – I don’t like to give up on things easily and I don’t like to fail. I think if it was before I’d had the twiglets, I’d have stuck it out for the year. However, I was miserable, resentful and the feeling of dread every Sunday evening was getting pretty ridic. I was spending my days off with the twiglets feeling sick with anxiety about all the work I had to do and that was really p*ssing me off, knowing that I won’t get this time back with them. There is another way of looking at it I guess. Before having the twigs, I was determined but I was also the type of person who would plod along doing something even if I was unhappy. Nowadays, I think I’m a bit less likely to just accept things, especially if they have a negative effect on my children. I realise that we’re lucky in that we were in a position for me to give up work without having another job to go to – we don’t have a ton of money or anything by any means, but we can get by for a few months. But still, maybe in a way I should be a bit proud for not just settling and accepting something when it wasn’t right for my family or myself? 🤔
Anyway… So eventually I did it. The school were really understanding and I felt so relieved once it was done. The jobshare lady who’d been signed off resigned soon after too and from January the school decided to make the deputy the full-time Year 6 teacher to give the children more consistency, seeing as I was going to be leaving anyway. I was pleased about this but actually I ended up covering so much that I was teaching the class nearly as much as I was before anyway! Although I did get the opportunity to cover in various other classes too which I really enjoyed 😊
But anyway, half term now so I’ve officially finished! Although I’m very relieved, I do feel nervous about the future. I worry about whether my heart’s still in teaching – I love the actual teaching itself but I don’t love the workload that comes with it. I feel like having a good work-life balance is so much more important to me now than it ever was before, and I just don’t know if it’s even possible in this job. However, I don’t know what else I could do – I don’t really have any other experience or skills (not a sob story, just the truth!) Of course, the holidays are a huuuge plus point for teaching when you have children, although you have absolutely zero flexibility at any other time – for example, things like going in late one day so you could watch your child’s class assembly are just not possible. I’m wondering about becoming a TA for a while as then you still have the holidays. I’m also wondering about tutoring, although that usually involves evenings and weekends, which I’m not sure would be ideal. It’s hard as I don’t think there’s any job I could start where I could earn the same as what I do through teaching, at least not straightaway. I’d love to do blogging full-time but I just don’t know how to step it up to the next level and actually make any money out of it… Anyway, only time will tell I guess! Hopefully things will work out somehow – I know I’m lucky to be in a position of being able to work at all so I just need to remember that and try not to worry too much I think!
So there ends my little ramble! If anyone has any careers advice, feel free to send it my way 😂 Or if anyone has figured out a way to have a decent work-life balance when teaching and raising young kiddies, let me know! 😊