Since primary school, all I wanted was to be a teacher. I wanted to be the person that inspired children not just to read but to enjoy reading; the teacher who taught with a passion for her subject and commitment for her students.
For the last ten years, I have taught English to hundreds of secondary school children and I have loved having those moments when a child grasps a new concept or writes a creative piece they didn’t feel they were capable of.
I am a good teacher – in fact, marked as Outstanding recently – yet, yesterday, I handed in my resignation. It was a decision that filled me with sadness because after ten years, I am leaving the profession that I thought I would always be in and the one that I worked so hard to begin.
So why am I leaving teaching – a job that I once loved? The answer is simply because I am tired.
In school, I am tired of the constant changes to the curriculum that I struggle to keep up with and leave me feeling unsure of my subject knowledge.
I am tired of the system treating students as statistics rather than children who have individual traits and abilities.
I am tired of teaching to targets and tests rather than inspiring students to love learning and think independently. By stifling creativity and initiative through the current teaching to pass rigid tests, will there be future entrepreneurs?
I am tired of the system making students feel like they are failing because they haven’t reached a set level. How can I motivate a student when they feel they have failed before they have started?
At home, I am tired of having to explain that I can’t read a book with my daughter because I have a pile of marking to do at the weekend.
I am tired of resenting time that I spend at the park with my children when there is a pile of books waiting at home to be marked.
I am tired of differentiating lessons until midnight because I won’t start until my children are in bed.
Financially, I am losing a secure income but the price for me to educate other people’s children is too high. The cost for me to stay as a teacher is my own health and my children and that is a price that I am no longer willing to pay.
I was suffocating in teaching. Suffocating under paperwork, pressure to meet students’ target grades and constant assessments.
I need to be able to breathe again and this means that I have to leave the profession that I once loved.
I will be sad to pack up my classroom in July knowing that I won’t be returning in September, as I work in a great school with fabulous students and supportive staff. But I also know that I will be looking forward to spending guilt free time with my children without the education system draining me.
Leaving teaching, after ten years, is one of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make but I believe that it is the right one for the time being.