Why I’m leaving teaching

why i'm leaving teachingSince 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.

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43 Comments on Why I’m leaving teaching

  1. Debs @ Super Busy Mum
    April 28, 2015 at 6:02 pm (4 years ago)

    Its a shame you no longer believe in it but if this decision makes you happy, then you’ve done a good thing. Thanks so much for linking up! #MMWBH
    Debs @ Super Busy Mum recently posted…Siblings – April!My Profile

  2. Lisa (mummascribbles)
    April 26, 2015 at 7:03 am (4 years ago)

    I have read a couple of these posts just recently and it’s so sad that it’s got to the stage where teachers are having to leave the profession so they can have time at home. What’s going to happen if all of our wonderful teachers keep leaving? Well done for being so brave and I look forward to reading about your new life from September! #bigfatlinky
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…I have a wee problem!My Profile

  3. JanetteDavey
    April 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you. More than happy for you to share. I am still sad that I am leaving a job that I love but it is clear that both I and my family can’t have it all and I love my family more. Now that I know when I’m leaving, I’m starting to look forward to my new life in September and will definitely be blogging about it 🙂

  4. JanetteDavey
    April 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s such a shame as part of the reason I choose teaching as a career was to be there for my kids and yet, over the years, it has taken me away from them and left me feeling guilty during weekends and holidays. I still hope things will improve and maybe as my children get older, I may return to teaching. Thank you for your kind comments x

  5. Dan @DBTH
    April 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm (4 years ago)

    It a shame talented and trusted people are forced to leave by a system that is so undervalued and strangled by red tape.

    My wife is Social Worker who has recently left her job for a very similar reason.


  6. al ferguson
    April 25, 2015 at 9:49 am (4 years ago)

    I am really glad that you linked this one up. I’m sorry to read it but I think it’s great that you’ve shared these thoughts and experiences. I look forward to reading future posts about your new life and the changes it has on you 🙂 I would love to share this in my staffroom. Thanks for linking up to #bigfatlinky

  7. Mummy Fever
    April 25, 2015 at 8:51 am (4 years ago)

    Great post – my parents were both teachers and left teaching because it became something very different to what they set out to do. There was little ‘teaching’ left. They were very tired as well. #bigfatlinky
    Mummy Fever recently posted…Dealing with hay feverMy Profile

  8. Jade (Raising the Rings)
    April 25, 2015 at 7:47 am (4 years ago)

    Sadly this is all too true. My partner left teaching last year, after hardly getting started. The thought that he was spending more time on other peoples’ children, rather than his own was the breaking point I think, as had we not had our son he would’ve probably stuck at it. It’s sad to lose teachers like you, those who have a genuine passion about the subject and the kids, but the education system is turning into a numbers game and becoming less about actual teaching. The red tape they’re putting up and the hoops they’re expecting you to jump through are awful. I hope you find something else you’re passionate about and I hope you get to enjoy reading that book with your daughter! x
    Jade (Raising the Rings) recently posted…Mummy-to-be must haves – Trimester #3My Profile

  9. Hannah Mums' Days
    April 23, 2015 at 6:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Gosh a big decision but you’ve clearly thought it through very carefully. I would always vote in favour of health and I wish you every luck in your next steps xx

    Thanks for linking up to #Thelist xx
    Hannah Mums’ Days recently posted…Hello Nuby! Announcing my Conference SponsorsMy Profile

  10. Ashley @ When the Dust Settles
    April 23, 2015 at 8:30 am (4 years ago)

    There are too many teachers, like you, leaving the profession, those with a passion to inspire and teach seem to have been forced from our schools, under recent regimes. Governments whose only desire is to see children become numbers without a mind (I guess it is easier to lead under educated people?) passing tests without understanding, just because it looks good on the spreadsheet.
    Ashley @ When the Dust Settles recently posted…The Jealousy of a Working DadMy Profile

  11. Mariet - Practicingnormal
    April 23, 2015 at 7:49 am (4 years ago)

    I don’t think teachers are paid enough and we as a society do not appreciate all the hard work that goes into teaching children. Thank you for the wonderful job you did by educating children. I’m sure the education system is sad to see you go.
    Mariet – Practicingnormal recently posted…Tiger MomMy Profile

  12. aloted
    April 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Well done for taking the leap of faith. God’s got you 🙂

  13. Adventures of a Novice Mum
    April 20, 2015 at 9:18 pm (4 years ago)

    Another teacher leaving, so sad. Suzie81 and Mylovemylife recently wrote posts about leaving too. I hope someone in power will ask why and make the necessary changes.

    A very brave decision, I look forward to reading about your next steps. I’m sure your students will miss you and the education system is the poorer for your resignation.

    I so identify with all you wrote, but I’m solidering on for now …. All the very best on your new journey.
    Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted…50 Things that make me happyMy Profile

  14. JanetteDavey
    April 20, 2015 at 8:19 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you. I’ve become more aware than ever that time is short and I don’t want to miss time while my children are young and love to regret it x

  15. Lynn @ Riggstown Road
    April 20, 2015 at 5:20 pm (4 years ago)

    I am a former public school teacher, too. No matter what anyone says, it is hard being divided between school and home, when you want to give 100% to both. I’m so glad I get to do both now, since I teach my own children at home. Best decision I ever made, and I don’t think you’ll regret yours either! Be encouraged, and be blessed! 😉
    Lynn @ Riggstown Road recently posted…Natural Strawberry SyrupMy Profile

  16. JanetteDavey
    April 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you. I can’t wait for September. Hope there is still some sun that I can enjoy then 🙂

  17. JanetteDavey
    April 20, 2015 at 4:10 pm (4 years ago)

    It worries me that so many are leaving and are not being replaced (due to cutbacks) as it will put the remaining teachers under increasing pressure with bigger classes and students will ultimately suffer. It would be good if we could have a Minister of Education who has actually worked in education and knows what they are talking about from the ground level.

  18. JanetteDavey
    April 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm (4 years ago)

    I have a few ideas – would take too long to post here so will do another post on it x

  19. JanetteDavey
    April 20, 2015 at 4:07 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you. Such a shame that so many teachers are feeling the same. Really hope that it changes for the better soon x

  20. morna
    April 19, 2015 at 7:21 pm (4 years ago)

    My sister is a chemistry teacher and although she doesn’t have children I think she has shares a lot of your frustrations. She seems to be constantly re-writing her lesson plans to fit in with changes in the curriculum and exam structure. I know that she would like to leave to if she could. Well done for being brave enough to put time with your children and your own mental health first. I hope you have a wonderful teacher and that you find something to do that will fulfil you without consuming you.
    morna recently posted…Ooh new shoes!My Profile

  21. Verily Victoria Vocalises
    April 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm (4 years ago)

    I think it is so sad when the profession you love so much changes so completely. A similar thing happened to me with being a Driving Instructor. The profession has changed so much over the past 10 years – mainly due to other car drivers! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo and all the best x
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…My Sunday Photo 19th April 2015My Profile

  22. Sandrine Calme
    April 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing your thought. Have you got a plan B? Do you know what you are going to do next?

  23. Single Mother Ahoy
    April 19, 2015 at 10:10 am (4 years ago)

    This is such a sad post – someone who cares as much as you is exactly who I would want teaching my child. But I can completely understand where you’re coming from, and you’re right to put yours and your children’s needs first.
    It saddens me that we have a system that’s pushing out good, experienced teachers because of the workload and stresses. Who will they replace all of these teachers with?
    Single Mother Ahoy recently posted…A Morning at the FarmMy Profile

  24. Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    April 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm (4 years ago)

    An incredibly hard decision to make and I know you are not alone. So many of my teacher friends are becoming fed up and disillusioned with the system which is a bit worrying for parents with school age children. I really admire you decision and the reasons. Enjoy spending more time with your children! #pocolo

  25. Caz Stone
    April 18, 2015 at 5:47 am (4 years ago)

    It’s a tragedy when good, child focussed teachers leave because of the pressure they are put under to drive their pupils to meet targets. I have so much respect for teachers, but it seems that (like social work and nursing) it’s become a role that asks too much without the necessary reward and support to make it sustainable.
    Caz Stone recently posted…CurrentlyMy Profile

  26. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Still feeling nervous about my decision for the financial reasons but can’t wait to be able to have evenings and weekends without marking and planning 🙂

  27. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Hopefully one day it will change. Thank you x

  28. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you – that makes me feel better x

  29. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm (4 years ago)

    In a way I wish I was alone on this but unfortunately, lots of other teachers are leaving or want to leave due to the workload. As teachers, you expect to work at home but when all you do is work, something has gone wrong. Thank you for your comment x

  30. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you very much x

  31. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm (4 years ago)

    It is a shame that so many teachers seem to be leaving due to the stress and lack of work/life balance. If the government do take notice, I would be back like a shot x

  32. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you so much x

  33. JanetteDavey
    April 17, 2015 at 9:39 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you Joni. It is such a juggling act when you have children and nobody to help out. I admire you for managing 40 years of teaching – that’s a massive achievement.
    I will also miss the students and colleagues but my own health and my children’s happiness comes first. I hope that I will feel I can return in the future x

  34. Joni Holohan
    April 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Janette.
    You have put this very well. Good, young teachers are leaving the profession in droves and that’s a serious loss to the nation. I managed 40 years and 121 days before I retired. I also am a single parent. I don’t think I could have managed teaching and parenting in the current climate and for me the joy went right out of the job I had loved for all the reasons you state so clearly.
    I hope that the next Minister for Education will realise that the simplest way to get the improvements in standards we all want, is to get rid of this corrosive target culture, to trust those who have trained so hard for this job and let them get on with it in the way they know best.
    I miss working with young people, I miss the wonderful colleagues who i had the luck to meet in five schools over my career, but I don’t miss the constant grinding government interference and the exhaustion and depression all that generates!
    All the best to you Janette and love to your kids.

  35. Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk)
    April 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm (4 years ago)

    This made me look at teaching in a different light. I always have respect for teachers but I have more respect now. Its sounds really hard. And I support your decision. Good luck with the new life =) #pocolo
    Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk) recently posted…A Blessing In DisguiseMy Profile

  36. teacuptoria
    April 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Janette, that is such a tough decision but sounds like you made it for the right reasons. It’s the second post I’ve read from a teacher leaving the profession for similar circumstances. I hope the government take notice of what’s happening and take action. Lots of luck with everything. x
    teacuptoria recently posted…How To Stay Positive Through Separation & DivorceMy Profile

  37. Alice Megan
    April 17, 2015 at 11:41 am (4 years ago)

    Sadly it’s becoming a common occurence, I also wanted to be a teacher and while studying there were 3 complete overhauls to the curriculum which put me off continuing that path. Hopefully you’ll find something you love just as much
    Alice Megan recently posted…Living List – Top 3 travel dreamsMy Profile

  38. Carrie - Time to be an Adult
    April 17, 2015 at 8:22 am (4 years ago)

    Such a difficult decision for you to make, but I’m sure you are not alone in your thinking. My SIL is also a primary school teacher and spent literally every morning & evening of our half term holiday marking and preparing plans. I hope you’ll find a way to still work in the field that you obviously enjoy 🙂
    Carrie – Time to be an Adult recently posted…Salted Caramel CheesecakeMy Profile

  39. Erica Price
    April 17, 2015 at 6:25 am (4 years ago)

    It does sadden me that lots of teachers feel this way. I am also saddened that the school system focuses on passing exams rather than a rounded education.
    Erica Price recently posted…My Travel Bucket List DestinationsMy Profile

  40. Madeleine Leech
    April 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm (4 years ago)

    Happy life. I have done the same and now have more energy, sanity and can sleep at night. I now teach children who have become so stressed by the system that they have lost all confidence. They soon regain some belief in themselves without the constant battering of teaching in the way that dehumanises them.

  41. Sherry
    April 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm (4 years ago)

    What a difficult decision to make. How are you feeling now that you have made the decision and made it public? Good for you. I hope you find the guilt free time you are looking for.
    Sherry recently posted…What triggers the working mum’s guiltMy Profile

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