Why I don’t feel bad about leaving full time teaching

October 16, 2015

I’ve alluded briefly before on the blog to the fact that I’ve recently left my job, but I haven’t really mentioned that I used to be a teacher. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I was a really good teacher, too. Well, I still am a teacher, but I decided a few months ago to leave my full-time, senior leadership position to be a supply teacher.

Last weekend while shopping with hubby, I bumped into a coursemate of mine from my teacher training, more than seven years ago. It was lovely to see her and almost the first question she asked was whether I was still teaching (I suppose this is a reflection of the number of people leaving the profession these days!). When I told her that I’d actually just started supply teaching, she responded, “Well, it’s a tough job, so don’t feel bad about it.”

I hadn’t actually said anything to suggest that I did feel bad about it. And I know that she genuinely didn’t mean to be unkind with her comment. But, having stewed on it for a while, I realised that for some it might seem as though I have failed in some way. That I couldn’t ‘hack’ the job. In fact, I have heard this more than once from senior leaders about colleagues who have left the profession.

But the truth of it is, I don’t feel bad.

I don’t feel bad that I no longer have to give up most evenings and weekends for work.

I don’t feel bad that I no longer dread Sunday evenings.

I don’t feel bad that I don’t have a set of books to drag home in a suitcase almost every night, because there wasn’t enough time in working day to get it done.

I don’t feel bad that I don’t have to make the choice between marking that set of books and going to bed in order to get enough sleep to get through the next day.

I don’t feel bad that I no longer have to justify the progress of every child in the room according to assessments and levels, the expectations of which seem to change on an annual basis.

I don’t feel bad that now when I spend time with a class, I can enjoy the children for the wonderful individuals that they are, rather than worrying that they aren’t making enough measurable progress that lesson.

I don’t feel bad that I find it amusing when children get my married name wrong in hilarious ways, when before I would have been too stressed to find anything funny.

I don’t feel bad that I can feel my love of teaching slowly coming back to me, when I had feared that it had gone forever.

I don’t feel bad that I now have time to do some of the things I had forgotten that I enjoyed, like cooking and baking, or reading a book for pleasure.

I don’t feel bad that I feel like myself again.

In fact, I’m actually feeling quite good about things.

leaving teaching

6 responses to “Why I don’t feel bad about leaving full time teaching”

  1. Kel Adams says:

    Yay to feeling good about things! Full of admiration for you for making a positve change. The process of change is scary but the rewards are well worth it. x

  2. meetheadJ says:

    I did exactly the same thing, best thing I ever did. You’re right that some people not in the ‘know’ may see it as failure but like you say the massive benefits far outweigh caring about what people might think! Any school you work with will know in an instant that you a highly skilled teacher and will greatly value you, the only problem will be convincing them you don’t want to have a job with them and that you are supply by choice!

    • Jules says:

      You’re absolutely right – it’s not about what other people think. It can be hard sometimes though not to feel that way, but when I think about how much more relaxed I am now as a person and the positive impact it’s had on all aspects of my life, I think it’s worth it!

  3. Katy Stevens says:

    Well done to you. I think the best thing you can do for your own health is make sure you’re happy in your work!

    I hope things keep looking up!

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