Leaving Teaching And Doing Supply Instead

The Best Job In The World And Why I Chose To Leave

I have written before about the fact that I love my new job as a blogger and the fact it is a million miles away from my previous job as a teacher. I have not however, written about why I left teaching in the first place. I will say now that I still do the odd bit of supply but my main source of income now comes from this blog, something I am so thankful for.

I was born to be a teacher, my mum used to tell me from an early age that I’d make an excellent teacher and as much as I fought against her, she was right. Mums are always right aren’t they? I went to university to do my degree in Zoology (don’t ask) but once qualified soon realised I did in fact want to be a teacher. I completed my PGCE in 2006 and landed my first teaching post soon after – I was so excited!

I loved my job, I really did. No wait, I didn’t love my job… I loved being a teacher. There is a difference.

Teachers have THE best job in the world. We get to mould the minds of future generations- that is just incredible really isn’t it? My job was with the littlies, at the very beginning of their education ladder, fresh into the system and eager to learn. I have taught 100’s of children how to read and write, I’ve nurtured talent and opened their eyes to the world around them. That is something I will always treasure, knowing that I touched their lives. I still remember my first ever teacher and I hope that they will always remember me.

I was more than a teacher to many, I was a mother figure, a carer, a friend. I worked in a school with very vulnerable children, I was their safe place and that is such a privilege. Our days were filled with laughter and smiles, with the children learning in new and exciting ways. If my job could have consisted of these moments, the happy days where I saw the joy in children’s eyes, I wouldn’t have left.

Unfortunately, I hated my job. Because sadly, being a teacher isn’t just about being a teacher anymore. Teaching is about paperwork, targets and ticking boxes.

People think that teachers have it easy, that we work 9 til 3 and have half the year off as holidays. No, just no. I would get to work for 7.30am latest, to set up the classroom and do any admin needed before the day started. I would leave at 6pm most days, only to go home and carry on with admin tasks.

What admin am I talking about? 

First of all there was the marking. Now bearing in mind I taught 4 year olds, who was this for? They certainly couldn’t read it so it was all done just in case OFSTED would visit.

Now for anyone who isn’t aware of what should go on in the Foundation Stage (Reception class) you may have missed something from the above point. What on earth are 4 year olds even doing with books that need marking?? Children of 4 should be learning through play, a stage critical to their development. But no, we were forced to have them show work – again for OFSTED’s benefit.

The government are so preoccupied with checking up on teachers, putting pressure on us to prove we are doing a good job, that they don’t realise they are ruining education. I’ve been reading various posts about SATs over the last few days, some for and some against. Parents stating how they do or don’t feel their child is pressured at this time of year. The thing is though, they aren’t aware of the whole picture. Their child may well go through the period unaware of the exam focus but what they may not realise is that their child has not had a well rounded education leading up to these exams. That is the point that bothers me most about SATs.

Many schools will spend months prepping the children. This will mean that subjects such as art or PE are shelved until the exams are done and dusted. Is this good teaching? No. Is it fair on those children who may excel at art? No. Why is it happening? Because staff are under pressure to perform. So no, your child may not feel the pressure but they sure as hell haven’t had a great education, or a well rounded one at least. That isn’t good enough.

There must be a better way.

I understand that teachers need to be held accountable but there must be a better way. For a start I think there should be a pass or fail degree system. Otherwise you can get a teacher who has just about scraped their degree let loose on young minds. If only the best were allowed to teach then maybe we would be trusted, maybe we wouldn’t need to prove ourselves as often.

By making us jump through hoops, teaching is now less about teaching and more about admin. Teachers are tired, they work long hours and constantly have to prove they are doing their job – a job that they spent years training for. Each week I would have to produce a 20 page document stating my intentions for the following week. I would have to write my plans in such detail, even down to the questions I would ask the children. Did I ever look at those plans? Of course not- I was able to teach my class because I was a damn good teacher. I knew what they needed and taught them well.

Teaching isn’t a job, it is a life. When you go home at the end of the day you cannot switch off. I would find myself worrying about certain children or panicking that I’d forgotten to submit my plans. In 6 years I took just 4 sick days. I was sick for more days than that of course but guilt dragged me in, I couldn’t let the school or my children down. This was all well and good until I fell pregnant, it was then that I realised that I couldn’t give it my all anymore.

I know plenty of teachers who juggle family life with their teaching life. None of them are happy, they are all overworked. There is no happy medium. I take my hats off to them, I really do – I know I couldn’t do it.

I gave up teaching because I couldn’t let it run my life anymore. I was tired of being judged, by the government, by the headteacher at my school. I was tired of being told I needed to try a new scheme, one that was going to change the way we teach. Only to find that a month or two later we were to try another new scheme. I was tired of inputting data that didn’t reflect my children’s abilities. I was tired of the politics, not being able do a nativity at Christmas or have a running race at sports day. Teaching children wasn’t fun anymore.

Children are amazing. They are little sponges that soak up every little thing you say. As their teacher you give them that knowledge. This should be the job. Amazing teachers teaching amazing children.

Now why can’t the government just let us get on with it? 

My Sig

16 Comments

  • Reply
    You Baby Me Mummy
    May 3, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I wish things were different and that the powers that be valued nurturing our children, not simply drilling them. I hope things change but can only see more testing and more demands being put on our children. Quite glad Baby will be going to school in France! xx

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 4, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      She will have such a wonderful education out there, I wish England would sit up and take note of how other countries do it. x

  • Reply
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies
    May 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Quite! And it’s heartbreaking that the profession is loosing so many excellent teachers because they’re being pressured to breaking point. We need to have high standards for our teachers and then let them get on with it!! Hopefully today might just send a ripple in the right direction.

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 4, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      I hope someone will listen. xx

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    May 3, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    OMG Kate I could have wrote this myself, this is exactly why I left teaching. I loved Teaching but hated my job. I used to cry on the way to work some days when over inflated management egos used the ofsted stick to beat us with daily. Inspection was designed to be positive and it is management teams that made it negative as they use it against staff, on the don’t perform you are out rule, get the numbers, get the figures. What ever happened to lets inspire our next generations, let them enjoy and love leaning because some of the education management today only pretend to care about these things. If only ofsted really knew what was going on behind the scenes in some of our schools and colleges, they would have a fit! but its all covered up, people are to frightened to speak out. I am so lucky both the boys have wonderful heads that care, it makes such a difference to a Childs education. Very well said a wonderful post that highlights a huge issue x

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 4, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      I hate to think of you crying on your way to work Sarah. I am so so glad that you are free from that place now. xx

  • Reply
    Alice Megan
    May 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I adore working as a teaching assistant but part of the reason I never did my pgce is I see how horribly overworked teachers are and the stresses put on them. I am finding it creeping into support staff too and sadly I’m becoming very disillusioned with education it’s just not what I set out to do. At the minute I’m working supply work but I am planning a career change hopefully soon!

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      You are lucky that you are still enjoying it. So many of the TAs I know are just as overworked – they should be paid a lot more for the work they do. x

  • Reply
    Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy
    May 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Such a fab post Katy, I have a few friends that are teaching assistants that won’t move into teaching because of those reasons, but even they have said it’s getting worse, they don’t even want promotions because of it!

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 4, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Oh I know! TAs have such a raw deal, they are just as overworked as us sometimes. x

  • Reply
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    May 4, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Brilliant post. My mum is a recently retired teacher and I’ve seen how much the profession has changed over the years – even more so in the last 10 years or so. And the sad thing is that pretty much everyone – teachers, parents, the general public – seem to be on the same page on this; that there is too much testing, too much emphasis on a ‘textbook’ way of learning. But the government insist on pushing this through anyway. I remember I expressed an interest in being a teacher and my mum did her utmost to put me off, and looking at things now I’m glad she did. I’m glad you found a better balance in blogging!

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 4, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Little G has said she wants to be like mummy and be a teacher and I just hope she either changes her mind or the system has changed by the time she has to decide. So sad. x

  • Reply
    Laura - dear bear and beany
    May 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    My friend is a foundation teacher and she tells me about some of the crazy things she is forced to do for 4 year olds! She is pregnant now and she doesn’t think she can cope with going back. I’m going to show your post xx

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 17, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I was in foundation as I left and I knew there was no way I could be glueing and sticking in 100s of photos sprawled out on my living room floor with a baby crawling around! xx

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    May 9, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I completely agree Katy. I was a teacher. I still do one day a week now plus private work but will be stopping all together when I can. It’s so sad. But well done to you for touching so many children’s lives. And congratulations on finding success elsewhere x

    • Reply
      Katy
      May 17, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thank you Rebecca, it is a sad state of affairs isn’t it? xx

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.