‘What exactly do you hate about teaching?’ – our work expert responds | Guardian Careers
Teaching is ruining my life. I have other skills, so how do I find my niche?
I’m desperate to get out of teaching. It’s exhausting, stressful and is ruining my life. I’m not a senior leader so can’t go on to be a consultant or inspector. I’ve been teaching for over a decade and most of the jobs I’ve seen that suit my skills and experience could mean taking more than a 50% pay cut.
I feel trapped. I have so many useful skills including fantastic communication, creativity and collaboration, as well as solid IT skills but I don’t know where to find my niche.
I have developed chronic headaches and IBS. Sometimes I have panic attacks. I am burning out. Carrying on is not an option.
Anonymous teacher, 41, from West Yorkshire
Career coach Lisa LaRue says:
First, I want to say thank you for sharing your story. It’s not easy finding the courage to speak about how you feel. Many suffer in silence hoping things will get better.
If you have decided that moving on is the best option, the next step will be to define what you are looking for in your future role. A good way to do this is to understand what it is about your current job you don’t enjoy. Is it the long hours, increased pressure, lack of progression opportunities? Or is it that you just don’t enjoy teaching any more? You say you are desperate to get out of teaching but from experience, many teachers love teaching but struggle with the system they are in. If you still have a passion for teaching, you could consider moving into a different role, for example, from teaching children to teaching adults.
Once you have identified what you want, it’s time to turn your attention to those fantastic skills you’ve mentioned. Strong communication, creativity, collaboration and IT skills are at the top of most employers’ wish list when looking for a new team member. I encourage you to sit down and map out your full range of transferable skills. You will find this activity helpful in realising just how talented and valuable you are in the job market.
While it’s important you seek professional support to address the physical and psychological affects you’ve described, you are likely to feel far more positive and in control once you’ve taken steps to change your situation. I wish you every success in your journey.
- If you can relocate, consider teaching in an international school – there are opportunities all over the world. You are likely to find better classroom support and resources, and more motivated parents, than in a UK state school. If you have school-age children, many schools give a hefty rebate on fees to attract potential teachers. As well as a change in working environment, you will benefit from the stimulation of living in a new culture. ID8899097
- How about going into supply teaching for the interim to break the cycle? I know you’re not out of the industry, but you can still use your skill set, you haven’t got the psychological ties and as a temp in a new environment you can be anyone you want. With the old ties broken and the baggage cast off, it might give you a clearer vision of what direction to go in next. Marshallofcharlton
- Get into corporate training – teach adults at their place of work. They are generally well behaved, attentive, and you can charge their company lots of tax-deductible lolly. Also, you don’t have to keep on seeing the same old miseries every day. fatbelly
- Take a sabbatical of up to a year. Aside from rent or mortgage payments, you can actually live on very little for 12 months. Plan the year as a mid-life career rethink. If you decide to make the break, park the teaching option carefully so it can be picked up if you run into difficulty. Your unhappiness with it may ultimately prove to be about something else, such as the venue where you teach, rather than the job itself. snazpizaz
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