Why I’ve left Teaching

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I’ll be totally honest and say that I never thought this day would come.

I have been in a job that I have loved for 15 years.

Teaching is all I ever thought I would do. All I have ever done. All I have ever wanted to do.

I am sat here, surrounded by the 4 brightly coloured walls, full of colourful displays that I hope I’m remembered for, saddened by the deafening silence of the classroom now that all of my class have disappeared off on their Easter Holidays.

This very room has been my second home for so long.

For the hour when I am in the classroom, with the class, teaching, I love it. It’s still the most rewarding feeling to know that you have taught, supported, encouraged and guided a child throughout their learning.

But sadly, that’s not the job any more.

The powers that be, the political masterminds who believe they know how children should be taught, have changed the job, beyond measure. They have changed the dynamic in the classroom and the pedagogy behind modern day learning.

The Government’s frequent, rapid changes to both the curriculum and expectations are too dramatic to not warrant consultation.

The latest trend in teaching styles, seem to put the teacher in the background; giving pupils ownership of their learning.

Gone are the days of teacher led lessons, where the teacher utilises their expert knowledge to progress learning.

Has the pendulum swung too much towards pupil based learning therefore under utilising the teacher’s knowledge and skillset?  Is this the deliberate intention of the DfE?

The latest Government figures suggest that the number of teachers quitting the profession have hit a record high, of 4000 a month.

And that saddens me. So much.

The Government often quotes how the greatest minds and intelligent people with skillsets should be utilised in education. Why do the Government think that these people would want to put themselves into the current teaching environment, probably on far less money than they are currently earning?

BBC news have been covering this very story. The demand for teachers is growing because of the baby boom. But it’s getting harder to recruit the target number of teachers with an apparent 7% shortfall in the required number of trainee teachers.

However, surely the BBC have missed the point with regard to teaching numbers? I believe that the focus should ultimately be on retaining existing teachers and re-recruiting those with experience, that have left the profession.

This should surely be the top priority for the next Education Secretary: to ensure that teachers remain in the profession.

With the current funding issues encapsulating all schools, experienced teachers high up the pay scale are almost automatically knocked out of the running for jobs because schools can’t afford to pay them – it’s surely the only industry where experience is NOT an advantage?

In a results driven environment, full of tick boxes and paperwork, I started to wonder and question where the actual ‘teaching’ that I had trained so hard for, had sadly disappeared to.

The current expectation put on teachers is without a doubt, unrealistic and dangerously unmanageable.

Pupils have become instruments for teachers to achieve their performance management targets rather than individuals. I am still bemused by the expectation that all pupils are expected to make the same amount of progress within an academic year. This is ridiculous. If we were all the same, we would all be the same as adults. All children learn and progress at different rates and it is completely wrong for a teacher to be held accountable for that.

 This is a job and a profession that I never thought I would ever leave.

 But right now, my own children and my family need to come first.

There’s a common phrase that is branded around within schools, ‘Every Child Matters’.

And yes, that’s true. However teaching, be it full time or part time is growing increasingly impossible for teachers with their own children. The sheer demand of the job that impacts so heavily on a teacher’s own time, made me grow increasingly resentful for the time I was spending on the children in my class, as opposed to my own children. My own 2 beautiful children who needed their Mummy.

Sadly, it’s more a case of ‘Every Child Matters, apart from your own.’

And I wasn’t prepared for that to be the case, anymore.

No more using my days off to write lesson plans for the following week.

No more spending weekends alone, making resources while the rest of the family head off to the park.

No more rushing or skipping a bedtime story so that I can get on with the stacks of marking, every night.

No more hours analysing computer screens of tracking sheets and data spreadsheets.

No more proving progress in order to justify and maintain my salary.

Very sadly, teaching is not a job any more; it’s a lifestyle choice. I wanted to make the choice to change my lifestyle. I was missing out on my children.

Regretfully, the number of qualified teachers leaving the profession is only going to rise, if nothing is done to change the unrealistic conditions of service.

 Eventually there are not going to be enough teachers for the number of children in Britain and therefore, is the focus on pupil led learning and the under utilisation of a teacher’s skillset, a way of opening the door for unqualified staff?

I am genuinely concerned about who will be teaching my own children, when they get to school age. It’s not acceptable to simply just have a body at the front of the classroom.

For our education system to rival the best in the world, we need to retain experienced staff who are experts in their field, who have trained and dedicate their careers to helping our children grow.

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571 thoughts on “Why I’ve left Teaching

  1. Fantastic post, which rings so true with me. I’d only ever wanted to be a primary school teacher, ever since I was in nursery, and when I had a class of my own it was like a dream come true. Sadly, within 18 months I became very disillusioned with the job. It became less about teaching, and more like a business, with targets to hit. I adore being in front of 30 eager to learn kids, I hate the endless paperwork and meetings, and when I had children of my own, I realised teaching was a lifestyle rather than a job, and took me away from my own children. I never went back after my second maternity leave and probably won’t go back to it again, unless it changes. This breaks my heart but it’s ridiculous. Over 50% of the friends from my teaching course at uni have quit, and I imagine when the others have families of their own they will do the same!

    • Oh it’s so unbelievably sad. I’m like you, I wanted to be a teacher when I was 8 years old and after qualifying and getting a job, it was all I ever wanted. I cannot believe just how much the job itself has changed. It’s all about targets and less about the children. I wasn’t prepared for it to consume my life anymore. Xx

    • Wow, This could have been written by me three years ago. I have often thought if it was just me that couldn’t take it or that i couldn’t measure up. I still miss it but I know as you said that it isn’t the time teaching the children that is an issue. I plan to take trips abroad teaching in countries where education is a privilege and to give me a chance to travel. I missed out on important years in my children’s lives and more importantly they missed out on me and I cannot ever change that. You have made the right decision and until the government wise up this will just get worse. Well said and well done. Teaching as a profession and lots of children will miss out on not having you in the classroom but your children will gain so much. Take care and hold your head high. The profession failed you, not the other way around. x

      • That’s brilliant thank you so much. I’m so saddened by it all and worry deeply about my own children when they go to school. It’s hard to watch your children’s early years pass by when you are marking and planning endlessly. I wasn’t prepared for that to be the case anymore. I have some friends who have traveled abroad to teach and they love it too. All the best. X

  2. Beautifully written Ali, and I would expect nothing less from a passionate, dedicated and extremely caring individual and teacher who’s departure from the profession will surely be a huge loss. Hope your plans and future dreams come true and be sure to keep that big smile permanently placed upon your face!

  3. Fab post. I am a secondary teacher and have been teaching for 15 years and I completely agree with all you are saying. I spend a lot of my time trying to work out what I could be doing instead of teaching, but teaching is all I ever wanted to do and all I have known. You are so right when you say it is a lifestyle choice rather than a job. I went part time after having children which has made it slightly more manageable (but they really do get there money’s worth out of me) but it is affecting the quality of my life and that of my family’s.
    I wish you all the best for the future and congratulations on having the courage to leave after so long.

  4. Hear, hear, Ali. Thanks for speaking on behalf of all teachers, past, present and future. Your class’ loss is your children’s gain! Well done for getting your life back! X

  5. It is horrifying to read that teachers, like yourself, are so broken down by the system that the only way to be happy is to leave the profession. I personally think it is high time politicians were removed from education, virtually none of them have any real knowledge in the subject yet all try to make it their own. we need to remove that and allow teachers to teach (not just get kids to pass exams).

    Sorry you have left the profession.

    • You’re absolutely right. The people making the demands and the changes, are the ones that don’t actually teach and who are so removed from the way children learn. Xx

  6. I am a secondary teacher of 10 years currently on maternity leave and I am fairly certain I won’t return to it for all the reasons you have listed. I love teaching but thinking back to what I had to do in terms of time, effort and energy (in my own time as well as school) to be a ‘good’ conscientious teacher, I just can’t see how it would be possible. Something would certainly have to give and I would be frustrated if it were to be my teaching and heartbroken if it were to be the quality or quantity of time with my son.
    An honest post that sadly reflects the position many of us are in.

    • You’re so right. The minute it impacts on your own life and your own children, you know it’s time to make a change. Sadly I left it longer than a minute to realise! Even when I went back part time after mat leave, I was working at home and weekends just as much. I hope you make the right decision whatever you decide. All the best xx

  7. It’s so upsetting to read this, knowing all too well what our profession has done to us. Everything you have written is so true, but so saddening; education has lost an outstanding practitioner in you. I’m sure that your family will benefit tremendously from this change though and it definitely takes someone brave to make the choice you have. You’ve not only been inspirational in the classroom, but also to other members of staff and I’m certain this quality will see you do well in whatever comes next xxx

    • Bless you, thank you so much. You’re right, it’s so saddening to see the rapid changes and unreasonable demands that are put on teachers, today. The Government surely have to wake up and see the future decline in qualified teachers is only going to be detrimental to the younger generation. x

  8. Well said Ali. You have voiced many mothers thoughts who are also teachers. I have so often said to my colleagues that teaching is a lifestyle not a job anymore, and Ifully echo the phrase you use about every child matters, but not your own! How very true! I think to myself at times that I am missing out so much on my son, but I am lucky enough that we are together in the same school. If we were in different schools, I think I too would leave the profession.
    The workload is too much, the expectations on us is way too high, and now with the added fact that if we want to drop a position of responsibility we have to move schools is just completely unfair.
    What are you going to do with this fine piece of writing Ali? Is it going to be published? The powers that be need to see this and take note. If there’s something to sign to say I agree with you, I most certainly would in support.
    But, as previous comments have said, the profession loses a fine teacher. I often think of our teaching practice in Beaulieu way back then… Happy days….. X

    • Ah Michelle, your comment gave me goosebumps. It’s so very sad, as I still do love the ‘teaching’ side of it. But as I said, that’s not the job anymore. And as you echo, with your own children, it’s very difficult to manage and juggle everything. I love Beaulieu, happy days indeed. Thank you for your lovely comment, if you want to share the post to get it ‘out there’ then please feel free to share. Lots of love xx

  9. Well done Ali on being totally honest about your feelings and why you have left teaching … and how totally sad is that. The education system is such a mess and like you I worry for our children’s education. This is the beginning of their life for them and is so important and yet as you say statistics seem to be far more important than our children.
    You are indeed a loss to the school and I know first hand that the children are saddened by your departure and will miss you.
    On the positive your lovely family will have the wonderful benefit of having you around much more and not being pulled in other directions to ensure you hit targets.
    Good luck in your new ventures. Sammy x

  10. Ali, your post is brilliant and really resonates with me. I’m a secondary school English Teacher – the markload alone is atrocious, let alone when everything else the Government (and our new HT) add on top. I admire you and hope that everything works out for the best. What do you plan to do now?X

  11. I agree with you 100%. I have not gone back to full time teaching since becoming a mother as I knew I would be teaching well or being a good mother, there is no balance. I have however, started supply work and I love it! It is the teaching i know and love. I am there for the children and come the end of the day I am there for my own children. x

    • Absolutely, Katy. There is no balance and that’s the sad thing. A job should not consume your entire being but sadly teaching does. People don’t realise. Supply is definitely something I would consider. It’s great that you love it and that it works around your family. Sounds like a very good option to get the best of both worlds. Xx

    • I am fairly new to teaching but am quickly seeing the effect it is having on my health and on my lifestyle. I am very pleased to see that you are enjoying supply as it is what I think my next move will be. It might not be the best thing for my bank balance but I would like to not be constantly cancelling plans to sit and create more resources or do more marking. I am feeling the disillusionment very early on in my career and my health has definitely taken a knock. Reading posts like all of the ones here is sad as it is clearly passionate and dedicated teachers who are being forced out because it is just not sustainable. I have taught abroad and in less formal environments (with less attention given to assessment) and have loved every minute.

      I am sick of complaining about my situation which is why it seems right to stop before all the passion I did have is gone. I am hoping that supply will give me the freedom I need to take the job seriously but not be consumed by it.

  12. Ali, you are a brave lady – and an honest one. I have been concerned myself at the education system for a long time, but thankfully my daughter is in place where she will continue to learn for the next 3+ years with mentors who love their job and are keen to teach, guide and nurture their students.

    I do pray that someone looks at the education system and realizes that things have to change.

    I know a lot of teachers, and have worked in schools for 12 years – I am amazed at how talented and fantastic you all are – people say ‘teachers have it easy with 13 weeks holiday a year’ I always back you all by saying that in those holidays planning, marking etc are completed. You need your holidays to rest and refresh and, more importantly, to spend with your families.

    I wish you every happiness in your new venture Ali, and hope that one day you may return to teaching – you are an amazing person and I know you are a fantastic teacher!

    Lots of love xx

    • Thank you, Pen. That’s very sweet. I’m so pleased that Em is training and learning in a lovely, stimulating environment. Sadly the holidays that teachers get a bit of a myth as a vast majority of it is work, as you say. I can’t wait to get my weekends back. Lots of love xx

  13. Your whole post rings so true for everyone in the teaching profession and it is such a shame. Working in sixth form education, I am saddened by the constang funding cuts which makes it harder and harder to do the job. In addition, now my children are at school, I am frequently frustrated by the direction education has taken and the constant emphasis on assessment, assessment, assessment with the goal no longer set as learning for the love of learning. I realise that I am part of this system Andorran question if I should leave, but when I make lists of things I love about the job and things I dislike I remember how much I live bring in the classroom. I am so sad to hear that you have left the profession but I totally understand your decision. I am saddened by the fact that I would no longer recommend it as a career to people considering entering the profession (including trying to disuade my 9 year old) as I agree that it is becoming an undoable job.
    I wish you every success and best wishes with your future career and hope it involves fewer evenings spent marking until midnight!

    • Thank you so much for your comment. The focus on assessment definitely has more emphasis than teaching for a love of learning. I too would struggle to recommend it as a profession as it currently stands. I hope your enjoying the Easter hols and managing to get a bit of a break xx

  14. What you say about the teaching profession is similar to what friends who have also left teaching has said. It’s sad – teaching is a vocation, and the life is being sucked out of it – as a profession, and the teachers too. Best of luck in your new career xx

    • Thank you Leigh. You’re right. The life is being sucked out of it. I hope something drastically changes to prevent future teachers already I’m the profession from leaving xx

  15. That is so sad, and sounds like a loss to the teaching profession. My Sister is a teacher and hasn’t returned after maternity leave. She wants a career change. I hope that something can be done soon as it sounds like a crisis. I hope my twins get a fab teacher as it’s crucial for their development and lives. Jess x

    • Thanks Jess. I worry about my own children and hope sincerely that something is done in time, to save unqualified teachers to simply supervise a class. It’s not right xx

  16. I completely agree and you’ve made me cry. I hate that I have disappear whilst my husband and son are watching telly, or playing in the garden, or that I send them out at the weekend so that I can have quiet to get things done. That’s often with me marking before they get up and all evening after Sprog has gone to bed. Anyone who suspects that we get 13 weeks holiday needs a stern talking to as over the Easter holidays I have 200 books to mark (probably about 10-15 mins each on average) and 28 essays (45 mins each on average) to mark and that’s 70 plus hours without planning any lessons ready to be able to actually teach them!
    I am desperate to leave teaching but logistically and financially I’m probably stuck for at least another couple of years and every moment of that hurts because it’s taking time away from my family. I’m no longer willing to continue giving to a job where management very rarely give any thanks or praise for hard work, and where the parents of the kids can often react negatively or with complete apathy when support is needed and in a climate where all politician’s do is make the job harder.
    Well done you for leaving!

    • Oh hun, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s heartbreaking to read even though that’s been my life too! It’s the time away from family that is the hardest to deal with. And it’s such a shame that most teachers find it difficult to leave , financially. All teachers enter the job because of their love for working with children, not the holidays! I hope things can work out for you, even if it’s in a couple of years. Xx

  17. Oh no. This makes me so sad. All I have ever wanted to do is teach. I turned down my place on a teacher training course though as, after the interview, I felt so lacking in life experience compared to the others. I’ve just written a post on my blog about taking a career break to spend with my children and then finally doing my teacher training. You’ve made me question whether I’m making the right choice or whether I’ll be just as unhappy.

    • It’s an incredibly rewarding job and one that has many many highs, everyday. However, for me, I was finding the necessary work that has to be done outside of the classroom, too much. You have to be prepared that the work life balance, is not really a balance, sadly.
      I hope you make the right decision for you. All the best. xx

  18. It makes me so sad that so many professionals are being destroyed due to funding cuts and the emphasis is on paperwork and targets and the actual job is being forgotten. I fel so sad that people are leaving the profession that they love due to the extreme pressures from outside 🙁 xxxxxx

    • Thank you, Beth. It’s tragic when you enter a profession that you’ve dreamed of and the dream is no longer a reality. I really hope something is done to change the shortfall. xx

  19. WHOAH, what a powerful, heart felt post Ali, and sadly oh so true as I nod my head in agreement with every single line. If only the inspectors could see how far our pupils have come- from not being able to sit still long enough sitting and completing a set of questions, of going from an E to a D, from saying please and thank you not a swear word to be seen, seriously these kids need applauded and given a pat on the back just as much as the ones who get an A. I get tired defending, my career choice, why my kids are sitting on Ds , arguing if you had come from where they were you would be bloody pleased too Mr inspector. I think now as I job share that I have a happy medium, I can work BUT my priority will always be my babies even if others don’t like it!- will fill you in on that another day! So for now I will continue to fight and put my experience to help the pupils, the bright ones and those who just take that wee bit longer. Huge huge huge hugs to you, I know your pupils will have gained so much from having you guide them. Xx

    • Thank you sweetie. Good for you! You do an incredible job and those kids are so lucky to have you. I’ve loved every single lightbulb moment and every ‘I get this now’ that my kids have said. I tried to find a happy medium but it still didn’t work for me. Maybe one day, I’ll return? But for now, I can’t wait to get my life and my children back xx

  20. I read this as another public sector and not a teacher and I wounder what will happen to the public sector as a whole. It appears all public sector organizations are just over run with legislation and accountability. I think the press have a lot to blame for giving the public the impression that all public sector workers have an easy ride (maybe some what true with some employees but not all).

    Before my friend got a teaching job I though that teaching would give her a lot of spare time which made up for the lowish pay. It turns out she works much longer hours than myself and gets paid significantly less while also having to complete uni to enter the profession. Why will anyone bother with teaching when you can earn more money with less hours without studying for years. Are the government only counting on the dedication of teachers?

    (I write this knowing nothing about teaching. Sorry)

    • Thank you so much for your comment. And you’re absolutely right, I would struggle to recommend it as a profession now. And that’s so sad. The accountability is so damaging and unrealistic someone needs to remember these are children, who simply want to learn and enjoy learning. They can’t just be figures!

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  22. It’s so sad to read this. I’ve always thought what a wonderful job this must be but I can see myself that it has changed completely. My sister is a teaching assistant and is actually starting her teacher training in September – maybe she’ll be ok because she has been in the classroom for years now – I do hope so because she’s going to make a fantastic teacher and it’s all she really knows. I’m sorry you’ve had to leave the profession you so love, although I do think it’s worth it for the sake of your children 🙂 #sundaystars

    • Thank you, hun. It’s so worrying how many qualified teachers leave every month! Something really needs to change drastically! Good luck to your sister xx

  23. I have read this and agree with a lot of what you say I am no teacher I did take my NVQ3 in childcare learning and development but I am just a governor and volunteer in the school nere where I live my own teacher I have helped for years has just left and to be honest I am unsure whether to stay or go too I am 55 but my own education at school was so bad the teachers dumped us in bottom class no need to teach them I left school unable to read or write properly and did not return to get an education till I passed 40 that’s when teachers did run the school but I never want to see education go down that rout again no child should be left as I was yes I have dyslexia but I am smarter than the average bear, I can get children learning and push them on I can build resources better than most teachers but I compliment a school, any teacher can say to me I want to do this or that I build and prep to bring so much craft in to education to try and leave the teacher to do her thing I think yes some stuff is daft but some needs to control education we need a balance I try to push yes phonics has its place but wait I was a 60s experiment you spell every thing as it sounds and yes there you go I left school spelling every thing as it sounds there fore my spelling is crap they need to rethink or more children will be left like me thought as thick. education changes as we have too and a good teacher is hard to replace.

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Janet. You’re so right, a good teacher is so hard to replace and the Government need to make some drastic changes if more qualify teachers aren’t to leave the profession. I adored the job for so long, but each year something else was added or expected. I never thought I would leave, but my own family need to come first now x

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  25. Oh Ali this is all oh so true, as a teacher in FE I struggle with the constant performance and figures pressure no matter how hard you work the government want more and from the other Angle my son has had 3 teachers in a year this i find so alarming, how is this going to effect his education, it is such a worry, but i sadly is not the profession it once was x

    • I hear the same stories all over, Classes having multiple teachers in a year and sadly they are not all qualified. Like you I worry about the future for my own children and their education. I really hope something is done soon. It’s not fair on everyone xx

  26. Honey this is a fabulous post. Im truly saddened fr you that you’ve had to make this, probably gut-wrenching decisions – as it’s been part of your life for so long – but I can totally understand your reasons for doing so. I do not understand myself obviously as I’ve never been in teaching, but from what I’ve just read, i too am sad and sickened that things can have gone so disastrously wrong in the governments thinking. I’m actually a bit scared now too – as I am seriously doubting the capabilities of the teaching staff when my two get to schooling age too! Like you said – I certainly don’t want just a ‘body’ at the front of the classroom! This is a brilliantly written post which the DfE should have a read of themselves! Steph xx PS: Happy Easter!!

    • Thanks Steph. The post has gone crazy over social media so I hope like you, that the powers that be have a good read and a long hard think about how their decisions and expectations are damaging our children’s education. Happy Easter to you too sweetie. X

  27. Hi Ali,
    Your post could have been written by me, I left at Christmas 2014 after teaching Art for 16 years.
    It is sad at first, you will go through a whole range of emotions ~ sadness, anger & guilt but will eventually feel free and you will not regret it for one minute. The time you spend with your family is more important for your future.
    Like you said if the government doesn’t do something soon there will be no teachers with experience left (perhaps that is what they want!). I also wanted to be around for my little one, who is almost 3 when she goes through the school system as I put school first when I had my first daughter and was so stressed out in the evenings that helping her with homework always caused friction.

    Best of luck for the future

    • Thank you Dianne. It’s lovely to hear that you are so much happier now. I do feel a whole range of emotions right now and I know that after the Easter Holidays when I should be going back, it will feel very surreal. I just hope that something is done soon to change the future education of our little ones. It saddens me about their future x

  28. I also share these thoughts. I have been teaching for 15 years. I never wanted to do anything else. The only other thing I wanted was to be a mum. Now I am here and I realise teaching is not compatible with having a family. I feel the only way to be the teacher I always wanted to be is to be a spinster ! My family have compromised for me for too long. I feel bereft to have left my beloved career but my family are too important. I smiled at the hello part of the intro, because this week I start as a Paddleboard instructor. I gave taken a big pay cut in exchange for a massive life upgrade. I will always be sad to have left teaching , I may go back one day, but right now my family need me more than they need my salary. We are poorer and yet wealthier than ever before because we have more time more patience more laughing and more love. Goodluck to you all xxx

    • Oh Dianne, your comment gave me goosebumps. I love how you say that you have taken a ‘massive life upgrade’ that’s completely how I feel. I have taken a massive pay cut too, but money is not everything and I feel our lifestyle will now be so much richer. I am sad to have left the profession, like you. But there is only so much you can take. I tried really hard to make it work but I was missing out on too much and like I said in the post, I started to grow resentful. And that can’t make me the best teacher or parent! I wish you all the best in your new direction and wow, paddleboard instructor, that sounds amazing. xx

  29. Great post! It’s no different in FE – if I just work the hours I’m paid for, I can’t possibly keep up with the paperwork. The basic job I love is still there but it is so hidden by the reports and rules, learning plans and assessment boards, that it is hard to remember why I’m there. I am in a quandary – leave the job I loved? It has morphed into a giant admin role, the older experienced (top of pay scale) tutors who question anything, are hounded out. They are replaced by NQTs, bottom of the pay scale, no experience, short temporary contracts = expendable! Colleges are businesses now and teaching is no longer a vocation. I agree with you, it is very sad. I would happily leave this stressful environment but what would become of my students? It is scary to take the leap of faith and leave education behind. Good to know there is life after teaching. I wish you all the best for the future.

    • It’s truly shocking that education is now run like a business, you are absolutely right when you say experienced, top of the pay scale teachers are replaced by cheap NQTs. The stress alone from performance management and hitting targets is unbearable let alone the time spent planning and marking. Thank you so much for your comment and for you best wishes. All the best to you too xx

      • I completely appreciate this comment, but please remember Sylva you was an NQT once yourself, they have to start somewhere. They go for the interview and get the job, they do not realise who they are replacing and they work just as hard with the NQT standards they have to meet as well as other every day teaching demands as posted in this blog post. Thank you for sharing Ali!

    • I am also teaching in FE – (have been for 16 years), yes, totally agree – all the governmental red tape, added paperwork, schedules to meet etc. does make us feel like admin staff and we have no time to actually teach anymore – what is going to become of all the learners if dedicated staff are feeling as, it seems, we all are. Dispondent disillusioned and down trodden by the beaurocracy of political agendas. Where is it going to leave the children of the future !!!
      Ali – you have made the right choice, wishing I could do the same right now.

  30. A brilliant post – well done! I agree with absolutely everything you said, and it’s gotten me all emotional too, as I have just left the profession. My school was due an OFSTED inspection and the pressure and constant lesson observations just got too much. I’d put myself through 18 months of this pressure and for me enough was enough. I am heartbroken that my dream job became more about statistics and progress than about the 5 year olds I was teaching. I am heartbroken to be leaving the most enthusiastic class I have ever taught. I watched them progress from disengaged, confidence-lacking individuals to confident, interesting individuals. Sadly, that progress cannot be measured and means nothing to statistics.
    All the best to you getting your life back, and here’s to the future! 🙂

    • Blimey, that’s so sad to read. I’m so disheartened to hear that another wonderful teacher has left the profession. You must be wonderful to have turned your class around like that but you are right, confidence and a willingness to learn is apparently not enough and not measurable. The stress on teachers is dangerously worrying and I hope and pray that our Government wake up to the serious crisis of teacher shortage that is only going to rise. Thank you for your best wishes and all the best to you too. Xx

  31. Retired after over forty years as a primary school teacher through to head teacher I recognise this all too well. Teaching has always been a lifestyle choice; you live, sleep and eat the job. Your mind is totally engaged with it always, in and out of school you are focused on your class and the individuals in it. This has never been recognised outside the profession. When I began back at the beginning of the 70’s this was manageable but moving to the nineties and beyond the overwhelming overload of paperwork, tick boxes and targets became the focus of the job. As a headteacher I held out as long as possible against the regime of endless testing and tried find ways to keep a broad, creative curriculum and integrate a reasonable amount of assessment and recording. I watched young, talented teachers work brilliantly In the classroom and struggle with paperwork, we were lucky and most of them carried on but some now work part time and others have left the profession. It was a battle I would rather not have had and sadly when retirement time came it was a relief, I still loved the part of the job that was about children and teachers, but as for the rest ….

    • Gosh, it’s interesting and completed heart warming to hear a head teachers point of view. It sounds refreshing to hear how you tried to hold out against the regime of endless testing for your staff and pupils. I still cannot fathom how all pupils are supposed to make the same amount of progress. I loved my class and feel sad that I have left them mid year, but I tried hard for so long to make it work. My own children need their mummy back. Thank you so much for your comment x

  32. An absolutely inspired post that felt as if I was reading something I’d written myself! I’m 26 and taught primary for 4 years, it was all I ever wanted to do for as long as I can remember! Every single choice I made in my life was geared towards teaching and that was my dream. However the reality of the job was miles away from what I thought it would be, I trained to be a teacher so I could do the best by the children in my care, and the British education system just doesn’t allow that. I now teach adults in a prison and I’ve rediscovered my love for the job and the unique ‘teacher’ feeling of genuinely making a difference to somebody’s life – I’ve also rediscovered the most important thing that seems to be lacking from most primary classrooms these days – job satisfaction. X

    • Wow, like you, everything I did and trained for was so that I could live my dream of becoming a teacher. I even used my staff training days when I was at school to go into the local primary school to do some work experience!! But you’re right, the reality is too far from the dream. It’s fantastic that you are now doing something you enjoy and feel that you have got the ‘teaching’ side back. That is what I love the most but what was missing the most, for me. Job satisfaction is so important and it’s fantastic that you have managed to find it. Well done you and thank you so much for your comment x

  33. Ali,I left teaching after 14 years because it made me ill,I reached the conclusion that my health was worth more than the job. For the last few years I didn’t feel like I was teaching anyway,so many more things had overtaken the parts of the job I loved and made a difference. Friends still try to teach despite unworkable conditions and the huge cost to their own family life,they have my respect but also my pity. I fear the crisis in education will have to escalate to epic proportions before something is done….any day now.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Judith. I have also seen close colleagues become ill as a result of the job and those outside teaching find it difficult to appreciate such problems. I know what you mean about not feeling like you were teaching, towards the end. Like I said, the job doesn’t seem to be about teaching anymore. The constant target setting, hitting figures and data crunching make it more a business. Like you, I wasn’t prepared for that to be the case anymore. Thank you so much for your comment and all the best xx

  34. Thank you, Stacey. I’m so glad you can take some thing from article. I know how incredibly hard TAs work and I was always grateful for my TA. She made me a better teacher and are essential to the everyday running of the classroom. TAs are severely underpaid, under appreciated and overworked also! It’s so sad that all areas of the education system (teachers, TAs, office staff, SLT etc) are wanting to find ways out because of the overwhelming pressures. Like I said, the job has changed beyond measure and I really hope that the Government recognise this and the detrimental effect it is having on our children’s futures. Good luck with finding the happy person you once were. I wish you all the best. Xx

  35. Oh Tracey have you left this Easter too? It’s heartbreaking and like you, I never thought I would ever do anything else. Congrats for having the courage to be able to put your own children first. It was hard for me to walk away and the first day after the holidays, when I should be back with my class will be incredibly hard and surreal. I wish you all the best. Do you know what you will be doing now? Lots of love and thank you for your comment x

  36. Well done on your excellent post. Well done too on your decision. I worked in a tough school and loved it, helping students from impoverished and difficult backgrounds achieve above average results. That was until the be bureaucratic overload made the job impossible. Even then I carried on, going to four days after a health warning shot. The work load and the pressure to maintain success remained immense; eventually I gave in, taking early retirement at 54. That was 6 years ago. Now I look back at ex colleagues and see exhausted shells: none of those who have reached retirement are healthy – two have early onset dementia, several have physical problems, three have died and all before they reached 70. What does that say?
    Enjoy your own children, enjoy your life and be good to yourself. We don’t get a second chance.

    • Blimey, that’s such worrying statistics, and that’s just the ones that are personal to you. It’s so sad and dangerously unworkable now in schools. When is someone going to understand and see the damage that these unrealistic expectations Ali’s having on teachers and in turn, our children’s education? Thank you so much for you comment. X

  37. I took early retirement last April and now supply between two and three days a week. It is a decision I took as I regarded the intolerable amount of paperwork added to the profession over the last ten years and the expectation that every chld makes the same progress each year was laughable – but expected! It has to be the best decision I have ever made, I have a lot of younger friends in their thirties and I feel increasingly worried for them if things do not change.

    • I agree, the measured progress is ludicrous! And to be held accountable for it means that so much stress and pressure is put on teachers. It’s just not fair. I may well do supply as I have only heard good things about it. I am in my 30s and never thought I would do anything else but after 15 years, I had to say enough was enough. I pray something will change soon x

  38. Agree totally with everything you have said. 27 years after starting my teaching career I am planning my own exit, it’s just not the profession I trained for. We have to measure so many things that really don’t matter a great deal, whilst taking no heed of things that matter immensely, like whether a Reception child with divorcing parents is finding school a haven of consistency and safety. We hot house 4 year olds to push them on, but really by age 9 I see no difference to 9 year old standards in pre-national curriculum days. Too many political careers have been advanced at the expense of the eduactional experiences of British children. Good luck with the next stage of your professional life, whatever that may be.

    • That’s absolutely the point. The pointless details are the ones that apparently matter and the development of a child as an individual is glossed over. And I agree, it’s the not job that I trained for and once loved so much. Good luck at planning your exit. You will have left your mark on so many children’s lives after 27 years! And thank you so much for your comment x

  39. This article sums up exactly what I have been thinking for years. It is for all this and more that I am hoping to have left the profession as well by the end of the Summer Term. I have taught for 11 years. In the last couple of years I worked in a school where I had 9 observations in 9 months. All of these were ‘requires improvement’ except the one I received from Ofsted which was a ‘good’. This one was dismissed by the HT though as she hadn’t seen me achieving a ‘good!’. I now teach 2 days a week in a different school but work 5 evenings at home preparing for my time in school. Teaching is such a minor part of my job (which is a crazy statement in itself). My performance related pay means I am accountable for the progress of every child in my class. I have 4 TAs who come and go during my time in school taking children out for interventions. These children often miss the teaching input of the lesson and so struggle when they return. As a teacher, I can do nothing about this though as the timings of the interventions are set by management. Lots of systems prevent me doing my job properly but as a lowly teacher there is nothing I can do about it. I have two young children but find I am less and less carefree when I am with them. Every evening of my holidays has been spent trying to catch up and get ahead knowing that by the end of my first week back I will have doubled my to do list once more. I now resent every evening I spend working rather than sitting as I should be with my husband. It is time for a change. I am hoping to become a consultant where I can have an impact on children’s learning – my main aim when I entered the profession. Or I will walk away completely and work in a school office. Thank you for such a well written article!

  40. You have encapsulated my feelings exactly – I handed in my notice at the end of February and it was one of the worst days of my life. I’ve been a primary teacher for 11 1/2 years but I just can’t do it any more – not even to get to the end of the academic year. I don’t need to explain why, you have laid everything out so very well in your post.

    I have decided to register with a supply agency so I can at least continue to do the job that I love so much, minus the paperwork etc., though I ultimately have plans to leave for good.

  41. A fantastic post and you summed up everything my head of year has been trying to tell me, ‘choose life not teaching’. I’m currently working as a Higher Lever Teaching Assistant, providing teaching cover, whilst I finish my honors degree. The plan was to start my teacher training this September, but I’m just coming to the end of 7 years of distance learning and have decided to actually take a ‘gap year’ whereby I concentrate on gaining further experience in my current role and spend some time within my 12 & 8-year-old and assess if teaching training is the direction for me. I must admit after observing the teachers within my school and seeing their huge workload it really does worry me about even starting my teacher training. Some have joked that I will just exchange my evenings and weekends of study with marking and planning etc, but although they have said this in a joking manner I know that it is very true. I’m really in two minds what to do. I really want to teach and have spent so long studying to get to the point where I can actually apply for my teacher training, but on the other hand as a HLTA I get the enjoyment of being with a class of children and teaching them without the added pressures that teachers face. Government ministers have a lot to answer for. They are driving experienced teachers out of the profession, putting potential excellent future teachers off the profession and turning current teachers into robots. I find it amazing that MP’s, who have never taught or never experienced working with children, believe that they are qualified to tell the teaching profession how to teach. Why provide teacher training if they don’t feel that this qualification even qualifies that person to do the job they are paid for! Well done for taking the brave step to leave the profession that you love but remember that your children are only young for such a short period of time. Enjoy this time. Good luck with all your future endeavours.

    • Thank you so much, your colleagues may joke about the time spent planning and marking etc but like you say, it’s sadly a reality. It’s lovely that you get the benefit if actual teaching as a HLTA and I hope that you make the decision that’s right for you in your further career x

  42. This is such a fantastic article. I have been a teacher for over 20 years and have recently left..not through my own choice (but thay is a different story) In the final days before I left I felt bulllied, disillusioned and generally let down by the senior management.
    I am a single mum, with a disability and have worked full time for most of my career with no support form my head or the HR in my area. Yet when I put the needs of MY child first I was made to feel guilty even when I left my classroom organised and prepared.
    I never thought I would leave the job I loved, let alone be forced out of it. I will be less well off financially in the coming months but gains I will make in terms of time spent with my son will be immeasurable.
    I will miss the kids I used to teach, miss the relationships I built up with my parents, I will even miss one or two collegues, but sadly the expression ” if b***es were planes my school would be an airport!” fits rather too well for me to miss too many of them….
    Yes, every child matters… but mine matters more.

    • Hear hear to your last line. You’re absolutely right that your own children matter more. It’s such a shame that you were treated badly by your SLT but you class will remember you for everything you did for them and their learning x

  43. I’m struggling to read all these comments without crying. I am so broken by the system. Teaching is ALL I’ve ever wanted to do but I just can’t do it anymore. I’m in the Australian system but it’s no better. But where do I jump? I have nothing else. I feel that one day I will just fall apart. Many a time I’ve felt I could just walk out and drive away. The only thing that keeps me there is my love of the kids. But it’s not enough to keep accepting 5 hours pay a day for 12 hours work plus weekends!!

  44. I’m sorry – I just don’t get it. Teachers work short days (9 – 3.15), and have ridiculously long holidays (about 14 weeks at my calculation) – and then on top of that there are PD days!

    What you will find if you get a job in the “real” world is that in order to carry on as a working Mother you will need to pay over half your salary to keep your child(ren) in child care because they spend so little time in school and at the drop of a hat, and with no warning, teachers are absent for “training”, “Sabbaticals”, “maternity leave”, strike days etc. so that children’s education is interrupted by endless absences or hopeless supply teaching.

    You’re right that the education system is broken – my son went through 16 years of school before somebody finally agreed with me that he was dyslexic and now his future is probably ruined because he has lost all interest in reading or writing.

    Shame on you for your whining!

    • If you had taken the time to read the comments above you will know that your points are sadly not agreed with. Teachers can only wish that it was a 9-315 job but most are in school before 730 and asked to leave at 6 when the school shuts. Their weekends and evenings are used planning and marking your child’s work and although the holidays are of course an incentive, I am sure they are in school for part of them at, working and planning for the following term. What a shame that you see me as whining but thank you ever so much for your comment!

      • Ali, you’re more polite than I feel like being. Jacky’s predictably uninformed and uneducated attitude contributes greatly to the lack of respect and support that constantly undermines the teaching profession. I worked in “the real world” before teaching and it’s laughable to suggest that its oh so hard in industry; wastage and incompetence is rife. They would never cope with the levels of accountability that teachers are forced to. I am a good teacher but I will not care more about the children than their parents bother to. People like Jacky are quick to criticise but never want to assume any responsibility. Good for those who have left the profession for greener pastures; perhaps soon the loss to teaching will be noticed.

    • What is there to not get? Do you think the author of the article made all of this up? What about the other comments? The level of ignorance is astonishing. I left my old career in the “real world” four years ago to retrain as a Pimary teacher, but missed having a life and seeing my own kids as much as I should have been, so left at Xmas 2014. Guess what, I’m back in the “real world”, not working every evening and Sunday, and spending far more time with my own young children. Do you get that?

    • Oh dear, there’s always one trotting out the same old “those lazy, work shy teachers with their 9-3.15 days and long holidays” argument. I would be amazed if you could find a single teacher who worked those hours and as for the holidays…while nobody can deny that they are good, they certainly don’t counteract the fact that many (I would say most) teachers work a six-day week as planning and marking just can’t be fitted into weekdays alone. I have to say that having left teaching, I don’t miss the holidays at all – because I no longer need them the way that teachers do. As a teacher, I would usually find that I spent the first couple of days of a holiday ill in bed – the moment I could relax after the weeks of stress, exhaustion and overwork, I would succumb to whatever bug I had been fighting off. As soon as I felt better, I would need to spend at least a few days catching up on work I hadn’t managed to get done during term time despite working 7.30-6 as well as evenings and a day of the weekend. The rest of the holiday was usually spent trying to spend time with my neglected boyfriend, friends and family who I had barely seen during the previous six weeks, not to mention tasks like doctor’s appointments, going to the bank, cleaning the house and other little jobs which were nigh on impossible to find the time for during term time. Now that I have joined the “real world”, as you put it, taking a substantial pay cut too I might add, I find that I don’t miss the holidays at all. I have the evenings and weekends to live my life again, to see friends and family, to get chores done, to enjoy hobbies, and relax. People like yourself seem to think that teachers should sacrifice their entire lives for other peoples’s children at the expense of their own families, health and happiness. That’s perfectly clear from your petty little comment about teachers inconveniencing mothers by leaving school for training (would you prefer your child to be taught by somebody untrained?), sabbaticals (pretty sure teachers aren’t the only people to take these) and, hilariously, maternity leave (outrageous, why can’t those lazy, work-shy teachers just give birth in the corner of the classroom and then carry on with their lesson ?).
      I’m not sure why you think you were qualified to comment on this post but unfortunately criticism from ignorant people who think they know all about the teaching profession because they went to school themselves a few decades ago is part of the package for teachers nowadays and just one of the reasons why I handed in my notice. I’m sure you will be glad to hear I’m finding the “real world” a vast improvement.

    • The reason you don’t get it is because you don’t fully understand the profession. Not necessarily your fault, it’s something certain parts of society have worked hard to run down as much as a possible.

      Starting with working hours, recent research suggested teachers, on average, worked between 55 and 60 hours per week. Short days? Hardly.

      As for CPD days, ask any teacher what they think of them. You’ve added them to your post as if they’re like extra holidays – they aren’t, not even close. On the point of holidays, most teachers work a significant amount of them. Take in to account the extra work they are doing every week (unpaid, where many professions would pay overtime) and you start to see the real picture. Now a common argument thrown out at this point is why do teachers do it? They don’t need to work their holidays or weekends so why bother? The simple answer is that they care about the students.

      The part about teachers being absent ‘without warning’ impacting learning seems odd too. Training happens in all professions, I don’t know why ‘sabbaticals’ are mentioned as if they are common place and strike days should really be your first clue that something is up. As for maternity leave, seriously? Do you want to prevent teachers having children now?

      I’m sorry that your son’s experience of the education system was so bad and potentially damaging, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t hold him back. But you’ve totally misrepresented teaching and the issues many, many teachers have with it. This comments section alone is testament to that.

    • You are precisely what is wrong with the system. There is zero respect from any other professionals. Interestingly you complain we have ‘days off’ for maternity leave, training etc. You would not be complaining if it was any other profession but apparently because we are teachers we should be at your beck and call. We are professionals. Personally I have studied for close to 10 years and am constantly updating my skills; however, in one short post you have reduced me to a babysitter for your child!

  45. Fabulous, and sadly very accurate, post. I’m so sad for you that you’ve had to leave the career you love 🙁 I completely agree with everything you’ve said. I’m not a teacher, but as a parent the way the system is now worries me too. As you said, the individual doesn’t seem to matter anymore, just overall results and statistics. We’re moving house at the moment and my eldest is moving school. He’s in year 2 and when discussing the move with the Head she asked if I can find out what level he’s working at cos he’ll now be doing his SATs with them and obviously it will impact on their results. Luckily he’s always been top in all areas but if he wasn’t should I feel guilty for sending him to their school and impacting on their results? It shouldn’t be about that, it should be about giving that child an education and working at their pace. Not how that child is going to impact their statistics. The pressure schools are put under to reach targets now is ridiculous.
    I’m about to start training as a TA but would never train as a teacher because I know I would never be able to fit the workload around my family and I’d miss out on teaching them, which I love.
    I wish you all the best for the future. Enjoy the time with your family 🙂

    • It’s shocking that they want to know your sons levels and he’s in year 2! No parent should be made to feel that their child is going to drag down the schools results. The statistics and data analysis has overtaken anything to do with the individual child’s learning and education and that makes me so sad x

  46. Great post, I’m new to the profession (only half way through my second year) and I’m already realising the ridiculous ways we are expected to work. I do believe, and I always will, that teaching is the best thing you can do in life but all the stuff that comes with it is killing the profession. After only 18 months of the classroom I am thinking of leaving and doing a boring office job. The idea of being in an office sounds terrible to me but I can’t survive in the profession. I have said I don’t know how people have kids and teach, I am a single guy in my twenties and I am finding it impossible to date! If I can’t even find one night a week to spend with someone then how do people find time for relationships with partners and children!

  47. To read so many stories mirroring my feelings is sad…but comforting that I am not the only one thinking “this cannot go on.” I am giving serious thought to leaving the profession, having entered late and given up a good career beforehand. However I am stuck as to where to go next… Decisions decisions!
    But one thing that is becoming crystal clear to me is that I do not want to be alone forever. I am in my mid-thirties now, single and childless with no hope of that changing whilst being a teacher. Yes I am aware I do not have family responsibilities that are being squeezed by lack of time, but it doesn’t feel like there is enough time to develop the family in order to have those responsibilities! I suppose I do take on extra so that those with families can have a few minutes more, but this is now at the expense of my own life and wishes.
    This reads like a pity post I know but that is the truth of how I am feeling. I too am concerned as to the future of education in this country and who is going to be there to teach my friends’ children. I have given and continue to give my all to my job but only time will tell for how much longer.

  48. So,so true! I left teaching last year because I could no longer justify addressing the needs of political ideology. I cwas fighting a losing battle to address the needs of the children in my class so I left disheartened and disillusioned.

  49. Oh gosh, your article made me cry, it rings so true. I’ve been teaching for 9 years and have a 2 year old child. I feel so guilty that I don’t have the time to spend with him due to the excessive work load. When I am spending quality time with him I feel guilty for not doing and catching up on all the school work I have to do. I would love to quit but just can’t afford to and don’t know what else I could do! It’s lovely to hear of someone who has been able to do what I cannot. Good luck in whatever you choose to do next.

  50. Lovely post. Sad to hear you are leaving the job you love when you have so much to give. I had to do the same once I had children (different career, same difficult choice). What are your plans now?

    • I will still do 1:1 tuition as it means I can still do the teaching side that I dearly love. I am also going to be a social media marketing and content manager which I am looking forward to. Thank you for your comment x

  51. I qualified as a teacher 40 years ago when teachers were trusted professionals, mostly unencumbered by endless office work. I stopped after 10 years of full-time teaching when I became a mum, in order to prioritise my family. When my daughter started school, I started back part-time because I found it impossible to do otherwise. My class deserved the best of me in the classroom and my family deserved the best of me at home. I was made redundant recently when finances meant that someone had to go and I was an expensive, experienced teacher at the top of the pay scale. Teaching is still my passion and I teach whenever I get the chance but the profession has become the wreckage of a once-delightful, rewarding and fulfilling way of life. All the young teachers I know cannot see how they can maintain their present work-rate and are wondering whether to leave. Would I go into teaching again? Definitely. Would I teach full-time while trying to maintain a life outside school? Not a chance. An excellent post, well done.

    • Thank you so much, your words are lovely. I’m like you, I still have a passion for teaching and I don’t know any ex teachers who don’t love the teaching side of the job. I just wish that that was the job and the paperwork, endless proving your targets and levelling to maintain your salary was not the overriding issue. Why has it become such an impossible profession with balancing a family? Thank you for your comment x

  52. My mother was a teacher for 40 years or so, recently retired. There was one piece of career advice she gave me and my sister – don’t go into teaching.

      • Ali

        I managed to have 5 children and have just retired after 41 years of teaching. my poor children never saw me in the later years as I was a reception teacher and even holidays were spent partly in the classroom tidying, sticking work in learning journals, putting up displays painting walls tidying the outside area collecting resources for IPA areas etc. on holiday I was always looking for artefacts, collecting musical instruments from other countries my suitcase was always full on the way back. I loved the “teaching” aspect but hated the paperwork and constant recording levels and Ofsted on your back. How I wish the people who say we are moaning had just a month in a classroom, unable to go to the lou as the children couldn’t be left and of course then there is the lunch time when we sit with our feet up as if one is lucky if they manage to get a bite of their sandwich as they hear children read, take clubs, talk to outside agencies the list goes on. my sons earned more money than me when they were in their 20’s. Non of my children want to teach after watching me working all hours.
        I left partly because of an Ofsted that were sure out to get me the moment they walked through the door (I had always had excellent reports before) Also there were others waiting to step into my shoes. I was expensive as you say.
        I do feel sorry that so many young teachers are leaving after such a short time but can see why and I don’t blame them.

        I do hope you will have more time with your children………….. I seriously think the Governments have it so wrong instead of putting little children in institutions so young they should pay for parents to stay at home and look after them. there is so much they can learnt through “old fashioned play”

  53. I could have written this myself! I have done exactly the same as you and feel exactly the same. When will they realise! Hugs xxx

  54. I teach full time in FE, and everything you have written rings true for me. I love to teach but the workload is becoming all consuming, I have two small children who are very used to ‘mammy has to work’. I have thought about leaving but unsure as to what I’d do next so think you are very brave! I think the worst thing about teaching now is that no learner is allowed to fail, I feel under immense pressure because of this, because in FE obviously we have learners who have no interest in being in the classroom yet we are expected to ensure they pass, I don’t believe we are preparing learners for the real world – hard work gets results, not just turn up and your teachers will make sure you pass! Then, when they don’t pass we are pulled up to management and asked to explain ourselves. It’s very demoralising and the fact that my children miss out whilst I chase around other people’s children (young adults really!) makes it all the worse!! Anyway good luck with the future Ali, and enjoy your time with your children!

    Emma x

    • Bless you, thank you Emma. It’s heartbreaking to hear everyone’s stories and how similar they all are. I can only imagine how hard it is on FE and battling with the ideal that all students have to pass but don’t want to learn and be there. It was a big move for me to take but one that will enrich our family life. Lots of love x

  55. When I first read this post my overwhelming emotion was jealousy. Jealous that you have managed to get out, isn’t that sad? Like you I love the teaching part of my job, I love being in the classroom with the kids but I feel that we are expected to do so much now that I don’t have the time to get to know them as well as I’d like, like I used to be able to.
    I returned to teaching full time after maternity leave and it was quite simply impossible to keep up. My boss suggested that I should send my son and husband to the park on a Sunday so that I could have some quiet time to keep on top of my workload. How crazy is that? I really loved your point about how experienced teachers are now priced out of new jobs. I would love to move jobs but as I am not at the top of the pay scale no school is going to touch me because I am so much more expensive than an NQT. Hopefully after the election we may get someone in charge who wants the best for our children, but I very much doubt it.
    P.S. I think you responded to the above comment about you “whining” very eloquently.

    • Bless you! Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, rise about the outrageous comments who know no better! I only wish the job was as she describes yet sadly that’s far from reality. And that’s crazy that your boss should suggest your family go off to the park without you x

  56. This is exactly what happened with me. I stopped enjoying myself. I loved being in the classroom, but finding the time to produce numerous schemes of work and lesson plan after lesson plan took so much unnecessary effort that I ended up utilising all my spare time to tick a few boxes every night. I left teaching in 2007 and there are times when I miss it. But I just don’t see how people who have never taught in a classroom environment can dictate how one should be ran. Endless paper work is not the answer. Educating children in a way that is fun yet still educational is the way every classroom should be run. How you are supposed to document that on a piece of paper is beyond me.

    • I completely agree. The amount of paperwork is crazy. And the constant need to document everything to prove your jobs worth; there’s no trust any more x

  57. I’ve been a secondary teacher for nigh on 40 years and for the most part I’ve loved the classroom side of it. When I started there was no paperwork, no SATs, no tick boxes and it was great. I took a bit of a career break when my kids were small, doing supply and building up to short contract work, but after divorce I needed to work full time to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. I decided that the time between coming home from work and the kids going to bed was their time with me, and I wasn’t going to give up any of the things that I did outside of work, consequently I have spent much of the last 20 years surviving on 4 hours or less sleep a night.
    The job has grown ‘like Topsy’ since then and it is no longer something I want to do. Constant reporting of levels and data collection – frequently repeating the same stuff to different parts of the school system, despite computerised records – means I am really looking forward to retirement at the end of the summer term. I will need to do 3 days a week supply to keep me ‘in the manner to which I’ve become accustomed’, at least until my state pension kicks in in 2021, but hopefully I’ll have the best of both worlds, teaching the kids but taking nothing home at the end of the day.
    On the subject of fears for your own children, have you considered home education? Maybe you could get together with some other like minded ex-teachers so your kids all get the social benefits of being in a group, but you get to teach them without all the data-driven rubbish of the state system. Worth a thought maybe.
    All the best for the future.

  58. Hello Ali & all who have commented. I am 31 and left teaching in December just gone (2014). I didn’t want to leave but observation pressures & not achieving an official ‘good’ got too much for me. I know I’m great with children & it too was all I had thought I would do. I, too, feel lost & have a mixture of emotions. It’s been a few months now & I do not miss it at all! I spend quality time with my boyfriend, am remembering significant events like friends & family birthdays & anniversaries & actually now have the time to either phone my friends and family or to actually spend time with them! I am also looking gaining a hobby back…
    I am currently working as a Senior in a nursery so have also taken a HUGE pay cut but am not regretting it yet.
    Well done to all of us who have given it our all & for those who are still determined.

  59. I’m reading your blog post and hearing the words with my husband’s voice. He was pushed out of his teaching job two years ago, but had he not been pushed he would have walked anyway. Everything you’ve said, he’s said – and is still saying. Every now and then we’ll be out and about and he’ll suddenly stop and say “If I was still a teacher, we couldn’t do this”. He knows it was the right decision but it still hurts. It hit our pockets when he left too – he’s on 2/3 of what he was making as a teacher, but in terms of quality of life we are rich beyond measure. And for that in truly grateful. Good luck for the future – it does get better!

  60. Hi. Wonderful post. I have quit teaching now and work in a hotel. And I can leave my job at the door and I don’t feel like I’m selling myself out by doing what the Government wants me to do and not what I want to do. Was teaching for a similar amount of time also – 14 years. Very sad but very true. Your children are very lucky. Well done for being so brave xx

  61. Wow! Saw this item on Facebook after a former colleague shared it. After 19 years of teaching I am desperate (& I do not say that lightly when I am currently in Fance but scouring the internet everyday / few hours for jobs!) to get out!! I am a non-teaching part time SENCo in a primary school with 650 children on roll (from Nursery to Yr 6). Last year, I was the full time Assistant Head for Inclusion at the same school but after a period of intense anxiety (something I’ve NEVER experienced before) & a family who were suffering because of my job I took a step down. Has it helped? Not really! The only thing that has changed is that I leave at 1.00pm on a Monday & Friday….if I’m lucky! The workload & expectations are the same; the expected achievements of the children are the same; the effect my unhappiness is having on my family has stayed the same.

    Teaching has become so data driven that the needs of the children (& the staff supporting them) have been all been but forgotten….but ironically it is wanting to do so much for these children that keeps me where I am. However, I have come to the very sad conclusion that what I want for the children is fairly unachieveable in the bigger scheme of things – as a SENCo, all I truly want is for those children on my ‘remit’ to be able to complete a form properly, catch a bus, work out their money in the future and look back on their school days with fond memories. Unfortunately, those that struggle the most are still being expected to attain in the way those who struggle least do. And on that thought, what are we doing to our high fliers?! Why is level 5 at the end of year 6 no longer good enough?! And what about those children that are average? Can we not be happy with that either? We push our children far too hard &, as a result, our teachers far harder. It’s heartbreaking for me that after 19 years I want to walk but it’s even more heart breaking when a ‘youngster’ at school who has not yet completed her second year is saying that she wants to walk too! It’s not right but won’t change until those in charge decide that children learn best when they are happiest & we must stop measuring a teacher’s worth on how well / poorly these children attain. Data does not measure achievement, now or for the future 🙁

    The short of it is that life is too short to be so unhappy…….but it’s about taking the leap. Well done Ali on being brave enough xx

    • Bravo to this comment! I have enjoyed all the comments. Like most on here, I have been a teacher on and off since 1987. Every time I go back I am pumped again… but it quickly wanes. The kids love me because I have high expectations and I teach them in real life, not book life (foreign language). We have fun but learn constantly. The administrator that evaluated me last year understood my teaching style and appreciated me. This year, it’s a whole new ballgame. The new evaluator was a German teacher and very fixed in a nouveau teacher model. I don’t fit that role. So last week she gave me four “needs improvement”s. She bit me for not projecting a Daily Learning Target, although the kids knew what the goal of the day was because I told them in the target language. She asked two of the students what the task was about and did they know why they were doing it. She put in my eval that neither boy knew anything. I asked them the next day after reading that and they said they knew why we were doing it because we have done it before and because I told them. Why would the evaluator lie? Then I was in charge of making the semester exam. Add the standards I am told… so I did. Then the test was just too hard for the kiddos of the other two teachers cause they can’t think I was told. Wow. It got worse day after day. I am soooo ready to walk away at the semester. I love teaching, but this crap is almost too much. I also own my own business. I have never done it for the money… only the insurance. Maybe even that isn’t worth it anymore… thirteen more days till I make up my mind.

  62. Hi Ali,
    I completely 100% agree with everything you have said here. I am not a teacher, but a teaching assistant. However, my lovely year 2 teacher that I work with is always stressed and under so much pressure to hit targets, has endless amounts of paperwork, marking, which I try to help with, even though I’m not meant to and endless lesson plans to do, made especialy harder by the amount of EAL children in our class, as well as 3 SEN children too. Yet with this many different children to cater for, nor me nor the teacher is given enough time to plan properly for the week, just one afternoon a week of PPA. I have to plan my short phonics, ditties, reading groups etc in my own time at home. I am also moved around from pillar or post to cover other tas when they are ill, leaving my class and teacher without a TA for those days..due to lack of staffing.

    Sadly, witnessing how stressed out many of the teachers are, with the workload, pressure to meet targets and get children to progress all in one year and pass exams..it has made me NEVER want to pursue my original dream of becoming a teacher. I wanted to become one from age 5, joined my old primary school 2 years ago as a TA and don’t want to be a teacher anymore, Because of it all. It’s very sad.

    Well done you for leaving. And I wish you all the luck in the future lovely. Your post should definitely be published..because everyone will certainly agree with it! Xxx

  63. Well done!
    What a spot on post!
    I have been in the teaching profession for nearly 40 years. I have seen many changes made by people who for the most part have never been near a classroom except for statutory schooling!! I would never contemplate telling a dentist or a doctor what to do they are professional people and so are WE!
    You have made a brave choice and I ‘ m sure many will follow!
    Why do the best people leave its because they are caring honest people who try and stretch themselves until their health suffers!
    Wel done Ali you have made the right choice under the current regimes!!
    All the best to you
    The profession has lost a star

  64. I have been teaching in a high school for 15 years and I have always felt totally honoured to do my job. I still feel privileged to work with young people however my job is now becoming unmanageable. I used to work in the “real” world as a previous person commented. It was a good job in London and it was pressured. It never however matched this job for pressure or hours worked. I am also going to be in work in this holiday to teach classes for free. My own two young children definitely play second fiddle and have learnt to get by without seeing much of Mummy. Unfortunately I feel that I am no good at anything else and therefore feel trapped. Over the last 6 years I have watched many new teachers qualify in their 30s, from “real” world jobs, and now they are all leaving to go back to their previous jobs. We are at risk of having no good teachers left and I too fear for my own children’s education.

  65. Sad to hear this. I’m not a teacher but an accountant. Our profession has also changed beyond recognition during the 15 years I have been in it. I worry about the future too. I think most professions are the same- solicitors, IT professionals, architects etc in that nothing remains the same. I don’t think teaching is any different tbh but sometimes the grass does seem greener in another job. Suppose you need to weigh up the decent salary and great pension with other jobs to be sure.

      • Like you, I too have left the teaching profession after 35 years of being in the classroom. Of those years, I have loved about 30 of them. The last few years were horrendous with interference from a government who knows almost nothing about life in a classroom. So, too, the constant pressure and expectations of parents, the lack of resilience in kids to be able to deal with minor situations and the demise of actual explicit teaching lead to my decision to leave. I had literally been worn down.
        As a relief teacher, I now decide my fate. It is me who decides where I teach, when I teach and with whom I teach……and I love it!!

    • Me too- I’ve only just done my NQT but I wasn’t prepared to give up as much of my life as teaching demands. I love teaching and have done it all over the world but unfortunately in the UK they just expect too much.

    • I took the same decision 18 months ago and haven’t looked back. I’m now a damn good supply teacher. I work in only 3 schools and only take on planned absence. Currently I work 3 days a week on small group intervention on supply so I no longer miss out on nativities etc that we always encourage parents to come to but can’t do ourselves (we let down our own child so as not to let down 30 others).The difference it has made is huge. My husband who earns over 3 times my daily rate had more time to spend with the children than me. How does that work!
      I know others saw my decision as me admitting I couldn’t cope and a failure. I saw it as my decision to say you don’t get to decide my life, I do! I’m now the one winning and taking my life back. I know some of my other colleagues would love to do the same but need the financial stability.
      Well done for speaking out and taking positive action .

    • Wow!! It’s like hearing my own thoughts but in a brilliantly articulated way!!

      Thank you for an amazing article. After 15 years of teaching, I’m at a crossroads right now and have mixed emotions about leaving in the summer but your article clarifies why I need to put my family (and my own sanity) first.

    • Hello Colette, I am a full-time permanent Computer Science teacher and a single mother of two children. I am exhausted…. Is it worth it? Becoming a supply teacher I mean??

    • Beautifully put as every mother will know. At 72 I know how all you young mothers are feeling when your children are missing out on your company.

    • I could cry reading this – this is my life and I feel trapped in this job as I have no idea what else I could do. The thought of doing this in my 50s and 60s fills me with dread, I hardly have the energy now. I can’t even enjoy the holidays as I’m constantly counting down the days until the madness starts all over again. Mind you, I planned and marked yesterday from 3pm til 1am, with assessments and SEN still to do! Sorry to be so negative, but that’s the way I feel about the job I used to love and feel proud of.

    • Thanks so much, you have put into words exactly how I feel too. I have also just resigned, having been teaching for 12 years and still love being in the classroom with the children but only when I can do it my way. I have years of experience to share with the children, I have qualifications and I worked in industry but this experience doesn’t seem important. I feel so sad that I can’t continue any longer. Good luck in the future, I hope it works out for both of us.

  66. This is just so true and worrying. After 8 years teaching I started to feel the same. I ve changed schools, hoping it will change things. I have a few uni friends who sadly are feeling like this. With so many comments I do hope a parliamentary minister cones across this and thinks of cutting down on paper work and testing! Good luck Ali in whatever you do, sounds like it ll ve z great loss to education!

  67. I did the same two years ago and never looked back, wouldn’t go back in the classroom – unless, like so many have said, things change

  68. I also work in FE and gave done for the last 4 years here we are bearing the brunt of massive budget cuts due to the ring fencing of the state education and nhs budget. Our institution is having to save millions of pounds for the second year in a row, this is involving the cutting of teaching and support staff. Meaning less qualified and experienced teachers and more unqualified staff who are employed on a fraction of the wage but same results expected. I don’t blame the unqualified staff that come in but i do ask myself why they come into a job like this for a fraction of the wage, all we are doing is cheating the next generation. We are failing the kids we teach because the system does not let us teach, inspire and encourage.

    Finally now this week am actually able tontake some annual leave to spend some tine with my kids.

  69. Well said! We have given our life to teaching for many years and with a 3 year old and 1 year old now, I’m putting my own children first and leaving the profession too! Yes, we have nice holidays but it’s not worth the stress, angst and pressure for the rest of the year. Life is for living not working until you’re burnt out.

    • Teaching shouldn’t have to be a lifestyle choice. My children are simplistic ages to yours. I felt resentful for the amount of time I was missing seeing them grow up x

      • I couldn’t agree more! The onus is so heavily placed on the teachers to ‘improve’ grades that there is more and more spoon feeding, even at GCSE and A-level. We are producing a generation of children who have not been given sufficient opportunity to develop independent study skills; we have sacrificed the long-term targets of education (such as producing critical thinkers and problem solvers) for the short-term hits based purely on exam results.

    • Teachers might have ‘nice holidays’ but they always have to take them in peak periods together with the rest of the population.

  70. It is interesting to read the view of a teacher. However what you have written can be true for any profession. Having worked in an industry where the contracted hours per week are 35 yet you are often at work at 8am see little of your children during the day and work until the early hours of the morning plus weekends you do wonder if there is any work life balance. Work life balance is hard regardless of your role you feel guilty for working and guilty for not. You spend time at home working because you have to get things done and you should be with your kids. I understand this, it is true unfortunately of any industry these days.

    • “I am still bemused by the expectation that all pupils are expected to make the same amount of progress within an academic year. This is ridiculous. If we were all the same, we would all be the same as adults. All children learn and progress at different rates and it is completely wrong for a teacher to be held accountable for that.” It’s not just the work life balance, its the ridiculous premise it’s all based on. You are judged on data that’s faulty and meaningless. Soooooo…… You work your butt off, give over your life to this vocation and you still can NEVER get it right because the powers that be are judging YOUR ability as a teacher on completely unrealistic and unattainable targets. Not sure THAT can be said about every job.

    • I agree with this comment. My family is full of teachers so I understand the pressures, but what you describe is the working landscape for all professional jobs. I would be interested to know, Ali, what job did you move to, and were the pay and working hours comparable?

    • I totally agree – I took a 10 year gap from teaching and worked as a commercial property lawyer instead. It was the expectation that I stayed in the office until my work was completed, no matter what that time may be. That said, the law did pay much better than teaching. I do prefer teaching and would never go back to the law, even though the work load during term tie is far more onerous than when I was a lawyer.

    • The issue with teaching and no other industry is that there is only one real employer, the DfE. Run by a group of people whose only care is being elected to the gravy train.
      Teachers want to teach, not tick boxes and fill forms in while a teaching assistant or unqualified teacher takes the class.

    • The difference between teaching and other jobs is that in other jobs, after this hard work and sacrifice, you are considered a success and see the successful results. In teaching your work is undermined so that you still fail and are considered to be a failure.

    • Sorry to hear you’re leaving a profession you love, Ali – but totally understand. And, yes, it’s not just the time spent away from family (which, as one contributor points out, is not unique to teaching), but the particular pressures faced as an integral part of the job. Well done for making your decision to change, tough though it may have been, and best wishes for a happier – healthier! – future! 🙂

    • Having worked in business and now in primary teaching I can see both sides of this. I am not exaggerating when I try to explain how teaching can feel. It is not just the time spent working but the pressure and tiring nature of classroom teaching. Imagine… you have a board or contractors meeting, with 30+ other people in the room, you are in loco parentis so must ensure the safety of all of those individuals. Some of whom know all the jargon and really do not need patronising, others will need constant reminders and questions to maintain focus and some will have not worked in your field at all before but you will be expected to ensure they understand everything that is going on as it is your fault, not theirs, if they cannot keep up. You must ensure your presentation and resources are engaging and comply with all current legislation. Also, your boss is in and you are only ever as good as the last meeting or sales figures, so be on your A game. Finally, three of the clients don’t get on so you must solve their dispute while you work, and deal with the minor injury someone else has just received and make sure you are ready to do it all again in 5 minutes as you have 5 of these meetings back to back today. Sounds odd in that context but with all the companies I worked alongside I never saw anybody who was working in those circumstances day in, day out.

    • I think that it is true that many professions make it difficult to achieve a work-life balance however the word you mentioned there – weekends – that doesn’t occur for teachers anymore. Saturdays and/or Sundays are always part of the working week as is every evening. I don’t even have children!! I barely saw my partner and it affected our ability to spend time together in any kind of meaningful way. I realised that in the end no job is worth a fantastic relationship. No job where I don’t visit my brother who lives literally around the corner from me for months because I actually do not have time for a coffee is worth it. Our terms and conditions have been changed without any consultation – satisfactory is a word bandied about but that actually did not mean failing it meant that you were doing the job but not going over and above. Now it is requires improvement – see what has happened there? If you meet the terms of your contract you are failing – in which other job is that the case?

    • Interesting one this – we had an ex-IT contractor start at our school several years ago. He had changed career ‘because I want a less stressful and results driven environment’. He was gone by Easter of his first year – ‘I’ve never been so tired in my life – how do you keep doing it? Nobody can really comment till they’ve tried it’.

    • I disagree as having been a Primary School Teacher for 15 years I know how physically, mentally and emotionally draining teaching young children can be. Having worked in other professions too I think that Teaching is without a doubt the toughest. I don’t think you know how hard it is until you actually experience it for years. I am now medically retired from teaching. I appreciate that work life balance is hard in any profession though especially if you have young children. I don’t think that somebody who works set hours and is then able to leave their job behind would be able to imagine how tough being a Primary School Teacher, a Social Worker and or NHS Professional is. There are jobs and there are vocations.

    • Yet there are jobs which, although they have the inconvenience of some unsociable hours, pay more with none of the additional work load. Take a train driver for example… no need for a degree, one years training while you earn @22k….after that year straight in on a salary of @45k…working 4 days on, 4 days off. I do agree there are many professions which require the dedication which teachers put into their job and have a similar work load, but the government do not place a high enough value on good teachers and increase the stress and workload whilst expecting better and better results. Who now would do a 4 year course (degree plus PGCE) to end up with this?
      I often think about leaving the profession but have gone into the private sector instead so I can actually teach and not be completely encumbered by all the meaningless government directives.

  71. My daughter is a brilliant and talented peripatetic music teacher (strings). She loves her job and her pupils love her. When her 14 month old son, my grandson, became unwell and she was required to take him to regular hospital appointments, the headteacher of one of the schools she visited reprimanded her for missing time and told her that she tells her staff in similar situations that they should choose between home and school.
    Disgraceful. 🙁

    • It’s appalling. I hope she is now at a school that is far more understanding of how important family is and how that will always come first x

      • I also left teaching at the Easter holidays. I never thought I’d leave either but I can’t carry on. I’m in the middle of a grieving process that will last a while with a rollercoaster of emotions. I still dont know what I’m doing next but I have a few ideas and will be on supply too. I also feel like travelling to enjoy life after the stress of the last year. What are other people doing next?
        Well done for daring to leave.

    • Unfortunately this is very common. Your heart would obviously choose home every time but there are so many people who’s financial situation means that they have to choose work. It’s true we get holidays but none of them are flexible. I am a mum of three and have had to justify in the past why I need time off to attend medical appointments with my own children. Luckily I have an understanding headteacher but this is not the case for everyone. There are too many experienced and caring teachers leaving the profession and every time another one makes that difficult choice to leave, it puts just that bit more pressure on those of us left behind. I don’t resent or blame them for leaving, I’m actually jealous that they will get part of their life back…that they will have time to enjoy family time without feeling guilty about those piles of books sat waiting at home…that they will be able to drift off to sleep at night without a bucket full of worries about all of those things still on the ‘to do’ list. I have always loved teaching and touching the lives of the children and families I meet but I have recently questioned whether I will be able to carry on for much longer. The changes are much more rapid than ever before and I just wonder how many more changes I can adopt. I do not think we are the only profession who is under pressure but but things need to change.

  72. I left teaching aged 50 in 2001. I became ill through stress and decided I needed to get a life. The workload was intolerable. I loved many aspects of the job but as you say the constant changes and ‘tweaking’ made me miserable. And for what? Were the children better taught? On the whole the answer is no. There is no doubt that children with special needs are catered for much more rigorously but a lot of fun in the classroom has been lost.

  73. I’m going to have to disagree. It is simply too easy to walk away and, anyone who does, was not in teaching for the right reasons in the first place. It has never been easy to maintain the balance and it is getting harder. But, to walk away claiming no life but a love of the children you teach is wrong. We have to stay and fight. We keep the passion and inspiration flowing by the bucket load because it is more important than ever. This is not the time to walk away. It’s the time to remember why you do what you do and to find ways to shape your practice so it impacts less on your personal life. It’s not about being perfect but it is about promoting the desire and independence of those children that we are so fortunate to teach. Never give up. Stay and find a way. You are making a difference.

  74. Wow, your thoughts and experience mirror mine. I had been teaching for 20 years and had a 10yr and 7yr old at home. I gave in my notice when after talking to my elder son I discovered he felt neither my husband or I were giving him enough support in preparing for the 11+ which we have in our area. I stopped work at the Easter and by October he had passed the 11+ and is now at his grammar school of choice. My younger son has also become more confident and is flying at school, in part I’m sure because he is not exhausted having to be at wrap around care from 7:45 in the morning and not being collected until 5:30pm. Since January I have returned to full-time work in my youngest son’s school as a TA rather than teacher. I love it! I get to do the fun/rewarding side of teaching which teachers don’t have time for. Children are children for me again now not levels or points scores!
    Good luck for your future and enjoy spending valuable time with your children. x

  75. Thank you for your honest and truthful response to the world in which we find ourselves. I often teach 6.5 hours a day with 2 x 15 min breaks. I leave home at 7am and return at 7pm. I then cook, clean and chat with my own children before starting my marking or resourcing for the next day. I am still not keeping up with my work – often not sleeping worrying about what is left undone because that is exactly what ‘they’ll’ comment on and put on my working record.

    It is sadly true that we have moved towards using every student to justify our position and future pay. This is complete madness as any NQT on £20,000 a year will easily find alternative employment that is just as rewarding (I know as I have come into the profession later in life and have a wealth of experience in the ‘real world’ that was just that). Furthermore, I am shocked at how teachers leaving are thought of as having ‘failed’ – this is totally untrue and unheard of in any other profession (in fact, employees moving careers are usually seen a brave).

    After spending last week doing extra KS4 revision sessions and sorting my classroom, I have spent the whole 4 days of Easter marking, now I only have the end of term assessments for 3 classes to mark, reports to write, data to analyse and planning for next term to complete. I can’t wait to hear those who have just had 4 days holiday with their families comment on how grateful teachers should be having so much time off.

    Good luck in your new adventure and hopefully things will move as you hope and society will appreciate teachers with experience and welcome them back with open arms and a far better deal. Many look forward to the 7pm Friday feeling – I hope you find it everyday.

  76. Dear Ali,
    Thank you for writing exactly how I feel. A teacher of 18 years and have just started my own young family. The concept of going back at the end of my maternity just seems crazy. My son needs his mum, not a shadow of a person who spends all her time ticking boxes to please other parents, heads and government officials. Please can you get this up on a government signed partition site as they need to know you are not the only one feeling this way.
    Kind Regards, Toni, another fed-up teacher.

  77. Thanks for sharing. I only lasted 15 months in the profession and all what you speak of is like hearing my own thoughts. It’s so sad. To train so hard for something you think you’re going to love. In my case, to be the same thing to make me actually quite poorly.

  78. I have been a teacher for 13 years and just handed in my notice – I completely empathise with your comments and dread telling my year seven form that I’m leaving but I can’t carry on with the workload and the stress…

  79. You’ve put into words my exact thoughts and feelings. I’m working on being brave enough to make that bold step and leave. Your words help me realise this decision can be made slightly less guilt free. It’s nice to know it’s not just me, not just my school. My children need me too! Now to decide what to do next. I only ever thought I’d teach!

  80. I am a mother of 3 pre school aged children and I left my teaching job in December for many, if not all, of the reasons you have listed in your blog. Since February, I have been doing 2 or 3 days a week supply teaching as we have a wedding to attend abroad in the summer and it’s keeping the bank balance healthy!!!! I just wondered if you have left with a job to go to? If so, what? I would like to do something work wise but, like you, not a role that impacts on all of my time at home.
    Well done on making such a huge decision. I found it difficult but ultimately I knew it was the right one for my sanity and for my children. I haven’t regretted it once.

  81. I’m the daughter of a teacher and would echo what another poster said about teaching having always been a lifestyle, although I have no doubt that everything you say is accurate about the profession today. But, from the child’s point of view, I wanted to reassure you that you have done exactly the right thing. It is incredibly hard to accept as a child that other people’s children must take precedence over you in your mother’s life. Of course other professions take you away from your children too, but for the child, I think the direct comparison of ‘ Mum is preparing an (often fun) activity for other children so can’t do something fun with me’ is very hard. I have spent my life being told I should teach and being met with confusion or disbelief when I’ve said that I don’t think it is a family-friendly career.

  82. Truly understand how you feel. I a qualified teacher working as a teaching assistant, thats the choice I made so I could spend time with my family and not have the same pressure when working in a classroom.

  83. I have just read your post – and have to agree with everything you say. Sadly I gave up teaching at October half term. It was very traumatic at the time because I loved the teaching part so much, and my children, but it was all the other added stuff I couldn’t keep up with. It was also making me ill. However, I can honestly say when I look back now it was the best decision – there is a great life after teaching. I now have a new job and my life and family back. I still miss my class terribly, but visit them occasionally. It’s quite nice to then see them as children, rather than as a level. Stay positive, and I wish you well, with whatever you end up doing 🙂

  84. Sadly, I will be writing a similar blog post soon. After 17 years I’m teaching I too leave in July for all the reasons you highlight and more. As you say my worry is who will be teaching my little boy in years to come. He’s been lucky in his infant years but junior and secondary might not be so fortunate.

  85. Oh God, I’m sat here reading this with tears in my eyes. I don’t want to do this job any more. After 14 years I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the stress and the constant worries. I’m a week in to the Easter holidays and I’ve finally relaxed, only to start being stressed again thinking about all the work I need to do before next Monday. I don’t want to feel like this any more.

  86. This is exactly why, having trained as a teacher in my mature years, that I had to leave my desired profession. The constant interference of unqualified government ‘think tanks’ had destroyed me and my determination to ‘make a difference’ to the children’s learning whom I had the privilege to supporton on their journeys. I now sit back and ponder where the teaching profession is going. Is it destined to total destruction or will somebody task a grasp and give TEACHERS the power which only they hold to shape our children’s and the world’s future.

  87. I totally understand your decision to spend more time with your family. i too spend far too much time on making sure i have crossed every t and dotted every i (i even go in to work on sundays to try and get a head start for the week!!) i was a supply teacher for 3 years and have only been in a permanent role since september and the biggest question i keep asking myself is why did i do it. good luck in whatever you have chosen to do now and hopefully one day you may return to teaching. enjoy your family time x

  88. I am a retired primary deputy head. I am appalled at the pressures put on teachers now. My talented daughter has left the profession and is now supply teaching.

    My other daughter is a nurse and is currently off work with anxiety and stress. It is likely that she will have to seek a different job due to the impossibility of juggling work and home life.

    What is happening to our world when the caring professions are put under such strain.

  89. I don’t have children yet but I have had to go part time, I just couldn’t do this job anymore, it certainly isn’t the job I trained to do 12 years ago. Even part time it is very hard. A well written review of teaching today! Well done! x

  90. Enjoy your children, Be their teacher and don’t allow them to be destroyed by the system your leaving, Home Education is the best education for many.

  91. Saw this shared on FB. Well said. You’re so right about experience. I’ve been teaching 23 years and it counts for nothing. I’m top of the scale and because of increased pension contributions, I’m actually taking home £50 less a month than I was 5 years ago. Fed up with muppet managers observing me, and telling me I can’t talk to my class for more than 10 minutes. Micro-managing everything! I came into teaching, when I was 30, because I felt that I knew something that was worth sharing; knowledge, skills, life experiences. I’m not allowed to do that anymore. At my school we’ve got 20 somethings who don’t know anything! ” What’s a spinal cord ?” “What’s the Shroud of Turin? ” and the best one, written on spelling homework ” runned ” as the past tense of “run”. Not written by a pupil but by a Year 4 teacher! But no worries, they don’t ask questions, they cost a lot less, know how to perform like seals in an obsevation and 40% of ’em will be gone within 2 years. And so, sadly, will I.

  92. Hi Ali.

    I too despair all the time when thinking about the future of education. As a young lad, all I wanted to do was teach. I qualified as a teacher 20 years ago. I remember being told by any number of my old teachers that I was mad to come into the profession. I thought I knew better – 25 years ago teachers saw how the profession was going. Standing in front of a class, seeing kids growing and learning is great. My joy at doing after-school clubs in football/tag rugby/ athletics enabled me to see kids who were not the slightest bit academic have another talent. nurturing them and giving their self-esteem and confidence a boost through sports keeps me going. However, the paperwork stinks. I too have been in a position when my wife had our 2 kids (4 & 2 respectively), of seeing them go out in order to give me the time to do schoolwork. My current headteacher is part of a dying breed – she wants you to have some sort of work/life balance. She sees the value in kids being artisitic or sporty. Too many heads worry because an afternoon out with year 6 at a sports tournament might make the difference between reaching a level 4. Too often, I have ended up at loggerheads with SLT because I wouldn’t put kids up part of a level if I didn’t believe they were not ready for it. I almost lost my career because of it.

    Will I stay teaching for much longer? Probably not – not because I want to stop but because I don’t think I will be able to stay in a school system where teachers are so undervalued by SLT, colleagues give up through stress / work-life balance and that DFE / Ofsted cannot work out that constant assessment, paperwork and teaching kids to the test WILL NEVER, EVER improve standards.

    I love teaching – it hurts me to see what is going on.

    Best of luck with your new endeavours, I suspect that you will be great at whatever you do, and that your kids will do better by having a mum who can give them the care and attention they deserve.

  93. Absolutely. This totally sums up why I too left teaching almost 2 years ago. I wasn’t prepared for my ‘lifestyle choice’ to take any more of my time away from my family. So I left. Sad, but very, very true.

  94. When are teachers in this country going to get the recognition they so deserve.
    Ali keep up the blogging about teaching maybe somebody will listen soon!
    Enjoy the Easter break (what’s left)

  95. I have just retired from teaching, I managed to spend my life teaching but decided to quit while I was ahead ( just had a good inspection etc). I am terrified by the number of schools being lead by inexperienced leaders, often young, who do not support their new teachers. There is no substitute for experience and young teachers (like all young learners) need to be guided and nurtured not bullied and demoralised. It’s hard being a teacher and those who leave the profession quickly are often not being supported as they should be. What a waste.

  96. My daughter is 24 & in her second year as a primary school teacher. Even after a comparatively short time in teaching, she is already stressed out by her workload. It’s not the actual teaching, that’s the best & easiest bit she says, it’s the rest of it. She gets to work at 7.15am every day & is never home before 6pm. She then has more work to do in the evening. Even finding time to eat & have a shower is difficult. She refuses to do any school work on Saturdays but spends most Sundays in her room, working. Yes she earns a good salary by my god she earns every penny. So many people say that teaching is a doddle because of the holidays but I’d like them to try it. I don’t think many would stick at it. I know I wouldn’t. My daughter has a T shirt with ” I used to have a life but then I became a teacher” written on it. This was meant as a joke of course but the sad thing is that it’s not a joke anymore. When are those who run the country going to sit up & realise what is happening in our education system?

  97. What a brave choice to make. When my sister who also lives in the UK (I live in Australia) said she was leaving teaching also, I struggled to understand…at first. Im also a teacher and when I stopped to consider what she was saying- similar sentiments to yours, I have to agree. Even now- it’s school holidays and I’m busy writing lesson plans and organising resources. I know its part of the job- but should it be? Should we have to work during school holidays because there is no other time to get these things done? WHAT??? Some of your readers might be thinking of course you should work over the school holidays- you get paid for them. NO WE DONT! Our pay is prorata’ed to c over us for school holidays. We actually pay for these weeks off. Anyway thats my rant and it’s nothing to do with you… BRAVO! Hopefully the powers that be, will sit up and listen as people, talented and experienced teachers make a mass exodus.
    Good luck 🙂

  98. It is sad. I’ve taught for 23 years now and love it! But I’m also tired and frustrated of the lifestyle…living from holiday to holidays….and people thinking the hard slog is OK. …because we ‘get the holidays’.

    Best wishes and have fun with your children!

  99. Hi, firstly well done for being brave enough to make the decision to leave!
    I recently left my job as a TA after 15 years. One of the main reasons was that as a TA we were called upon every day to ‘tutor’ small groups of children – (up to 15 pupils, often ones with learning difficulties or behaviour issues) – given no ppa time and expected to make these children reach their targets. The class teacher has no choice but to utilise their TAs in this way, but surely these are the very children that would benefit from an experienced teacher? After seeing many an experienced teacher breakdown in the staff room after a pupil progress meeting with the head I can completely sympathize with you.
    Best of luck for the future, I’m sure there are 2 very happy children who will benefit from your experience, and who knows when they are grown the education system will be at a point where you feel you can return to the job you loved! x

  100. This made me weep because it’s exactly how I’m feeling after 18 years. We’re spending the next year or so looking at how we can change our domestic/financial situation so that I can have more options. Has gone from a job I love doing to me begrudging every late evening and weekend spent marking or planning, as it’s time away from family. Only thing is…what else to do???

  101. Teaching used to be such a wonderful profession, it’s no wonder so many of us have left, this is a wonderfully written piece. I do worry about the future for our children.

  102. I read your article thinking it reflected my own thoughts but more eloquently. I have the same concerns and work in a school where over 40 staff have been moved on, left, sacked in the last 3 years. I am top of UPS and surely next on the list. The school is full of supply teachers, no me or very poorly qualified teachers apply for posts. I am stressed and wouldn’t consider myself a stressful person normally.
    I feel trapped as I am the bread winner and I think I ll be asking to go part time , but it was nice to hear someone express the guilt over neglecting their own family. It can be hard to swallow. Lots of luck in your future

  103. I had a breakdown in early 2000 after 22 years full time. I couldn’t face leaving the house… and my 12 year old said to me, seriously, one day, “I know it’s sad that you’re ill, Mummy, but at least we get to see you now”. OUCH. I moved to penury in Wales as a supply teacher. There’ll soon be no small rural schools here, and the 12 letters after my name [as an ‘outstanding’ teacher, mean I’m too expensive, but I’m so glad I did….

  104. I could not agree more than what you have said. I totally understand where you are coming from. I also gave up teaching for a while , as it took overt own life.
    It’s a shame that thousands of Teachers feel this way.
    There is lots more out there and I wish you luck. Salli byrne

  105. I am also leaving at the end of April. I so thoroughly enjoy teaching mathematics to secondary pupils (KS3-4-5) but the management are so keen to get ‘progress’ that they have failed to consider that we teach ‘pupils’ or humans. Pink fluffy people not data. The vast majority of the comments listed here I entirely concur with…sadly. I, too, now leave teaching … to regain a life …. and I am so sad. I will leave those pupils whom I have attempted to support, to encourage, to learn for and yearn for knowledge (yes even in maths). I will miss the staffroom where we can support each other, although all too often this year it has been supporting staff who are crying so near to breaking point.
    Thank you for the comments above.

  106. So so true – I have been teaching for 34 years and have seen many changes – however these last changes have changed my feelings towards this profession – I feel sorry for new teachers just starting – I am taking early retirement as the profession is not the same any more – good luck for the future x

  107. Left teaching in the uk after 20 years and now teach in oman. 2 years later I’m now thinking of teaching in china. When I finally return to the uk I will be looking for another profession. Would never teach in the uk again.

  108. I too have just left teaching at Easter after 15 years. I turned 53 on 1st April and due to health problems decided to put my health and happiness first. thank you for being honest. My colleagues do not know I have resigned yet as I have signed a confidentiality agreement until the head tells the staff next week. A great weight feels like it has been lifted off my shoulders. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Christine x

  109. The time with your own children thing is exactly why I became a teaching assistant rather than a teacher. I’m late to teaching and I love it but the workload for a fqt is untenable if you want to enjoy your own children.

  110. Thank you Ali for such a well written article. I wish those in charge of education would listen to the views of teachers and children, then maybe all could have a better work life balance and children will have a better education. After 20 years experience in teaching in Primary school I was forced to leave when the pressures of teaching and the demands from the Headteacher got too much and I suffered badly from depression. I was made to feel a failure because I was putting the children first and concentrating on individual needs of those in my class. To me, that’s what teaching is all about! I also had 3 teenage children of my own who needed my time and attention at home but by the time I had done my preparation for school I was often too tired to give them the help they needed. The best thing I did was to give up teaching and become a childminder; I can now give time to my own children and also give quality time to those children in my care. 🙂 This has given me a better quality of life but the education system still needs to change!

  111. Wow, this is a very interesting post. Firstly, good for you for leaving! You’ve obviously faced a tough choice but you’ve put yourself first and that is great. However, this post is sad, especially as I currently live with 4 trainee teachers (I’m a psychology student). I really hope it improves for them, because they, and every other teacher I’m sure, works so god damn hard xx

    Sam | Samantha Betteridge

  112. I could have written this post. Left in December, after over eighteen years, for similar reasons. I have time to give to my family now and that is all that matters. We are skint but happy and healthier. I wish you good luck with the next stage of your life. Xx

  113. I am currently working as a cover supervisor, honestly I never expected to love this job but I do. Spending time with those kids and talking to them, seeing them pick up the lesson and figure something out is extremely rewarding, even if it isn’t my lesson. I have been offered training but my job alone is stressful without everything on top and so I am reluctant to consider it. Instead I’m going to opt for youth work but I feel I’d be a great teacher I just enjoy having a life as well. Very sad.

  114. I have only been teachings for 2 years and I honestly feel like it’s one of the loneliest jobs in the world. Like you, I absolutely love inspiring holster and the challenge of finding a new route if they are still not quite understanding. The truth is I feel like I would be letting people down if I give up. I admire your bravery and courage to be totally honest and say ‘enough is enough’. Wishing you all of the happiness and luck 🙂

  115. I work in a junior and senior school supplying pastoral care and support to children and families alike. I see worn out and brow beaten teachers whose lives are swamped by their role, I see unappreciated men and women looking for a way out or the lure if single of teaching in Dubai or the UAE.
    I now find myself also supporting these teachers, these professional people whose dream job, whose passion is being stripped away, leaving barely anytime to actually teach. If I were young and looking for a profession teaching would be bottom of my to do list.

  116. I totally sympathise and agree that the workload on teachers is ridiculous. BUT you do get school holidays with your children and most parents don’t get that. So it’s not all bad stuff. Remember how this post looks to non teachers if you’re looking for support for change.

  117. Oh how true all of this is. I came into teaching later in life, after working in sales, finance and personnel. Teaching is the hardest and most stressful job I have ever done. I have made my decision and will be handing in my notice after Easter. I love teaching but endless targets and meaningless data seemingly plucked out of thin air have sucked the joy out of the job. The constant expectation to put your own life on hold has become the norm. I don’t know what the future holds and as an older woman I feel a little scared but to have my life back will be wonderful.

  118. You should send this to the government (or the new one, when elected). All sounds very familiar to me, too, having left the profession after just two years. I was devastated to do so, as it was all I had ever wanted to do, but I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown; working constantly; under unbelievable pressure to achieve the unachievable; bullied by my head of department and head teacher and had to pull the occasional sick day just so I could try and keep up with the marking and planning. Even when really sick, you have to force yourself up and plan cover lessons. How ridiculous. It’s a very sad state of affairs. The only problem I have found is that, despite thinking that my teaching skills would be readily transferable, I have not found a career since. I am underqualified/under-experienced in every other way, and couldn’t afford to retrain. It makes me consider going back to the classroom, but every time I recall what it was really like, or read posts such as yours, I am put off again. I hope the risk pays off better for you, and am sorry to hear of your experience.

  119. I too am a teacher serious thinking of leaving the profession after 15 years because for the last few years I have had to work each day til 6 marking 70 books as I work in special ed in the mornings, then I prepare for the next day, weekends is planning on Sunday and Saturday is sleeping/recovering. God knows how I cope with reports to write and other admin. So yes I think it will be my last and I have no children at home. The school I am currently at has teachers resigning and supply teachers leaving left right and centre…..

  120. I feel exactly the same. Having taught for 25 years I’m totally disillusioned with education. And why haven’t the unions stepped up? Talk of the shanghai system and our lost pedagogy can only spell disaster for the children of our country. I too am concerned for the education of all our children but I can’t be a part of the education machine any longer. Truly sad times.

  121. Good on you for doing the right thing by you and your children. The same kind of thing is occurring in Australia with demands on Primary teachers in particular getting out of hand.

  122. This is hugely poignant, Ali. I too left the profession to spent time with my family… and to breath. I have been very fortunate with my post teaching opportunities and as such it would take a massive incentive for me to return to the classroom, but you have hit the nail on the head – the DfE needs to get experienced teachers back. It breaks my heart to see the profession so beaten and battered :(.

  123. A brilliant blog post Ali summing up exactly how I feel. I am in my 5th year as a teacher after qualifying later in life. Sad to realise that i no longer want to teach but being trapped in the profession. Currently rethinking my options!!!!
    Thankyou for your blog-helpful.

  124. I gave up teaching for exactly the same reasons many years ago. The Government of the day (no matter which party is in power) always seems to think that they know more about education than the qualified professionals who actually do the job.

    Since I left the situation seems to have worsened. The Government now seems to think that everybody and their dog knows more about education than the teaching profession. This means that teachers have to constantly justify their qualifications on an almost daily basis.

    There also seems to be a creeping tendency to move things into education which were once the domain of other agencies, such as Social Services or the Health agencies – camouflaged by Government spin such as the phrase ‘Every child matters’, mentioned above.
    Yes every child does matter, but it is not a teacher’s job to deal with the inadequacies of the child’s own parents or the creaking, underfunded social services or healthcare systems.

    I’ve worked in education, the private industrial sector and have been self-employed. All those roles have challenges, but the unrelenting onslaught that teaching has become destroys your life.

    Ignore the fools who witter on about your ‘short’ contracted hours, your ‘free’ weekends and long ‘holidays’; they understand only as much about education as a goldfish does about running a marathon!

    Get out now and build a better career elsewhere where you are in more control of your own time.

    When the stress levels drop, the blood pressure goes down, you stop getting incessant headaches and you have the time and patience to relax in the company of your own children you will then know that you did the right thing.

  125. You made a brave choice but a good choice that I am sure you will never regret.
    I have just read ‘New Perspectives in Primary Education’by Sue Cox.An excellent view of the present state and how we need to change. There is hope for the future ..but we as teachers and parents have to stand up to the system and for the needs of our children .

  126. Nice post Ali. You have succinctly and clearly stated the struggles many teachers have in the profession. I am from New Zealand but have not taught there for the past 14 years because of the very reasons you described. The penny dropped for me when I was renewing my registration and realised that I was doing twice as much admin hours as I was actual teaching in order to meet all the paperwork requirements. This, along with grading for a class of 34 was just too much. I was doing 12 hour days, then coming home and eating dinner and then working until 10pm, going to bed and then repeating the next day. Weekends lost a big chunk to work as well. 65 hour weeks were normal. When I added up the pay per hour (and yes, I factored in holidays) it was ridiculously low. I would have made more flipping burgers! Holidays were catchup time for work and building resources.

    Unlike you, I don’t have a family … and someone made a comment about the only way to do the job well is to be a spinster. As a single person, I am telling you, even then you don’t do it well – its unmanageable in the format you describe. And in some ways, being single you give even more because there is no one in your house demanding time with you and asking that you stop!

    I decided to go international teaching … and it brought me back to my first love – teaching. I have been doing this the past 14 years and it has been great … I still work hard, but I can have a life and teach. Of course, as always, it is up to me to put some boundaries in as teaching is the all consuming monster – a bit like the one in Little Shop Of Horrors … “feed me Seymour!” Whatever you give it, it consumes and still wants more – it’s never enough. So I draw the lines – and I can as an international teacher because there is not the same degree of paperwork required.

    Thanks for your post … good luck in your future endeavours!

  127. An interesting read. I moved from training into teaching a couple years ago, and within days I realised this was not the life for me; and I say life instead of job, as I agree it takes over your life. I ended up handing in my notice after 1 month. I have no young children, but within that month I was unable to speak to or spend any time with family and friends due to the demands outside of the classroom. When I asked about TOIL for all of the extra hours, which is a legality and which I had had in all of my previous jobs, I was told TOIL is not a word that is recognised in this job. Teachers never had a lunch, as we were told lunch should be taken between lessons, which meant the 15 mins between each lesson – usually spent packing away, getting to the next lesson, and setting up! One teachers father had a heart attack while I was there, and she was told they still needed her to be in. She foolishly complied. My final wake up call was when i spoke to a teacher who told me that in the last three years they had three staff members DIE, yes i said DIE from stress related illnesses….

    None of the teachers were happy, I heard a lot of complaining, it was literally only the feeling of letting the young people down that kept people there at all. I decided I was more important than the young people I was teaching, and although I felt terrible, it had to be done. I set up my own business, and despite being a one woman band, have more time to myself than in my short time of teaching.

  128. I don’t envy their task! Not only teaching methods have changed as mentioned in the article, teachers do not get much parental support either esp. if they have to reprimand a child, they have to deal with an angry parent as well who thinks that their child is incapable of being naughty. I remember when I started secondary school many moons ago, my mum (the disciplinarian in our family) told me not to come home having had the cane as I probably deserved it and would recieve another from her! I was generally a well behaved child. Its a very sad state of affair that teachers feel there is no other way than to leave the profession, its our childrens future that is at stake here, the powers that be need to listen to teachers before making rash changes and decisions. I am not a teacher either, I’m a nurse with 45 years experience!

  129. This story rings true for me. I have taught for over 12 years but at Christmas I finished. I felt resentful that my child was taking 2nd place and when I was on the verge of my 2nd breakdown my partner and I made the huge decision (not at all an easy one) to leave the profession. I am now working in a preschool as an assisstant and training to be a child minder. Money is a lot less but health and happiness have increased ten fold.

  130. The phrase should be changed to ‘Every child doesn’t matter’. Child centred learning has gone, replaced with data driven learning. A friend has failed because her classes of SEN children are not making the progress required to make 4 levels of progress in high school. These children made only 2 levels of progress in 7 years of primary education but are now expected to make 4 levels in 5. It makes no sense.
    I landed my dream job at an EBDschool where the students do matter but I worry for a system that is about to disintegrate.
    Enjoy your children. They deserve a mother with the energy to be the parent she wants to be.

  131. My daughter, a graduate of Imperial in Chemistry, went into a Teaching Program at the Uni of Nottingham and was seconded to a school that believed making children frightened of teachers was the way to teach! That school and its management / teachers put her off teaching for life. She was bullied by her mentor (another teacher) and totally demoralised. The University supervision was abysmal and itself highly questionable – caring more for income than for care and development of a teacher. She left teaching, sat her GAMSATs and is now half way through training to be a doctor and is loving every moment of it and wishes to be a GP. A completely different approach to developing the talents of a young person. The problem is within the profession as much as within management and government.

  132. And this is why my teenage daughter has never been to school. She would have been branded a “failure” as she struggled to read at the required school age, despite having excellent role models in older siblings, seeing her extended family read for pleasure. Being read to every night for just over seven years before it finally “clicked”

    We watched as her older brother struggled to make sense of the phonic system – the only tuition for reading “allowed” at the school. I have worked in schools for years as a TA and helped out at many lessons where hard working dedicated teachers are nothing more than childminders for the day practicing crowd control.

    Too many children of greatly varying abilities all bundled together and all expected to make the same progress. Ridiculous. Means everyone gets a raw deal.

  133. This could be my story too! Slightly longer in teaching and three children of my own rather than two, but everything else is spot on. I’m enjoying my new direction as a designer maker at Hoylakebeach but I still miss my pupils terribly. My biggest fear is for the schooling my own children will have to endure, especially with the almost none existence of Art & Design in our curriculum. Truly dark times in teaching…

  134. I have forgotten what school holidays are. I’ve sat here everyday since we finished on Thursday with stacks of coursework marking and my children are entertaining themselves. I’ve books to mark, assessments to grade, revision lessons to plan, mock papers to create and if I don’t get the results my hard work results in a stop in pay progression. Is it really worth all this, the students don’t really care.

  135. Oh Ali, what a tough decision to make! It sounds like it’s the right choice for you though. I bet you’re an amazing teacher and it’s a tragedy that you are leaving the profession and that so many others are too. Why don’t the government ever realise what they are doing until it’s too late?!! I wish you all the luck and happiness you’ll undoubtedly find by getting to spend more time with your family. Big hugs xxx

    • They are listening and they do realise and they are rubbing their hands with glee. The government are deliberate running down the education system and teachers. They are doing this to weaken you so that they can replace a system that benefits all with one which benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor. It is a measure of the success of this approach that today’s teachers don’t know it and aren’t teaching it to children.

    • What a sad but true reflection of mainstream schools. It is not quite as bad in special needs but there is a fight to stop it all being about progress. I keep going with teaching. Have been teaching for 12 years. Don’t have children but don’t think I could cope with full time teaching with a baby and I’m the main earner so have to work full time. Looking likely it will be a family unit with a dog.

    • My daughter is an art teacher in Australia, and she also spends her weekends and holidays marking , or preparing. Thank you all for the time you give. I still (70 years later} remember and am thankful for the dedication and help that my teachers gave. I can still remember their names. So don’t give up, unless your family is suffering.

  136. OMG Yes!! I am in Australia and I was nodding my head to everything you just said. This is the same problem we have here. So sad. The job is just not the same any more. There is no time to actually teach, just to prepare for tests and jump through hoops.

  137. I too have worked in school for over 21 years and am now 65 years old and retired.
    I worked in a state secondary as an LSA helping children with varying needs, some statemented and others not. I too loved my job but found that I too was working at home and also before and after school hours in school.
    It was only after I left school that I really realised how stressful this had been.
    The help given to students now is definitely not as good as the help they received 10 and even 20 years ago. Everything is academically results driven and no longer is it possible to let children ‘just be’ for 10/15 minutes in a lesson. Every second seems to have to be accounted for. Thinking time varies greatly from child to child and needs to be allowed for them to progress and assimilate what they are learning.
    I too am very concerned that children’s learning is being passed over to teaching assistants and other unqualified staff. This is in an ‘outstanding’ school!
    The staff, especially LSAs, who go round different subjects taught by different teachers, know the varying teaching styles of different teachers suit different children.
    How will LSAs etc learn their craft without seeing this. It just isn’t good enough to put them in front of classes of children.
    I have now got onto an even keel again and am enjoying a stress free life. I wish you well in your life after teaching and hope you thoroughly enjoy being with your own children. I was lucky as I stayed at home with mine, even though it meant we couldn’t afford holidays we were happy. They are now 39 and 35 and have said that it was great to have Mum there when they were young. I actually worked in the secondary school while they were both there!
    Very best wishes to you; I’m sure you were one of the best teachers.

  138. You have just articulated exactly why I have taken this year off to decide what is right for me.
    I feel like I’m the best person I can be in the classroom, but is that worth being far less than my best for my real life? My husband? My family? Is being the best for other people’s children worth being the opposite for your own family? And for yourself? Because I find each hour in the classroom incurs double in paperwork, preparation, evaluation and marking – and I just don’t have 15-18 hours in me every day anymore.
    Thank you for this post. I feel less alone.

  139. I am fairly new to the teaching profession and it seems everywhere I read of reasons why people are leaving. Such a shame that we are losing great teachers. I question how many years I will be able to maintain the lifestyle and whether when I start my own family will I have to give up my job.

  140. It saddens me that yet another hardworking talented teacher is leaving the profession but I totally understand your reasons. I’ve been teaching for 15 years and I don’t feel like I have a life outside of work anymore. I’m not married and I don’t have any children of my own but I still feel resentful that I have to spend so many evenings, weekends and days during holidays doing work for school. I still enjoy being in the class with the kids but the endless planing, marking, paperwork, etc is making me question whether I want to continue working as a teacher.

  141. I am married to a head of department of a core subject. Every single night of the week she is working past midnight and practically ALL weekend EVERY Weekend. Holidays are often taken up with intervention lessons. This causes so much stress on our relationship as there is never ANY time to spend together. I have never known a profession where so much is given to the job, So much sacrifice is given and yet they are consistently being targeted by the media, government, and the public for underperforming in more than unrealistic circumstances.

  142. I too have just left teaching after about 7 years. The job has changed and I will always miss the kids and being in the classroom with them but the rest not.


  143. I’m an Australian teacher and it is the same here. At the end of last year 5 of my long term teaching colleagues and friends left (one to waitress, another to work on the checkouts in Safeway, no stress, set hours, quality family time). I’ve been on the edge of resigning for nearly a year now, and hang in there because of the kids. Unfortunately, everything is data driven, with 5 week cycles of pre & post testing, from prep (reception) age, and teachers are starting to be performance reviewed on results. Also, our curriculum is constantly changed by the powers that be who are not in schools (Qld is having its 3rd change in as many years), and it has become horrible and stressful to teach, and horrible to see kids coming to school unhappy and stressed, I will be applying as an Education Officer with the airforce at the end of this year, and leaving my beloved profession behind, as it is no longer joyful, just a chore.

    I wish you luck with your future decisions, and it’s sad to think both England & Australia have the same problems in their shortsighted Education departments of government,

  144. I left full-time teaching early after thirty six years. During those years I saw many changes, some for the good and some a waste of time (change for change’s sake) but when the child becomes less important than tick boxes and stats you know it’s time to go!

  145. I left teaching in July after a 19 years. It was a tough decision to make as I still have bills to pay. But from reading your words at least I know it’s not just me. I loved being in the class, being with the children and beaming when your hear the penny drop! My health and my family were suffering and I totally agreed with your words. I have started my own business now doing something completely different. More family time and a much happier and healthier mum!

  146. Yawn. If you’ve been in the profession 15 years and you’re still so behind the curve that you have to put as much extra work as you claim then you’re clearly doing something wrong!

  147. A brilliant post and I have shared it on facebook. I left teaching with no job to go to 8 years ago – I was a head of department with no family, but no life anyway as the job took everything. When I started the job, I loved it; after 18 years I didn’t know whether I even could teach anymore, I felt so burned out. I had a stroke of amazing luck, and am now teaching in Finland. And I mean TEACHING. I still cannot believe how I managed to have this lucky break and just wish the same sort of thing could happen to all my struggling colleagues. The working conditions are toxic.

    Good luck Ali and thank you or this post.

  148. Hi Ali, thank you for writing this, it’s about time the truth comes out about the education system. I am in uni now, so it hasn’t been long since I left school . I feel that I was failed by the system myself, although I did manage to get into higher education it was very difficult, especially as the system doesn’t recognise that not everyone is the same. there is so much pressure on students today to get the right grades and it not fair. Education has gone all about grades and not about the individuals. Thank you for writing about this, and I hope you have a lovely Easter break, you deserve it!! 🙂 xx

  149. I have a 9 year old son & regularly sacrifice time with him to prep lessons & mark books. I’m 41 & this is my 5th year of teaching; been working in education since 2001; having been an LSA & Cover supervisor. I would like nothing more than to leave teaching as the workload is making me ill. At my union conference last weekend a lady I met at conference 5 years ago (4 years older than me but at same point in her career as me) Told me she has quit teaching & will no longer be a teacher at the end of this academic year! She doesn’t have a job but doesn’t care! She said once she had made the decision & handed her notice in she just felt relief; like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. I just felt jealous!
    I love teaching but the unecessary paperwork is killing me. The job I coveted for so many years has turned into a nightmare!

  150. This could have been written by me! I left my job of 12 years last week for exactly the same reasons. I am so sad to leave but cannot go on without sacrificing my precious family (and my own health and sanity!) I am going to do supply until I decide what else to do. It’s so sad and such a shame – will it ever get better? I had agonised over it for weeks – the final deciding factor being my 5 year old saying just after Christmas, “I can’t wait till the summer holidays Mummy, because then you’ll have time to play with me”. That, I’m afraid, was it!
    What are your plans now?

  151. I’m shortly due to ‘qualify’ (QTLS) but have more than a decade of private sector training experience including strategic management of an L&D department.
    Although I appreciate some find it controversial, (with good reason) I could now teach in a school, except, there’s very little appealing about it.

    In my opinion, and from my limited perspective only, the private sector offers me so much more than public education. Better salary, far improved conditions & home/work balance, equal development opportunities and I’d be a valued & respected professional and not the QTLS ugly sister of the QTS teachers!

    I very much hope the landscape improves, for our children and our teachers!

  152. I teach in FE and due to constant cuts we now find it very difficult to employ vocational staff as they can earn so much more in industry with less stress.Colleges were made independent to drive down teaching costs, I feel the move to Academies will bring about similar cost cutting whilst we are expected to improve our data and OFSTED grades, after being in education many years we go round in circles, nothing new just change for the sake of it and to make politicians look like they are doing something for their wages and expenses.
    Early retirement is the best strategy going forward

  153. So much of what you have written is true for me, nearly 30 years of class teaching and I am finishing at the end of the summer term. Thought I would be teaching until I retired. Not sure what I will do next, good luck in whatever you do.

  154. Ali, just would like to say how much I agree with all that you have said and you have my sympathy for having to have made the decision you have. The British governments since my time at school, have basically trashed the education of those that have been at school since I left in 1987. What I find the biggest irony is that I’m now a teacher and I can’t get a job! After nearly 20 years as a Forensic Scientist the current government took away my job and closed us down. After much advice from local Head teachers and government bodies involved with teaching I became one in July 2013. After now numerous applications and having taught in 41 schools on supply I’m still not quite good enough to start my NQT year. Yet the number of schools gagging for staff is ridiculous. You are right the government financial stranglehold on schools prevents them from having us new folks as well as the ageing experienced teachers. Schools can’t spare the time and resources to train up NQTs but they don’t mind paying the high supply rate finance to have me in school on a full timetable. This academic year so far I have done three half terms doing about 22 hours in the classroom out of 25 per week, yet no one will give me that NQT start. Note I’m not a poor teacher either as the six agencies I’m in are constantly trying to book me for long term work and even poach me from current placements. I feel like a most wanted unwanted. British education is in a mess, caused by government meddling. It’s about time they apologised for this mess and let the teachers and teacher training collage specialists sort things out. Perhaps when this happens you and your colleagues will return.Best wishes for your new career path, wherever you go.

  155. Reblogged this on Life with Two Pickles. and commented:
    God, This is the kind of thing that is happenign in my beloved profession. 10 years ago, I thought I would find a job I love and stay in it till I retire. I thought I would use the money to buy myself a nice flat and then size up. How (fantastically) different things have turned out. But I do worry that OFSTEDitis is going to ring the death-knell on my passion for my job. Whether it will remains to be seen. I don’t want to be writing something like this in a couple of years.

  156. You are brave to recognise that if you keep doing what you’ve always done nothing will change. It is possible to use many of your teaching skills and get similar satisfaction within a flexible home based part- time role, one that can help you build the lifestyle of your choice whilst helping others create theirs. Well done for taking the first step.

  157. My son, a gifted and hard working soul is quitting after only 3 years teaching, because of all you’ve stated above. It doesn’t help that he works for a Head who is OFSTED obsessed. The job I enjoyed and was in for many years is no longer tenable for him. So sad, and very, very worrying for our nation as so many excellent teachers have had enough and leaving the unmanageable and crazy life style. Only being or living with a teacher can any other person really understand, it’s like no other job, sorry!

  158. Teaching is yet another bastion of society, along with Nursing, and others, that have been usurped. Wonderful, vocation minded, energy filled people are thrust into straight-jackets of institutional nonsense, that pulls them further away from the core of their profession. It would appear that behind-the-scenes ‘managers’ are now amok; some of whom have never practiced the core and care more for benchmark statists, than those we should be serving – the next generation.

  159. This actually made me well up, it’s so bloody true. Thank you for putting it down in words so beautifully how the rest of us all feel.

  160. I am also feeling the need to leave teaching due to the pressures and generally not enjoying the ‘job’ but thinking of something else as a new career is very difficult. Its all very daunting after teaching for eighteen years!

  161. What a very difficult and sad decision to have to make. I started teaching in 1981 and fully intended to remain in teaching until they pushed me out of the door at 65+ !
    Sadly, failing health and the incessant demand of the job just don’t go together and I was left with no choice but to take early retirement in the hope that without the pressures of work my health will improve and I will be able to enjoy family life before it is too late
    Teaching is a vocation and you are so right that there is nothing like the pride you feel when you see a lightbulb moment, something I have been so privileged to see many times over 30+ years and I so wanted the end of my career to be a time of celebration but sadly I have gone out with a fizzle not a bang leaving a sour taste in my mouth – it is a very difficult job to give up. I wish you well in your family life without your job getting in the way, taking up a very spare minute.
    I feel very saddened that so many dedicated teachers are moving away from the profession – something the politicians just don’t seem to be addressing at all. I am relieved that my own children are older but worry about the education that my future grandchildren will have to endure.

  162. Fascinating read, I can see my partner (aged 27) doing the same in a few years. I already earn twice what she does for literally half the hours- and I’m not anything special, just an average guy doing 37 hours per week. Quite often I mark books or make resources so that my partner can get a few hours sleep.

    I hope your piece helps to change things for the better and that you enjoy life with your children now that you have some time to do so x

  163. Thank you so much for sharing . I work part time as a 0.5 primary teacher and have a 1 year old and a 3 year so your words really resonated with me. Good luck with your future ventures I shall follow with interest.

  164. You have very succinctly put how I feel and the reasons I left teaching in September after around 15 years. I now provide childcare before and after school, term time only. I pay no childcare of my own, work 20 hours a week and have my children to myself in the holidays and can be there for their illnesses, appointments, assemblies, etc. Plus I am only bringing in £300 a month less net than I was before.
    The teaching profession as it is now is unsustainable and populated by young single women who will stop teaching when they have families. Can the government not see the shortsightedness of this?

  165. This is exactly why university sucked the passion of teaching for me. I’ve seen so many people make these points and I saw how difficult it was to have a life during placements. I can’t even imagine that being my life. You’re right, it takes over and becomes a lifestyle choice, one which doesn’t leave time for anything else.

  166. I feel your pain. I wanted to be a Detective in the Police Force since I was 12. After 23 years in the Force I am leaving. I always thought I would do the full 30 years. But the cuts in this sector also are dramatic and devastating. I joined up to lock up the baddies and help victims of crime – that feels like a pipe dream now – I refuse to apologize on a daily basis for the ‘service’ we can now offer. My children are also getting their Mummy back! The future is in my control and it is exciting – good luck with your future too Ali xx

  167. I feel your pain. I wanted to be a Detective in the Police Force since I was 12. After 23 years in the Force I am leaving. I always thought I would do the full 30 years. But the cuts in this sector also are dramatic and devastating.

    I joined up to lock up the baddies and help victims of crime – that feels like a pipe dream now – I refuse to apologize on a daily basis for the ‘service’ we can now offer.

    My children are also getting their Mummy back! The future is in my control and it is exciting – good luck with your future too Ali xx

  168. I wish you happiness and good luck in the future. As a mum and a teacher I can completely understand the choice that you’ve made. A brilliantly written blog.

  169. As a single parent I needed to continue working and had to fight for a job share but that then helped me with my career and balancing time with my young children. Wished I could have aforded to continue when they were teenagers. I feel very sorry and concerned by so many good teachers feeling they have to leave and the job seems much more stressful now.

  170. This is a great article about teaching – as a 14 year old myself, I really enjoyed this article and agreed with your points. Would you be interested in reading a 14 year old’s (mine!) blog about finance and economics? I’m only a beginner so all shares and follows are much appreciated 🙂 The URL: shreysfinanceblog.com

  171. What are you planning on doing? I admire your choice. I knock,myself I’ll at this time every year. Havino yet again spent the first week of my break I’ll and now settling back I to planning for next term. My daughter said to me that she ‘wished I had a job with no homework, so that I wouldn’t be ill…’ GUILT is the word. I just don’t know how to get out or what to do. The last four weeks I did 60-70 hr weeks and this is not unusual. I am still not up to date. I will still get told off for not having all my paperwork and marking done.

    Just a little light entertainment so that I’m not just whinging!!

  172. this really saddens me. As a newly qualified teacher I love it and have never really experienced any of this. Perhaps it is different since I work in a Sixth Form College and its a bit more relaxed than a school but I do agree wth some. It is definitely too focussed on pupil-centred work. But in terms of the having time off for family stuff my college is really great with that sort of stuff.

  173. A very brave choice and I envy you for having the courage to take the leap! Do you mind me asking what you are going to do instead? I am an English teacher and don’t know what I could do instead of teaching – otherwise I’d leave tomorrow!! X

  174. This made me feel sad because this was me 6 years ago when my second child was born. I haven’t looked back much since then, but I am sorry & fearful for our children. Congratulations on making a brave choice that felt right for you and I’m sure will be best for your family x

  175. After 30+ years in teaching and have now left because of the pressures, I can whole heartedly agree with you. Instinct and caring mean nothing all that matters are numbers on a spreadsheet. Teaching is a vocation and all children are different and progress at different rates. They all can’t achieve the same things at the same time, if ever and until the powers that be realise this there is no hope for the children or all those teachers who just want to do their best for those who they teach. Enjoy your time with your children as I am with my grandchildren.

  176. Wow, I could have written this! What is on the horizon for you now? I wish you the best of luck and hope you can channel your experience and enthusiasm effectively elsewhere.

  177. I left primary teaching after 23 years, burnt out, ill and stressed beyond measure. I feel so much better now having time to myself (what a rarity) and my family. Sure, I have had a drop in income, but money isn’t everything. I work with children now, individually, and love it.

  178. Both my parents were teachers through the 70’s and 80 ‘s they both took ‘early retirement’ due to the constant restraints of the ‘ Powers That Be ‘ / Pupils , backed by parents , complete disregard for discipline and respect for Teachers / School in general . They could see the steady decline within the Teaching profession …….This was more than 40 years ago ! ……
    Teachers today , in my opinion , have morphed into wishy washy , pupil pandarers ,
    ( if there is such a word ) for fear of Parents and Pen Pushers telling them, how to do their job !!!
    Pupils in charge of their own learning ????? – translated means : Lack of Professional Experienced Teachers due to cut backs and red tape.

    Bring Back Good Old Fashion Discipline , Rules and Continuity . Teachers which can be Trusted and Relied upon to Teach your child to grow into responsible, well rounded adults .
    Isn’t it about time parents took responsibility ??? Things will never change until we decide to , for the next generation .

  179. Wow, this is spot on!
    I have been teaching for 4 years and I too have recently become a mother – my little girl is 16 months.
    I have been back at work for 7 months now, but also recently made the decision that I can no longer continue with the ‘lifestyle’ you mention, for exactly the same reasons.
    My family life was suffering incredibly at the cost of being a teacher. I felt overwhelmed at trying to balance being a wife, mother and teacher, so with support from my husband, took the incredibly hard decision of leaving teaching, at least in the short term.
    Thankfully, my school have been able to employ me on a fixed supply contract for just one day a week which will enable me to keep up to date with changes, policy etc. and continue to teach minus so heaps of planning and prep. Who knows if I can continue on this basis after this year, but I can agree that finally making the decision was a huge weight off my mind!
    No more stressing about planning while baby sleeps, staying up late creating resources in the hope that teething doesn’t interrupt me! No more sending my husband off with my little girl while I sit sweating over daily planning, levels, marking, sticking etc.
    A real mixture of emotions. Sadness and a feeling of failure on the one hand, relief and joy on the other.
    You make some very interesting points above. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it is so very sad that so many teachers are leaving the profession. The future of my little girls education also worries me a lot.
    Let’s hope that somebody out there reading this can make a difference to teachers lives, as we make a difference to the lives of children.

  180. I understand how you feel. I’m a T.A and I’m at school at 8am and don’t usually leave until 5pm. My normal working hours are 8.45am – 3.15pm!

  181. I too am leaving this year. I am desperately sad to see the unacceptable pressures put upon teachers. I am in my classroom at 7 am every morning and leave around 6 with one or two hours work at home preparing the next days resources or updating data since this is all that seems to matter these days. These hours and lifestyle are unsustainable. It appears the government have damaged the system almost beyond repair and need to remember that teachers are trained professionals and the reason we are there is for the children not for their endless changes and critisism. Education has lost its way and I am so pleased to be in a position to walk away because I do not want to be a part of putting children off of school which I feel is not very far away. Teaching has always been a passion for me and I never thoguht I would be walking away from it but need a better balance in my life.

  182. I’m in my fourth year of teaching now, I don’t have the demands of children at home but I honestly bow down to those teachers who have! I am really struggling and I am looking for a way out of the profession, even in just the 4 years I’ve taught ive never seen such a drastic change… And it’s so stressful. It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who is feeling overwhelmed and over worked x

  183. This makes me feel very sad but also glad that I retired from teaching, a job that I loved for all the reasons you mention. Even before I left we were working silly hours, marking every night except Fridays, working most of Sunday while the family were out . I know what you mean by family needing to come first and I wish you well in your choice. I am still sad though that another good and dedicated teacher has been lost to the profession.

  184. They are exactly reasons why I left school too! But then I set up my own private tuition business. I love one to one tuition and cannot get enough of it. I have no additional work outside of that one hour with each tutee that I see that week. I am able to draw a distinct line between work time and private time. Something that was never possible within a school environment.

  185. I’ve only been teaching two years and find myself able to not take work home after school or on the weekends, and not work ridiculously late after school (in at 7:30am, out for 5/5:30pm usually). Instead of feeling happy that I have struck a good balance, I worry like hell that I’m not doing enough, that someone will turn round and tell me to do more, do better (this is despite getting glowing Ofsted feedback on my observed lesson just two weeks ago). Even when we do right, we feel like shit about it seems to be my experience. I don’t have kids and luckily I don’t want them because I cannot imagine the extra pressure it must bring. Sorry to hear you’ve had to leave for your own sanity and family wellbeing.

  186. This is why I gave up teaching when I had middle man. I begrudged the time in the evening and weekends when I couldn’t be with my own children. I am also not convinced about the whole pupil led learning either. I have a friend who is a fantastic teacher who brings in the grades, who now always worries as she isn’t doing it right in the governments eyes!?! Personally I think that they need to look at retention far more than recruiting. I finished my PGCE 10 years ago and 5 years ago there were only a handful from my course still teaching which I imagine is even less now.

  187. Thank you!! You have just helped me describe my feelings 🙂 I have just left teaching after 10 years in the classroom for the exact same reason. I am still feeling so lost as teaching took up so much of my personal life and thoughts…
    I have a little boy who needs his mummy too xx

  188. After reading this, it’s left me sad. I did this, I left my children far too long, they think it’s normal to work 12 – 16 hrs a day. I am truly angry with myself for not seeing the senseless agenda. Please put your own children 1st and not everyone else’s. The government needs to make serious changes or education will fail children. Management of education establishments need to have an indepth knowledge of what it takes to be a grade 1 teacher. They should have a proven track record of grade 1 teaching. They should be observed as frequently as they feel the need to observe others. There should be consistency, throughout.

  189. Your words all ring true. I am in my 18th year of teaching and have watched it change so much in that time, especially in the last 5 years with the threat of Academy status hanging over your head if the school doesn’t quite make the grade, even if the progress is good based on the children’s starting point. it is only the year 6 results that count for our beloved inspectors!

  190. The school I work in now tell interview candidates that they should expect to work 12 hour days and that if they are looking for a work/life balance they are in the wrong place!

  191. Well said! And the reason I’m now doing day to day supply in Primary schools rather than teaching Science in Secondary schools. I can have the good bits of the job but take no work home so I have time to have a life. The workload now is absolutely ridiculous and unsustainable. And the more conscientious teachers will leave first because they won’t be able to cope with the stress and lack of sleep. When will our unions actually work together to make the government listen and do something about it?

  192. i totally get where you’re coming from Ali! I’m an NQT and have already handed in my notice even though I love teaching. It has just come to a point where I feel my health is suffering as I’ve been diagnosed and am taking medication for stress related anxiety and have suffered with exhaustion and this is only my first year of teaching, I am 23 and have no family so how this career can be balanced with family life I do not know! I am going to try supply as being with young people and the actual teaching side is what I want to do. It shouldn’t be that so many experienced good teachers are leaving the profession. I have been graded outstanding on numerous observations but teaching in this manner is not sustainable (as you can see from my health) and I doubt getting new people on is the answer as like me they will do those two years tealose how awful it is and hand in their notice too so they can find a job that pays more and is less demanding. You’re totally right about it being a lifestyle choice. I love teaching bit I need a balance and I can’t fully submit otherwise I think I would burn out/ go crazy!

  193. I left the DWP after 19 years, put my family into debt to achieve my teaching degree to finally follow my vocation. My husband sorted my choice. My 3 children had entered comprehensive, so I have been able to devote most of my time during the last 5 years to honing my skills.
    How bad do I feel now, to think that i have neglected my family to work,at present, 70 hours per week.
    I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I nurture my children in school, i develop the whole child… however I also become social worker, school nurse, counsellor to my parents, data analyst for my Head, team leader for my TA’s, liaison officer for outside agency meetings – for which there are many … the list goes on and on. ..that’s without retraining constantly with every new scheme of work and change of Head we’ve had to endure…oh ancient make the resources to go with these new schemes because in Wales we do not have nearly as much funding, consequently we can’t afford to buy complete schemes of anything !
    In spite of all this, I love teaching and feel I am making a passive difference to children’s lives. ..if teaching was just planning teaching and assessment, then I could cope…but the expectation on us to so much other paperwork, which which frankly, asking me to provide evidence for everything we do, for every child, is benefitting who ???
    Not my children.
    This amount of paperwork was not required in the past. A teacher’s professional judgement stood for something. Good teachers can “tell” you where every child is in her class.
    Are all these changes producing brighter children?
    Whatever data they manipulate, we all know that they are not.
    So, if I could afford to leave teaching, guilt ridden, I would.
    I am going to burn out soon.
    Unlike most other teachers I have worked elsewhere…
    The amount of work that we have to complete at home would not be tolerated in any other industry.
    I come home around 6, having been in with since just before 8 am.
    I make tea and and do a little housework, then fire up the laptop to work until at least 11pm and on the weekends.
    What sort of life is this? My sons say they would never teach.
    My husband is annoyed by the amount of work I do….including creating role play areas, replenishing resources and tidying in my holidays.
    My sons and my husband used to come to school to help me build areas of role play etc…
    They resent the place now and rarely come into school.

    So many dedicated teachers are leaving or near exhaustion.
    I keep hoping for change. I challenge why we are doing these things. ..you stop. Nothing changes. .. I do not have the energy to fight the system.

    I changed my life and my families, to follow my dream.
    I could not work harder. I feel privileged to develop all children to become the best they can be…for how much longer … I do not know.

    • I left the DWP after 19 years, put my family into debt to achieve my teaching degree to finally follow my vocation. My husband sorted my choice. My 3 children had entered comprehensive, so I have been able to devote most of my time during the last 5 years to honing my skills.
      How bad do I feel now, to think that i have neglected my family to work,at present, 70 hours per week.
      I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I nurture my children in school, i develop the whole child… however I also become social worker, school nurse, counsellor to my parents, data analyst for my Head, team leader for my TA’s, liaison officer for outside agency meetings – for which there are many … the list goes on and on. ..that’s without retraining constantly with every new scheme of work and change of Head we’ve had to endure…oh ancient make the resources to go with these new schemes because in Wales we do not have nearly as much funding, consequently we can’t afford to buy complete schemes of anything !
      In spite of all this, I love teaching and feel I am making a passive difference to children’s lives. ..if teaching was just planning teaching and assessment, then I could cope…but the expectation on us to so much other paperwork, which which frankly, asking me to provide evidence for everything we do, for every child, is benefitting who ???
      Not my children.
      This amount of paperwork was not required in the past. A teacher’s professional judgement stood for something. Good teachers can “tell” you where every child is in her class.
      Are all these changes producing brighter children?
      Whatever data they manipulate, we all know that they are not.
      So, if I could afford to leave teaching, guilt ridden, I would.
      I am going to burn out soon.
      Unlike most other teachers I have worked elsewhere…
      The amount of work that we have to complete at home would not be tolerated in any other industry.
      I come home around 6, having been in with since just before 8 am.
      I make tea and and do a little housework, then fire up the laptop to work until at least 11pm and on the weekends.
      What sort of life is this? My sons say they would never teach.
      My husband is annoyed by the amount of work I do….including creating role play areas, replenishing resources and tidying in my holidays.
      My sons and my husband used to come to school to help me build areas of role play etc…
      They resent the place now and rarely come into school.

      So many dedicated teachers are leaving or near exhaustion.
      I keep hoping for change. I challenge why we are doing these things. ..you stop. Nothing changes. .. I do not have the energy to fight the system.

      I changed my life and my families, to follow my dream.
      I could not work harder. I feel privileged to develop all children to become the best they can be…for how much longer … I do not know.

      Predicta text@!! Positive not passive
      supported not sorted

  194. There is already concern that older experienced and expensive teachers (ie over 50) are being targeted by unscrupulous headteachers who can find competency issues and so get rid of them. Teachers now have to work until they are 67 but how many will be allowed to continue to that age? They can be replaced by untrained youngsters who will leave fairly soon.

  195. I have just been sent your link on Facebook to read & holy moly, I am nearly in tears! What you have written is EXACTLY how I feel about the job I use to adore…..before it all changed. It is school holidays & I was up til midnight last night desperately typing up my ‘P & D’ plan / reflections….whatever so it could be emailed to my reviewers today! YES, IN HOLIDAYS!! 🙁 I left my children in their beds last night saying….’if you get straight to sleep & I can get my work done, then we will do something fun tomorrow’!! Is that blackmail….stress or ???? CRAZY!! IT’S HOLIDAYS! Often I come home after a hectic day teaching & say to my husband….’can I become a check out chick…pleeeeease’??!! Sadly this comment is heard too often in our household these days! Happy Holidays everyone! 🙂

  196. As a div 1 RN I can relate to much of your dilemma . Back in 1966 we were told that our 1st priority was the hospital .! I would have hoped that teaching had moved on from then! My son hates his wife’s teaching . She works ridiculous hours and has no time for family life as well as being in physical danger from her primary school pupils !

  197. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you. I am a primary school teacher in Australia. This is my fifth year of teaching and whilst I don’t as of yet have children of my own, I am currently in the same predicament as you. How can I possibly give so much of myself to teaching and leave nothing of the ‘good me’ for the ones I love so much. I believe something has to give, I’m not happy to do a half hearted job of teaching nor be half the person at home. Thank you for helping me see I’m not the only person feeling this way and that it is not just in my state or even country that teachers are feeling the burn. – Pru

  198. Well said, although teaching will be all the poorer for losing yet another dedicated professional.
    Teaching is no longer about widening a child’s horizons, or helping them to achieve their potential, it is about using them to prove a school’s status in league tables.
    Teachers’ professional judgements are questioned at every step, a class teacher not being trusted to assess progress without copious paperwork to prove attainment, boxes are ticked, curriculum requirements change like the weather, new systems introduced for tests, targets and predictions, but when does the actual teaching take place?
    Sadly I had to leave the profession a few years back due to ill health, and although I miss it so much, I know that I could never be happy teaching in the current climate where teachers are paid by results, and the majority of a class is expected to be ‘above average’ in SATs and assessments!

  199. Teacher-led lessons aren’t necessarily the most effective, and research has proven this. The modern-day teacher is a facilitator in student learning. Students need space to explore and learn independently in order to thrive. Kids aren’t all the same and each will work better with a different teaching style. Pedagogy focused around self-paced, personalised learning caters for this.

    Every industry experiences change and innovation. Those who are successful are open to change and take advantage of new opportunities. Your role as a teacher has morphed into something different. The most successful Governments and societies are those that embrace change and innovation. Just because something has worked in the past, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon.

    I teach in one of the largest and busiest schools in my area and the workload is nothing close to what it was like when I worked in the private business sector. There are many industries with equally as demanding roles.

    As depressing as it sounds, this is now life in a 21st century, developed/industrial nation. The work-life balance complaints you are making are not in any way limited to teaching. You aren’t as bad off as you think – chin up 🙂

  200. I live in NZ and have left the profession too, for similar reasons. All the best Ali, wherever your journey takes you.

  201. I totally agree! This is the reason I work as a relief ( supply) teacher here in NZ. I now enjoy my entire weekend, and walk in at 830 and out at 315! I can put my energy into my children and have time to talk to my husband!

  202. I hear you Ali! I am a lifestyle teacher of 26 years – 12 in the UK and 14 in NZ. I love teaching and in fact, I’m not too worried about making kids more accountable for their learning and relinquishing some of the control in the classroom – the paradigm shift in pedagogy has made me a far better teacher. I am a senior manager – not for much longer, I am walking away to get a life teaching in a small, family run kindergarten in Oz. I didn’t even have kids of my own – far too busy teaching! Sue:)

  203. Sadly this mirrors my own story too, except I waited until I had completely burnt out before leaving. I am now in my second year of not teaching at all, and I can say I am only now starting to ‘mend’. Do you know what my son did and said when I told him I was leaving? He gave me a big hug and said ‘thank you’. He was 14 when I left and become used to being second-best to the job I gave all my time, patience, attention and energies to. I now look on, and can see the tiredness and stress in teachers eyes every where and hope for good change to happen; soon. Well done for making a positive change for you and your family. Life is too precious and needs to be nurtured and cherished xx

  204. I teach in Scotland, but the story is the same. So much pointless paperwork. In your situation I was fortunate to be able to do job share. Now that my children are grown up I am full time but now I have a frail and elderly mum to care for and feel the strain of trying to give her the time she needs. The big kick in the teeth is that I am now expected to do this job until I am 66. no chance! I can’t afford to take early retirement because I wont get a full teacher’s pension because I chose job sharing so that I could spend time with my own children.

    Teaching has lost a great teacher by letting you down. I don’t know you but sense your passion for teaching.

    I hope somebody who can change things reads your blog

  205. I wish you great times Ali with your own children and family. I taught for 38 years and was pushed out by a new bullying headteacher. Life away from school is wonderful. Best wishes to you and your family. Terryx

  206. I managed 3 months before realising nothing was going to change and I would never have a life if I kept teaching as a career. I am now earning almost one quarter of my previous wage and yet I am ten times happier. The sad thing is that when I tell people how much happier I am they always assume it was the children I couldn’t handle and not the crippling 35+ hours a week I worked outside of school time.

  207. I worry that the only people who will be left in teaching have a completely different philosphy to you… people who don’t see an issue with a tick-box education system and don’t understand the importance of family… I don’t want teachers like this teaching my kids – I want teachers like you teaching my kids…

  208. Ali, I understand your position completely. Although I have only been in the game for 5 years I have seen a huge shift. I have seen strong and experienced staff stressed and unhappy and completely burnt out. I too have left the classroom for very similar reasons and I am working towards helping our fellow teachers enjoy a “balanced” lifestyle. I think your very brave, and I wish you all the best on your new adventures.

  209. This could have been written by me! After 10 years as a primary teacher I’ve just finished a part time post, my girls are 2 and 5 and I found I was working 4 nights a week for my 2 days teaching and often at weekends as well. I made the decision to quit and pursue other options to get my life back. However now I’m stuck…I’m not sure what else I’m actually qualified for or even where to start looking! It’d be great to hear from people like yourself who have left the profession we love and found fulfilling jobs elsewhere.

  210. My husband and I are expecting our first child in September and I’m considering my choices. If you don’t mind me asking, what are you doing instead? My main concern is not earning enough money if I leave. Good luck x

  211. Dear Ali, three of my friends have shared this on my facebook feed. It has been a fantastic read at a point where I am also struggling with teaching. I am an NQT, I love working with kids, this is basically all I’ve dreamt of doing for years but after two terms my full timetable is quickly approaching and I’m not sure how I’m going to cope come September with work load. I am already considering taking some time out from the profession because just like you although I love interactions with pupils I cannot sustain the stressful and tired lifestyle that I lead because it doesnt really allow for much development in my social life or leisure pursuits. A lot of my department are tired of the teaching profession and after so much training to get to where I am now I feel like I should give it more of a try. It is so good to know that other people feel the same and I know there’s a high number of people leaving teaching in the first five years and as much as I wanted me not to be included in that number I feel that its inevitable. I take the point of the other commentor about other jobs being stressful with long hours but teachers are very underpaid (fellow NQTs have moved back home just to be able to survive) and underappreciated.
    Thank you Ali, this was a brilliant article

  212. So true, I’ve been teaching for 20 years and I now have a 2 year old and another due in June, this job is totally unmanageable. I believe the powers that be need to spent just a week in our lives to truly understand this. Well said.

  213. I too left teaching at Easter in 2012, feeling guilty that I couldn’t complete the year. But I honestly think that I would have had a nervous breakdown if I hadn’t (I was possibly in the middle of one at the time). I was an early years teacher and felt that I could no longer nurture the children in their first months of schooling, but was pressuring them to make expected progress and hit targets without actually be able to “teach” them. They were expected to explore and find their own learning, while I recorded it all in minutest detail. When the children played schools they walked around with clipboards and cameras. The Head’s way of dealing with staff stress was to put us on capability measures one by one, and one by one we left the school or profession. We also lost some excellent Governors. I decided that we had enough savings for 2 years mortgage payments, so I had to leave to protect myself and my family. We have now become a fostering family which almost gives me the same ‘salary’. I still have a positive impact on children’s lives – just two at a time instead of thirty. My own children no longer see me crying at the dinner table, and my husband no longer treads on eggshells around me. Becoming a teacher was my dream job come true, but leaving it was the best thing I have done since.

  214. After years of refusal to follow my instinct and quit, years feeling guilty not to be available to my loved ones once home but grumpy, planning and marking, after years giving so much to other people’s children and so little to mine, after finally losing my mariage and all those years…I’m quitting for good in July, hoping to rebuilt a life/work balance, somehow. Hard learnt lesson and well done you not to have left it too late!

  215. What I don’t understand is why teachers leave instead of making a stand. Refuse to hand in detailed plans. Buy some off the internet or write them up quickly by hand in note form. Set kids off on an activity in the afternoon where they are researching or writing/drawing to do some marking. Make maths self marking. Moan to the management if you’re unhappy with something. Last resort is tell your Union. Yes I know we are told not to do this but I believe in making my job manageable and I want to keep my job! If I’m “forced” to leave because I am a trouble maker then at least I’ve tried to be heard.

  216. Ali , and all the others who choose to leave teaching. I applaud your brave decision.
    I worked as a teaching assistant for man years, in both seondary, and primary education.
    Over the years i have seen how the system had changed,and ground down the spirits of many wonderful teachers.
    i have been privileged to work alongside some of thee most brilliantly minded teachers. Of whom over the years despondancy has set in.
    I too have now left working in the education system, too pursue my dreams.
    I was heartbroken at tne decision. As i truly loved the job.
    It was just, like teachers. Teaching assistants were getting asked to do more and more.Way beyond what i thought was relevant and helpful too the good of the childrens education.
    So more of my time was taken away to do paper work, and not as much time spent where i thought was more valuable. Somthe ones that suffered were the children.
    This disheartened me greatly, as i could see the children were suffering.
    I always swore tne day i stopped caring, and the dreaded despondancy rot set in, was the day i would leave.
    So i did leave and boy was it the best thing ever. I shed the cloak of opression and despondancy it left me with. I learned to live again.
    I have become the carefree person i used to be. I look back on departure from the education system, and think my on,y regret is i did not do it sooner.
    So if anyone else is thinking of doing the same, my advice woukd be go for it. Life is too short. Go out there, Do the things you always wanted, live your dreams. Most of all be happy. X x x x

  217. It sounds much the same as the Australian Education department. It’s such a bad time for our children to be going through the system. Lets cross out fingers that someone in the high paid offices of government and departments come the their senses and start making decisions to make positive change. Even better, lets have the experienced, classroom teachers make some decisions on our children’s behalf.

  218. I’m a teacher in Australia, and i only work 3 days a week now. Teaching is insane, the expectations are impossible and the lack of support is extraordinary. I will never go back to full time.

    • I am also a teacher in Australia and on top of the crazy work load I also spend 3 hours traveling a day, due to being appointed to a school straight out of uni. I am in the process of a transfer but have been told by many people it is almost impossible (could take 10 years) to transfer to where I live due to high demand. I now too, only work 3 days a week. No kids, just more manageable. If I can, I get casual work on the other 2 days in schools a lot closer to home, anything I can get I see as a bonus. I hear friends in school saying this exact same thing. We are all wondering what we can do instead.

  219. I’ve had the feeling of being a square peg in a round hole. I love teaching and the natural experience of engaging children in understanding. But, when I start a lesson I see 30 individual children, not a class of children to be processed. It is the individual attention that I have given students that has led them to grow to be head teachers, performers, composers, gifted musicians. A generic methodology of facilitating the learning of a large class of children of mixed gender, interest, experience and background will just not be reflected in a new generation of artists and individual thinkers. My spontenaiety has been stripped bare and it is my desire to leave the profession of secondary teaching after 15 years.

  220. Good luck Ali. What you have written is so true and it is a shocking tragedy of our times. Enjoy your new found time with your family xx

  221. Hi Ali,

    Such a shame that the profession is losing great people. I felt exactly the same as you 2 years ago, enough was enough!
    I took a gamble and moved south from the north west to a private school and I’ve never looked back! It’s like going back in time (in a good way).
    The students are wonderful and morale is high. There are pressures but nothing unrealistic! We are valued and students and parents appreciate our efforts. Something to consider rather than leaving a profession you love!

  222. can so totally relate to your article, it is EXACTLY how I feel. I myself have begun to feel resentful over how much effort and worry I am making about other people’s children when my own are so neglected. My children are 8 and 4. I am hoping to go part time in September to see if this will help. May I ask what you are going to do next?

  223. It’s 4 years since I completed my training, I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was 7. I am single, have no children. I worked in England and abroad, but I’ve now left teaching because it gave me clinical depression. I was so ill I was sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night and working almost constantly, but always felt like I was failing the children in my care. I probably wasn’t but couldn’t see past the endless targets that I was so worried I’d never meet. The last week I worked before being signed off sick was a joy – arts week, we went off timetable, made clay sculptures, painted, did music, and a bit of fact finding about artists. The children loved it and i’m so glad that’s my last in school memory. I resigned in January, I’m looking for other jobs and i’m not ready to go into supply, although I think I’d like to eventually.

    Well done for making the brave choice of putting your family first.

  224. I read your article and I felt so sad. That we are losing so many brilliant teachers due to these unrealistic demands as you quite rightly write about. Along with lack of resources and support, it really worries me were this will all end.

  225. And this is exactly one of the reasons i cannot start my teacher training yet, or why i am second guessing if i should just be a teaching assistant or train and be a supply teacher. It really is something to think about. I can’t even imagine the workload, on top of having your own children. Good luck with your new chapter. Tanita x

  226. I’m done with teaching too – left 10 years ago and never regretted it for one minute! Now I’m a self employed aromatherapist and do a job that really DOES fit around my family. 🙂

  227. I’m a music teacher in the States who’s left what I see as the ruins of public education there, at least for now; the career I was called to is barely recognizable. I’m lucky that I can parlay my skills into teaching music privately and through other outlets (Early Childhood music is my new passion). There is a mass exodus of teachers in the States as well as corporate reform takes over here.

    Thanks for your post; I hope you find something equally satisfying and nourishing. 🙂

  228. Good for you! I am in the same profession and have been looking to move on because of every reason you’ve outlined above and the fact that, at the age of 41, life is passing me by as I spend every waking moment sitting at my desk or too exhausted to do anything else. Unfortunately, being on my own with a mortgage to pay, I cannot find a way out – I have been put completely off teaching and that rewarding feeling has been replaced with fear of failure on a daily basis. I would like a total career change – but what can I do that will pay the mortgage….? In the meantime, I grin and bear it….

  229. Totally agree with you. I managed 41 years in the classroom 25 of which were fantastic. Then teaching became a political football run by people with no idea about inspiring children from very poor backgrounds. All they could see was a view from a privileged upbringing and education in our top public schools. You must be able to adapt teacher to the children in front of you.

  230. I was one of those teachers, trained in the sixties when there was no curriculum! I loved the job and loved following the children’s stories. Yes I was able to listen to Christopher’s story about seeing the animals on his uncle’s farm and discuss it and find books on farm animals to read, then write about Christopher’s experience. Next day we would visit a farm ( no health and safety then) and see those animals. Someone noticed that the animals had different feet from dogs and cats so off we went on that tangent! Drawings and paintings followed with collages etc. We compared farm impliments from long ago. The children realized where their food came from especially when we saw a field of wheat and followed that up with visits to a bakery. That was a special time ruined by the National Curriculum. AND I saw lots of my children!

  231. I have also left the teaching profession and have reignited my passion for helping others by starting my own online network marketing business. I now coach and train others in how to begin and grow their own business too and have found my teaching skills have come in very handy for this. I’m making more in a month than I ever did as a teacher with less than half the hours!!!! While I always miss the children and watching them unlock the potential inside, it is such a relief to say goodbye to all the bureaucracy!!!

  232. Very we’ll put! I work teaching French at four primary schools and am often asked if I will return to a full-time teaching role. I COULD certainly return to the job I left 14 years ago. It was lovely! BUT I see that my old job no longer exists. The freedom we enjoyed has long gone and the Big Brother pressure put on teachers and young children alike, is all just too much! The young teachers I see surviving do not have the same personality that I remember. The are more career-driven, rather than simply loving being with the children. For them teaching is not their vocation. They enjoy the statistics and the opportunity to promote their successes. I have seen four fantastic, kind, caring, enthusiastic, energetic and passionate young teachers leave within a few years, due to stress put upon them from above and from parents. Like you, it worries me what type of teacher my own children will face in the future. Or Perhaps I just see the past through rose- tinted spectacles?

  233. Your story touched my heart and if you replace the word teaching for nursing that’s my story too. And I’ve missed my children growing up.

    • Liz, I have missed my children’s growing up too, I understand your sentiment. I am a teacher.
      The face of teaching has changed unrecognisably in the passed 27 years. The basic tenets of education will never change, but the whole approach in the classroom now is dominated by data, targets, and deadlines and then some.
      Arriving at work by 7:30am and leaving most times at 6:30pm is commonplace. Very little in the way of recognition for a job well done comes your way; the demands of parents are made paramount; budgets are cut to the quick; and more and more responsibility which should be that of parents, are put onto the over-burdened shoulders of teachers. I too am saddened by all this, and I feel deeply sympathetic for the NQT’s who come into school full of enthusiasm matched by a positive outlook. After the first term, their tired faces reflect yours as they go through the motions day after day. I am disillusioned too.

  234. A very well-written piece and echos my own sentiments….hence I am now a supply teacher, who, being able to undertake both primary and secondary assignments, is very much in demand, and have work placements queuing up for me in advance by my agency. No, I don’t get paid for the school holidays…..thereby reducing my “in full-time employment” salary by a quarter every year…..but yes, I DO have every weekend and every school holiday at MY disposal (not always weekday evenings if I am on a long-term placement as I do have to plan lessons for those), and I have the opportunity to be stress-free and enjoy life. My “pay cut” falls into insignificance when I consider how much more relaxed I feel about not having to attend meetings, meet targets, input data and spend hour upon hour of what seems like endless marking. Good luck Ali!

    • Hi BBI, this is something I’m contemplating in the next 18 months. Lots of soul searching being done at the moment, as it means my husband and I have to sell the house and move in to my parents’ vacant house and rent at a low rent value. It’s gutting to have to do, but after many, many nights and weekends of exhaustion, tears, guilt, feeling pulled in different directions (not by hubby, he’s the embodiment of the supportive partner), I think it’s time. What you’ve said is another nail in the coffin for me as far as a full time teaching job is concerned, but perhaps a silver lining in putting wellbeing first.

  235. It’s such a shame when longstanding practitioners as yourself feel it’s time to leave. All that experience and talent is now out of our teaching pool.
    I emphatically agree with a few points I.e. Having to prove salary and the use of family time is a bug bear with myself as well.
    However, I do like the fact students should be self led and that leaves us open to guide and focus on the students with more issues understanding the curriculum. In our school it’s created self reliant and independent young people. This in turn stops the parents from becoming aggressive when their young person isn’t achieving.
    I’m surprised you’ve overlooked the backdoor privitisation of our education system has that has a major bearing in why education has changed over the past 10 years.
    I wish you well with what you will go.on to do and no doubt achieve
    “May the odds forever be in your favour.”

  236. I’m with you. Ten years in and I love my job but I also love my life and it isn’t possible to maintain both as things are. I am firstly going to try and find a school that shares those values- do they exist? Are there schools that are not so fixated on being measured ‘outstanding’ and rather just ARE in their management practices towards staff and student wellbeing?
    I think that leaving the job is the only way we can all stand up for what we believe in. Let’s hope it’s heard.
    Good luck everyone!

  237. Having a daughter and son-in-law in the teaching profession in England (alas, I am in Canada), I hear all the fall out of what is going on in this honourable profession! I too worry about my grandchildren missing that oh so important quality/quantity time spent with their parents. It’s unfortunate that due to the pressures of society today, both parents need to work just to get by…I was fortunate when I was raising our children that I could stay home with them in their formative years and believe that time spent with them paid off three fold. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of the fine, responsible adults they are, and even prouder of what wonderful parents they are for my grandchildren. I only wish they had more time to experience those moments of wonder when their children are growing and all the accomplishments they achieve and be present for each and every one! The government and all those so called experts need to stop making guinea pigs out of the children in the classrooms today ( both here in Canada and Britain) and let the teachers do their job… TEACH… AND leave the administrative work to those trained to do THAT job! The old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”!

  238. So sad and true. It’s a shame we have to give up creativity and imagination for data sheets. Out of interest, what will you be doing in the future? All the best.

  239. You are a brave woman Ali. I consider daily leaving the job. I know all careers change and new demands are presented, but with teaching , these demand increases have such a huge impact, professionally and personally. One should live with a teacher to see it. My husband often says this and is himself a university lecturer. My kids have suffered because of my nightly deadlines. It is very much a lifestyle choice. I lay there at night dreaming of new ways to pay the mortgage, but am “stuck” for now.. Hopefully you can now have a healthier balance and make your most important job of all your priority. I will continue to work on my Plan B in order to do the same.

  240. Sadly this is happening to many people these days and . Not just teachers. Nurses, doctors, fire crews, Ambulance crews, midwives and the list goes on. We are losing all the skilled and highly trained people due to impossible restrictions, workloads and meddling by the government causing stres, illness and finally resentment. Individuals can only take so much and will eventually give in to a healthier life style.

  241. I think many of the qualities of a good teacher can not be catalogued or tick boxed but develops over time with experience and nurturing from other teachers. Paperwork does not an education system make

  242. What a brilliant report on the teaching situation of today. I am a retired classroom teacher of 37 years. Retired thankfully because in last 5 years the profession has become impossible! Performance management, target setting, safeguarding and behaviour issues have taken over!! The fun and enjoyment of teaching has gone but hopefully when sense prevails it will return.

  243. I’ve always enjoyed working with children, I’ve worked at childrens clubs, events and as a Cub Scout leader – I volunteered in a school for half a year to look into being a teacher and applied for a few classroom assistant roles.

    Mum was a teacher in the 70’s & early 80’s, leaving when she had her second son (me) but carrying on doing supply and she talked me out of going straight into teaching saying it wasn’t the job it had been.

    The one thing that puts me off is the paperwork surrounding the job, no issues with lesson planning and marking but not to justify every little thing (got a taste of this in interview prep for TA)

    The exact reason you’re leaving the profession is the same reason I have stopped myself from starting…

    All the best whatever you find yourself doing

  244. Sadly this is exactly why I took early retirement and left teaching 9 years ago, and why I have just said ‘No more supply’, either. A whole day preparing for a mornings teaching, then an hour writing notes on children’s achievements, followed by marking all the work, is just not how I want to spend my time any more. I am already missing the time with the children, and have just returned from a day at the Leisure Centre where I was teaching practical crafts to the instructors’ children, as parents holidays don’t usually work with school terms! Yes I had to prepare materials etc, but no lesson plans, marking or note writing. Wonderful!

  245. I am in a similar position to you – that my life has been taken over by the job. Life and marriage both suffer and there must be more to both than what I currently experience. Fairly demoralised after 1) Head teacher (who retired at Christmas) was not interested in Early years – ‘they get to play at playtime…’ and 2) Head teacher (who covered for a term before pemenant one could take up post) said ‘I see EY units as running themselves… Neither showed interest or desire to understand how these little but VERY important members of their school worked/ played/ learnt/ developed. Neither came near the room and I ended up writing a newsletter (primarily for parents) which was forced upon both so they knew what was going on. I put my heart and soul into my job. No children – possibly as a consequence of previous comment, very little sleep most nights, people who have NO IDEA about the job – if you are in industry NOW who helped get you there? And the holidays…..well I’m not going to get worked up about that one because anyone who does the job properly DOES NOT get what others think they do.(as their families will be only too aware). I feel guilty to say that I would not recommend the profession to anyone and can totally understand why so many are leaving. So, rant over, off to find some chocolate before I start plans for next week, completing Learning journey books and I’ll quit while I’m ahead before I start on testing for 4 year olds

  246. I can completely empathise with every word. Leaving my teaching post of 16 years broke my heart, but I had to prioritise my own children. Teaching is now about producing robots – children are often exhausted and broken after their time at school, due to the pressures on them to perform. Children should look back with found memories of school but educational reform currently stands in the way of their true enjoyment of school and learning. I miss teaching but not the unrealiatic demands on my family’s precious time. Good luck for your future endeavours.

  247. I am so envious of you! I am a teacher with 3 children – two in secondary school and a 1 year old. I have grown to hate the job that I wanted so much to love. I was working as a nursery nurse part time when my older two were small but teaching full time this time is getting harder by the day! Sitting in a staff meeting after school while the rest of my family enjoyed my little ones first birthday made me feel so sad and made me realise that I am putting other people’s children before my own. That’s not how it’s meant to be is it? I just don’t know how to manage financially.

  248. Well said Ali. I came to the decision several years ago that it is a job and not my life. If I do not get everything done in time, tough.

  249. I wouldn’t worry about who will be teaching your children. Home educate. There are lots of resources and support. I didn’t, but if I had little ones now, I almost certainly would. Too many tests, too young. It’s not education it’s testing testing testing. I had an August baby. How could he ‘perform’ as well as a class mate a year old than him? At 4?

  250. I have never seen more stressed professionals than teachers. Being a teaching assistant, I see the impact a stressed teacher has on the pupils and support staff. I don’t blame them for leaving the profession, which is a complete tragedy. Where is the future of our educational system?

  251. I fully agree with what you have written and feel very similar emotions. I have left UK teaching and never wish to return. I am now living and teaching outside of UK and will continue for as long as the system stays about the kids, not hoop jumping for the sake of being untrusted and driven by unrealistic targets set by people that have no clue!

  252. I’ve worked hard to become a teacher for many years but when I found out I was having my third child, whilst in my NQT year I knew I couldn’t carry on teaching and be the Mum I want to be to my children. So, for now I’m childminding to pay the bills so I can mother my daughter through her early years. Some might think what a waste, but my children will always come first. I will return to teaching one day in the not too distant future but I’ve no idea how I will manage to retain a healthy balance between work and home. Fingers crossed things change soon…..

  253. I started teaching in 1976 in Australia.. And sadly I’ve seen and felt the same here… I retired four years ago, with very satisfied memories. It makes me very sad for the children in schools now around the world.., that they are missing out on the great teachers like yourself… But our own families are our priority ….great decision

  254. And that is why I left teaching. I was born to teach and originally found a satisfaction in the job that surprised and delighted. But yes, as you so clearly outlined, it became all about student-led learning and I began to disappear. The pilot light went out, just like that. I do not regret leaving though and I am pleased to say that some of my ex students demonstrate great respect and warmth when I see them around town. I did my best and touched the lives of more than a few. That is enough for me now.

  255. I agree with your whole blog. I took early retirement last July after teaching for 31 years and now work in a garden centre. I love having my evenings and weekends to myself and have shed the stress and angst – bliss! You have definitely made the right decision, your own children are your true priority, but teachers shouldn’t have to make this difficult decision – the job is all encompassing!!

  256. Ali, although I live “across the pond” from you, I can absolutely relate and I have yet to even land a teaching job. I chose to go back to teaching as a mature student and was fortunate enough in our school system to be hired onto the supply list which is incredibly difficult to do here given the lack of jobs. I am more then happy with 3 children to have the flexibility to do just that – empower children on a daily basis when it fits into my life and not fitting my life into my job. Since starting to supply , I have also started a part time business that includes educating others so ultimately have the best of both worlds! I support your decision, a very difficult one I know and I 100% understand your reasons WHY and the best decision you made for you and your growing family. Kudos to you. Much success in your future endeavors.

  257. Ali, well done on so many fantastic replies! When I replied earlier, I must have ticked a box to receive follow-up comments on the post. I can’t find out how to untick this. I have loved reading lots of the support you are getting but my phone keeps pinging away and it’s driving us nuts! Any tips on how to stop them coming? Thanks.

    • Oh no!! Bless you, I don’t know!!! So sorry, it must be driving you crazy! I can’t believe how many comments there are! Can you see your original reply? Is there a box to untick for follow up comments?! X

      • Thanks Ali, have tried but can’t seem to find anything to do it! Don’t worry, will just hide my phone somewhere until the pinging dies down! Can’t believe the response you’ve had – and also very sad that there are so many people who feel the same way. I would love to put a similar entry on my blog and got close to it at the weekend, but as I only left my job last week and will need a reference from my head, I feel I can’t jeopardise things.
        I feel desperately sad to leave the kids but my sanity, health and my family need to come first. I love the actual teaching, and being with the kids, I just don’t love what the job has become. But I am hoping to do supply for now, while I sort out the future. The mortgage still needs to be paid!

        • Bless you, sorry for the constant pinging! It surely has to die down soon! I left on Thursday it still seems so soon, the start of next term will be strange when I don’t go back. I’m off to follow your blog, lovely lady! Chat soon xx

    • Check your inbox, I received an email from my life.my love with a link to the Subscription page through WordPress…..if you can search for the email you can then change your subscription settings. Hope this helps! 🙂

  258. Hi Ali

    Well said I’m not a teacher but an Early Years Professional and manager of a nursery. I often meet with primary school teachers in Leeds who express many if your frustrations and we ourselves in the early years are constantly being asked to monitor and measure progress with ever changing frameworks. In the 19 years I have trained and worked in this field I have had so many changes under the two governments that have been in power that it makes your head spin. I myself have considered teaching especially when my children are all of school age however the polatics behind has put me off. I believe that children should enjoy what they are being taught and that learning should be fun as well as informative and only a good teacher can bring that learning to life. Anyone can read from a text book but to make a subject jump out at children takes experience and enthusiasm. A teacher who is overworked I can see how they would loose such enthusiasm.
    In leeds we use a mixture of child initiated and adult led learning and I have to say this has been the most effective way I have found to keep not only children but parents and practitioners interested. Some schools are using this way of teaching more and I have seen some very effective examples it’s just adult and shame that all schools can not follow this method as well as the government see how this way of teaching is so effective. Let’s be honest we are placing our children into an education system that our children are too young for especially our boys when you look at European countries who’s children don’t enter formal education unil they are 7 and achieve better results at the end of their education. Let our children be children and leave sitting behind a desk until they are developmentally ready. Like you say all children learn at different rates and have different learning styles so a one teach method is never going to work for all. Sorry rant over, but I wish you all the best in your future fingers crossed the powers that be will start listening to the many who are walking away from such a vital profession.

  259. I was a teacher for 18 years and left feeling the same as you. At the start of my career, I was once told by an Ofsted inspector that I was a ‘square peg in a square hole’. Two years ago I was annihilated by a local inspection team to the extent that I thought ‘I am still that square peg, but the shape of the hole has changed out of all recognition!’ So, I left. I haven’t looked back. I love my new part time role in higher education, I see my own kids to school and home again, and I have wonderful memories of children I have taught in the past. They still call out to me when I see them, even if they are all grown up or some still in the local school. Enjoy your new freedom! X

  260. I am in the pit with you.

    This post could not have come at a better time. My husband is keen to see me out of teaching as he feels my stress levels, health, and our relationship have taken a turn for the worse since I returned to teaching three and a half years ago after postgraduate study. Seven years teaching and I’m tempted to follow his advice and find a desk job I can leave behind on weekends so I can do things like go to the gym and walk my dog and play a sport and actually see my friends without feeling guilty because there is prep or PD or data to be attended to.

    Wishing you all the best – I really hope you find something that satisfies you vocationally!

    • I read your comment and completely relate to you. I left teaching at the end of the last academic year after 7 years teaching. I genuinely loved my job when I graduated but it became more and more unmanageable . The day I handed my notice in I felt such relief, it was like a I was a couple of stones lighter!

      My husband and I were worried about money (as I was the main bread winner) but decided my health and mental well being had to come first. My confidence was so low when I left I didn’t think I’d find another job that I could do. I did supply initially until I found a new job, it’s completely different to teaching but I love it. It’s mentally challenging yet I leave my job where it should be…at work! I now work flexible hours and go home at the end of the day with my job done. It’s less money than I was on before but I get time back and I can’t put a price on that.

      Good luck with whatever you decide to do, there is a life outside the classroom!

  261. I couldn’t agree more! I left teaching 13 years ago when I could feel the way it was going and didn’t like it. I love teaching the students – thats not the problem – its all the other BS that goes with it. All the good teachers are leaving, left, stressed to the max or depressed. All the teachers that don’t really give a damn remain. Sad for the kids, the ultimate losers.

  262. Dear Ali, Thank you, most sincerely for your post. I was a “senior experienced teacher” in QLD Australia, before I left my job in 2013. I have not spent 1 waking hour since then without regretting leaving a job that I loved and was good at ( my classes continually on art awards). I now find myself, as you so rightly said, at a distinct disadvantage because of my 30 years experience as a full time classroom teacher. I am struggling to be employed as a casual, new graduates are so much cheaper to hire. I am a highly creative person / teacher and this creativity was simply not appreciated by the administration team; even though my standardised testing data was continually also among the highest in the school. I still feel as emotionally exhausted as when I left my job. Creativity and right brain thinking,was simply not wanted by the department; even though it is what the students/ parents wanted and what the world at large needs more of. The data driven, left brained curriculum is causing such damage to our students and the world they will inherit. Thank you to everyone else who has posted here, you make me feel less alone.

  263. Hi Ali, I am a teacher in Australia and sadly we have the same situation here. Way too much testing and “student centred” learning where they must have “choice and voice” in what they learn! Our professional knowledge seems unimportant to the government of the day – it is all about meeting targets and outcomes. I feel very jaded by it all and consider giving up the job I love on a regular basis. I hope you will find a way to meet your financial commitments and that you get to enjoy your own children. You have made the right choice! They are only young once and for a short time, be there for them, you will never regret it! Best of luck to you sweetie! Margaret

    • Katrina,

      I can feel your pain! I am also in Australia and I moved onto starting my own business. I can help show you some options for taking back control of your life, having time freedom and not being at breaking point. You are more than welcome to contact me kylieingram@yahoo.com.au. Best of luck x

  264. Thank you for putting into words how so many of us are feeling. I was able to share it with my husband and provide him with an amazing insight into how I feel. I identified so strongly with everything you said and in particular felt very sad when you said your own children were missing out; that’s exactly the position I am in. When I began teaching 15 years ago I loved the job but slowly heaps of extras have been put in and nothing has been taken out. I spend the majority of my time at school testing the children in my class to provide figures to measure them by not actually teaching. Then I can’t switch off when I leave the grounds and the majority of my home life is spent working or thinking about work. This career is not sustainable. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours and am sad we have lost another brilliant teacher.

  265. I have just left teaching myself for the exact same reason. I don’t have kids but I am tired. So tired. My husband is relieved. He said “I will be glad to have my wife back.” That is all the evidence I need to support my choice to leave.

  266. Well written and very accurate. I left the UK after 12 years teaching. I am now in Austalia and although the expections quite the same here they are increasing at a rapid pace. Best wishes for your future ventures, as experienced teachers we have a lot to offer other industries.

  267. Maybe those politicians currently vying for our votes should read this blog and its responses. I am in my 19th year of teaching. I battle the constant judgement of ‘why I’m not a manager by now’ with no-one understanding that I love being a TEACHER! I trained to teach not sit at a desk analysing data. But heaven forbid my experience and the ‘results’ I get should be paid for in anything less than blood! The school in which I work is challenging but I am surrounded by wonderful people and children. When the classroom door is shut it’s a joy. But the pressure and workload gets worse year on year, term on term. My Head Teacher is nice, open, interested but I’m aware in a few years when he moves on this will change. So many of my friends have been left working for 32 year old megalomaniacs Head Teachers who think the only way schools can move forward is to ‘get rid of ‘ the current staff. Its appears to be ok to give people mental health issues in order to make them leave the profession as Heads don’t take the time to understand them let alone get to know them and what they offer. I am torn I LOVE my job but hate what goes with it. Can I afford to give up? What will I do? How much more will my children suffer? And so many more questions. Well done to all those who have chosen a different path and well done to those sticking at it, both admiral, both worthwhile.

  268. I can totally relate to your words.
    After many long years I finally found my vocation in 2004. Teaching. Last October half term I made the decision that MY family had to come first. The long hours, constant worry and stress finally caught up with me. I could no longer be the outstanding teacher I wanted to be. I could give no more. My family needed me more than ever. I left at Christmas.
    I still feel lost each evening when I have no work to do. I find myself being surprised that I am watching a TV show at 9pm!
    Now though, I walk my daughter to school every day, share jokes about my awful cooking (now I have time!), spend quality hours with my family everyday and have reconnected with my husband.
    I would love to think that one day I will return to being a full time class teacher. May be. One day.

  269. Hi Ali

    Your words really sadden me. I start TT in Sept and there is so much negativity around teaching these days I’m not sure I am making the right choice. I have always wanted to be a teacher and at 41 I am late coming into it. Do you think I should do a U turn?

  270. One of the saddest things for me reading this blog and all of your comments is the huge number of Teachers who feel trapped in their roles. So many of you want out but don’t know what to do or where to look. So many more have taken a pay cut to find happiness which is admirable but not possible for others.

    I was lucky that I was shown a better way; a way that I could be at home with my children, that I could have the pipe dream lifestyle and a way that my teaching skills are still being put to use. There is a way for you to take control of your life and not have to live by the bureaucracy that governs your current job.

    I wanted a better life so desperately and I now have it. You can too, you just have to believe and take a leap of faith. Happy to help show you how if you need guidance to create a better life. 🙂

  271. Thank you for you words Ali,
    Having been a teacher, in Australia, for approximately one-quarter of a century (up until mid 1997) I could not resist a response. I agree with you – that teaching is not what it was intended to be when we started. I am sure that it changes for every generation and I imagine that all occupations bring one to a soul-searching moment after many years as a participant. It appears that teaching in particular has taken a turn towards the ugly spectre of “justify what you do” and “improve yourself beyond any fair expectations just to maintain your salary.”
    Similar trends are obvious in nursing and policing and even some trades. It’s a standard knee-jerk reaction, to “fix” the problems generated by a minority, where everyone has to accommodate more and more in the same amount of time for the same pay. It appeared under the guise of “do better and we will pay you better.”
    This requirement is ludicrous when there is no way to fully and accurately measure every aspect of a student’s education such that it gives a true performance indicator.
    I left because I was trying to teach a syllabus that was increasingly vague and irrelevant to my students and increasing numbers of those students were there purely to fill in time and disrupt the rest. My principal spent more time shut away in the office, on the phone, or going off-site for endless meetings. My colleagues were forced to share less and less in case someone gained an unfair advantage in their CV. The worst thing was that my own rapport with students was constantly undermined by belligerent parents and political correctness.
    I could ramble on for way too long about this!! (probably already said too much.)

    During the early ’80s I attended a science camp for teachers and one of the presenters predicted there would come a day when classroom teachers would not be required and schools as we knew them would no longer exist. A teacher’s job would be to conduct a meeting with a student and parents of same, draw up a life plan of that student’s education, pop it all in a computer memory and say goodbye to that student for ever – no further contact required. I fear that the day will be upon us soon, thanks to the Internet and the rapid advances in computer technology. This is not all bad news but it is very difficult to know that something once held dear will be lost. There is a book that explains this phenomenon of loss. It’s “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler. It explains the process we are suffering through but it doesn’t help!
    I now use my love of teaching in other situations, but I am still saddened by the way the profession has changed.

    In spite of all that has been said, we must not discourage current, would-be educators. They will have a different point of view and they will enter with youthful enthusiasm, or with the enthusiasm that comes from choosing a major change in life, and they will solve part of the problem. Good Luck to them and may they last a long time before the blues strike them.

  272. So true. I left for the same reasons. When citing constant change as one of the reasons (meaning the previous year’s preparation could never be used and improved upon), I was told no two years would never be the same under current leadership. Even if you were given the same year, your set would change, as would your subjects. Preparing five new lessons from scratch (all text books and related printed help had been binned) – we must enter the 21st century – with at least three differentiated lessons/tasks within each set for each and every lesson of every day meant rising at 4 a.m. and no time for family over weekends and half-term breaks. Owing to lack of sleep, exhaustion could only manifest itself during execution of lessons so painstakingly prepared; the paperwork needed to be perfect, so no leeway for tiredness there! So happy to live a normal life now.

  273. This is just so frustratingly sad & a story that is continuously repeated! The teachers who genuinely care are sometimes the ones who leave the educational field. It is so true that children are pressure to grow at the same academic speed, which is so unrealistic. In the USA kids are picked by the brightest, the academically challenged then filled with the other kids in between. It is torture for the brightest & the slower kids because they have to stay at or pick up to the pace of the kids in between. Everyone is so worried about hurting kids feelings & so they mixed them up…..guess what you actually hurt them. It is such an emotional subject with so many opinions & in the center of the storm is the bewildered teacher. Good luck in your future endeavors!! You have earned it.

  274. Oh man what a powerful well written post, one in which I should just say “Amen”. I am a special educator in Georgia USA. This is my 18th year as a teacher 15 of them teaching children who have severe and profound mental challenges. I have taught in Washington and California in 4 school districts and I completely agree with your sentiments. Your post is (to use an over used phrase) spot on.

    I entered teaching after 14 years in the business world because I wanted to make a difference in young lives and when I first began to teach I did but as each year goes by law makers and outside interests are making it harder and harder to make a difference. more and more teachers are having to do tasks that have nothing to do with making a difference.

    I would like to leave my beloved field but as of yet have not found a viable alternative, I am still looking. My best to you and my deepest sympathy to all of the students who will not have the privilege of being taught by you.

  275. Sad to read your post….sad to read so many feeling the same….sad to feel equally as trapped. I have wanted out for a long time, but personal circumstance dictates that that just isn’t an option I have right now. I don’t feel like my job is a blessing….too many people there to criticise and ungrateful children who are so technology obsessed that they do not care that you are jumping through hoops trying to make their education engaging and exciting (a far cry to what I remember mine being).
    Good luck for your future Ali – make the most of those gorgeous children…I wish I could get my time back with mine, that’s for sure xxx

  276. Thank you so much – you have expressed my thoughts so eloquently …. I have 1 year left before trying to finish at 55 and I cannot wait. A teaching career is no longer a profession but a treadmill for staff and pupils and I feel truly sorry for the younger staff in my dept. This is reflected in the news today that new graduates are rushing to leave the profession after 4/5 years… Sadly I would no longer recommend it to any of my current students.

  277. My daughter posted this on my Facebook. It’s so sad to read posts from so many disillusioned and exhausted teachers. I teach in FE and most of what everyone has said resonates with us as well. BUT I gave in my notice yesterday, after 20 years.

    • I can’t believe how much this resonates with me, I teach adult learners but the point she made ‘where is the teaching part?’ Hits home.

      • For too long the language of the politicians who have made critical decisions about teaching has been the language of business. The language of business is wrong for education, health and crime. The language is wrong therefore the logic is wrong therefore decisions are wrong. No wonder the three areas are in crisis.

  278. This article sums up exactly how I feel, sadly. I’m retiring this year after 36 years of Early Years teaching, 25 years in an amazing school and community. I am leaving for exactly the same reason as you and I too fear for the future of our, what once was a profession to be proud of.
    Every happiness in your new life.

    • I was exactly the same as you at Christmas in terms of experience in teaching and teaching at the same school at Christmas and I took my pension and ran. I thought I may do odd days supply but can’t even face the thought of going back into the system that is destroying our young ones life and the lives of the teachers who dedicate their whole being to this vocation ( not a job) !

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  280. Having rushed my children to bed so I could ‘crack on with marking’ I completely empathise. And after 17 years in teaching I am also gradually moving towards leaving the profession I once cherished as I feel it controls my whole life apart from in holidays when my husband describes me as suddenly ‘normal’.

    It is always reassuring to realise that what I feel is not unique to me, but how long can the professn survive???

  281. Many of your comments also apply to the education system in Australia where we are also very data driven, with ever increasing expectations and work loads. Having taught for about 25 years, I have also been told quite a few times that, whilst schools would like me on their staff, they can’t (ie: won’t) pay my higher salary when they could employ a Graduate. I’m lucky to be working in a school which values, and will pay for, experienced staff to guide those new to the profession.

    • Hi Tania, I hear ya! After 20 years or so of teaching,I am ineligible to teach interstate because I am only 3 year trained. I am required to now do a TAFE course, aimed at teacher’s aides to top up my qualifications. My years of teaching experience, and genuine care for my students and their development is worth NOTHING to the powers that be! Such a very sad state of affairs!

  282. Sadly this is all very true and resonates with me also. This profession has driven me and I’m sure many others too, to problems with mental health. Juggling this highly demanding job both inside and outside the classroom with wanting to being a good supportive, caring, calm mummy to my own children, just wasn’t possible. I tried my very best to achieve it but unfortunately it broke me for a while.
    I’m pleased to say I gained the courage to get back on the horse, I’m back in the classroom again but on a part time basis so I can try to juggle being a good teacher with being a good mummy.
    It’s teachers like us who actually believe and put into practice that ‘Every child matters’ who take children’s individual problems home with us, the kind of teachers we would want our own children to be taught by, it’s teachers like us who are leaving the profession. Given my circumstances, I have contemplated this decision many times and will probably do so again in the future.
    But if it is us, the teachers who do care about individual children who are leaving, who is left to teach our own children??

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  284. Thank you, Ali, for sharing your thoughts with us! It is so interesting to see that this “data-driven” teaching and teacher exhaustion is happening all over the world, not just in the United States.
    What resonated best with me was when you talked about the teaching lifestyle and how it’s getting less and less doable. I’ve taught over the last several years, and recently shifted to working in a community college as a tutor. I love being able to teach writing one on one with students without having to grade their work. I’m so glad you are prioritizing your children, and I wish you the best!

  285. This is exactly how I feel like. I have 4 children I feel I’m letting down 🙁 I used to love teaching but now it’s a job and it’s bringing me down.

  286. Have you heard about The Arrowsmith Program from Canada? We have moved interstate so my son can attend a school that offers the program and it really is helping him with his learning difficulties. It would be a very rewarding career for a teacher and will be highly sought after. Best of luck to you.

  287. My wife has been teaching for ver 0 years and is a dedicated and koved teacher. Sadly over the years as the system has become more and more cumbersome with the reports, charts, milestones etc described in here, she has become more and more disenchanted with her proffessionto the point she no longer enjoys what she once loved. As we look at the peple teaching our youngest daughter (16) we wonder what has the system done to these once passionate people.
    Sadly. from a husbands perspective I find find it incredibly sad that the system has destroyed another great teachers passion for what she does.

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  289. Hi Ali, I too left my teaching post in October last year after 20yrs. It was my passion.

    My health had been taking a battering from the political frustrations and persistent changes, ( without the qualifications or sound basis you should expect in a ‘profession’). It did not sit well with my heart or conscience. I felt voiceless even in a senior role.

    After a scary stress related illness I decided that things had to change for me. I don’t earn a salary any more, (or pay tax), but my husband and I have invested life savings into renovating a house. (Upshot of teaching – never found the time to spend our earnings!)

    I get fully involved with the DIY and project planning. Steadily my health, well being and outlook on life is improving.

    The decision to change was soooo difficult and I miss the opportunities of impacting positively on the lives of young people. But I have quality time with my husband and our ever expanding family and thoroughly enjoy this new found opportunity. My self confidence and belief in human nature is returning.

    I expect to return to work when our project is completed but I wont become a sacrificial lamb to the ‘new’ educational system again.

    Since my skills are founded in educating and nurturing young people I will consider a new role as a TA (it seems such a waste not to!). I will also keep broadening my outlook too, believing that with good health and a positive approach anything is possible!

    This type of belief is where many of our new teachers begin. All the best on your journeys. Just remember YOU matter too!

  290. Thank you for sharing this. It’s a good antidote to the rubbish that makes its way out there about how easy we have it and how teachers are a bunch of moaners. You represent the vast majority of the profession who are dedicated and extremely hard-working and most importantly of all truly care about the children whom you teach and the actual education they receive (as opposed to what makes good political capital)

  291. It’s very telling that we care enough to read and comment on a blog that’s to do with our jobs! How many bankers or politicians would do that I wonder. I’m 60 in 2 weeks time and still teaching but took my 17 years of pension 10 years ago. I work in a great school which has teaching school status and so mentor and train student teachers. I’m love to see the excitement on the faces of 18 year olds who teach their first lesson and the joy when the final years placed with us get their first job. While I don’t know many who have left the profession yet, I read their Facebook pages and worry for them. I am very fortunate to work with small groups and one to one with pupils but even I find myself working ridiculous hours making sure I’m accountable for all I do just in case. I hope I will continue until I draw my old age pension but have to say I admire those of you who say enough is enough. Oh well, back on Monday so let’s get those SATs practice activities ready… But that’s another story!

    • I too have just left the profession. It’s not about the staff or the children anymore. It’s about targets and data. It has totally moved away from creating a nurturing environment where children learn to make choices and decisions and are able to express themselves. When attending training for Assertive Mentoring, which the school I was in adopted, we were told “forget the thick six. They won’t help you achieve your targets”. That was the final straw that made me leave after so many years. My job was taken by an overseas student with absolutely no training,who wasn’t even in the country at the end of term for a hand over.
      So much for inclusion when you are instructed to not give equal time to the lowest achievers, who at 5 and 6 years old may not have reached the same developmental stage as their peers yet. the job is not about the children anymore. It’s about money. Cheap teachers (unqualified), targets, data and politics. My new job is working with children with disabilities in a care home that provides respite for carers. Child focused, teamwork and nurturing – just how teaching used to be.

  292. I have been a relief (supply) teacher in Australia and New Zealand most of my working life. I did think about becoming a regular classroom teacher when my children were old enough, but circumstances didn’t allow me to. I could have done so for the last few years, but the more I looked into the possibility the less I wanted to. The non-teaching requirements were just too onerous and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. It’s only got worse as the years go on.

  293. I can totally relate to what you are saying. Teaching is a wonderful profession and a job that teachers choose to do because of all the wonderful rewards in the classroom with the children. But, it is a life consuming job and the balance has shifted towards a target driven mentality. I left teaching last year because I was unhappy and stressed, spending hours and hours every evening and at weekends trying to catch up with the endless to do list.
    I left my school and I also took my two daughters out of the (same) school to re-energise our love for learning. I did not leave because I was disillusioned with the school – I enjoyed working at the school and have many fond memories – but the work / life balance had tipped too far in one direction. My husband and I made a life changing decision. We both quit our jobs, took the girls out of school and sold our house to tour around the country, living in a caravan, learning about the country that we live in. The girls learn about the different areas that we visit and their associated geography and history. Their learning is personal and experiential. Above all, they are regaining a love for learning.
    We are now spending quality family time together. We blog about our experiences and adventures on our website (www.dotrythisathome.com) and facebook page (www.facebook.com/meekroadventures) in the hope that it might help and inspire others.

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  295. As a new teacher going into the profession, I see articles like this everyday, and it really worries me. I really resonate with a lot of what you’re saying, and that’s just as a trainee.
    I don’t know when the ‘moment’ came- maybe it was when my tutor told me to ‘forget about weekends and holidays’ so I could be better at my craft, maybe it was when an experienced teacher-mentor told me ‘not to have a life’ (or that I was doing something wrong if I wasn’t worn out)- but I’m seriously starting to wonder what I’ve got myself into. I’m being put off a career I haven’t even started yet.

  296. Well said/written. I too have left teaching early, after over 28 years, the last of which, signed off by the doctor with stress. I feel I was bullied out of the job by a headteacher who must have known exactly what she was doing, having done the same to so many others before me. I’m now an outdoor pursuits instructor, so I still get that interaction with young people, and the pleasure that comes with seeing them progress and achieve beyond their expectations.

  297. With you all xx… I’ve been teaching for 10 years and have two kids in the school where I teach. My Sunday afternoons/evenings are no longer spent with my family, but with the neverending paperwork. My headteacher struggles to allow staff time off when their own children are ill and there isn’t an alternative, requesting that our poorly children are given space to crash out in our classrooms while we continue teaching around them. The experienced staff in school have even been asked (back in December) to consider whether we will be leaving the school in July as we are too expensive and she’d like us to go, as well as giving early notification to make her life easier!! I’m sure that’s not actually allowed.
    I’m sticking with it for now as I don’t have a lot of choice, but it’s so demoralising 🙁

  298. With you all xx… I’ve been teaching for 19 years and have two kids in the school where I teach. My Sunday afternoons/evenings are no longer spent with my family, but with the neverending paperwork. My headteacher struggles to allow staff time off when their own children are ill and there isn’t an alternative, requesting that our poorly children are given space to crash out in our classrooms while we continue teaching around them. The experienced staff in school have even been asked (back in December) to consider whether we will be leaving the school in July as we are too expensive and she’d like us to go, as well as giving early notification to make her life easier!! I’m sure that’s not actually allowed.
    I’m sticking with it for now as I don’t have a lot of choice, but it’s so demoralising 🙁

  299. Ali

    Thank you for your honesty and bravery. It is sad that teaching has to lose you, a dedicated professional who so desperately wants to do what she is trained to do – teach. This is an indictment of your system and indeed of the system I work in, here in Ireland. Teachers are poorly valued, badly treated and underpaid but because everyone has been in a school and known teachers, they think that makes them qualifies to criticise them. I have been to the doctor and while I think I know a good doctor from a bad one, I don’t question their hours, their training and would never tell them how to do their job. The problem is that the better a teacher, the easier it looks; much like a gymnast or dancer who flips or pirouettes lightly; we don’t see all the hard word that it took to get to that point, only the apparent effortless performance at the end.

    You alone won’t change the profession but if, one by one, we all stand up and actually talk about, protest about, challenge and if necessary leave, then something will have to be done.

    Keep writing and good luck with the future. You will always be an educator but hopefully a saner one from leaving the system that failed you and is still failing every teacher and student who are relying on it.

  300. So true! I decided to leave teaching too, and here are some of the straws that broke the camel’s back.
    • The overemphasis on targets in education whether or not they are relevant to the child in question. The fact that these targets only appeared to matter in core subjects and that foundation subjects were marginalised as a result.
    • Expectations for assessment in music that could not be met, leading to fictionalised or at best meaningless data being uploaded as deadlines were rigidly set. It takes time for an individual pupil to demonstrate their musical abilities, and when you have 600 or more to report on you don’t have the time to give them a chance to do a good job. Individual assessment in a sound producing art form doesn’t allow for the rest of the class being in the room with conflicting noises, and the limitations arising from the understandable embarrassment of those who don’t actually like showing off in front of others!
    • The culture of measurement and testing to fail does not treat the child as a human being with talents and interests that need nurture and development so they can make their unique contribution to society, rather it treats the child as an automaton that needs programming in order to fulfil some politician’s idea of what the economy will require for the workforce when they leave school.
    • It appeared that, in some first school classes, music was just seen as a convenient cover for PPA (Time for their regular teachers to mark, plan and assess away from their classes.) Very little interest, with a few exceptions, was shown by teachers or senior staff in what the pupils achieved during their music time.
    • Pupils with emotional and behavioural problems were unsupported in lessons and frequently made it impossible to maintain quality of experience for the class. Management seemed unconcerned with this and gave the impression, knowingly or not, that problems were a result of my teaching strategies, without offering the support and training that might rectify this apparent deficiency.
    • My own musical interests were diverging with the expectations of teenagers! However to make it worse teenagers music expectations were diverging from each other’s sometimes to the extent that they were abusive to each other.
    • I love a great variety of music, and have made great efforts to keep up with contemporary changes, and engage with the modern technology, but don’t think I have sufficient motivation to keep that up until the age of 68! Pupils need to have more relevant teachers than an old fuddy-duddy folk and classical man!
    • Teaching 25 separate music classes, usually for an hour each, but in some cases ten classes a day in half hour sessions, was proving exhausting, and I’m not getting any younger. To be given other subjects to teach on top of this without any training or input, however interesting they may be, added extra stress and was beginning to undermine my self-confidence as a teacher.
    • I’ve loved driving bigger vehicles for some time and have been thinking about this change of career for a number of years, investing quite a bit of energy and time in qualifying and feel if I’m going to make the move I have to do it whilst still fit and healthy!
    All said and done I certainly don’t regret getting into teaching. When it goes well it’s really rewarding and things like the orchestra, performances and the great people of all ages you get to meet and work with makes it worthwhile.

  301. Such a well written article. I totally agree with you.
    I have left full-time permanent teaching to become a primary supply teacher. I earn nowhere near as much as a permanent teacher but don’t have the hassles that that would bring with it. When I go into schools, I definitely don’t envy the teachers there.
    I’m glad I can go home at 4 or 4.30 and not have to mark, assess, handle data, make worksheets, think of displays, cut and stick things into kids’ books and everything else that comes with it.
    It does bring its downside – low pension payments, no sick pay, no maternity pay would I need it, difficulties when applying for a mortgage but until I find a job outside of education I’m perfectly happy watching from the outside.

  302. What a great post!

    I completely agree with it all. I left the profession for the sake of my family. The time away from them for work that needed more commitment than I gave to them was horrid. This plus the restrictive nature of the curriculum was terrible. Teacher led disappeared. Requirements to meet statistics and prepare pupils for tests was ridiculous. At no point did I feel I was teaching anymore rather just following and new scheme.

    I even worked for ofsted and nd saw the opposite end of it. That too was horrid. There seems to be a massive missing scheme here and it hate to see query it’s leading to.

    I left to be with my family. I did so and became and private music teacher. (Everything on my terms)

    I and so teach my boys in Home education. Doing both of these things have re sparked my love for teaching. Yes it’s curriculum based and yes its child led. But all of which it’s teacher led because I organise, plan and present everything for them.

    I love teaching, it is built inside me to be a teacher but now I have freedom. All those days and weekends for crafting things for other children have disappeared and now it’s more time with the family. This I truly love.

    like you I left teaching. Yet leaving teaching made me re best teacher I’ve ever been.

  303. I’ve just drawn my lengthy nursing career to a close for very similar reasons. I am burnt out from constant reshufflings and reorganisations that seem to be the norm when you work for any public sector employer. The NHS suffers a similar fate to Education. Targets to meet, paperwork to complete all become more important that the actual patient or the pupil. It’s a sad state of affairs and like you I feel both inordinately sad to be walking away yet at the same time hugely relieved.

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  305. Marie
    I love your blog, it made me feel so much better reading your story and other peoples story too. I completed pgce, but knew half way through that I would never teach. I couldn’t be the teacher I wanted to, I didn’t agree with the pressure put on both children and teachers. There was no room for individuality, it was ‘one size fits all’, which I just couldn’t get my head around. Plus the workload was far too much, and I just couldn’t cope. I have felt like a failure ever since though, but I am trying not to be so hard on myself. I am considering going back to my previous career, which I always said I would never do, but now I realise the grass is not always greener, and it wasn’t so bad after all. I know so many teachers who are unhappy, or have quit through stress. It makes me so sad to think what education is becoming.

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  307. I qualified as a Primary School Teacher 5 years ago, hoping this career choice would see me through to retirement. I am in my early 50’s and regret the career path I chose. After 3 and half years of full time teaching, experiencing constant demoralisation, extreme work load that affected my demeanour, my lifestyle, my sleeping patterns etc etc, I am now in supply work, which pays poorly. I fear what the future holds, but I cannot return to the stress of teaching. I don’t know what I can do with my qualifications and it all seems a waste of time and money. Teaching children is a rewarding job, but the pressures and constraints that come with the job description, overwhelm the enjoyment and satisfaction of teaching.

  308. I retired from teaching 2 years ago but continued to work part time – one day per week as a specialist assessor. It has taken the whole of the two years for me to recover from 33 years of dedicated teaching and learn to be a normal healthy citizen with time to do what I choose and to spend the money I earned over those 33 years!Whilst “recovering” I watched healthy 20 -30 yr olds increase in age every week, with the ever expanding tick box, paper- run education system that we have today. I have always believed that systems work best when they are kept simple – what ever happened to an hour long lesson being given to teaching new skills – surely that is the way forward in education – and not the ever increasing hoops that the “teacher” has to jump through before being awarded at least a “good” standard expected by the endless monitoring rounds. BRING BACK AN HOUR`S TEACHING IN AN HOURS LESSON – Cut out the CRAP!!!
    Our current teachers aren`t allowed to be teachers – and if things don`t improve then they should be renamed as Market Evaluators (commonly known as box tickers!)

  309. It’s the same in Australia, Ali. This is my 8th day of ‘school holidays’ and I’m spending it marking. I’m a High School teacher. I won’t cope if I have children.

    • I have a son and I start work at 7am and don’t get home till after 6pm. The amount of work we are expected to do is a joke.

  310. Ali, best of luck to you and I am sure many opportunities will open up to you to use the multitude of skills you have. I left mainstream teaching too, having worked in secondary schools and short stay schools for 15 years. It took its toll on my health and I had to go. I went into FE and have been very happy til recently when, upon appointment of a new data driven, hatchet-wielding, business-minded, CEO, things are changing rapidly, and not for the better. Having seen it all before I shall protect myself and leave if I need to. There is always another job and it is a great strength to be able to stand back and see the system for what it is. We cannot save all the children stuck in it but God knows where it will all lead to, it is madness. You have done the right thing for you and your family, hang on to that, God bless you xxx

  311. I totally agree and empathise with all the comments above. However, where do you start in deciding a new career path? I still have to work for 20 years and will not / do not want to keep this ridiculous, teaching lifestyle going for that long. So does anyone have any advise as to where to look for planning a career change? As that’s the scary bit.

  312. So very sad but I am almost at the end of my teaching career and actually cannot afford to leave. It is also very sad that I spent a year convincing my daughter not to go in to teaching and would not encourage anybody else to either. This was not the case 10 years ago when i was telling everyone what a great job it was. It still is a great job when I close my classroom door and spend the day with the children in my class, it is when they go home that the rubbish starts. If any of it meant I was a better teacher or that the children in my class learnt more I would be more than happy, but it doesn’t. I wish you the best of luck in finding a new career/job and enjoy your own children x

  313. Can I just ask why teachers are taking their work home with them at night? Does your contract state that you are expected to work out of hours without pay? There is not a single job on this planet that I would work part of my week for free in. If my current work load increased to the point where I couldn’t fulfil my weekly tasks, I’d let my manager know that I was no longer able to cope with the workload and they’d either need to bring in new staff to help with the shortfall or they’d have to just be OK with some work not getting done, because there is no way I’d take my work home with me….every single day of the week and into the weekends without any kind of remuneration. That is craziness to me.
    I’d be working to rule….and that would be that!
    I know that’s not the full extent of your problems with the system, but I can imagine it’s probably the biggest issue – why is working to task not an option?
    I apologise if this comes across as glib, but I just don’t understand??

    • Working to rule is not an option. The children would suffer. Teachers are in the job for the love of children and educating them in innovative fun ways which sees them progress in their learning at their own rate in their own ways. I love spending time, even ‘mine’ making displays, researching ideas, resourcing exciting lessons (I hope); what I can’t stand is spending my time completing spreadsheets to show results of endless tests to show the powers that be I’m any good. Come in, see the happy children in my classes! Don’t read results !! They lie! And before this turns into a real rant, all teachers need to get away from that bl**dy phrase ‘work life balance’ – it should be LIFE WORK balance. We cannot be the teachers we want to be, or that our pupils deserve, if we don’t have a life at all. Phew – I’m off to do my marking.

    • Its an unexpected rule. I use to not take work with me until my Principal made it clear that we are expected to put the hard yards outside of teaching hours and it’s not a 9am-3:30pm job and if I cannot handle that then he would help me find another job.

      We are paid for 38hours but in reality teaching os a 45+hr job. We are expected to do reports, assessments and plan engaging lessons which schools are not prepared to give us time to do inside work hours bar our 3hrs planning.

  314. I totally relate to this too – could have written it myself. I have just left teaching at Easter after 10 years for exactly your reasons. Hopefully off to do something better which gives me quality time with my own 2 children too. Hope things work out for you too x

  315. You have put into words what I have have been trying to explain to people for 2 years now. After having my son two years ago he became my life….not the class of 25 I adored each year before.
    There has not been a day that has passed that I have regretted my decision to leave and I’m glad I’m not the only one out there that is in the same boat.

  316. I have recently retired from a lifetime in the classroom. You have definitely made the right decision to put your family first. I look back now and feel so guilty about what I put my own kids through…they still say to me that when they were ill, it was a spoonful of medicine, a hot drink, a big cuddle and get in there to crash out in some book corner while Mummy teaches her class! Spending all weekend preparing for the week of school ahead so missing out on all the family fun. Working all hours at home preparing, assessing and planning endless lessons etc. I now have time to look back and reflect on what I achieved. Yes I like to think that I made a difference to children but at what cost to my own health and the wellbeing of my own family. I left on top of my game but now realise that I should have gone a lot sooner and had more of a family life! Well done you for spotting the signs now so that you can enjoy your own family. I have never looked back since I left. I don’t miss it at all and spend my time enjoying the grandchildren and loving every minute!

  317. Very well written & I totally agree. People keep telling me I should further myself & go into teaching but all of what has been said in this post is the reasons I don’t! At the moment I’m an early years worker with a further degree who could potentially go down the route of teaching but like the writer I have 2 young children & do not want time with my family to suffer!

  318. This is my last year teaching – after 15 years. What you’ve written is exactly what I think and feel, especially the ‘no more’ part at the end. My child will be the one that matters x

  319. Thank you Ali for being so brave. This article could not have come at a better time for me. I am teaching in a different part of the world and still agree with everything you have written. It has made me think about what is important in life. 🙂

    • Well done. Ali you said it all.l can assure you that experienced teachers in England and Wales will relate to your experiences. This was exactly the reasons I left the mainstream schools. it’s only teaching profession that your experience does not account in your professional growth. It is even worst when you are not part of the ‘gang’ in the staff room, when you don’t have any godfather /godmother to blow your Trumpet especially after crossing the threshold. Teaching demands now is unbearable. All the people responsible for Education in England should read the hand writing on the wall.

    • Wow! Thank you for making me feel that I am not alone. I have been teaching for 20 years and have resigned because the politics and paperwork are ‘doing my head in’ and squashing all the qualities I thought I could offer as a teacher. It makes me sad, especially that my children are in this messed up system, where the teachers that have families or really care are leaving. X

  320. Ali,
    I teach in Australia but after reading your blog I realise that the issues, concerns and frustrations that my colleagues and I feel here are global. I wish I could do what you’ve done, but then that would be another experienced and passionate teacher lost to the service.

    • I am aso Australian and sad to hear the same problems are worldwide. I retired as soon as I could, 5 years earlier than I planned, because of my disillusionment with the system and lack of support from the community for teachers. New systems of teaching reading and maths were introduced, and it was said in a roundabout but quite clear way, everything you ever taught over the last 30plus years was rubbish and those children learnt nothing. My experience counted for nothing. That was it for me.

      • I too am a Teacher and I am nearing the end of my tenure in Australia. I am finding the drive to get up each morning due to the amount of work we are now facing, to be too much.

        When did teaching become all about data. Every 2 weeks we are expected to assess students and it’s becoming more assessment rather than oing what we love: Teaching and building the love to go to school.

        I’m sorry, but this is 1 male teacher (in a system that is screaming out for male Primary teachers) who is looking elsewhere.

  321. Just saying Thank You for a well said and well presented of teacher’s working conditions. God bless you and your Family.

  322. As long as people believe you can train a teacher rather than educate them the teaching “profession” in England will be doomed to a downward spiral towards mediocrity.

  323. I retired earlier than I planned because the work load became ridiculous. There are only so many hours in ant day and teaching and preparation began to fill all of them. Despite this as a profession we are constantly beaten with long holidays, short hours.

    • I also finished teaching earlier than planned due to the workload and the expectations that all students should be achieving top grades of A and Bs, irrespective of their academic ability. The job became too demanding and stressful and was making me ill. I have been out of teaching for nearly 12 months but I have not missed the job at all which has surprised me as I lived for work and really enjoyed working with young people to enable them to achieve their own goals. I am fortunate to be in a position where I do not have to rely on having to work and I can take my teachers pension early if I choose. Having worked in teaching for 25 years, I have seen so many changes. I wish my fellow colleagues the best of luck and hope future Government realise the
      failings and address them.

  324. This makes me feel so sad. I have 4 children in the education system and it worries me so much the amount of teachers leaving. Good luck in whatever you choose to do. Let’s hope that someone bloody listens soon eh?

  325. I feel your pain. I left teaching in order to spend quality time with my kids. Many non-teaching friends thought i was mad, ” what about the holidays” was their cry. I work part time in admin now and manage in the same way they do, with holiday clubs and grandparents, but now i work in admin, for less money, i have quality time with my kids every day, not just for a few weeks in the summer. I am there to pick them up every day, i can listen to them read, i can make their dinner and chat to them whilst we eat.
    The pressures on teachers to make teaching suited to individuals is already intense. With another change in government it is bound to get worse. The government who concentrates so much on statistics seems not to take into consideration the amount of changes each school has to adhere to every 4 years.
    Thanks Ali for writing about your choice so eloquently. As the stats show, you are not alone.

  326. I feel for teachers who leave the profession for these reasons above. I worked in a school that was pressured to perform and improve data and it was hard work. I moved to a school that encouraged teachers to have a good work/life balance and valued the contribution teachers of all experiences brought into the classroom. These great schools to teach in are out there people. Find them and enjoy your passion once again!

  327. This makes me really sad. I recently left full time teaching for many of the same reasons. I’m now supply teaching and it has made me love teaching again. I’m teaching better lessons than ever because I am free from worrying about targets and points progress being made so I can concentrate on everyone having fun and being happy in the classroom. I don’t spend all my free time working so I’m not exhausted when I stand in front of the children. At the end of the day, I do my marking then go home to spend the evening with my family.

    • Hi Rebecca, interesting to read your comments. I too, left full time teaching because of the pressures. I feel a failure and guilty that I’m not a ‘proper’ teacher anymore, so it’s great to hear some positive comments about supplying.

      • Hi Charlotte, I know what you mean about feeling guilty and not being a proper teacher. I miss the feeling of making a real impact in a child’s life but I think I make small differences every day. Good supply teachers help to keep schools going. Enjoy your job then enjoy your weekends!

      • Rebecca, me too. After 23 years of having my own class, and the increasing pressures that went with it, I chose to become a supply teacher. I now enjoy teaching again. I’d forgotten how rewarding time in the classroom can be. I also love that, once the marking is complete, I can go home and have the evenings and weekends to do what I choose to do, rather than what I have to do.

  328. Sadly this is the same in childminding, all the fun has been taken out of the job by having to track children’s every move and more and more paperwork to prove it

  329. I agree entirely with you, I have also left the secondary classroom after 18 years because of childcare issues and I have found other ways to teach (music in primary schools and a bit of private piano teaching) that works around my kids and earns me as much money because I’m no longer spending most of my salary on childcare! I am so much happier and don’t miss my old job as I thought I would. However I too am very concerned that the constant change for the sake of change has ruined our education system…will there be fab teachers for my little ones’ education or will people keep leaving the profession fed up and exhausted?

  330. To offer an alternate perspective I home educate my son. We follow the National Curriculum at home but we learn at his pace and I can give him the additional help that he needs. He is continuously overlooked in a classroom environment due to staffing shortages and his “needs” not being high enough to warrant an EHCP…After all teachers are expected to manage larger and larger classes so my son is just one of many. It is not their fault they have to do their best in a bad set of circumstances. But, Home Educating families are on the increase because children are individuals and need to be treated as such, not just a herd of sheep and a way of getting a school higher up a league table.

  331. A brave decision but I am sure the right one for you and your family. Sometimes you just have to stand by how you have been feeling. I left social work 2 months ago, a job a really loved but again as you’ve said things have changed so much in the last 8 years that the job is just one of maintainence and sitting in front of the computer all day completing forms! I am loving my new completely different job, feeling relaxed and calm about work at last. I sincerely hope that you can find the same.

  332. One of my first EPS assignments was about teaching and learning, for which purpose I raised a lot of issues regarding government policy – how it directly affects children in the classroom.

    Although I received a very good grade, the feedback that I received from my University of Bristol tutor was that it was ‘unfortunate’ that I viewed education from the top-down. Apparently, every other PGCE student looked at it from the bottom-up (in that assignment).

    Perhaps that is part of the problem – the type of people who are encouraged into the profession, have no interest in pursuing change from the top. Instead, they try to resist or initiate change from the bottom-up.

    This makes any possibility of rescuing the profession particularly slow, difficult and perhaps futile. We need classroom teachers to be deciding on, and implementing all education policy.

    The current powers that be have no classroom experience, and have little interest in the children. It’s all about ticking boxes and massaging figures in order to create the illusion of ‘improvements’ – whatever headline figures they require.

    SLTs are generally only concerned about keeping their leadership jobs & pay scales (wouldn’t you?). They will only tow the line when it comes to running a school – whatever Ofsted have been instructed to scrutinise. They will not fight our corner.

    We (classroom teachers), however, know exactly what takes place in the classroom. We are the professionals. We should be deciding on what works, and what doesn’t.

    Those of us who have left the profession have a duty – to save the profession. To try to initiate change from the top-down. However long it takes, it may well be worthy of our time.

  333. Yep that about sums it up. Been teaching 8 years. Went into it thinking this is what I would do forever. Love the kids. Hate all the other rubbish that goes with it. If I’ve quit by the end of year I won’t be at all surprised.

  334. Thank you for sharing. I too felt the same and know many more in the same position. I’m taking charge and setting up a retail business which involves training others, that way I get to be my own boss and keep my hand in teaching (so to speak!). It’s a shame we feel like this.

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  336. Thank you for sharing this frank and honest post about the difficulties of teaching in 2015. I know several teachers as friends and know that they are stressed beyond belief and thinking about leaving the profession. I wish you all the best with whatever you decide to do next x

  337. This is a fascinating post for me. My husband left teaching several years ago. He wasn’t happy then with the conditions and I know it was a very difficult decision for him, as it’s what he’d always wanted to do. He’s very happy in his current role now – he trains adults. I’m very worried about what the school system will be like when my daughter is school age. Teachers should be the among highest paid and best-treated people in our society. It’s so sad this is not the case.

  338. I can only agree with everything you wrote. I had to leave two years go after the workload as a Head of Department in a secondary school drove me to a nervous breakdown. At least you escaped with your sanity intact

  339. I absolutely agree with you. As I write I have my third killer headache of the week andan abscess on a tooth but I’m too busy to remember to call the dentist. Feeling ill this week has left me with more than 200 things to mark and I could do with starting my reports. I can’t keep going like this. I love the actual teaching but that’s just a tiny part of what I do. Grrrrrrr

  340. I honestly believe that every profession has changed so much recently; we are being run by policies after policies, it’s not just teachers unfortunately. BUT it is important to stick to what you are passionate about…what if you inspire just 1 child?

  341. I can see why your post went viral – certainly strikes a chord with so many. We used to joke about the ‘every child matters’ statement because we found it to be rhetoric and not reality. In my son’s first school ‘every child mattered….as long as they fitted the mould’. in my son’s second school every child mattered as long as they didn’t cost the school too much because they had additional special needs. We quit school and homeschooled for 3 years because no-one cared about the individual child – all of the decisions by school and the LEA were made in their own interests and not the childs. Now we are so fortunate (and I thank God everyday for it) that both boys are in schools that really do care – they have teachers that are truly wonderful, honest, caring people (something at one point we struggled to find at their previous schools) and the school does somehow manage to juggle and balance the priorities and gets things right for the kids whilst keeping government happy on the stats front too. A great post raising awareness of the situation. Well done! x

  342. I was a Primary teacher in Scotland who got out early as it was not the job I’d gone into. I agree with what you say, Ali, even though I’m in a different system. My son has chosen to go into high school teaching. He’s three quarters of the way through Uni. How do friends’ grandchildren describe him? Strict. You need to be. He loves being in front of a class, but even he, at so early a stage, questions the sense of what he is to teach. Where do we go from here? Who knows?

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  344. I totally empathise.
    I was actually made redundant five years ago after teaching mainly A levels for twelve years. Every day, my children, who were quite small at the time, used to ask me ‘who is collecting us from school today ?’, to which the answer was our lovely child minder. I left what had been a thriving institution, feeling thoroughly betrayed after everything I’d given, and I promised myself that I would never work so hard mentally, for anyone other than myself again. I have my own business, and I have never looked back. I spend the time I want with my sons – that time being so precious – I don’t want them to grow up, and me to have missed it. It may not seem like it at the moment – but I’m sure you won’t regret it !

  345. Hi i gave up teaching in schools 11 years ago to teach in prison it is so much less stressful even when it was teenagers who were always fighting the stress levels are much lower

  346. that made me feel sad im a builder …but I think teachers are the most important ppl in are society you really do a great job.

  347. This exact situation and reasons why my daughters fantastic, loving teacher is leaving, over 25 years of fantastic experience, but for her applying for less pressured teaching jobs is tricky when a lot of schools only want to pay recently qualified people. Another point you make, which makes me sad, is that every child is expected to make the same level of progress per year, so high achieves breeze through whilst lower level pupils or those with dyslexia and short term memory issues battle their way through the school day, so many things that are so sad and worrying, you are right to do what is right for you and your family, very best of luck in the future, and I know how grateful the parent will have been, to have had you to teach their little ones!

  348. I am in exactly the same situation. 15 years down the line and I feel nothing any more. Am getting out of the classroom at the end of this term but not sure what direction to take next. A great post that really sums up what we are up against x

  349. This is exactly how I feel right now. I have been teaching for 10years and really can’t see myself doing it for much longer. I do not have children yet but already fill that I put my life on hold for the sake of planning, data collecting and analysing.
    I take my hat off to all the teachers who are parents as well. I don’t know how you find the time!

  350. I completely agree with everything you have just said, i have just left teaching myself, i had been expecting to work another 15 years, but have opted for quality of life. The same applies to my friend, who also has opted for quality of ife

  351. This makes me feel encouraged by my decision to not go back to secondary school teaching after I leave in September to go on maternity leave. I’ve taught for 9 years now, to the detriment of my physical and mental health as I have always put my classes and career before myself. Maybe one day I will want to return to the hamster’s wheel, but it has made me into a different person, one that, at times, hasn’t known what is right for me anymore. The guilt us teachers feel about not doing our jobs to the best of our abilities is a crippling one, even when it is not our fault that we have been pushed into survival modem rather than flourishing in the profession. I finally feel that I can move past it and achieve something even more meaningful in life; having a life, having a family. I’m exhausted, but ready to escape the disillusionment of today’s education system. We are an intelligent and resourceful breed and can find that ‘spark’ in another career.

  352. I’ve really enjoyed reading all your comments. Yes, teaching is mind-numbingly hard work and yes, it’s the best job in the world when it goes well – and sometimes even when it doesn’t.
    To those of you who are giving up I would say ” Do it!”, because you are right, there is precious little work/life balance and the demands of the Government seem to be almost random at times. I don’t think teaching should be a lifetime choice but a lifetime option for those who want to do it. As parents we know what a good teacher is – it’s the sort of teacher that our own children need. That’s a high aim and there is no end to the guilt that the (daily) failure to come up to our own high standards makes us feel.
    Could I possibly suggest something to those of you thinking of leaving? Please don’t say that you have quit for ever. Try: “This isn’t the school/job for me right now, so I’m moving on.” There are schools where your skills and talents will be more appreciated than they are at the moment. There are schools where the head/SMT fully understand and recognise that all the ‘Government doublespeak’ and ‘Ofsted measuring’ is trying to achieve is to give us teachers a greater range or variety of approaches to learning so that we can bring greater expertise to each new problem we encounter.

    YOU are the amazing fantastic inspirational teacher that our children, our future needs. You have the capability, the drive and the dedication, I read it in your comments. Yes you are right about the paperwork – offload as much as you can without losing the flow of learning – this must be discussed at all levels as it has the ability to cripple us. Yes the management of schools is more challenging than even being in the classroom, especially when the school is unhappy.

    The young teachers I work with today make me proud. You have such skills, energy and commitment. You have the sort of knowledge I would have killed for as a young teacher. This is my 44th year of teaching. I can’t undo anything anyone has said in any of the comments here. It is all true. I’ve failed Ofsted too – and I’ve been rated as outstanding (before you ask, in that order). The profession as I’ve seen it since I started in 1968 has improved immeasurably with each new learning opportunity – even when the government gets it wrong they still manage to teach us something! It’s still the best job for me – and yes, my daughter is now a primary teacher too. Please, when you choose to move on, don’t say ‘never’. Love.

  353. Ali,

    Well done for putting things in perspective. I currently work as a supply teacher and expectations can vary but it’s just about manageable. The downside is the financial rewards are reduced now because schools often use classroom supervisors to teach classes rather than specific qualified people. The job market has fluctuated and I am recently seeing more demand for my profession but like you, having witnessed the down side of the job I am reluctant to commit to the teaching profession. This dies leave me feeling un-fulfilled but seems the lesser of two evils. On the plus side supply teaching allows me reasonable time with my own children and long term posts you still get to build the rapport with classes.

  354. Dear Ali
    I seriously believe you should be nominated for the ‘Teacher of the Year’ award that is televised. I would love you to deliver a speech that repeats your words verbatim. I retired from teaching in 2007. I was working 65 hours a week, 6 days a week, sometimes 7 days a week and I believe it is even worse now. I have argued with ‘anti-teachers’ about teacher workload, alas, with little success. I worked out the number of hours per year I worked; 65hrs x 38 (in school) weeks = 2,470hrs, as opposed to a 40hrs per week worker: 40hrs x 48 weeks = 1,920hrs. That equates to teachers working 13.75 weeks (3.1 months) more than a typical worker – and we still get criticised for the amount of holidays we get!! We are living to work! What is the workload of an MP? £65,000 salary rising to £70,000 in these so-called austere times – unjust and disgusting. Your words are profound and poignant to all the teachers that entered the profession for vocational reasons, to try to better the lives of the children they found before them. But even more profound is the fact that we teachers, too, have our own children who are deserved of their mother and father’s love, care and attention. Good luck and bless you, Ali. To all other serving teachers I say this. GET OUT OF THE JOB and find your life. You only have one life. I cannot describe to you the feeling of elation and exaltation I felt upon leaving and yes, I loved the job but the dream job I went into became a living nightmare.

    • Hi Frank, thank you so much for your message. I have been inundated and overwhelmed by the response to my blog post. And completely saddened by how many other people feel so trapped, feeling that they don’t have any skills to do anything else. It’s the lifestyle choice of teaching that I couldn’t stand anymore. Like you say, I had to get out to find my life and my own children. I’ve only been out of the job 2 weeks and I already feel like a different person. I smile more, I laugh more and I have more cuddles with my children. And that is worth more than anything. If I ever have get the chance to take my views further I will definitely quote your calculations. Non teachers will never understand. Thank you so much for your comment and for your kind words and well wishes. Xx

      • ‘I smile more, I laugh more and I have more cuddles with my children. And that is worth more than anything’. Strangely, I was talking to one of my daughters recently who recalled her memory of the time I was teaching and she said, ‘You never seemed to smile’. I wasn’t aware of this. Now, I have a life. Go and be a mother, Ali. It is the greatest, noblest and most rewarding job in the world. May I send you a heartfelt X.

        • You have given me goosebumps. Our children are so receptive to things like the lack of a smile. Thank you so much for your support. I know, without question, that I have done the right thing. X

  355. Hi
    I love your article & it’s so true. I work in early childhood & so many people agree with everything you said. We need to stand united & somehow get it through to those in higher power how bad things have gotten for us all. I have started a page called early childhood educators unite which I was hoping people would post info like yours. This has yet to happen as I’m not sure how to spread the word. I have shared your link with many. Good luck in your future endeavours. A shame to lose good educators! Cheers,

  356. I can relate to every word you have written, Ali. I am a mum with four gorgeous children under 7, and a part-time teacher. Today, I was chatting with colleagues about the demands of the job these days, the never-ending marking, the goalposts that keep getting higher and higher. Teaching now has nothing to do with the career I chose 14 years ago. Working with students, being in class is still my vocation, but the paperwork, the marking, the scrutiny and the accountability for every single result are crippling. Fab post.

    • It’s heartbreaking that a career we love can change so dramatically. And I agree, the accountability is ludicrous. I’m doing english and maths tuition now and I absolutely love it as it’s the teaching side that I love. Thanks for your comment xx

  357. I resigned after last year and am going back to school. Def. not where I thought I would be at my age now but it feels so good. I never realized what the job was doing to me until this summer. I no longer wake up with a terrible pain in my chest. I no longer cry randomly out of nowhere from feeling terribly overwhelmed. I enjoy my home, enjoy nature, am back on track with proper eating and exercise habits. I read, and I do not feel guilty for sitting on the couch to watch a movie. I have patience again and I am reminded now that there is life and a world out there and I feel glad to be a part of it again! I sleep about 9 hours a night and have NO idea how I got by on way less all year, with zero relaxation time in the day. I feel I have a future again.

    • How wonderful. I feel exactly the same. When I put my small children to bed, I actually have a moment to think about what I can during the evening. I don’t have to sit at a table and plan or mark all evening. My weekends are my own and my own children have my full attention rather than a class of 33 taking all my attention x

  358. Very eloquently written piece. You can clearly see your passion in your writing but it doesn’t cloud the issues and points you are trying to raise on the subject if anything it lifts the subject. Really well written you should be proud!
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  359. I must have browsed blogs like this a thousand times, with the same emotions. Trying to find support for my feelings,people that felt just like me. I dont know how many times I told myself that all I needed was a change of scenery, new school, new environment but Im finding out that is lie. What I need is to find my Voice, to say Ive taught for 6 years and I am tired. After having my lo, I thought itd give me the motivation to keep at it for the next 30 or so years but it hasn’t. What it has done is given me the strength to look retrospectively at my own life and happiness and say that he deserves so much more than what Im able to give him right now. He deserves a mom whos happy, and confident, feeling a sense of accomplishment. I no longer want to be a teacher mom, all I want to be is an accomplished mother.

    • Oh Alesha, I completely understand how you feel because that was me. I felt like I had no alternative as teaching was all I had ever done. But I was putting a class of 30 kids before my own and I was prepared to do that any more. It’s such a big leap but a jump that I was so pleased I took. I really hope you can find something out there that gives you the flexibility to work yet to be an amazing mum at the same time. You’re right, our kids deserve a mum who happy and not stressed all the time. All the best, thanks so much for getting in touch xx

  360. Wow. I guess the expectations, work load and phrases of the teaching profession do not differ on the other side of the Atlantic. I have only been teaching for two years, so I am not an experience teacher, and I have no children of my own yet. But in my new career I already do not find my work load sustainable. Don’t get me wrong, I love it…. most of the time (aside from the crazy demands from hidden higher ups). Many times I left school, hours after the kids are gone because I was doing paperwork. I will leave exhausted and full of anxiety because I still haven’t had the time or energy to plan for the NEXT day. Then drive home tired and tears in my eyes because I feel like a failure. But when there is that much junk work to do when am I going to plan an effective lesson.? Its discouraging to say the least. I am not far off from beginning a family of my own and I watch other teachers with small children miss out on their own children’s milestones. When I have a family, I want to enjoy them. I don’t want to put them to work cutting, labeling, filing…etc., or completely missing everything.

    • Oh Kate, it’s so hard isn’t it. And yes, it seems that your experience, demands, workload and stress, is exactly the same across the pond. The profession has changed dramatically, and the expectations now on teachers, is unrealistic. Like you say, I feel like I missed out on family time with my children and husband, I wasn’t prepared to do that anymore. So I had to be brave and take a big leap! It upsets me to think of you driving home in tears, feeling like a failure. You’re not at all. I hope you can find a path that makes you happy so that you can achieve all that you want to. Xx

  361. Wow! The sentiments on here are so true. Big up to all teachers everywhere. My wife teaches and has been for 9 years now as a career changer. She loved it much more in the beginning but now it is messing up our family time. She rarely comes out with us, lives for the next half term then spends it at the pc working! She is happy in the summer and ratty for the rest of the year. The pay is okay but I’d rather have my wife alive and well for longer than rich, stressed and unhappy for a shorter time. She has given herself 9 more years till our son leaves school but I don’t see her lasting it out that long. It’s really sad. I’m glad I came across this site. Thanks for being here. X

    • Mo, I totally feel for you. I completely understand how your family time is affected. My heart goes out to you and your family. I feel like I missed out on so much; I was working evenings and weekends and like you say, I was missing out on valuable family time. It’s so hard because it’s a profession that requires complete commitment. A half hearted attempt just won’t cut it with performance related pay and unreachable targets. I really hope things work out for you all. And like you say, big up to all the teachers. They do a blooming good job xx

  362. Tonight I have made the decision to leave teaching as it is no longer compatible with normal living. I am a primary school teacher and for too long now I have felt that I am failing the children, my family and myself. Where has my passion and energy gone? Why am I always so tired? Essentially, I don’t believe in the education system any more as it does not give children what they need. The nurturing of individuals has gone as it has become a business. I watch as the most inspiring and creative teachers leave the profession in droves. I am not a robot and I do not want to be. Ofsted have a lot to answer for as schools live in fear of how they will be judged; so they focus purely on results with little time for enrichment. Of course, they say they value enrichment but this time is slowly eroded away, along with the spirit of teachers trying to find extra time to deliver it in a forever changing, ridiculously packed curriculum. What skills do we want future generations to have? Will our brightest talents be lost in a messed up system? At least I bow out on a high, knowing that I delivered more than academic success. Will I find life (and another job) after teaching? I really hope so! Thank you, Ali! You write with such feeling and knowledge of the current system and your words have helped me tonight, when I needed them most. All the best x

    • Oh gosh, your comment gave me goose bumps. I echo everything that you wrote here and everything that you felt and are feeling. I was letting down my own children. How could i possibly have put my class of children before my own? I’m furious with myself that I did it for so long. I’m so pleased that you have made a decision that you feel happy with. I wish you all the very best. Do please keep in touch. X

  363. I grew up in a family of teachers, where parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins were all in the profession. They ranged from reception class teachers to primary heads, secondary heads, head of science, head of languages, senior mistress etc etc. In short, 95%+ of everything I heard in the first 13 years of my life came from teachers. As well as stuff my father talked about when walking Keith Joseph, Nicky Morgan’s predecessor in the early 1980s, around London schools (he being a senior inspector by then).

    What is very difficult to communicate fairly to all sides is that intellectual learning is not a preparation for real life for a lot of children. If you are naturally a leader in the group, if you are naturally a negotiator, a trader, a questioner, a practical person, then adding formal intellectual learning adds value.

    If you find all that stuff a piece of cake, but you need practical help, you don’t know how to negotiate because you were bullied from a young age, you are envied but not looked up to by your class mates, if your family does not haggle and negotiate on a regular basis, if your family is very hierarchical and power-driven, then what you get through intellectual learning is a complete dead-end, a waste of time. You get brilliant grades but employers don’t want that, they want negotiators, traders, practical people, group leaders.

    The challenge is for the education system to provide different approaches for different groups of children, because trust me, focussing on one way for all produces a small elite and a long tail, if not in the classroom, then certainly in the workplace. So much in the next 40 years is going to be automated, done by computers and robots, that rote learning is pointless nowadays. By the time children are 18, they need an holistic understanding of systems so that they can create things, because without being able to interact with technology, they are going to be marginalised.

    My view has always been that you need the traditional liberal arts education for a small group of children, but you need Steiner systems for others, the enquirer-led system of the IB for yet others, sports/kinaesthetic-led learning for another group, ICT/engineering academies for others, language academies for others; performing arts-led systems for a small group etc etc. Then you need some schools being single sex and some being mixed. Some may be best having mixed from 4 – 9; single sex from 9 – 14 and mixed again from 15 – 18.

    The only thing that links all these things is to produce emotionally centred, skilled young people with a healthily optimistic outlook suitable to their age at 18.

    The most important question is not which system is ‘right’, ‘best’, rather which set of parallel systems provide an holistic totality most suited to sufficient numbers of children to justify organising education around them.

    I personally am appalled by the obsession with exams, knowing full well that I was brilliant in those metrics and thrown to the wolves in far more important ones. It is politicians saying ‘no-one can blame me if I demand rigorous exams’. It is parents not acknowledging their fear of not understanding what education their children need by hanging onto a particular mantra. It is teachers wanting to be part of the ‘in crowd’ without asking whether the ‘in crowd’ do best for all children. And it is children turn into factory automatons, doing all the things well they are directed to do without actually doing the right things most of the time.

    I did not go into teaching as UK teaching from 4 – 17 failed me utterly and no-one wants to listen to a 21 year old prophet, as I went abroad on a gap year and realised that the UK was decades behind the curve in real teaching. Perhaps now the England football rugby, cricket teams are widely acknowledged to be way behind their key competitors the sport-obsessed Establishment will acknowledge what I already knew in 1982?

    Good for you for deciding that your children are more important to you than other people’s children. Not all children have parents as wise as you clearly are…….

    • Oh Rhys, I really enjoyed reading that. Our mindsets are the same, only I wish I had know it back in the 80s like you! I am appalled that Nicky Morgan has recently stated that 7 year olds need more robust testing! I want my children to enjoy learning and not feel pressured to meet the standard that a school requires for it not to be deemed ‘requires improvement’

  364. This struck a cord with me.although I’m not a teacher I was a health and social care manager. I’m a single parent and I left for similar reasons. So wish you look in all you do. It was the best decision I made xx

    • Thank you Melaine, the lifestyle choice and pressures can most certainly be applied to other profession. It’s often having the guts to go for another alternative that’s the hardest. It was my best decision too! Xx

  365. Dear Ali.

    This post has touched me and I am desperate for the teaching profession to be saved. I’m a fairly new teacher, I’ve been teaching for 3 years however I already am looking to leave the profession.
    It saddens me deeply, it’s all I’ve wanted to do and I feel passionate about children and their education.
    I’m sick of children being seen as data – numbers, groups, figures, points, bands. These are human beings with needs! They need nurturing and developing by trained professionals who are ready, keen and prepared to teach. However, I am simply battered, squashed, stretched and drowned in standards, marking, planning, data, paper work – I speak for many teachers.
    I am seriously considering leaving the profession because I want a life as a teacher not a teaching life. X

  366. Well you have summed up how my friends and I feel, I put it down to getting older and cynical but things have changed for the worst. I’m going to take your words and keep them close and if anyone ever questions why I have chosen to teach properley in the classroom and not done all the other things that are demanded by politicians then I will show them your words because they echo my thoughts and feelings exactly. What a brave person you are. I hope to be as brave as you someday.

  367. Last year with the introduction of the new curriculum, I taught 3 different year groups (PPA cover). I worked solidly all day , every day planning, preparing, teaching and assessing the new curriculum in years and subjects I had never taught before for a whole year. I was paid supply (so only from when the children were in class and no more), four afternoons. I ended up working all mornings, evenings in my own (unpaid time), and unpaid holiday time. Your comment about spending more time with other peoples children resonates with me because that was all I seemed to say last year especially when I asked my daughter to be quick while she hugged me so I could get on with preparing and planning work for other peoples children. How guilty did I feel? How pressurised did I feel to deliver a whole new curriculum in one year too? I long for decisions to be made by teachers about what and how we should educate. I’ve never been asked. I am only one teacher. How many more who are feeling like this? I don’t know one that isn’t.