Leaving teaching – but I will be back.

A difficult decision to leave teaching this Christmas was taken over the summer – though it had been building up over the last few months.

The proverbial straw for me was reading an article about EYFS reforms and realising that I had reached saturation point. I was becoming someone who read education updates and news and sighed heavily. The type of school leader whose eyes rolled when Ofsted tweaked guidance, or when subject reviews were announced. I was no longer excited by it all – and as the summer went on I realised that I was not looking forward to September – wasn’t getting excited about the return like I usually do. And any kind of school coverage in the news just caused outright dread.

Covid of course – but more than that – the realisation that, as we came to the end of it we would learn nothing. More than ever now schools were at the heart of their community. Schools, my school, had worked so hard to keep their community safe and to provide some normality for their pupils. (And don’t get me started on the Herculean efforts of staff to move provision online- which you can read about here). Instead of a recognition that perhaps our professionalism was to be commended (or at least not doubted!) we had contempt from politicians and policy makers.

I am so disappointed that the chance we have had for a rethink, for recognition and for renewal has been lost. Not least for the ‘digital’ aspect of education which I wrote about here. In fact, it seems to be more materialistic and about ‘end product’ than ever. The changes for baseline, the ‘advice’ from subject reviews, the Ofsted inspection guidance, the continual demand for ‘catch up’. It’s too much. It’s unsustainable and it’s not what I came into this job for. And it is making many of us leave teaching.

What next?

I’m lucky, or at least I think I am. I am thinking in a new direction and am excited to be heading towards an MSc – exploring Climate Change policy and Zero Carbon Initiatives. But I know so many teachers who are really struggling with this. So many schools will be left rudderless – and governing bodies are going to need support. I don’t feel proud about my decision, it is sad. I never thought I would leave teaching so soon and will miss it immensely. It has been a privilege to work with hugely inspirational people over the years – I have met amazing and resilient children and have been honoured to be at the start of many teachers’ careers. I know I will never really leave…I know I will want to get back to it! It just doesn’t feel like it is the job I love right now.

Postscript – as I was editing this social media is awash with rumours that Gavin Williamson should get a knighthood. So. There’s that.

3 Comments on “Leaving teaching – but I will be back.

  1. Absolutely resonates – we’re losing so many good people in education – but life is short and well done for making the brave decision. Take care and I hope your next step will be full of purpose, wonder and satisfaction.

  2. I absolutely feel the same way. I’ve taken an unpaid sabbatical for a year but I am so saddened and disillusioned I don’t know if I’ll ever go back… looking for an alternative, safer, less stressful career. Good luck to you

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