At some point I think a lot of us sit and wonder what else we could do as a career. On those days when the kids at school have been little monkeys (that’s putting it politely), the paperwork is mounting up and I have three sets of books to mark before the following morning I wonder what else I could be doing with my life.
Research carried out by education recruitment specialists ITN Mark found that 47% of Brits admitted that they had considered looking elsewhere. Of the 1,500 men and women questioned, 10% said they had always wanted to do something else, 9% are planning to change their career, and 28% said it was already an on-going process.
I’m always full of admiration for people who change careers, as someone who is very risk averse I often tend to play it safe. Sometimes I think I would love to take a giant leap of faith, to try something completely new, to see what direction it would take my life in but when I start to actually wonder what else I would do I begin to struggle.
I came into teaching convinced I would only stay in it a few years. The plan was to get a little experience under my belt and them somehow move into writing educational policies. I didn’t plan on teaching becoming such a central part of me and who I am.
Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of stresses to the job, the form filling in has gone crazy and the hoops you have to jump through seem to increase with each academic year but the key feature of the job. The part that makes me stick at it is that I love being in the classroom. When you have a rapport with a class and with your students there is no better feeling. They make me smile every day I am in work, even when the rest of it is grinding me down.
As the number of teachers leaving the profession continues to grow it’s a worrying time for our children. Posts in key subjects are struggling to be filled and the result is existing staff in schools are overstretched trying to teach their own classes whilst supporting teachers who often teaching outside of their specialism. And all of this is whilst coping with changing syllabuses and a brand new examination system.
When I am asked if I would recommend teaching as a career it’s difficult to give an easy answer. If you are coming into it expecting short days and long holidays the answer is no, although I’m not too sure anyone coming into the job still thinks that (I hope not anyway). But if you’re tired of working in an office, and think it’s time for a new challenge then yes, maybe it is worth a try.
By the end of this academic year I will have completed fifteen years in teaching. A lot has changed over that time but the one thing that remains, the one reason I still do the job I do is that I do feel it’s a privilege to work with our children. Seeing them succeed, that moment when they “get it”, their faces when they get into the university they wanted to, that’s what makes it all worth it.
Oh, and the holidays aren’t bad either!