‘Dear teaching, it’s not me, it’s you’

This teacher is breaking up with the profession. Why? She’s completely fallen out of love with it. Tes

Dear teaching career,

It’s over. After 32 years I’ve decided to leave. It’s not me or the children. It’s you.

When we began our relationship in 1986, you gave me the freedom to choose what I taught and when I taught it. I loved that creativity and flexibility. After working hard on the “basics” in the morning, a sunny afternoon meant an impromptu game of rounders, a treasure hunt or an Andy Galsworthy-style art activity. Kemal still got his place at Cambridge, Erin her property portfolio and Ajay his business.

When did I start to fall out of love with you? It’s been gradual. Even in the so-called glory days, you were never the 9am to 3.30pm gig that so many imagine.

In the early days, the opening of Songs of Praise would be my cue to plan and mark for the week ahead and the job would be finished in a couple of hours. But worrying about schoolwork started to cast a pall over Friday night, marking nudged into Saturday and planning started with the Andrew Marr Show and ended with the 10pm news on Sunday.

Ah, the classroom. In the early days you let me have carte blanche as to how I decorated it. The walls were festooned with the children’s work in a riot of coloured frieze paper and labelled with different fonts. They would look with pride at their work displayed, usually the product of an enjoyable art lesson. Now you make me put up “working walls”. In spite of having the hypothetical subjunctive definition displayed for most of the year, how come only five out of 30 got that question right in the Spag test?

Segueing into Sats, my lovely late mother used to say: “A child doesn’t grow by being measured”, but now the last year of primary school is an endless round of practice tests. Year 6 used to be about preparing for secondary school, the residential and the end-of-year performance. You fully indulged my Cecil B De Milne tendencies and allowed full-scale all singing, all dancing productions such as Bugsy MaloneOliver and The Lion King.

I hear that you are struggling to recruit. I watched your recent advert and loved the slogan, ”every lesson shapes a life”. Being entrusted with the next generation is a privilege and one part of the job that I will always be proud of. If you were a Tinder profile, I would swipe right.

So teaching career, it has been, in spite of all my grievances, a blast. I have loved the children and my colleagues. I think it’s only fair to let you know that I plan to rekindle a relationship with an old friend. They are lovely, languid and I didn’t realise how much I missed them: Sundays.

Read the full article ‘Dear teaching, it’s not me, it’s you’

Do you sadly feel the same way? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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