After 20 years at the same school, this school leader has reached breaking point. Here, he reflects on the relentless workload and bittersweet ending to his teaching career in the Tes.
At Christmas, I will have worked in my current school for 20 years. I’ve often joked that if I was a stick of rock, the name of the school would run through the middle. I’ve been a teacher, held a variety of leadership positions, and seen us in just about every Ofsted category.
The life of a deputy headteacher in a small school is a busy one. No two days are the same and there are few teachers to share the workload. My role includes leading on curriculum and data, being the designated school lead for looked-after children, exams officer for Joint Council for Qualifications centres, quality assurance for several different vocational qualifications, and many lesser roles (showing parents around, fire marshall, school PR, etc).
On the day before the half-term break, I had my performance management meeting. While setting my targets for next year, we had a discussion about the data I had exported from the system for a report. It quickly dawned on me that the expectation was for me to go through the data line by line – despite having a data manager. Suddenly, the penny dropped about the hours I was doing.
Perhaps the phrase: “what would you like me not to do to fit this in?” wasn’t the best response but sometimes you have to stop and think about your personal health and wellbeing. We agreed that I would go home and think about my position and how I felt about the job.
I’ve thought briefly about leaving in the past, but my love of the school and the students had always been enough to make me stop.
It’s hard to turn your back on a school you’ve worked at for 20 years (with a £60K salary) without good reason, especially when you enjoy your job, are good at it and are well respected by colleagues and students.
The most frustrating thing about being in my position is the seeing the same story play out in schools across the country. Most schools are stuck in a rut, unable to see any way other than what they do now. I’m waiting for a sheep or two to break away from the flock and try something different, but with the Department for Education wolf nipping at their heels, I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.
Read the full article ‘I’ve quit teaching without a job to go to – I just can’t handle the workload anymore’
Have you done the same? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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