I’m done. Just finished my 8th year in the school I’ve worked at since my NQT year. I’m moving on from a large 11-18 school to a large sixth form college. I’m partly feeling like I’ve failed at being a *great, inspirational* teacher. Failed to be the sort of person who excelled at teaching teenagers the beauty of physics. But I’m equally ecstatically excited about where I’m moving to and the prospect of teaching 16-18 year olds nothing but physics physics physics. To use an overused analogy (probably wrong word, sorry english teachers), I’m some sort of Schrodinger’s teacher. Both sad and happy in equal parts. I’m planning on my wave function collapsing into the happy state when I get some more weeks of the holiday over. Someone observe me! (apologies to physics)
I think I could go on for quite a while trying to work through these feelings, but I’m not going to (come back!). Instead, I’m going to employ the magic of a bullet point list addressing why I’m moving on. Sorry it starts out a bit sad, but picks up toward the end (NQTs, RQTs and prospective teachers look away now). Also, I want to make it clear that this is not in any way a dig at the school I’m leaving. There’s nothing here that I haven’t already discussed at work and I feel it’s probably similar to the experience of many other teachers in other schools all around the country. I hope it contributes to that wider discussion of the state of education right now.
- I’m sick of feeling like I’m not working hard enough when I work so hard. I’ve honestly felt at times like I might be a shit teacher this year (and really, I’ve concluded that I’m not).
- I’m tired of trying to control increasingly bigger classes, with less and less support.
- I am disheartened by lovely pupils feeling like they are failing because they have a A, when their target is A*. That way madness lies. I just can’t get behind the way we are increasingly hammering students who are doing well, in my opinion. This applies all the way through all the different ability pupils.
- I’m sad that much pastoral support for pupils is disappearing (and yes, it feels shameful that my response is to want to run away from it).
- I’m increasingly having to teach out of specialism and I don’t feel comfortable with it. I am a true subject specialist. I haven’t got A levels in some subjects I’m teaching and I know I’m not as good at it as I am at teaching physics.
- I’m not that keen on teaching KS3 (sorry enthusiastic young people! I’m sure you had no clue while I was children’s TV presenter-ing my way through your lessons).
- I’m sick of trying to get across the Ribble every morning (local shout out! holla!)
- I’m never going to have the opportunity to do the promoted job I wanted at my school. (I’m fine with this, just aware I need to move elsewhere eventually if I want to move up)
- I’m, plain and simple, worn out.
- I’ve been at my school a long while and, even if all the above wasn’t true, I feel ready for a new challenge.
- I love my subject and want to teach it to pupils who want to learn it. (who doesn’t?)
- I am really good at teaching KS5.
- I’ve always looked forward to, and enjoyed my KS5 lessons.
- I want to teach more than a handful of pupils at A level.
- I love helping students through that exciting time of deciding on a university.
- I’ve finally admitted to myself that moving to a sixth form would not be a mistake, it will probably be a revelation.
There’s a lot I’m going to miss. Mostly my lovely, supportive colleagues in the science department. They are a wonderful bunch and many laughs were had in the staff room. *sniff*.
I’m sure I could expand on the above, and I probably will in time. Especially the bits about what I’ll miss and what I’m looking forward to. No need to personally dwell on the sadder reasons for me leaving. Right now I’m feeling exhausted. I need a good few weeks of brain rest and holiday time to get over being an 11-16 failure statistic!
Happy holidays! 🙂