Dear John: I've undergone capability procedures. Is it time to leave teaching?

Q

I have taught at my school for 11 years but will be resigning at Easter following the head’s decision (under pressure from LEA as school classed as inadequate) to put me through informal capability procedures. I teach part time and have done some supply (successfully!) at another school.

I don’t want to leave teaching but am concerned about my chances of finding another job. I know I can do supply to pay the bills but I think I will want a permanent job at some point in the future. I am also in a difficult personal situation as I have been trying to become pregnant unsuccessfully for some time - I have been told there are no physical problems and suspect that my stressful work situation may be the root of the problem. I am too old to put trying to conceive on hold so wondered whether a few years on supply would be the best option. I would need to know what to do when I wanted to become a class teacher again - I would be quite happy to accept temporary contracts for a while if this would help. 

A

I assume you will have a good reference from the school where you have done recent supply work. Sadly, the job market is more challenging in many places than it used to be and schools can afford to be more discriminating. A departure at Easter without a post to go to may well raise eyebrows, but, if you are staying in a local area, how well you are known and regarded by others will counter balance the effects of a problem at your school. However, how that school is regarded will also be important. If the head is generally well thought of amongst colleagues, you might struggle more than if that were not the case. Anyway, after eleven years you probably should be moving on and possibly looking for a post with more challenge to it.

But, there is more to this than meets the eye, as you mention that your biological time clock is ticking fast. That may well need to be a priority, and anything that is stressful certainly won’t help in getting pregnant, I would suggest consulting your GP if this continues to be a concern. as it could a source of great stress.

You need to sort out your priorities, and doing so with a recession underway probably won’t be easy.