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Q I am an experienced PE teacher with extensive knowledge of coaching, organising and managing sports up to, and including, national level.

Recently, I have suffered absences following sporting injuries. I don't know how much longer I want to continue teaching PE, or if I need a career change or a new job in another school.

Putting all my time and effort into PE, I have neglected my second subject and think it would be fun to rediscover my enthusiasm for the profession by looking to develop my skills towards another area of teaching. How would I do this?

A Yours is not an uncommon problem. Your career has reached a pivotal moment, and you need to take charge. Perhaps the school thinks you are not fully engaged with it and have as many interests outside the school as within.

This may not be your perception but it might be that of a head who just wants someone to do a good job teaching PE.

You don't say how long you have been at this school but I guess you have seen several management teams come and go. Switching subjects is a possibility, but competition for jobs is fierce and an absence of any evidence of keeping up-to-date with teaching methods might not help you in the face of competition from newly-minted PGCEs.

Better to ask yourself, what do you really want from the remainder of your career? Do you want to progress in leadership terms either in school, elsewhere in education or in the sports field? Alternatively, do you want to remain a classroom teacher whatever the subject? Might your expertise be useful as an adviser or a teacher trainer? If you want to pursue any of these options, you will need to review your recent professional development experiences.

Have you been so busy teaching, coaching and running committees that you have neglected your career? You need to talk to someone who understands you and your background and might act as a mentor.

Whatever you decide, good luck. I think it is time for you to consider a change

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University.

To ask him a question, email him at

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