'I have resigned. Teaching made me hate my subject. It was box-ticking for tick-boxing's sake'

10th October 2017 at 12:12
teacher resignation letter
'Teaching is and was not the profession I thought it would be – I know lots of happy teachers, but I was not one of them.' One former teacher pens a letter to Tes as she leaves the profession

Dear Tes,

I have just typed up my resignation and I am getting ready to go to the post office and send it recorded delivery as we speak.

Every single word I typed lifted some weight off my shoulders. This might sound dramatic, but I feel free. I feel free from the shackles of teaching and trying to live for a job that I knew deep down, wasn’t for me. Having always wanted to be a teacher since I made registers for teddies and made them do spelling tests in my bedroom as a child, I feel lied to. Teaching was not and is not the profession I thought it would be. I know lots of happy teachers, but, sadly, I was not one of them.

Something just didn’t "click". As a people-pleaser, maybe I was horrified at the thought of never being able to please everyone. Maybe it was the thought that someone would always be let down, whether it was the child in the class who just wanted to get on with their work who couldn't get a minute of my attention because of the numerous behaviour problems I had to deal with, or the head of department who was told to nitpick the tiniest of errors or be at the mercy of the senior leadership team. Or perhaps it was the constant scrutiny, the constant feeling of  "I am just not good enough". Or even the disapproving looks from parents at parents evening, that feeling that their child is failing, because of you. 

None of that is true. I was a great teacher; I still am. And maybe in years to come, I might return – who knows. But, as of now, there is no way I could continue. It’s not healthy. No more almost bursting into tears because I feel hopeless trying to teach all the difficult classes I have been lumbered with. No more constant panic that a member of SLT might walk into my classroom and do another unannounced learning walk. No more driving home from work, laying in bed at night, spending Sunday worrying about what I have done wrong, what I haven’t done at all, and what I need to do. 

Teaching made me hate my subject. It was box-ticking for the sake of box-ticking. My passion had gone. How is a teacher meant to teach when what they are teaching is boring even them?

So for now, I look forward to a life outside of teaching. I look forward to getting off of the tablets that I have become dependent on for the past few years. I look forward to my hair not thinning or turning grey again. I look forward to being able to trust my colleagues. I look forward to being able to have a day off, and not think about work for almost every single second of it. 

As I’ve said, one day I may come back. But, right now, I am going to enjoy the moment. 

Thank you, everybody, for your kind words. Had it not been for reading the forums and threads on the Tes communities, I might not have plucked up the courage to do what I have done. I might not have thought that there was a life outside of teaching, but now I do. 

Thank you.

The writer wishes to remain anonymous. 

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