While everyone else moves on, I am trapped

21st March 2014 at 00:00

I am starting to worry that I'm standing still. I have been working in further education for more than 20 years now - still doing the same lecturer job as when I started - and some of my lessons are almost identical to those I taught when I first stood in front of a class.

Students come and go, some with greater aspirations than others, but many move on from me to bigger and better things. I've had social media invitations from sales executives, managers, school heads of departments, small business owners. I have played a small part in helping them to do those things, which is nice, but now I feel stagnant and as though I need something different.

The problem is that I have absolutely no ambition to move into an education management position (I tried it for a few years and didn't enjoy it) and, having taught for so long, I'm not sure I have the skills to do anything else. I have applied for related positions such as quality assurance or administration, but am generally rejected without being invited to an interview so it feels as though my years in teaching count for little. I have tried to get other teaching jobs, but why employ me when a new teacher is half the cost?

I feel stuck. I'm not particularly enjoying what I do any more and maybe it's starting to show. The students are so different from those of the early-1990s, yet I have the same expectations, the same requirement for independence and respect. I am constantly frustrated by the negative attitudes of today's 17-year-olds and it is starting to rub off on me.

Perhaps I am not being challenged or inspired by those around me to be different or better? Perhaps difficult experiences with other staff and students have tainted my view of teaching beyond repair? I am supposed to encourage others, but my motivation has vanished and I'm not sure how to find it again.

It keeps me awake at night to think that most people I come into contact with move onwards and upwards, yet I can't find the escape tunnel.

The writer teaches in an FE college in the North of England

Tell us what keeps you awake at night

Email jon.severs@tes.co.uk

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