Pursuing a life outside of teaching is getting more tempting for increasing numbers of school staff.
The teacher retention issue is widely known and with the cost of living eroding away teachers’ disposal income, more school staff are looking elsewhere for work.
It is interesting to see that the Facebook Group “Life After Teaching – Exit the Classroom and Thrive” has over 78,000 members which is one of the largest online groups of school staff in the UK.
Reading the variety of reasons why people are contemplating leaving the classroom on their forum includes:
- Workload and seeking a healthier work/life balance post-pandemic to reclaim weekends and evenings with family and friends
- Feeling like they have been institutionalised and looking at developing new skills to take the leap to leave the classroom
- Bullying and feeling micromanaged with little room for autonomy
- Significant health reasons from work-related stress, anxiety to long Covid
- Disillusionment and disappointment when applying unsuccessfully for internal positions in school
- Receiving false allegations from pupils, parents and other school staff
Life outside of teaching: what are the barriers to taking the jump?
At Edapt, some of our subscribers contact us and ask how to leave the profession and what are the best routes to exit teaching while still keeping an equal salary and pensionable benefits.
For a teacher, for example, who has been teaching for 20 years it can be a huge leap to make with many uncertainties. Many teachers are not aware of the transferable skills they can bring to other sectors and how wide the education sector is outside of the classroom.
We do point school staff to organisations such as Did Teach which helps teachers smoothly transition from education into other sectors. Did Teach explains:
“We know that teachers have the capability to excel in corporate businesses. They can also add value to organisations in the education sector because of the unrivalled knowledge they have of the school system. That’s why we have been knocking on the doors of charities, ed tech, start ups, STEM industries and major blue chips to understand how teachers need to prepare themselves for new challenges outside the classroom.”
Many school staff also struggle with the practicalities of applying for jobs, writing CVs and attending job interviews during the school day and feel somewhat restricted with the notice periods which underpin the teaching profession.
For some school staff they decide to leave without another job lined up as they are so unhappy in their current situation and need space to reassess the situation.
Life outside of teaching: what are the pros and cons?
From analysing responses in the Life Outside of Teaching Facebook group, many teachers take a lower salary to begin with with some starting part-time roles or working for charities or other businesses which don’t match their teaching salary or Teaching Pension Scheme.
Some people explain that they actually landed higher paying jobs in the Civil Service or from starting their own businesses so not everyone initially starts on a lower salary.
Many compare the actual hours worked and having benefits such as not having to work through your lunch or attending parents evenings until 8pm looking at a breakdown of salary by cost per hour.
With any big career decision there is always a balance of pros and cons.
Some teachers are simply unhappy at their current school and can find a different school which is completely different in terms of culture and expectations from staff. Location can also play a huge part with many teachers commuting up to 30 mins to an hour a day and the fuel costs impacting their quality of living.
It is also worth bearing in mind that teaching is a great profession and many people comment that they miss the interactions with children after leaving.
There are more options than ever before to support you in your career. If you are an Edapt subscriber and potentially looking at options to move school or how to exit the profession on positive terms you can contact us for support and advice.